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Find Out Why Your Dog Is Escaping And How To Stop It From Occuring

 by jaime on 04 Sep 2014 |
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Dogs are naturally territorial and like to patrol familiar areas. Therefore, most dogs are happy to patrol the yard or go for a walk to the park. However some other dogs feel the desire to explore further afield and will attempt to do it alone. Perhaps your dog has attempted to escape or has perhaps succeeded a number of times.

The action of escaping, either by jumping or digging under the fence, managing to open the gate or even running through electric fencing may be all your dog needs to fulfil their desire and will then happily stay within your home's perimeter, while others will take off and go exploring. In either case, it can be gut wrenching for owners knowing their dog is trying to break free or has done so a number of times.

First things first, before you figure out why your dog is escaping, you need to find out HOW they are doing it because your first priority is to keep them safe and contained.
  • Is your fence transparent in any way? If your dog can see beyond your yard, it will give them a greater desire to escape and explore. Covering up the transparencies will reduce their urges.
  • If your dog can jump great heights, introducing an electronic fence in addition to your actual fence is a good idea, and, vice versa, if your dog is able to run through electric fencing, doubling up with a physical fence can also reduce their ability to run away.
  • Make sure any physical fencing you have is higher and sturdy enough to prevent your dog from jumping over it.
  • Use materials that have smooth surfaces to prevent any potential climbing capabilities.
  • Make sure there are no gaps that your dog can squeeze through. Fill in these gaps with chicken wire, large rocks or chain link - always be sure to keep any sharp points or edges out of reach from unassuming paws.
  • Prevent your clever dog from opening fences by keeping them padlocked or alternatively install a self-closing system.
  • Once your dog is extra secure, you can address the reasons why they are trying to or are escaping.

    Reasons why dogs escape:

    Separation anxiety
    Your dog's escaping act may be a symptom of a much larger separation anxiety issue. Your dog may be feeling anxious whenever they are away from you and this is just one way they display it. If signs like pacing, howling or trembling are present then your best option is treating the anxiety issues wholly rather than just the issue of them escaping. Chances are the desire to escape with be dulled once they are feeling more calm.

    Searching for a mate
    This reason is most prevalent in male and un-neutered or spayed dogs.

    What to do:
    If possible, have your dogs spayed or neutered! This alone might not the stop running away altogether but it does reduce the motivation.

    As mentioned at the start of this article, your dog may be simply fulfilling their natural desire to explore.

    What to do:
    If they haven't been, consider getting your dog neutered which decreases their roaming desires. Increasing amounts of exercise is a very good way to help your dog to stop escaping because a tired dog is more likely to take a nap than jump the fence!

    Fear could be a very real reason as to why your dog is escaping. What they are fearful of varies, from certain people, the weather or even the location itself.

    What to do:
    Create positive associations with your yard, making sure every time your dog is there that something nice happens to them. If you know what the root cause of the fear is, eliminate it so it doesn't happen again. Also during this time, only allow your dog into the yard if someone is able to supervise them to make sure everything is going smoothly. If the problem persists, seeking anxiety medication from your vet is a good idea.

    Social contact
    Most dogs love other dogs and people and them escaping might be their way of finding some friends to play with.

    What to do:
    If your dog is spending more than three hours alone in the yard, the likeliness that they are lonely increases. A simple way to combat this is to spend more time interacting with your dog. The more time spent bonding and doing things together the less attractive running away becomes for your pet. You could also consider introducing a new dog to your household so your pooch has a constant companion.

    Importantly, remember to never punish or coddle your dog when trying to stop them from escaping.

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