Dealing with Canine Escape Artists

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You’ve just settled in to watch the big game on TV with a plate of piping hot Buffalo wings and an ice cold adult beverage when the phone rings. Your wife answers the phone and after a couple of minutes of hushed conversation she cries out, “Honey, Duke has escaped! They’ve got him at the Animal Control building. You have to go bail him out – it’s gonna cost fifty bucks!”

You silently curse to yourself, abandon the game and head off to the dog pound all the while wondering why Duke always takes off whenever he has an opportunity to slip out of his kennel. You treat him well, he obviously loves and is loyal to both you and your wife. Why does he run away?

For the most part, dogs that head for the hills when off leash are not really running away. They just want a little excitement in their lives. Dogs who get little exercise and not enough one-on-one attention are more likely to go exploring.

Boredom is usually the root of the problem. In order to keep your dog from running off you need to ensure that you provide plenty of stimulation.

If you are not able to be there to walk or play with your dog there are a few things you can do to improve his contentment. In addition to shelter from the elements, food and water you can provide him with dog toys to occupy his time. Putting a few treats into one of those hard rubber Kong dog toys can keep him busy for hours.

Regular exercise will also go a long way in reducing the dog’s desire to wander off. Try to take him on a walk or play fetch at the same time every day. It won’t take long for your dog to recognize the pattern and begin to anticipate these activities. This will also reduce his wanderlust since the exercise will tire him out so that he’s more interested in sleep than exploring the neighborhood.

Of course, a tall fenced in area with a well secured gate will also help keep your dog from escaping.

Many communities have very strict leash laws prohibiting dogs from running loose. Steep fines can be imposed and, in some cases, you may have to relinquish ownership.
And quite rightly since a dog on the loose can do quite a bit of property damage and frighten people who are not comfortable with dogs. Of course, a dog on the loose can also be injured or killed if it runs out into traffic.

It’s trite, yet true, that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It also lets you watch the big game and remain $50 to the good.

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