How to Stop a Dog From Running Away? Try These Tips & Tricks

Last Updated on July, 2024

Being a new dog owner comes with responsibility. You are constantly looking for ways to keep your dog safe. The stress is real.

Seeing others put out the ‘MISSING DOG’ flyers makes the what-if-my-dog-goes-missing worry worse. But once you’re done panicking, ask the great question, “How to stop a dog from running away?”.

To learn how it’s essential to ask these questions:

  • Is it normal for dogs to run away?
  •  Why do dogs run away? And what are the ways to tackle it?
  •  How to create a secure space for my pet?
  •  How to train my dog to stay at home alone?
  • What to do if my dog runs away?
  •  How to catch a runaway dog?

Spoiler alert: It’s more straightforward than you’ve imagined.

Quick Summary

To prevent dogs from running away, neuter or spray them, train them with a leash, and provide them with a safe space.

Dogs may run away because they are afraid, bored, or wanting to mate.

If a dog does run away, ask the neighbors, put up posters, and file missing reports.

Is it Normal for Dogs to Run Away?

a dog running on the road

If your puppy is under 12 weeks of age, there is a good chance it won’t escape. But, if they are older, it’s normal for them to be running around.

Quick facts: Smaller dogs mature faster than big ones!

Why Do Dogs Run Away? And What are the Ways to Tackle it?

  1. Fear:

Dogs get scared, too; they are just like us.

Whenever they get scared, they have the choice to fight or flee. If they choose the latter, they can escape.

Usually, the dogs are afraid of the loud noises from fireworks, thunderstorms, and big groups of people.


  • Train them to remain calm during these times.
  • Arrange a safe place to avoid any escape. 
  • Use calming treats, white noise, and ThunderShirts. 
  1. Separation Anxiety:

When you are away, your dog can get bored. And this can lead to the pet feeling anxious or frustrated.

If they are destroying things or peeing indoors, they are trying to run free!


  • Please don’t leave them alone in an empty backyard. Fill it with their puzzle toys!
  • Take them on daily walks around the neighborhood.
  • Take them on dog playdates whenever possible.
  1. Mating:

When they mature, they would want to do what most adults do. They mate.

They can smell when a potential mating partner is in the vicinity. So there are chances they will try to get themselves a date.


  • Neuter or spay your dogs.
  • Train them using a leash. You could get some professional help here. 
  1. Prey Drive:

Your dogs hunt for one of two reasons. Some dogs are born to hunt, and others do it as a fun exercise.


  • Alter their behavior by training them to stay within a safe space. [We will cover this later.]
  • To stay informed about your dog’s habits, learn about their breed. This way, you can figure out how to control them.

Note: If our home sweet home isn’t pup-proofed, many of the above measures can go in vain, so let’s get to that.

Related article: My dog disappeared: What should I Do?

General Guidelines on Safety

  • Keep the front door, gates, and windows locked when you’re not around. This is a handy tip in a chaos-filled world with or without a pup.
  • Make sure they wear a collar with an ID and telephone number. If they ever escape, kind strangers might help them to find you.
  • Please have a safe space prepared to keep them when visitors are over.
  • When walking, never let them off the leash. Unless they are well-trained dogs.
  • If you’re going to be out for a long time, hire a dog sitter. “These days, under most circumstances, that’s probably what I’d recommend for most of my clients,” says Dr. Kwane Stewart, DVM, Chief Veterinary Officer of American Humane.
  • Install cameras at the exit points around the house.
  • Have a fence or any physical barrier around their usual safe space. The fenced yard or chicken wire should be high enough so your dog can’t jump off. Virtual fencing is the most effective option, as it sends an alert text when your dog leaves the fence. Hint: With Halo, in addition, to being alerted, you can follow them in real-time too! Check out Halo Here!
  • Make use of a GPS tracker. It will show where your dog is at any time of the day. The only thing to escape here would be your stress! Hint: Using the FI Series 3 tracker helps you spot your puppy even if it has left your neighborhood! Check out Fi Series 3 Here!
  • Show your dog how to stay at home even if you’re not around. We will continue to talk about this now.

