Your pup may love you with all his heart, but just as curiosity kills the cat, curiosity causes the dog to run far away from his owner sometimes. It's time to buckle down and put a stop to his little escape plans by implementing a few preventive measures.
Always use a leash if you're not taking your pup to an enclosed space. The simplest way of preventing your pup from sprinting off is to have him under complete control. Even if he normally stays by your side, a crack of thunder, car horn or even a sudden gust of wind can send him scurrying.
Talk with your vet about neutering your pup. Generally, one of fastest ways to decrease your dog's roaming instinct is to have him neutered. This surgery won't completely stop the tendency to take off, but it should make him a lot less likely to run away and can also reduce marking behavior.
Play the role of supervisor while in an enclosed area. Don't fall into the trap of thinking a fence can keep your curious pup from finding a way to escape or that a tie-out cable is fail-proof. Given enough time, he may jump over the top of a fence, dig a hole and crawl underneath the fence or even find a way to unlatch the gate. If you have a tie-out cable, he may chew through the cable or rip the entire metal stake out of the ground.
Make it extra hard for your pup to make his getaway. If you have a fence, keep on the lookout for gaps between the bottom of the fence and the ground. Make sure all doors are securely shut while your pup is inside. Some screen doors are flimsy, so it's better to play it safe and keep them locked when your dog's indoors.
Tire your pup out and keep his mind off of what lies beyond the yard while he's outside. Your little guy will be less likely to look for a way to sneak out if he's tuckered out. Take him to the dog park, on walks through your neighborhood and play games inside and outside. If you have a fenced-in area, keep a few toys and a treat dispenser or two out there for him so he stays busy.
Practice the recall command. In case your pup does decide to run off, you can save yourself a lot of grief if you have a perfect or near perfect recall. The recall command is a one-word command, usually consisting of "Come" or something similar. The moment you say the command, your pup should run to your side. Practice the recall command in an enclosed area with a few treats in your hand. When your pup wanders off, call his name and say, "Come" in an uplifting voice. Clap your hands, move your body; do anything that will persuade your pup to come running back. When he returns to your side, give him praise and toss him a treat. Do this over and over again, upping the difficulty occasionally to include different distractions until he responds to the command every time.
- Make sure the leash is secure to your pup's collar, harness or head collar. Don't attach the leash to the small split ring that connects the identification tag to the collar since they are typically made of thin metal that can easily snap. If you use a head collar, secure the leash to both the head collar ring and his actual collar as head collars can easily slip off.
- Consider having your pup microchipped. If he runs away and is later found, many shelters and veterinarians can scan the chip and determine who he belongs to.
- If your dog runs off, do not reprimand him when you bring him back inside. He won't understand and you will just make him afraid.
Located in Pittsburgh, Chris Miksen has been writing instructional articles on a wide range of topics for online publications since 2007. He currently owns and operates a vending business. Miksen has written a variety of technical and business articles throughout his writing career. He studied journalism at the Community College of Allegheny County.