A dog has a special place in your heart and in your home. You’d never run away from Rover, Rocky, Rhiannon, or whatever your retriever's name is, so it might be hard to imagine why your dog might run away from you. Oftentimes, it’s not a question of loyalty, either. So don’t get down on yourself if it’s happened to you.
To understand this behavior, let’s check out some facts about why our most beloved buddies...bolt:
Dogs are Pack Animals
As descendants of wolves, dogs have an instinct to be a part of a pack. A dog that’s left alone may try to escape to search for company or even a mate. So, it’s up to you—as a pet parent make sure his social cup is filled, and he’s not tempted to go searching for other dogs.
Tip: Find a doggy daycare in your area. It’s great to test it out for a few hours to make sure your dog has a good reaction to other pups. Put some budget aside for a day or two per week of daycare to give your dog the socializing he needs.
Dogs Can Get Bored or Lonely
You miss your dog when you’re away from her and—guess what? —she misses you, too. When we humans get bored or lonely, we seek out satisfying things, we doom scroll, or we foster relationships between spatulas and Nutella. Dogs have their own self-rewarding behaviors, too, and a popular one is escaping. It’s obviously dangerous for your dog to run in a busy street, but she just sees it as something to do for entertainment. And, no, it’s not a reflection of intelligence. Don’t worry.
It’d be great to spend all day belly-rubbing, cuddling, and snoot-bopping your dog. But it doesn’t work like that. So, instead of beating yourself up for having to leave your dog at home alone, invest in toys and technology that can keep them busy when you aren’t there.
Tip: Stuff a hollow rubber dog toy with peanut butter and freeze it overnight. Or look into cameras that allow you to talk to your dog throughout the day, feed her treats, and keep her entertained from afar.
Dogs Can Get Scared When They See or Hear Certain Things Equipped with super senses, dogs can flip into “fight-or-flight” mode when they’re startled or made anxious by loud noises like thunder or fireworks. This fear can incite escape behavior as your dog looks for ways to feel “safe” again.
Tip: ThunderShirts are tight-fitting garments for dogs that control anxiety. They can be an effective way to keep your dog calm in stressful situations. Also, when you leave the house, make sure to close windows to keep the level of noise low while you are away.
Dogs Find an Easy Way Out It’s important to dog-proof your house and yard so you don’t make it easy for your best bud to escape. When you’re in public with your pup, make sure he’s under your control and always be aware of your surroundings. As a dog parent, you’ve got to set the boundaries for a safe, healthy, happy hound. No matter how well-trained your dog is, sometimes squirrels can just send him over the edge. So always be prepared.
Tip: Teach your pet positive commands, like come, sit, stay and stop, so that he’ll obey even when off-leash.
How to use a virtual fence to stop your dog from running away Containing your dog has always been a necessary annoyance. Fences, whether invisible or just plain ugly, are expensive and require digging on your property. Not only that, but invisible fences are based on shock training.
Tip: A modern solution to this problem is a connected collar like the Wagz Freedom Smart Dog Collar. It’s a GPS-connected dog collar that works seamlessly with the Wagz App. You can draw Geofences—which are virtual containment fences— in the app. Just create a wireless fence on the map with your finger. Voilà. And the Freedom Collar uses no-shock, humane correction.
Use a GPS dog collar track your dog if he runs away If your dog is equipped with a GPS collar, like the Wagz Freedom Smart Dog Collar, it’s easy to track her on your phone with the Wagz App. As long as there is a cellular and GPS connection on your phone, she’ll show up on the map in real time and even map the route to your dog.
Tip: Make sure your dog is microchipped, use external ID tags, and consider a shock-free smart collar.