How to stop your dog from escaping

How to stop your dog from escaping

Escaping poses a grave concern for both your dog and your peace of mind, as it can lead to tragic outcomes.

When your dog roams free, it's at risk of vehicular accidents, altercations with other dogs, and various injuries.

Moreover, you are accountable for any damage or harm caused by your dog, potentially facing fines if an animal control agency gets involved.

To tackle the issue of escaping, it's essential to not only identify the how but also the why behind your dog's escape attempts.

Root Causes of Canine Escapes

  1. Social Isolation and Boredom: If your dog is escaping due to boredom and loneliness, consider the following factors:

    • Lengthy periods of solitary confinement without interaction.
    • An environment lacking stimulation or playmates.
    • Being a young dog or adolescent lacking energy outlets.
    • Belonging to active breeds that require mental and physical engagement.
    • Seeking interaction and fun in neighbouring spaces, like playing with other dogs or children at local areas.
  2. Solutions for Social Isolation Escapes:

    • Incorporate daily walks to provide mental and physical exercise.
    • Engage in fetch games with a ball or Frisbee regularly.
    • Teach commands or tricks for short sessions each day.
    • Attend obedience classes and practice learned skills daily.
    • Offer engaging toys (like treat-filled Kong toys) for entertainment.
    • Rotate toys to maintain novelty and interest.
    • Ensure supervision or keep indoors when unable to watch closely.
    • When away, consider taking your dog to work or arranging doggie day care.
  3. Sexual Roaming: Un-neutered male dogs are driven by a powerful urge to find females. Prevent escapes by:

    • Neutering your male dog, shown to reduce sexual roaming.
    • Neutering is essential even if the dog already displays escaping behaviour.
  4. Fears and Phobias: Escaping due to fear triggers like loud noises necessitates specific measures:

    • Identify fear sources and desensitise your dog, possibly with professional assistance.
    • Create a safe haven for your dog during fearful events.
    • Use sound-masking techniques like TV or radio.
  5. Separation Anxiety: Escape attempts linked to separation anxiety can be managed through:

    • Counter-conditioning and desensitisation techniques.
    • Addressing changes in routine, environment, or losses that trigger anxiety.

Understanding Escape Mechanisms

Dogs use various methods to escape, including jumping fences, climbing them, digging beneath, or even opening gates. Understanding the "how" is vital, but comprehending the "why" is equally crucial to find lasting solutions.

Preventing Escapes

  • Climbing/Jumping Dogs:

    • Install fence extensions slanting inwards at about 45 degrees.
  • Digging Dogs:

    • Bury chicken wire with rounded edges beneath the fence.
    • Place large rocks at the base of the fence.
    • Lay chain-link fencing on the ground.

The Role of Punishment

  • Avoid punishing your dog once it's already outside the yard. Dogs link punishment to their actions at that moment.
  • Punishing post-escape only fosters fear, without curbing the behaviour.
  • Avoid punishing if the escape is fear-based or linked to separation anxiety, as it worsens the problem.

In conclusion, understanding the underlying reasons for your dog's escape behaviour is pivotal in finding effective solutions.

Addressing boredom, fears, or anxieties, combined with appropriate preventive measures, will contribute to a safer and happier environment for both you and your beloved canine companion.

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