Curring the Canine Escapee

An escaping dog is a real problem, not just for the dog's owner but for the general
community.

It's scary not knowing where your dog is and whether he is hurt. It's also scary for
those that may meet him when he's out and about, because they won't know if he is
likely to bite them.

The main reasons for dogs escaping their yard are boredom and anxiety.

Your dog is an intelligent creature with a sharp mind. It's not surprising that he finds it dull being confined in the back yard for long periods of time. He may think the grass really is greener on the other side and go exploring. v Some dogs develop separation anxiety and find it distressing being on their own. They may bark and destroy your home and yard, and climb the fence looking for companionship. Dogs are pack animals and aren't designed to be alone.

What can you do to keep your dog at home?

1. Build a fence

If you build a secure fence for your dog, he won't be able to escape. Make sure it will keep him confined; chicken wire is too weak for a dog fence and timber fences can often have cross bars that can be used as an aid to climbing up and over. If your dog can still get over your fence, think about adding an extra extension at the top, and bending it over so that it forms a "ceiling" that he can't get past. Barking dogs do best with a completely solid fence so they can't see through.

2. Make your back yard more interesting

Include some indestructible food toys like a Kong wobbler and stuff it with treats. Give your dog his kibble in a Buster Cube so he can play with it for a few hours while it tosses out pieces of food. There are some great tug toys that can be hung in trees; your dog will use up plenty of energy pulling on them.

3. Increase your dog's exercise

If you can, take your dog for a good run or a fast walk before you leave him. Dogs enjoy endorphins after exercise just like we do, and these can leave him feeling calm and relaxed.

What about boundary fences and electric collars? These may work, but they have a few disadvantages. Firstly, dogs can still escape - the battery may go flat, the collar may fall off, or they may just grit their teeth and rush through the barrier. Secondly, they don't address the issues. Your dog will still be bored and anxious, and this anxiety can be made worse if he is zapped by an electric collar.

It's not easy keeping a determined dog at home. However, it's worth the effort because he isn't at risk of being hit by a car or picked up by animal control. Look at how secure your fence is, and think about how you can make your dog's day to day life at home more fun for him. You'll have a happier dog and the peace of mind of knowing that he's safe.

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