How to stop your dog from running away

Running away is one of the most frightening and dangerous decisions your dog can make. Even if your dog wears tags or is microchipped to help find his way home, he still runs the risk of being hit by a car, attacked by another animal, or “adopted” by someone who may or may not provide the same level of care you do.

If you’ve got a dog that likes to run away, it’s time to put an immediate stop to the behavior. I’ve seen too many clients in this situation dally until it was too late. I guess they hoped that the problem would solve itself, or they figured that their dog would continue to return home from his unauthorized excursions. Unfortunately, running away is not a problem that solves itself. Instead, when left unchecked, it usually ends in tragedy.

This article discusses the following methods to stop your dog from running away:

SUGGESTION #1: Install an electronic pet fence

Installing an electronic pet fence (also commonly called an Invisible Fence® or a dog fence) is by far the most effective method for keeping your pet in your yard. Pet fences use a combination of audible tones and static correction to teach your pet the limits of his boundaries. Pet fences are effective for dogs of all breeds and sizes, and they stop problems ranging from escaping an existing fence to bolting through doors and gates.

You can buy do-it-yourself (DIY) electronic pet fences from your local hardware or big box store under many different brand names including PetSafe®, SportDog®, and Guardian®. These DIY systems are pretty cheap to purchase, however, they can be difficult for a novice to correctly install. Also, they don’t provide much training support, which is critical to a successful pet fence experience. If you’re experienced with power tools and electronics and have a good grasp of dog training, however, one of these products may be a good solution for you.

If you don’t have a lot of experience with electronics installation or dog training and you’re not interested in doing a lot of manual labor, you should contact a professional pet fence installation company in your local area. Professional pet fence companies offer expert installation and training support. Generally, these companies also offer a money back guarantee – if the pet fence doesn’t stop your dog from running away, they’ll refund your money. Most people who choose to go this route end up having a great experience, but do your homework before you settle on a professional installer to make sure you’re getting the best experience available to you. Professional pet fence brands include Pet Stop®, Invisible Fence®, DogWatch®, and PetSafe Pro®.

For more detailed information on both do-it-yourself and professionally installed pet fences, see this free article about pet fences.

SUGGESTION #2: Only let your dog outside under direct supervision

If you decide that an electronic pet fence is not right for you, your next best option is to let your dog outside only under your direct supervision. Whenever your dog approaches your fence, immediately call him back to you (see this free article on teaching your dog to come). Eventually, you’ll get your dog in the habit of not approaching the fence when you are directly supervising him.

If you do not have a pet fence or a traditional fence – or if your dog is particularly adept at escaping his traditional fence – then you should always take your dog outside on a leash. If your dog is directly attached to you by a leash, he’s far less likely to find the opportunity to run away.

If you choose to use direct supervision to stop your dog from running away, remember that this is a long term decision. You can’t just use supervision for a few weeks or months to solve your problem. Once you stop supervising your dog, he will run away again.

SUGGESTION #3: Build a large dog run or kennel

A final option to stop your dog from running away is to confine your dog to a large dog run or kennel when he is outside. This is my least favorite option because it is not foolproof (there is still potential for your dog to dig out) and it limits your dog’s ability to get appropriate amounts of exercise. Also, if the kennel is used inappropriately, your dog can become very hyper and may develop anxiety issues.

If you do decide to solve your problem with a dog run, adhere to the following guidelines:

*>*>*>* Take your dog out for a long walk or game of fetch every single day to ensure he gets enough exercise.

If you’re planning to build a dog kennel because you think it’s your least expensive option, you’re in for some disappointment. A well-built dog kennel usually costs at least as much as an electronic pet fence. A kennel also offers your dog a much lower quality of life, since a dog kennel can’t provide the freedom to run and play that a pet fence offers. Using a kennel also creates more work for you, as you must make more time in your schedule to ensure your dog gets the attention and exercise he requires every day.