Why Do Dogs Run Away?

As a dog owner, this can be a very worrisome, stressful, and wearying situation to deal with.  You go outside to give your dog some food in the morning, and…no dog.  Just an open gate and maybe some puppy tracks leading to who knows where.  This is a very stressful situation to wake up to and have to deal with (it never comes at a “good” time).  Some breeds, like Collies and Huskies, are absolutely notorious for their tendencies to run away, but all dogs can be trained to stay home.  So here are some common reasons that dogs run away, and how to get them to stay at home instead of running away on a whim.

Dogs Run Away

One of the most common reasons dogs run away is simple boredom and an excess of energy.  A dog is a living breathing animal, not a lawn ornament, they have feelings and social needs.  If a dog gets bored or is not getting enough attention or love, they will go seek it elsewhere.  There are plenty of squirrels to chase in the world.  This can also become a self-reinforcing habit, if they have more fun when they run away, they will learn that its a good option for them.  It can be hard to break this cycle, as you can’t exactly punish your dog for coming back home.  If your dog starts to run away out of boredom, you need to get them a new routine and some more activities!  Active working breeds like Labs and Huskies are especially prone to run away out of boredom, as they create a job for themselves to do when they are not given one.

Male dogs will also run away to find a mate, especially if they are not neutered.  If it is spring season and a female dog down the road goes into heat, they are going to be tough to hold back.  Dogs don’t exactly follow the rules, but we can teach them what we want and how to hold themselves back.  As you integrate with your dog and obey your commands they will get better at not running and darting off for whatever reason they want.