Runaway Dogs: What Do I Do If My Dog Runs Away

Nov 2, 2023 | Dog Behavior, Dogs

Have you ever experienced the panic of your beloved four-legged companion darting away? It’s a heart-stopping moment that no pet owner wants to face. But it’s a reality many dog owners go through, and that’s why we’re here to help guide you through the steps you should take the next time your dog decides to go on an unexpected adventure. From understanding why dogs run away to learning how to prevent it in the first place, we’ve got you covered. So, let’s dive in and ensure your furry friend stays by your side.

What To Do If Your Dog Runs Away Key Takeaways

Orange Paw Bullet Point  Provide mental and physical stimulation to prevent dogs from running away.

Orange Paw Bullet Point  Take precautions for dogs scared by an animal or loud noise, such as ensuring they wear a collar with identification tags and keeping them in a secure area during loud noises.

Orange Paw Bullet Point  Manage dogs with separation anxiety by recognizing the signs, seeking professional help, providing a safe environment, engaging in regular exercise, and using calming techniques.

Orange Paw Bullet Point  Prevent dogs with a strong instinct to hunt from running away by regularly checking fences, training them to have a reliable recall command, understanding their specific prey drive, and taking proactive measures to prevent escapes.

Why Your Dog Escapes To Run Away

Do you ever wonder why your dog keeps running away? Here are the most common reasons why your furry friend may be escaping:

Tired Yellow Labrador Retriever

Your Dog Is Bored

Make sure your dog has enough mental and physical stimulation to prevent boredom and the desire to escape. You more than likely have a good dog, but boredom can lead to destructive behavior and the tendency to run away, as dogs are naturally active and need regular exercise and playtime to keep them happy and content. A bored dog may try to escape in search of adventure or stimulation. So, to prevent your doggo from running away due to boredom, engage them in activities that challenge their minds, such as puzzle toys or training sessions. Incorporate regular exercise into their routine, like walks or playtime in the backyard. Recall training is also essential, as it helps ensure your dog will return to you when called. Additionally, consider using a dog tracker or GPS tracker collar to track your pet’s whereabouts in case they do manage to escape. Providing adequate mental and physical stimulation can help prevent your dog from becoming a runaway dog.

Your dog may be scared of fireworks

An Animal Or Loud Noise Scared Your Dog

When an animal or loud noise scares your dog, their instinctive response may be to escape and run away. Loud noises like thunderstorms or fireworks can cause even the most gentle dogs to panic. It’s important to be prepared and take precautions to keep your dog safe in these situations. Make sure your dog always wears a collar with an ID tag with your current contact information, including your phone number. Keep your front door securely closed, and consider installing a physical fence or invisible fence around your yard to prevent your scared dog from escaping. If your dog is an escape artist, it’s a good idea to keep them in a secure and enclosed area during times when loud noises are expected.


Your Dog Suffers From Separation Anxiety

If your dog suffers from separation anxiety, they may escape in an attempt to alleviate their distress. Separation anxiety is common among dogs and can be triggered when they’re left alone for extended periods of time. When your dog experiences this anxiety, they may resort to running away as a way to find comfort or relief. Understanding the signs of separation anxiety in your dog, such as excessive barking, destructive behavior, or self-harm, is important. If your dog runs away due to separation anxiety, it’s important to address the root cause of their distress. Consider seeking professional help from a veterinarian or animal behaviorist to develop a comprehensive plan to manage and treat your dog’s separation anxiety. Providing a safe and secure environment, engaging in regular exercise, and using calming techniques can also help alleviate their anxiety. Remember, patience and understanding are key when dealing with a dog that suffers from separation anxiety.


Your Dog Has An Instinct To Hunt

You may notice that your dog has a strong instinct to hunt, which is why they sometimes escape in search of small animals to chase. Dogs with a heightened prey drive, such as huskies, are especially prone to running after squirrels and rabbits. It can be frustrating when your dog darts off, leaving you worried about their safety. In order to prevent your dog from becoming a runaway, the best way is to take proactive measures. Regularly checking your fences for any weak spots or gaps can help ensure that your dog cannot escape. Additionally, training your dog to have a reliable recall command can be a lifesaver if they do manage to get loose. Teaching your dog to come back to you when called gives you a good chance of finding your lost dog and bringing them home safely.


Your Dog Wants To Mate

If your male dog is not neutered, he may be driven to escape in search of a mate. Dogs have a strong instinct to reproduce, and their desire to mate becomes overpowering when they sense a female dog in heat. This can lead to your dog running away in search of a potential mate.

How You Should React When You Have A Runaway Dog

When you realize that your dog has run away, there are several things pet owners should do:


Stay Calm, So You Make Good Decisions

To effectively handle a runaway dog, the first step is keeping yourself composed and making rational decisions. Every dog owner’s worst nightmare is when their beloved pet goes missing, but panicking will not help the situation. Take a deep breath and remind yourself to stay calm. This is a stressful time, but gathering your thoughts and making good decisions is important. Remember any preventative measures you have in place, such as a reliable recall command or microchipping your dog. Think back to a past training session and use that knowledge to your advantage. It’s also crucial to gather important information about your dog, such as areas they frequent. Staying calm and collected can increase your chances of finding your runaway dog.


Keep Yard Gates Or Doors To Your Home Open

Leave the yard gates or doors to your home open to give your runaway dog a chance to return. When your dog runs away, creating an open pathway for them to return is important. Keeping an open gate or door increases the likelihood of your dog finding their way back home as they often don’t go very far from home. Runaway dogs often wander in search of adventure or exploration; sometimes, they can become disoriented or travel in the opposite direction of home. Leaving the gates or doors open provides a familiar and welcoming path for them to return. Additionally, watching the open gates or doors is essential to ensure that your dog can safely return without any obstacles or dangers in their way. This simple step can exponentially increase the chances of a happy reunion with your beloved pet.


