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Jun 25

My Dog Is Escaping, How Do I Stop Him?

Dog Jumping FenceAre you dealing with a Canine Houdini?  Dogs that escape are a serious issue for you as well as your dog.  If your dog escapes, you are responsible for any damages or injuries he may cause to other dogs or humans.  If he is found by animal control, you will more than likely be fined.  In addition, he or she is in danger of getting lost or getting hit by a car.  There are two things you must find out before you can put a plan into place to stop your dog from escaping.  First, you must find out how he is escaping.  Secondly, you will need to find out why he escapes

The first thing you will want to do is find out how your dog is getting out of your yard.  Some dogs will jump over fences or climb your fence; some dig under fences or chew through them.  There are some dogs that actually learn how to open doors or gates.  You’ll find there are hundreds of solutions to help keep your dog safely in your yard.  We’ll discuss a few here, but don’t be afraid to be creative.  Take a piece of wire and run it through the PVC piping between two posts at the top of your fence.  This is a rather inexpensive but effective method for jumpers and climbers.  When your dog tries to jump or climb the fence, the PVC will spin and prevent him from using the top of the fence to pull himself over.  Burying chicken wire near the base of the fence can prevent him from digging under the fence.  You could also place a bed of rocks about 12 to 18 inches wide at the bottom of the fence.  Either of these methods should prevent your dog from digging under the fence.

Knowing how your dog escapes is only the beginning and not a complete solution.  Knowing why he is escaping is the key to reducing his motivation for escaping.  Understanding the how and why of an escaping dog is your best option to fully resolve the problem.

We give our dogs everything they need, so why do they want to leave the safety of their own yard?  Dogs escape for many reasons.  They may be bored or lonely, suffer from separation anxiety or something may have frightened him.

If you are going to leave your dog alone for any length of time, make sure he is getting enough quality time with you and others in the family when you are home. Make sure he is getting enough exercise.  Walk him daily, play ball or Frisbee with him.  Training basic obedience commands help as well.  Make sure he has enough interesting dog toys in the yard to play with such as a Kong, and be sure to rotate them every week or so to keep him from losing interest.   All of these things provide both mental and physical stimulation.

If fear or separation anxiety is the causing your dog to escape, you can try some counter-conditioning or desensitization techniques. Your best option is to consult a professional trainer or behavioral consultant before beginning either of these.

One important fact to keep in mind while working with your escaping dog is to make sure any training you are doing is based on positive reinforcement.  Make sure you don’t punish your dog for escaping.  Dogs literally live in the moment, so if you punish your dog, he will associate that punishment with whatever he is doing at that time.  If he just came to you when called, he will think that’s why he’s being punished and will be afraid to come when called in the future.

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