How do you get your dog to quit running off? Train him to stay, of course. Check out our tips to keep Fido from fleeing! Recently, my neighbors have run into a bit of a problem. Their dog Jessie dashes on the street every time someone opens the front door and doesn’t respond to her owners’ calls to come back.
This prompted me to write this article and offer some tips to those that have a dog that runs off or doesn’t respond to recalls when it’s off the leash. Remember, our beloved pets can easily get injured or even killed if they choose the wrong moment to escape.
So, how can I get my dog to quit running off? To find the solution, we must answer another important question.
Why do dogs run away?
If we start thinking about it, we can name dozens and dozens of reasons why. But let’s look at the problem from the point of view of our dog. Then everything becomes crystal clear:
- there is something exciting that I have to check out
- there is something scary that I have to escape from
Training Your Dog to Quit Running Off
Remove the trigger
Knowing why your dog might run away from you will help you prevent future escape attempts. Think about it. Maybe you leave her alone for too long, perhaps there is a cat that she wants to chase or something spooks her.
You should make your yard or home more interesting to your dog than what’s out there. Interact and bond with your pet as much as possible and provide plenty of exercises, mind-stimulating toys, and games.
Get a dog walker, if you don’t have the time for walks so that your dog won’t be a bursting ball of energy that wants to explore those garbage cans or catch that annoying squirrel.
Additionally, get rid of any visual triggers that will either overexcite or scare your pet. Of course, controlling what’s outside your windows or yard is not always possible, but do your best.
As a precaution, you should escape-proof your backyard or house so that your dog can’t get out, even if she desperately wants. It seems cruel, but it’s for the best.
Neuter your pet
Intact dogs will often run off looking for a mate. At such times there is only one thing on their mind and if they get away no treats, begging or shouting is going to work.
That’s why it’s better to spay/neuter your pet. Castration has many health benefits for dogs, including lowering the risk of developing cancer and reducing aggression. If you don’t plan on breeding your dog, there is no need to make both of you suffer through a heat period.
Don’t bother chasing
I’m sure that every bone in your body is screaming to go after your dog when she takes off, but don’t do it. You’re establishing a pattern. Jessie thinks that the chase is a new game and running away will quickly become a habit.
Also, you running and shouting after your dog is more likely to scare her and make her run faster than encourage her to stop and come back. And let’s be frank. There is hardly any chance of you outrunning your dog.
Start obedience lessons
Obedience training is essential for stopping your dog from running off. Instead of chasing your dog, use “come” or “stay” and “wait” for door dashers.
The point of these commands is that your dog has to react immediately upon hearing them even if something exciting is happening right under her nose.
I know that it’s not easy to achieve such a level of obedience. Some dog breeds are chasers, so you’re basically fighting against their natural instincts. But teaching your dog to obey your commands is an absolute necessity for your dog’s safety.
To do this seemingly impossible task, you need a lot of patience, positive reinforcements, and treats. Don’t punish the dog when she comes back to you even if she takes her sweet time doing it. Always make sure to praise her and reward her with treats for a job well done.
Be consistent in your obedience lessons and don’t give up.
Use “come” correctly
Another crucial thing when it comes to stopping dogs from running is using your “come” command correctly. Don’t ever say “come” when you plan something that your dog will not like – for example, a bath, a trip to the vet, nail trimming, etc.
You don’t want your pet associating the word “come” with anything negative or she will run in the opposite direction when you call her. Your goal is to make your dog think that coming back to you is better than going after whatever exciting thing is out there.
As you see, it’s not that hard to get your dog to quit running off. You just need to train her to obey your commands and make her home a comfortable and exciting place so that she wouldn’t want to run.
What about your dog? Does he run off? How do you deal with it?