Written by Anna Hollisey
He’s gone again? Don’t worry – we’ve got a few tips to help you to contain your wild and wandering dog.
Does your dog have a habit of escaping the yard? It’s not because they don’t love you. It’s probably caused by one of three reasons. Sometimes they’ll pick up a scent – like a female on heat or prey they’re primed to hunt, like a fox. Sometimes, we’re sorry to say, your dog just gets bored.
…happens to almost every dog. We can’t blame them: the biological urge to mate supports survival of the species. It’s completely natural and difficult to prevent! Females are more likely to escape while they’re in heat, and males will travel to follow the scent of a potential mate. If your dog isn’t neutered or spayed, consider booking the operation. It’s not a guarantee, but it could help to prevent unwanted wandering.
Our dogs can smell about 20x further than humans. That means they could be silently tracking every squirrel, raccoon and cat in your neighborhood. Many dogs also have a strong prey drive, and this can cause them to escape and chase.
Your dog wants to expand its territory – or they simply got bored. Dogs have an instinct to claim territory and will remember interesting places, like a neighbor’s yard where chickens are kept! Some dogs develop the habit of escaping to the same place every time. If your dog is a high-energy or working breed, they’re more likely to become bored in the same old yard. Introducing activities or toys can be helpful. Don’t forget their walks!
The advanced escape artist has been known to climb fencing, burrow under hedges, and make daring leaps over gates. In short, it is VERY difficult to stop a determined dog from exploring more of the world. But we’ve rounded up some suggestions which we hope will help:
Learn how to help a bored dog. If your dog is always busy and might be hyperactive, don’t reach for the Frisbee – read our article about increasing stimulation. If they’re straying to hunt squirrels, read about reducing prey drive. Does your dog dig in the yard, too? Find out why they’re so determined to bury the good stuff!