Dogs have proven themselves time and time again to be loyal, understanding companions to humans. And we repay them with love, adventures, and treats - lots and lots of treats. We catch a glimpse of our dog’s toothy grin hanging out the side of the car window and we think - what a life this dog has.
So why, why, why do our dogs want to run away?
Before we take a “he’s just not into you” angle, let’s explore the facts.
Dogs are Pack Animals
From the moment of birth, dogs have an instinct to be a part of a pack. As descendants of wolves, it’s deep in their blood. As working humans, it’s not always feasible to be with our dog throughout the day - even if we desperately want to be.
A dog that is left alone may try to escape to search out company, or even a mate. So it’s up to us, as pet parents to make sure their social quotient is full, so they are not tempted to go searching for other dogs.
Tip: Seek out a local doggy daycare in your area. Make sure to do your research on the business before you drop your dog off. It’s a great idea to try out the daycare for a few hours to make sure your dog has a good reaction to the other dogs. Put some budget aside for a day or two of daycare a week to give your dog the socializing she needs.
Dogs Can Get Bored or Lonely
As humans, when we get bored or lonely, we tend to reach for self-satisfying things. Like TV, or our phones, or a king-sized jar of Nutella. Dogs have self-rewarding behaviors as well - and can manifest through escaping. We know how dangerous it can be for our dogs to be running in the busy streets alone, but they just see it as something to do for entertainment.
If we had it our way, we’d be making millions petting our dogs. But it doesn’t work like that. So instead of beating ourselves up for having to leave our dogs at home alone, invest in toys and technology that can keep them busy when you aren’t there.
Tip: Stuff a Kong with peanut butter and freeze it overnight. Or look into cameras that allow you to talk to your dog throughout the day.
Dogs Hear or See Something That Scare Them
With super senses, loud noises like thunder or fireworks can cause anxiety in dogs and flip them into “fight or flight” mode. This fear can incite escape behavior as your dog looks for ways to feel “safe” again.
Tip: Thundershirts can be an effective way to keep your dog calm in stressful situations. 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 make sure we “dog-proof” our house and backyard so we don’t make it easy for our furry friends to escape. When we have our dog in public, make sure they are on a leash (physical or invisible), and always be aware of your surroundings. As dog owners, we have to set the boundaries for a safe, healthy, happy dog.
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