Having a dog that likes to run away from home can be frustrating for owners as you never know what might happen to your beloved pet if you are not around to make sure he or she does not get into trouble. Of course you can be extra careful when leaving the house to make sure that your dog does not bolt past you into the street and yes a bigger fence might do the trick, but in most cases, dogs are like escape artists and will find a way to go out and explore no matter what you do to try and stop them.
If you have a dog that has a tendency to roam it doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t love you or like spending time with you, it could just be a matter of boredom or the fact they are looking for a mate. In this article, we are going to look at the most common reasons dogs run away from home and how we can stop them by understanding what it is that makes them want to go on a walkabout.
Why Dogs Run Away From Home
While different breeds of dogs behave in different ways, they all share similar traits that can cause them to run away. For some, it may just be a habitual thing or a fact they like to go off and explore, while for others it might be some sort of trigger that sets them off.
Does your dog cry or howl when you leave the house or have accidents even though he or she is house trained? Do you come home and find that the house has been trashed? If so, your pet may suffer from separation anxiety. If this is the case your pet is most likely to run away as soon as you leave the house, but the good news is they are also likely to stick close to home.
If your dog is bored or left alone for long periods of time it may become frustrated and go in search of adventure. Does your neighbour have a dog or children that like to play with your dog? If so, your pet may just be looking for someone to play with.
A huge trigger that accounts for 1 in 5 lost dogs is loud noise such as a thunderstorm or fireworks. The dogs are afraid of the noise and run off looking for a place to hide.
Dogs become sexually mature at around six months of age and unless they have been neutered will go off in search of a mate. This need to find another dog to mate with is so strong that it can be nearly impossible to keep your dog at home no matter what precautions you take.
Reasons a Dog Runs Away from Home
- Separation anxiety.
- Frustration or boredom.
- Thunderstorms, fireworks or loud noises.
- Sex drive.
Now we know what can cause a dog to run away from home let’s look at ways of how to prevent it from happening. In the case of separation anxiety, it depends on how severe it is. If the problem is just a mild case of anxiousness give your dog a treat or peanut butter in a rubber Kong, this will take their mind off the fact you are leaving the house and has the added bonus of keeping them occupied for a while. If the separation anxiety is of a more serious nature you may have to try and condition your dog. To start with put on your shoes and pick up your keys, but do not leave the house right away. Do this over and over again gradually decreasing the amount of time before you leave the house until your pet becomes used to this and is no longer stressed. Another solution is hiring a trainer to help your dog get over the fear of being separated from you.
To combat thunder, fireworks and loud noises keep your pet inside the house with the windows closed and as far away from the noise as possible. Many dogs will instinctively look to crawl under a bed to feel safe away from the noise. Taking your pet with you into a windowless basement can help but failing that turn on a fan or something that makes a noise that your dog is used to hearing. If this does not help, ask your vet about anti-anxiety medication the kind often prescribed when having to put your dog on an aeroplane.
If the problem is caused by your dog looking to mate, have him or her fixed as early as possible to stop the problem in its tracks. Most vets recommend having your dog neutered at around six months of age.
Ways In Which You Can Stop Your Dog From Running Away From Home
- Gradually leave the house or give your dog a treat in a play toy.
- Close the windows and turn on a fan to dampen outdoor noise.
- Have your dog neutered as soon as possible.
Top Tips to Keep Your Dog Safe
Make sure your dog has been micro chipped and that he or she wears a collar that has an ID tag with their name and your phone number on it. Don’t leave outside doors open and be sure to check that gets have been shut properly after having a visitor or repairman come to the house. Never let your dog off of the leash when out for a walk. Many dogs will take off running if they see a rabbit or squirrel and if you chase after them may think you are playing a game.
Ways To Keep Your Dog Safe
- Have your dog chipped.
- Check doors and gates.
- Always keep your dog on a leash.
As good pet owners, we all want to ensure that our animals are looked after and safe. Instinct may well fuel a dog’s desire to run away from home, but by following the advice above, we can help prevent this from happening and hopefully never have to go looking for our missing pet.