Escape Behaviour in Dogs (My Dog is an Escape Artist!)

Escape Behaviour in Dogs

Some dogs are brilliant escape artists. They jump, dig and chew their way through fences and barriers put there to keep them safe in a contained space. Escape behaviour in dogs is a problem which can be easily resolved, however it takes time.

It is easy to higher fences and reinforce with chicken wire but it is essential that the dog’s escape behaviour is changed too.

Escape Behaviour in Dogs

There are reasons why a dog may feel the need to escape.

  • It may be a sign of separation anxiety if the attempt to escape occurs straight after the owner leaves the premises.
  • They may be lacking in mental stimulation.
  • They may have no outlet for excessive energy.
  • The dogs may have a high prey drive and can sense squirrels, rabbits etc on the opposite side of the fence.
  • There may be friendly neighbours who supply treats over the fence.
  • There may be a female ‘in season’ in the area.
  • The dog may be scared.

Escape Behaviour in Dogs

These are recommendations to stop escape behaviour in dogs

  • Make sure the dog is well exercised.
  • Erect a fence that tilts inwards at the top at a 45 degree angle.
  • Provide interactive toys and games to keep the dog’s mind active.
  • Always supervise the dog when he is outside and use distraction tactics when the dog tries to escape.
  • Make the garden the dog’s favourite place by feeding, training and playing outside.
  • Secure gates properly, a clever dog can soon learn to lift a latch.
  • Remove any garden furniture that can be used as an aid to climbing fences.
  • Insert rolls of chicken wire at the base of fences to prevent digging.
  • Be careful when opening doors or gates, the dog may try to bolt.
  • Don’t use the outside area as punishment when the dog misbehaves.
  • Go to obedience classes to teach the dog a good range of commands.
  • A male dog may lose the desire to escape if he is neutered.
  • Keep the dog inside if loud noises like fireworks or thunderstorms are expected.
  • Keep the dog indoors when you leave the house.
  • Only leave the dog for short periods or take him with you.

Personal Experience of Escape Behaviour

I hope these suggestions help if your dog has escape behaviour. From personal experience, I once fostered a stray Jack Russell who was intent on climbing walls, through windows and over gates. I was amazed that a small dog could scale a six-foot fence or jump through an upstairs window in his quest for freedom.

As the dog became less stressed in his new environment, with plenty of interaction from the family, the desire to escape diminished. Eventually, I could leave him unsupervised in the garden for short periods and answer the door without him trying to bolt outside.

Just in case your dog does escape, make sure that he is chipped and wears a collar with your telephone number attached.

Additional Reading

Thank you for reading.


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