It is very nerve-wracking for a pet parent to come home and find out that the dog has escaped from the yard or house. Unfortunately, a missing dog often becomes a reality for many.
Some dogs are naturally adept at escaping from confinement. In addition to being stressful for pet parents, this can quickly turn into a dangerous situation that puts the dog’s health and safety at risk. Fortunately, there are ways that pet parents can tame their escaping Houndinis and create a safer, more secure environment for their family dogs.
Understanding Why Dogs Escape
In order to stop your pup’s runaway behavior, it is helpful to understand why dogs escape in the first place. Although dogs escape for many reasons, the most common reasons are as follows:
- Fear: Dogs may jump a fence, break a tie-out and run away when confronted with frightening noises, such as fireworks, or when left out in a storm. Fearful escape behavior can usually be remedied by sheltering the dog from the scary stimulus, for example, leaving a dog indoors when a thunderstorm is on the horizon.
- Boredom: Dogs that are routinely kept alone may become bored and desperate for a playmate. Often, these dogs escape and run away in search of other dogs. Increasing the dog’s social interaction with other dogs and people can often treat this behavior. Doggie day-care may be a good option for these pooches.
- Mating Behavior: If you have an intact male or female dog, he or she may run away to find a mate. Spaying or neutering the dog can often fix this, as can ensuring the pet is kept in a safe enclosure when nobody is home.
- Need to Explore: Dogs that do not get out enough or live excessively confined lives may run away in an attempt to explore their neighborhood. These dogs often benefit from increased exercise and playtime.
- Separation Anxiety: Dogs that spend long days alone may escape and run away in an attempt to find their pet parents or seek out some other human interaction. These dogs can often benefit from a companion animal and plenty of human interaction.
How to Contain the Escaping Dog
If your dog is an escape artist, follow these tips to make sure he or she stays home:
- Install fences high enough that the dog cannot jump over them. If the dog climbs tall fences, cover the sides with smooth material such as plywood.
- Fill any gaps, breaks or holes in the fence so that your dog cannot wiggle or dig her way out.
- If your dog jumps very tall fences regardless of their material, build a covered kennel in the yard to prevent the dog from escaping.
- If your dog has figured out how to open gates, install padlocks to keep them securely locked.
- If you have a see-through fence made of chain-link or another such material, consider covering it with wood or a solid fence to limit your dog’s visual stimulus. In many cases, this is enough to prevent escaping behavior.
- Double up on restraints (such as a tie-out and a tall fence) to ensure that your dog stays safe and contained.
Although dealing with an escaping dog can often be a trying process, pet parents can treat the problem by seeking to remedy it at the source and providing safer and more efficient enclosures.
Content reviewed by a veterinarian.