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Why Does My Dog Run Away? 6 Reasons & Solutions

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

Caucasian man and his two escaping dogs

Does your dog try to make a break for it every time you open the door? Has he bolted away from you during a walk or dug under the fence to escape the yard?

A runaway dog is no laughing matter. He could easily get lost, struck by a car, or attacked by a wild animal.

But why do dogs exhibit this dangerous behavior? Here are six potential reasons your dog runs away and how to prevent it from happening.

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The 6 Reasons Why Dogs Run Away

1. An Easy Escape

By nature, dogs were made to roam. In the wild, canines will roam for miles to hunt prey, explore, and get exercise. If your dog finds a broken gate, a hole in the fence, or an open window, he may take off to go exploring.

Ensure your dog can’t find an easy escape route by keeping all doors, windows, fences, and gates closed and secure. If you want to open a window on a warm spring day, make sure you have a screen installed. If your backyard fence is too low or has an opening, address the problem immediately. Keep all gates and doors securely closed. When your pup is in the yard, periodically check on him.

boxer dog behind the door
Image Credit: JudaM, Pixabay

2. Boredom or Loneliness

Just like you, your pooch is a social being. He needs constant attention and engagement to stay healthy and happy. If you leave your dog in the backyard alone for long periods of time, he may try to escape because he’s bored or lonely.

The best way to prevent loneliness and boredom is to spend time with your dog. Pet him, play with him, and take him for long walks. If you’re not home, provide him with engaging, interactive toys to keep him occupied. By fulfilling your dog’s social needs, you’ll prevent him from trying to run away.

3. On the Prowl

Some dog breeds have a high prey drive. These include hunting and working breeds. If your dog sees a small animal, he may run away to chase it down. It’s important to invest in a good harness and leash to keep your dog safe and secure while out and about on walks. Teach him basic commands to prevent him from chasing animals while you’re taking him for a stroll.

dog training outdoor
Image Credit: Katrin B., Pixabay

4. Separation Anxiety

A dog might hit the road because it’s suffering from separation anxiety. Does your dog bark excessively, pee in the house, or destroy things when you’re gone? If so, he might have separation anxiety.

Calming pheromones and supplements may help alleviate your dog’s stress. If you work long hours, consider enrolling your pup into doggy daycare or hiring a dog walker so your pet isn’t home alone all day.

5. Nature Calls

A dog’s sex drive might cause him to run away. If your pet is still intact, he may plan an escape to track down a mate. If there’s an un-spayed female dog in your neighborhood that’s in heat, your Tramp may run away to find his Lady. The best way to reduce his desire for conjugal bliss is to get your dog fixed.

Dog smells a dog in heat
Image Credit: sanjagrujic, Shutterstock

6. Fear

Scary sounds and sights might make your dog run for the hills. These include fireworks and car accidents. If your dog spooks easily, bring him inside if you hear thunder, gunshots, or any other loud noises. Make a safe space for your dog that includes his favorite toys and blankets. You may want to buy a Thunder Jacket or other calming product to help soothe your pup.

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Whatever the reason for your dog running away, it’s critical that he has an ID collar and is micro-chipped. This will ensure that he finds his way back to you as quickly as possible.

Always make sure the backyard fence and all windows and doors are secure and escape-proof. Buy a durable harness to keep your dog from running off during his daily walks. Keep your dog calm, engaged, and happy with plenty of exercise and attention.

A runaway dog can be dangerous for everyone involved. Prevent your pooch from taking off with the proper precautions.

Featured Image Credit: IRINA ORLOVA, Shutterstock

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