Dog Escape Behaviors
Learn about causes and corrective actions for escape behaviors in dogs.
Signs of Escape Behavior
- Jumping over, climbing or digging under fences
- Running through underground electric fence boundaries
- Opening latches on gates or doors
- Pawing latches loose or pushing open crate doors
- Zipping out open doors as people come and go.
Causes and Corrective Actions for Escape Behaviors in Dogs
Mental or physical abuse and general neglect can leave a dog fearful of humans.
BOREDOM/LONELY Corrective Actions: Provide ample physical and mental exercise daily through training, interactive games and other activities so your dog needn't escape his enclosure to search for adventure. Play with your dog inside the fenced yard to show good things happen there. Because dogs like to be with their family, don't leave your dog unattended for extended periods outdoors. Crate your dog when you leave and alternate treat-stuffed rubber toys, chew bones, treat-dispensing balls and other safe toys to keep your dog's mind occupied. Allow dog to enjoy your company whenever possible, including rides while you pick up food or go to the drive-through bank.
Hormone Related Roaming
An unneutered male that detects a female in season, or estrus, in the vicinity will escape to search for sexual activity as will many females in season.
HORMONE RELATED ROAMING Corrective Actions: Neuter your male or spay your female to reduce likelihood of hormone-related escapes.
Experts frequently refer to dogs as "opportunists," which means they take advantage of presented opportunities, a fact that prompts dogs to jump low fencing, squeeze through fence openings, dig under unburied fencing, push open improperly latched gates or crate doors and zip out open doors.
OPPORTUNITY Corrective Actions: If your dog can jump, climb or dig under current fencing, replace it with taller, smoother-surfaced fencing with dig-proof footings. Always supervise your dog outdoors. Repair openings or loose connections in fencing and fill and block holes underneath to eliminate easy escape routes. For the dexterous dog, put locks on gate latches to prevent dog from opening gate. Always make sure a crate door securely latches and if necessary add spring-action clips to door top and bottom; work on-leash to train a firm "Wait" command at doors to prevent dog shooting out as people enter and exit.
Noise sensitive dogs frequently attempt escapes during fireworks or thunderstorms.
Severe anxiety at being left alone has resulted in dogs destroying crates, pushing out window screens, digging under fences and using other means of escape.
NOISE SENSITIVITY & SEPARATION ANXIETY Corrective Actions: Consistent attempts to escape confinement due to noise sensitivity or separation anxiety require help from an experienced trainer to help dog feel confident while alone and to desensitize him to noise through training and management.
Dogs bred to hunt, such as sporting breeds or hounds, or those bred to travel long distances, like sled-dog breeds, often possess an innate desire to hunt, explore and roam that prompts repeated escape attempts.
WANDERLUST Corrective Actions: Provide training and ample exercise that includes long walks or hikes to help satisfy this type of dog's natural desire to sniff, explore and cover ground. Don't leave a wanderlust dog unattended outdoors for extended periods and make sure fencing offers no easy way to escape. Consider training your sporting breed or hound for hunt tests even if you don't personally hunt, or for your sled dog to pull you on skis or a scooter.
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