Related article: 10 Dogs Safety Tips to Keep Them Safe

How to Train your Dog to Stay at Home Alone?

a man training a dog

Start by training for about 10 minutes daily with these three methods.

  1. The Routine Method

Step1: Leave them alone indoors for 5 minutes.

Step 2: Get back inside and praise them for being a good doggo. This way, they know you will always return.

Step 3: The next day, do the same but increase the time to 15 minutes.

Step 4: Repeat with more extended time intervals. Make sure to greet them with a toy or treat.

Note: If you notice whining when you leave, be strong and don’t react.

  1. The Environment Method

Step1: Create a cozy bed with walls around them.

Step 2: Leave a food puzzle to keep the dog occupied for hours.

Step 3: Add more toys to this private pit.

Step 4: Before leaving them alone, take them on a long walk to tire them.

  1. The Attention Method

Step1: Take them for an outdoor break just before you leave.

Step 2: Get back home after a few minutes and play with them

Step 3: Build up the alone time as you go.

Step 4: Put them to sleep in a different room to cope with separation anxiety.

Note: If you return home to chaos like pee on the floor or broken vases, never punish them.

Here’s how to entertain a dog while you’re at work.

What to Do if the Dog Ran Away?

some steps to find your run away dog

Uh-oh moment but get your game on with the following steps:

Keep calm and ask the neighbors.

Often, the dogs usually roam the neighborhood. So, before you panic and start calling people, look around.

Now make the calls!

File missing reports with the Humane Society, SPCA, or any rescue organizations in your area. Gather your friends and family together to form a search team.

Keep track of their favorites.

Pets tend to go to familiar places so check the local park, cafes, etc.

Check at the shelters.

Runaway dogs are rescued in these places so keep them posted. Let them know the details like the dog description, the date of missing, etc.

Spread the word!

Put up posters around the town. Post across all your social media channels and encourage your circle to share! Include a reward or prize if possible.

So, this is what you do when the worst happens. But what if your dog just started running during walks?

Tricks to Catch a Runaway Dog!

  • Never chase the dog. Never yell. You won’t probably succeed, and your pet might think you’re playing with them.
  • Trick the doggo with a treat they love. It’s best to carry these things when you go on walks. Make noises with these snacks.
  • Lay down in a kneeling position. Most dogs come back running to check on you.
  • Run in the opposite direction of them.
  • Ask others around to catch them unless the dog is anxious.
  • Ask your pet if they want to go on a car ride. They love it!
  • Try using other dogs or cats as bait by giving attention, especially if your pet knows this dog. This tactic is known to work.
  • Try the ‘Stay’ command!


How to stop a dog from running away? Know that all dogs are different. This will make you curious just how they are about you and your shared surroundings.

Once you’ve established the mutual understanding, remember to:

  • Create a safe, sound-proof space for them.
  • Take them on regular walks.
  • Neuter or have them sprayed.
  • Discipline with necessary dog training and positive reinforcement.
  • Take their security seriously with fences, collars, and closed doors.
  • Invest in a GPS tracking system. The Fi Series 3 trackers work seamlessly under different conditions and save you a ton of money!
  • Learn to communicate with them.

Keeping your dearest dog safe and sound requires work, patience, and love. That’s what dog parents do, don’t they?


To teach your dog to cross the street safely, it is best to practice in a space with a curb to help them understand the difference between the street and the curb. Use a combination of the ‘stay’ command and positive reinforcements to motivate them to cross safely, and utilize the ‘sit’ command when approaching the road to prevent them from rushing into the street.

Based on research, the most likely dog breeds to run away are Labrador Retrievers, Cocker Spaniels, Jack Russells, German Shepherds, English Springer Spaniels, and Staffordshire Bull Terriers.

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Thomas Villalpando
Thomas Villalpando is the main author of Dogs Academy. He spends his time reading, training, and working with several Dogs' behaviors. He has been featured in MSN, Yahoo Finance, The Sun, Entrepreneur & More. You can find more about him here.

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