How to Get a Male Dog to Stop Running Off

by Jodi L. Hartley
    Understanding why your dog runs off is key to keeping him at home.

    Understanding why your dog runs off is key to keeping him at home.

    Hemera Technologies/ Images

    Gone are the days when dogs could roam freely without much worry about getting hurt. These days, a dog who frequently runs away from home can easily find himself in danger. But still, some dogs seem determined to get away no matter what. There are many reasons why a dog will run away. Figuring out why your furry man is taking off is necessary to resolve the problem.

    What You Can Do to Keep Him Home

    Step 1

    Neuter him. If your male dog is not neutered, he is most likely driven to run by hormones and the instinct to mate. According to veterinary behaviorist Dr. Nicholas Dodman, neutering will stop roaming in 90 percent of male dogs.

    Step 2

    Socialize him. Some dogs are social butterflies. Your guy may run away to play with other dogs or human friends. Taking your dog to doggie day care or the dog park a few times per week will give him a chance to interact with some furry friends. Make sure you are spending plenty of quality time with your dog as well. Dogs are pack animals and crave time with their pack, which is you. If your time is limited, arrange for a dog walker or trustworthy neighbor to walk and play with your dog during the day.

    Step 3

    Keep him active. Perhaps your dog is looking for a chance to stretch his legs. Loafing around the house all day without any new stimulating toys or socialization can be very boring for active dogs. Working breeds especially need to have a job and plenty of exercise. Several walks throughout the day, hard play daily in the yard and opportunities to run in a safe area provide active male dogs the chance to burn some energy. Local fly ball or agility classes also are good options.

    Step 4

    Simulate hunting. Many male dogs still carry the primitive instinct to hunt. It is ingrained in them and they aren’t satisfied unless they can use their hunting skills. Creating games or enrolling in organized local canine activities like nose work classes allows him to use his natural prey drive in a positive way.

    Step 5

    Eliminate frightening objects. Your dog may escape to get away from something frightening. Thunderstorms and fireworks very commonly cause a dog to run to get away from the sounds. Try to find out what could be scaring your dog and, if possible, remove it. If it can’t be removed, contact a professional dog trainer or behaviorist to work with your dog to be more comfortable around it.

    Step 6

    Treat separation anxiety. Your dog could be fearful and anxious without you nearby. He may have first experienced this as a puppy or developed it later in life, particularly if he had some type of major change in his life. It is important for a veterinarian or professional dog trainer to accurately diagnose separation anxiety so it can be treated successfully.


    • To keep your dog safe, it is best to keep him inside whenever you are away from him.

    Photo Credits

    • Hemera Technologies/ Images

    About the Author

    Jodi L. Hartley has been a writer and public relations professional since 1992. Her experience includes public relations and marketing for a pet service/retail business, as well as volunteer work with animal rescue organizations. Hartley holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and an M.B.A.

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