Escape Behaviour in Dogs


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 and patience.

It is easy to higher fences and reinforce them with chicken wire.

However, it is essential that the dog’s escape behaviour is changed too.



There are 7 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.
  • A  lack of mental stimulation will make the dog want to explore beyond his boundaries,
  • No outlet for excessive energy is a reason why your dog feels the need to escape.
  • A dog with a high prey drive will be able to sense squirrels, rabbits, etc on the opposite side of the fence.
  • A  friendly neighbour who supplies treats over the fence is an attraction for a food orientated dog.
  • A dog can sense a female ‘in season’ in the area, his natural instinct will be to find her.
  • Escape behaviour is seen in dogs who have low confidence, they will flee to find human company.

Escape Behaviour in Dogs

These are recommendations to stop escape behaviour in dogs

  • It is essential that 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.
  • Neutering a male dog should reduce the desire to escape.
  • 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. It was amazing to see 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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