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Why Do Dogs Run Away From Home? (And How to Prevent It)

    One of the biggest fears of every dog owner is their pet escaping from home and getting lost or hurt. Unfortunately, this problem is more common than we think. Some dogs like to run away once in a while, while others do it frequently. As responsible pet owners, we need to understand the reasons why dogs escape and take necessary steps to prevent it from happening again.

    Reasons Why Dogs Run Away from Home

    1. Sexual Drive

    One of the most common reasons dogs run away, especially males, is to find a mate. If a male dog smells a female in heat, his sexual urges will be so strong that it can be difficult to prevent him from looking for a way out to find a partner. Females, especially if they are in heat, also tend to escape to find a mate.

    2. Moving to a New House

    Moving to a new house is very stressful for everyone, including dogs. It’s difficult to get used to a new place where everything is different – new smells, sights and sounds. For this reason, it’s common for many pets to run away to try to find their way back to their old home.

    3. Lack of Exercise and Stimuli

    Exercise is crucial for dogs to be physically and mentally healthy. Dogs are active animals who like to explore, play and run. If a dog has a lot of energy, he will always find ways to channel it. If your pet spends a lot of time alone or does not have enough attention, entertainment and stimulation, he will feel frustrated or bored. These dogs will always look for ways to escape in search of adventures and friends with whom to play in the outside world.

    4. Separation Anxiety

    Dogs are pack animals, and it is not normal for them to be alone. For this reason, it’s common for many dogs to develop separation anxiety when they separate from their family members. These dogs show symptoms of distress and can’t find comfort when they are left alone. A dog with separation anxiety tends to escape when left alone with the intention of searching and reuniting with his family.

    5. Fear

    When a dog is scared, he can react by running away, trying to get away from what causes him fear. The most common fear is loud noises such as fireworks or thunder. These loud noises tend to scare a dog so much that there’s a good chance they will try to run away as far as possible, making it almost impossible to stop him.

    6. Prey Drive

    Many dogs were bred to hunt and have a strong chase instinct. These dogs, at the slightest sign, will try to chase or hunt small animals or to follow a smell that catches their attention. If your dog has a high prey drive, he will do everything necessary to reach his goal, no matter how far he has to go.

    7. Opportunity

    This may seem very obvious, but it is important to remember. Many pets usually escape when it’s easy to do, and the opportunity presents itself. If the door is open, the fence is very easy to jump, or there is a space where he can dig to go outside, your dog will most likely take the opportunity to explore the outdoors.

    Prevention Tips

    1. Obedience Training

    In addition to creating a stronger bond between the owner and his dog, obedience classes help dogs learn and respond to basic commands, even in situations with many distractions. Make sure to teach your dog a proper recall. It’s essential for his safety that your dog comes when called, regardless of the distractions or situations.

    2. Neutering or Spaying

    Neutering or spaying your dog is essential to control his or her sex drive. This has different positive effects on your dogs behavior. Among other benefits, it helps stop your dogs strong need to escape to find a partner.

    3. Offer Ways to Manage Time Alone

    When your dog is left alone for a long period of time, make sure to offer him ways to manage that time constructively. Create a special space in your house where your dog feels safe and can rest or, if scared, can feel more secure. A closed and comfortable space helps your pet to handle better moments of fear. Having a space will allow him to take refuge there instead of trying to escape from what scares him.

    4. Daily Exercise

    Daily exercise, in addition to keeping your dog physically healthy, has positive effects on his behavior and general well-being. Dogs need between 30 minutes to 2 hours of daily exercise. Taking your dog for a walk a couple of times a day helps him burn his energy and satisfy his curiosity to explore the outside world. A daily walking routine is one of the best things that can be done to prevent your dog from escaping.

    5. Check Your House and Garden

    You need to check your house and garden to determine what easy escape routes your dog can use. Doors, windows and gates must be checked, and in each case, we have to adapt our home so that our dog cannot run away.

    What to Do If Your Dog Escapes

    Make sure your dog is always up to date with his vaccinations. Your dog should always wear a collar with an ID and your phone number. Have your dog microchipped as a permanent form of identification. Always check that the doors and gates are properly closed, especially after having a visit. Don’t chase your dog when he runs away. He will think that you are playing and will continue running. Its better to sit on the floor and call your dog to come. If your dog returns after escaping, its important not to punish him. By punishing him, he will relate to returning home with something bad and may not return if it happens again. Reward him with treats and affection when he returns home. Let him know that returning is a good thing.


    When a dog runs away from home, it is one of the most stressful situations a dog owner can experience. That is why it is crucial to do everything in our power to prevent it. The best way to keep your dog from escaping is to make him feel happy at home. You have to create an environment where he feels loved and safe. You have to offer your dog everything he needs to have a healthy and happy life.

    By following the prevention tips and knowing what to do if your dog escapes, you could prevent your pet from running away from home and help ensure his safety and happiness.

    1. What causes dogs to run away?
    Dogs may run away due to boredom, lack of exercise, fear, or anxiety.

    2. How can I prevent my dog from running away?
    You can prevent your dog from running away by providing them with proper attention, exercise, and stimulation. Additionally, ensure that your dogs environment is secure and that they are supervised when outside.

    3. What can I do if my dog does run away?
    If your dog runs away, search your immediate area and contact nearby animal shelters, animal control, and vet clinics. Additionally, post flyers with your dogs picture and information in the surrounding area and on social media.

    4. How can I keep my dog safe if they do run away?
    Ensure that your dog is wearing identification tags with up-to-date contact information. Additionally, consider having your dog microchipped for an extra layer of protection.

    5. What do I do if I find a lost dog?
    If you find a lost dog, check for identification tags or a microchip. If it is safe to do so, contact the owner or bring the dog to a nearby animal shelter or vet clinic to help locate the owner.

    6. How can I train my dog to stay close to home?
    You can train your dog to stay close to home by reinforcing positive behaviors, providing regular exercise and mental stimulation, and using a sturdy leash or harness when outside.

    7. Can my dog be at risk of injury or harm if they run away?
    Yes, dogs that run away can be at risk of injury or harm, including traffic accidents or attacks from other animals. It is essential to take measures to prevent your dog from running away to keep them safe.

    8. What should I do if my dog repeatedly runs away?
    If your dog repeatedly runs away, consult with a professional dog trainer or behaviorist to help identify the underlying cause and develop a plan to prevent future incidents.