Don’t Run After Your Dog

Don’t chase after your dog if they run away; it can make the situation worse. When a dog runs away, it can be a frightening experience, and your first instinct may be to sprint after them. However, running after a runaway dog can cause them to become more scared or excited, potentially making your dog run even farther away from you. Instead, stay calm and try to attract their attention in a non-threatening way. Use a calm and soothing voice to call their name, offering treats or toys to entice them back to you. If your dog is still within sight, avoid making sudden movements or loud noises that could startle them. Remember, staying calm and patient will increase your chances of safely bringing back your missing pet.


Grab Some Of Your Dog’s Toys Or Favorite Stuff

Grab your dog’s favorite toy or some stuff they’ll recognize and place them outside where they can see and smell them. This can be a helpful tactic when your dog runs away, as doing this creates an enticing and familiar environment for your dog, which may encourage them to return home. Dogs are naturally drawn to their favorite toys and belongings. Seeing and smelling them outside might remind them of the comfort and safety they experience at home. It’s important to remember that prevention is key when it comes to runaway dogs. Proper dog training and good behavior can help prevent your dog from escaping in the first place. Additionally, taking preventative measures such as securing fences and using identification tags can be beneficial. In natural disasters or other emergencies, having a plan to quickly gather your dog’s favorite items can also help ensure their safety.

Young girl plays with a corgi dog in the park, throws a ball in nature a dog runs after a toy

Grab Your Dog’s Favorite Treats

Take a moment to gather your dog’s favorite treats, as they can be useful in luring them back home when they run away. It’s a common fear for many dog owners to have a lost dog, but having their favorite treats on hand can greatly increase your chances of finding them. When your dog runs away, grab a handful of high-value treats, such as chicken or a cheeseburger. Load your pockets with these treats and place a pile near your dog’s bed. If you spot your dog, use their name and their recall command while holding out some yummy treats. This will not only grab their attention but also entice them to come running back to you. Remember, the most important thing is your dog’s safety, so always keep treats with you on walks to prevent your dog from running away in the first place.


Put Up Signs Letting Others Know Your Dog Is Missing

When your dog runs away, it’s important that you put up signs letting others know your dog is missing, hoping a good samaritan will contact you if they come across your lost pup. Putting up signs is a great way to spread the word about your lost pet and increases the chances of finding them. Use eye-catching posters with a clear photo of your dog, their name, and your contact number. Make sure to include keywords like “lost dog” and “missing pet” to grab people’s attention. Place these signs in high-traffic areas like parks, vet clinics, and community bulletin boards. You can also share the information on social media platforms and local groups to reach a wider audience. By putting up signs, you’re enlisting the help of others and increasing your army of people in search of your beloved furry friend.


Grab Friends And Check Local Dog Shelters

To increase your chances of finding your runaway dog, make sure to gather your friends and check local dog shelters. When your dog runs away, it can be a stressful and worrisome time for you. Having the support of your friends can make the search process easier and more efficient. Splitting up into teams and covering different areas of the neighborhood can help cover more ground. Additionally, checking the local animal shelter is crucial. Sometimes, runaway dogs are picked up by concerned individuals and brought to the nearest shelter. Contacting and visiting these shelters can increase your chances of finding your lost dog. Make sure to provide them with a detailed description of your missing dog, including any identifying features or characteristics.

Homeless large tan and white mixed breed dog behind enclosure at dog shelter

Start Recall Training As A Puppy To Prevent Dogs From Running Away

Teach your puppy recall training early on in their life to ensure they stay close and don’t run away. Starting recall training as a puppy is crucial in preventing dogs from running away. Teaching your puppy to come when called establishes a strong bond and a reliable way to keep them safe. Begin by using positive reinforcement techniques, such as treats or praise, to reward your puppy for coming to you when called. Practice in different environments and gradually increase distractions to ensure your puppy responds even in challenging situations. Consistency is key, so make recall training a part of your daily routine.

What To Do If Your Dog Runs Away Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Some Common Reasons Why Dogs Run Away?

Some common reasons why dogs run away include fear, boredom, and the desire to explore. It’s important to ensure your dog’s environment is secure and engaging and to address any underlying behavioral or emotional issues.


How Can I Prevent My Dog From Running Away In The First Place?

To prevent your dog from running away in the first place, make sure your yard is secure with fences and gates. Keep your dog on a leash during walks and ensure they have proper identification tags.


What Should I Do If My Dog Is Running Away And I Can’t Catch Them?

If your dog is running away and you can’t catch them, stay calm and call their name in a soothing voice. Use treats or toys to try and lure them back. Contact local shelters and post on social media for help if they get too far or don’t come back to you.


Are There Any Specific Breeds That Are More Prone To Running Away?

Some breeds may have a higher tendency to run away due to their instinctual behaviors. Researching the specific breed characteristics before bringing a dog into your home is important.


What Should I Do If My Dog Has Been Missing For A Long Period Of Time?

Take immediate action if your dog has been missing for a long time. Contact local shelters, post on social media, and distribute flyers. Don’t lose hope; keep searching and enlist the help of others.

The Tail End

If your dog runs away, staying calm and taking immediate action is important. Begin by searching your neighborhood and contacting local shelters and animal control. Utilize recall training from a young age to prevent future escapes. Remember to always keep identification tags on your dog and consider microchipping for added security. By being proactive and prepared, you can increase the chances of finding your runaway dog and ensuring their safety.

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