It can be heartbreaking to come home and see that your dog has escaped. Your first question will be how he escaped and then you'll question why. According to Dr. Cam Day, the reasons may vary from phobias to separation anxiety. In each case, there are things you can do to make sure your dog feels more comfortable in the backyard and doesn't try to dig out in the future.
There are a number of triggers that can scare your dog to the point that he digs out of the yard. It might be noisy construction, a neighbor doing target practice or even a thunderstorm. In other cases, it might be something that happened long ago. For example, if the dog was in the yard when a burglar broke in -- or even just if someone was mean to her -- she may still be scared. You may be able to help some anxiety situations with therapy.
Dogs who don't have something to keep them occupied may dig out of the yard in order to find something fun to do. It's important you provide your dog with toys so he doesn't get bored while you're gone. You also need to play with him before leaving for the day so he's tuckered out and will sleep for a few hours before waking up and playing with his toys.
Some dogs can't stand being away from their owner. Your dog may panic and dig out of the yard in hopes of finding you. In this case, it may be best for you to consider doggie daycare or a dog sitter. If your dog gets lost trying to find you, he may never be found again.
Dogs who have escaped before may be tempted to escape again because they received some sort of reward. It might have been a trash can that they knocked over or attention she received from a local child. Regardless, she now believes that, by escaping, she may get the same reward. You can help prevent this by making sure you give your dog enough attention, give her treats and have toys for her to play with.
Male dogs that haven't been neutered will often dig out of the yard in order to get a female in heat. This can cause dogs to travel for miles, get in fights with other dogs and even get hurt by the female dog's owner. The only way to curb this behavior is to have your dog neutered.
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