My dog ran away from home: why would it do this and what can I do?

My dog ran away from home: why would it do this and what can I do?
Runaway dogs can be dangerous for both the dogs and pedestrians. Credit: Canva

We all know that cats like to go for long walks away from home and can disappear for weeks, only to return as if nothing ever happened - but this can also happen with dogs.

This behaviour is not only dangerous for the animal because it is left to its own devices on the public roads and facing the perils of traffic; but also, for passers-by, pedestrians or others that the dog could meet.

Of course, we need to define what a runaway dog is before solutions can be found. A runaway dog is not the animal which bolts off across the park, following some ingrained instinct to run and hunt, or who just goes beyond the sight of its owner, or even one who takes off after being scared by a disturbing event. A runaway dog is one that voluntarily leaves its home, a place of safety and security, to live on the street.

For those owners who have lost their dog in this way, rest reassured: it does not mean that the dog feels discomfort living with you. Here are some reasons why your dog might run away:

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The lack of activities and stimuli, combined with the dog's need to constantly satisfy its curiosity and exert itself can be the basis of this desire to let off steam somewhere else. Do not hesitate to create activities for the dog to exhaust it and arrange a space for it in your garden.

The search for a partner

This trend is especially visible in males. Very determined, they can walk for kilometres — even days — to find a female with whom to reproduce.

The reproduction of a stressful situation

Faced with a stressful situation that the dog has already experienced; it tends to flee to escape this discomfort. It is this type of reaction that we see when a dog is confronted with fireworks, for example, usually, they bolt from their home and hide nearby out of fear. It can also be thunder in case of a thunderstorm, a firecracker, or sometimes just the sound of the neighbour's lawnmower.

Departure anxiety

This is the reaction of a dog having trouble being separated from its master. To solve this "problem", the dog goes out to look for its master and bring him home.

There are several ways to stop your dog from running away. Experts say that one of the main things you can do as a dog owner changes your habits to address any of the examples above that your dog might experience.

Beyond that, there are practical steps you can take.

Secure your fence

It is not uncommon for dog owners to have a fence, but it must be checked that it is in good condition: that the dog has not made a hole underneath, for example.

Secure access to the house

In case you open a door to the garden or outside the home, the installation of a small barrier, like a baby gate, is recommended to limit the temptation to go out.

The electronic necklace

The collar only makes sense if the dog has been trained to wear it.

Talk to professionals

By doing so, you increase the chances of understanding the causes of your dog's behaviour to treat them as much as possible.

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