If you have a runner on your hands, you know how hard it can be to simply keep your dog at home. He’s either jumping the fence, bolting out the front door or wiggling off of his collar when on a leash. This is actually a pretty common problem for dog owners.
So why oh why does your dog want to run away from home? Most of the time it has nothing to do with you or your home. Your dog wants to get out and explore the world on his own terms. What could be better than chasing the neighbors cat or a car? As with fence jumping, this is another self-rewarding behavior that many dogs exhibit.
Again, similar to fence jumping a dog is going to want to run away because he wants to get to something or away from something. Dogs who live in an abusive home often times run away.
Owners also find dogs run away when they bring a new baby home. Some easy triggers to spot are when a dog runs out after a cat or another animal. Dogs also run after deliverymen sometimes.
Here are a few tips to lure your dog to wanting to stay home:
- Allow your dog to get plenty of exercise
- Play a game of fetch with him each day
- Provide your pup a nice warm bed to sleep in
- Make sue that you are feeding your dog on a regular schedule
- Take your dog on a leash walk at least once a day
- Visit the local dog park and allow your dog to make some doggie pals
- Simply sit down and pet your dog for a few minutes
- Surprise your dog with a new chew toy or an unexpected treat
- Provide your dog with obedience training classes
- Build a dog run or a fun doggie area in your backyard
- Follow the guide for fence jumping, so your dog cannot run away from your backyard
- Put your dog in a room or other secure area when you open the front door
- Have your dog spayed or neutered if you are not a professional dog breeder
- Hire a dog walker if you are gone for long periods of time
- Make sure that your dog has had a recent check up at the vet to rule out any medical problems
If you can narrow in on the cause of location of your dog’s running away behavior, you can focus on that area.
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If you have read over the information on stopping your dog from jumping the fence, if will apply in this situation as well. I’ll repost the steps for you, so they are fresh in your mind.
- Make it taller! You may need to check with your homeowner’s association first, but most local hardware stores sell fence extenders. Many are even decorative in nature.
- Take away any jumping assists that your dog may have found in your yard. This includes anything that he is using to jump off of, such as a table or a bench. If you want to keep them, make sure to move them towards the center of your yard away from any fencing section.
- Fill in any holes or gaps in the fence where your dog can look. If he is eyeing the cat next door, and this is what is tempting him to jump the fence, eliminating the temptation might do the trick.
- If your dog is climbing up part of the fence, and not making a clear jump over, staple chicken wire to the inside of the fence. If you don’t want to staple is to your fence, or you have a fence that won’t hold a staple, you can lay sheets of the wire down on the ground. Most dogs don’t like the feeling of the wire on their paws and will avoid that area after stepping on it once or twice.
- Take away your dog’s running jump pathway and plant trees or shrubs in his way. If he needs to back up and run to make his jump, this will prevent the run up and he will not be able to gain enough momentum.
- Install an invisible fence inside your own fence line. Most invisible fences nowadays work with a collar that the dog wears that is linked to the fence. The sensation from a collar may be uncomfortable and startling to your dog, but it will not hurt him. Many dogs only feel the sensation once or twice and don’t challenge the system afterwards. The sensation from the collar is similar to the feeling you get when you walk across a carpet and touch a metal doorknob. The feeling momentarily surprises your dog and gets their attention.
- While this is not a direct way to stop your dog from jumping the fence, you may want to invest in some outdoor dog toys that your dog will enjoy. If they love playing in your own yard, they may not be interested anymore on what the other side of the fence holds.
- Consider building a dog run in your yard. If they are confined to one area of the yard, and cannot get out, then the fence is no longer an issue. Just make sure not to leave your dog in this area for a long period of time. Dogs need room to roam.
- If your dog has been through his obedience training lessons, and you witness him trying to jump, use the command “Stay.” This will help to enforce that you do not want him performing that jumping action. You can also throw in a “NO” for good measure.
Front Door Runner
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone over to a friend’s house and their dog has come charging out the door as soon as it opens. Even if your dog comes back when you call him, you do not want to tolerate front door running. This is dangerous for your dog, and possibly for others around you.
My sister’s son is very afraid of dogs and front door runners feed into that fear. When she brings him to someone’s door, he cowers behind her in fear of a dog who might charge out the door at him.
Your house may be setback from the street, but one day your dog may chose to keep running and go straight out into the street with an oncoming car approaching.
Obedience training can really help with front door runners. Use the command “sit-stay” or “down-stay” before you open the door.
You can also train him to wait for you to walk through the door first. This way if you don’t go through the door, and simply open it for the mailman, then your dog won’t go either.
Another option is no use treats with your commands. This will help if your dog is tempted to ignore your “sit-stay” command and bolt out the door anyway. Show your dog the treat, then say “sit-stay” and then open the door. If he stays, give him the treat. If he starts to move, say “stay” again. Wait until he stays for a few seconds to give him the treat.
You may want to “fake” open the door several times a day to work on these techniques with your dog. Practice makes perfect with dog training.