Dogs Escaping from the Yard

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Dogs Escaping from the Yard

We may not know the reason why a dog wants to escape from the yard where he is kept because he will never tell. What we do
know is that he is able to do it. Some are real escape artists and are of great concern to owners from whom I get calls for help.

Every time a dog escapes he is rewarded for doing so because of interesting smells, cats or birds to chase, bitches in season or
other dogs to play with while out. It is also very dangerous and many dogs get lost, stolen or killed in the streets after their escape from home.

When a dog has been able to escape 2 or 3 times from a property it is already a habit that has been formed and bad habits are
often hard to break. Prevention is better than cure and after the very first escape it must receive serious attention to prevent a second attempt and a behaviour problem.

Finding the escape route

In my experience the first step is to establish where the dog can get out, over, under or through the fence or gate. This is the first task the owners are set. If the dog can get out anywhere the solution is to erect a suitably high or stronger wall or fence which may be expensive.
Most often it is only at a specific spot on the boundary where footmarks or scratches will reveal the escape route.

Next step is to prevent the dog from using that avenue for escape. If the dog needs momentum to jump high enough we place obstacles in the way such as pot plants, small fences or poles to hinder the jump. Chicken wire on the ground can be effective because dogs do not like the feeling under their paws.

If the dog is a climber and can climb all the way to the top of a 6 foot fence as many can, we need to put chicken wire or
plastic sheets against the side of the fence to prevent him getting a foothold.

Booby trapping

What I have found to be very effective, depending on the nature of the fence or wall, is to place articles such as sticks and tins or beer cans tied together that will fall down onto the dog and make an unpleasant noise when dislodged. Dogs are usually taken by surprise or are very aware that something different is up on the wall and do not even try to escape.  There is usually no shortage on ideas for booby trapping. Most owners come up with many good solutions.

What we are looking for is to break the habit of escaping so that the dog “forgets” about it while other changes are introduced.

Dog intervention

Make sure that the dog has a collar with an ID tag just in case he escapes again.

Obedience training should be started or resumed if discontinued.

Regular energetic walks or runs to burn off excess energy.

Change his sleeping or resting area to a different corner of the yard.

Do not punish the dog when he returns from an escape. He must feel safe at home and not be fearful.

Never get cross with a dog for coming to you!

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