We are referring to dogs that either jump over,
climb over, dig out or chew through fences, gates or other
enclosures and get of their yards or out of their homes
by door dashing or other means. If your intact male dog
is doing this, your first step is to have him neutered.
Not all escape problems are due to sexual roaming, but
this is a good bet if your dog isn’t neutered.
As with most all behavior problems, your must determine
the reason why your dog is escaping in order to know how
to prevent the behavior. Unless your fence or other enclosure
is in dis-repair, just fortifying the fence and making
it more difficult for your dog to get out often isn’t
enough. Dogs that are very motivated to escape, particularly
if they are afraid, will usually find a way to do so unless
the underlying cause is addressed.
If your dog is dashing through open doors or gates when
you are nearby, this is simply a training problem. He’s
probably learned how fun it is to run around the neighborhood
with you in hot pursuit. If you catch your dog when he
is out of the yard and punish and scold him you will make
things worse. All your Fido will learn is to avoid you
after he’s out in order to avoid being punished.
Instead, making coming to you great fun. This will have
no effect on the actual gate or door dashing, it will just
make your Fido easier to catch once he’s out.
To determine why your dog is escaping, ask yourself the
following questions. Where does your dog go, and what does
your dog do after she gets out of the yard? If she sticks
close to the house, and you often find her sitting on the
front porch, it could be a separation anxiety problem.
If she wanders the neighborhood, visits other people and
dogs, she may be a social butterfly and is just bored being
in the yard all by herself.
Check to see if your dog’s escapes are linked to
thunderstorms, fireworks, hot air balloons, or other startling
noises such as trash trucks or construction equipment.
If her escapes are fear motivated ,she’s
still likely to find a way out, even if she hurts herself,
unless you use the proper behavior modification techniques
to decrease her fear. Crating her to prevent escaping is
quite dangerous if her behavior is due to separation anxiety
or other fears.
If your dog is escaping when you aren’t home, you
can’t punish the behavior because you aren’t
here when it happens. If you find your dog outside of the
yard, it’s much too late to punish her. At that point
your goal should be to get her to come to you so you can
safely get her back in the house or yard. Punishment can
only be used if you catch your dog in the act of escaping
(actually jumping, climbing, digging, chewing, not a few
minutes later). Even then it will be of limited value because
it doesn’t address why your dog is getting out. If
the behavior is fear motivated, punishment will likely
only make her more fearful.
Barrier systems, which establish an invisible boundary
because your dog receives a “shock” or spray
of citronella from a collar if he attempts to cross the
boundary can be useful for some escaping problems. However,
we recommend talking with a behavior consultant (preferably
an applied animal or veterinary behaviorist) to help you
decide if a boundary system is right for your Fido.
PRODUCTS FROM HELPING FIDO THAT
WILL HELP YOU UNDERSTAND, PREVENT AND RESOLVE ESCAPING
If your Fido escapes only when home alone, our “Managing
the Home Alone Dog” will help you
sort out why your dog is escaping.
If the escape behavior is a fearful reaction, listen
to our audio CD on “Using
Counter Conditioning and Desensitization Techniques Effectively”.
While this program is designed for professionals,
you must know how to use these techniques if your dog’s
escaping is motivated by fear. If you hire a professional
to help you, see that he or she listens to this program.
If your dog is escaping through the front door when people
come and door, you need our “Managing
Chaos at the Door” audio CD. This program gives
you over 10 strategies to gain control of your dog at the