How to discourage your dog from running away?

Pets that run away can be lost, injured or stolen. Although some dogs have a natural tendency to run away, there are many precautions you can take to prevent your pet from running away.

Build a fence around your yard

Your dog should never be allowed to roam freely and should be kept on a leash or left in the house. a courtyard surrounded by a runaway fence while you were away. Electric fencing may be ineffective on some runaway animals. If something distracts your dog from the other side (other dog, squirrel, mailman, children), he may decide to take a risk. To avoid this, install a high, rigid fence so your pet won't climb or jump over it to escape. Scour the perimeter of the fence daily to check for potential escape routes such as holes, snow or wood piles.

Have your pet spayed or neutered

Intact animals have an innate desire to reproduce. Hormones can influence common sense. Male dogs naturally seek a female in heat. Similarly, intact females seek a male companion. Spaying or neutering your pet at a young age removes the hormonal desire to roam. Most animals can be spayed or neutered after six months of age. But, ask your veterinarian the exact age that suits your pet's size and breed. If your dog is older, your veterinarian can still perform spaying or neutering, although once it's done, hormonal behaviour can become a habit that surgery won't change. 

Teach your dog basic commands

Teaching your dog to obey basic commands can be helpful if he decides to pursue something that catches his attention. Most importantly, teach him the commands "come" and "stay". Start with the former and reward your pet with praise and/or treats as soon as he obeys. Once he has mastered this command, ask him to stay in the same place by reaching out and telling him to stay. At first, expect your pet to stay still for a few seconds. Then work on longer periods of time by controlling it from a greater distance.

Provide opportunities for exercise        

Very energetic pets are more likely to run away. If your dog has a lot of energy, give him time for daily exercise to stimulate him physically and mentally:

  • Walk him around the neighborhood
  • Play a game that asks him to chase an object and bring it back.
  • Take a walk in a park
  • Enroll your dog in an agility class
  • Give your dog an interactive puzzle game
  • Train your dog to quests for treats
  • Build a sandbox to be dug in the yard

Prepare your pet for the worst

Even if you take appropriate precautions, your dog could still run away. So prepare for the worst and make sure he's properly identified. Your pet should always wear a collar with identification and your contact information. Consider investing in a GPS tracking device that has a long range and good battery life. For continuous tracking, consult your veterinarian to the implantation of a microchip in the skin between your dog's shoulder blades.