A dog that runs away, whether frequently or occasionally, is never a source of pleasure for its worried owners, but it is also a source of danger for the animal. But don’t worry, if your dog is running away, it is not because he feels badly at home because there are many reasons why a dog may run away.
Why is my dog running away? How can I prevent my dog from running away?
Why is my dog running away?
Many factors can cause a dog to run away from home. Sometimes the dog will come back on its own after a few hours of escapism but may not return and be found by the pound or a local resident. The latter case underlines the importance of having the dog identified so that it is not considered stray.
An ill-defined territory
When a dog runs away it means that it is leaving its territory. But does your dog know the limits of its territory? If it is not well defined, it is quite natural that he still considers himself at home when he leaves the family garden.
This is particularly the case when the dog thinks he is the dominant member of the family, hence the interest in establishing a hierarchy as soon as he arrives to make him understand that he must respect certain rules. As a result, the dog will understand that he cannot leave a certain defined area and will not run away. It is important that the dog’s territory be defined by a solid fence or a hedge in order to set physical limits.
Loneliness or changes of habit
If a dog feels neglected, he will be more likely to go elsewhere in search of the attention he lacks in your home.
A change of habit such as a move can cause the dog to leave the house. Disturbed by the stress that this step causes and by the arrival in a new territory, he may want to return to his old home. In this case, if your dog has run away after a move, there is a good chance that you will find him in your old neighborhood.
The heat period
A young male will be irresistibly attracted to a female in heat and will try by all means to run away to find her. This behavior can be avoided by castration. A female may run away to satisfy her sexual instincts, although this is a rarer case.
In addition to the heat, other external stimuli may cause the dog to run away. This can be hunger if he smells something tempting in the neighborhood or the urge to exercise.
Dog running away: solutions
What solutions should be provided when a dog runs away? The way to remedy the problem differs depending on the reason for the runaway. For example, the same advice will not be applied when it is a question of territoriality as it is when it is a sexual need.
Defining the dog’s territory
It is important for the dog to know the limits of its territory, otherwise, it will seem normal for him to go for a walk elsewhere. This starts by defining it well with gates and fences, if your property is open it will invite the animal to leave it and it is also very dangerous for him.
Several devices exist to teach the dog not to run away. You can invest in a runaway fence connected to a collar that will deter the dog from leaving the property. However, this remains an expensive solution and some smart dogs will still find a way to escape.
In this case, the best solution remains behavioral therapy with an expert.
Running away due to feelings of abandonment
Pay more attention to your dog, especially during periods of changing habits (Moving house, pregnancy…) so that he doesn’t feel lonely. If you work all day long, find someone who can come and visit him to distract him a little, but in this case, it is better not to think about adopting a dog for the moment if you don’t have enough time to give him.
Sexual instinct runaways
Castration is the only remedy to prevent the dog from being attracted to local females in heat. It is also possible to prescribe a hormonal treatment as a compliment if it is considered useful.
The solution is the same if you own a female dog. Even if she’s not the type to run away, it will at least have the effect of avoiding attracting all the dogs in the neighborhood.
Never reprimand a dog that runs away.
In any case, remember to never punish your dog for running away. A dog is not capable of associating this punishment with running away, worse yet he may associate this reprimand with coming back! And in that sense, it will not deter him from running away but rather from returning home, and the consequences may be more serious.
Do not think about tying him up in the garden either, as this may make him unhappy.
Every problem has its solution and if all attempts to prevent him from running away fail, the help of a veterinarian or even a dog behavior expert will be able to guide you.D
The importance of identification
When a dog runs away it can be found by the pound or a resident, in all cases, it will be taken to a shelter or a veterinarian. If it is not identified, it will be considered to belong to no one and will either be offered for adoption or, in the worst case, euthanized if there are not enough places in a shelter.
To avoid this tragedy, the identification of your animal is essential! The chip or tattoo will allow you to identify it and to be able to contact you. In addition, you can hang a medal on his collar with your contact information to allow someone who finds him to contact you directly.