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Why does my dog run away from me?

Stop your dog running away by understanding their behaviour

Struggling with a disobedient pup that runs away whenever he gets the chance? Worried that one day he just won’t come back?

There are a few different reasons for your dog running away from you, and understanding these can help prevent the behaviour.

Reasons your dog runs away

Play and boredom

This is a big factor in why dogs run away. Most dogs are curious and they like little more than the chance to run around and explore.

Another reason for a dog running away is pure boredom. Even the smallest nearby noise can excite them, and then bam! They’re off!

The Chase

Dogs are animals, after all. And some of them have pretty strong prey drives. This dog behaviour is instinctual, and can cause them to bolt off without warning to chase a squirrel or a cat.

If your dog is prone to this behaviour, you may want to take some extra precautions during walks. Of course, “the chase” can also be in search of another mate.


The main culprits for scaring dogs are fireworks and other loud noises such as thunder and big crowds. Fear can also be directed towards an owner, if they’ve been punished for behaviour in the past.

In this case, you can retrain your dog to associate coming to you with positive emotions.

So, what can you do about your dog running away?

1. Dog proof gardens and play areas

When you’re at home, ensure that there aren’t any “escape routes” that your dog can use to leave the property.

You could use baby gates or door barriers and consider supervising your dog when they’re playing in the garden.

2. Dog training commands

Potentially the most important and useful thing to do is to introduce some dog training techniques. The commands “sit” and “come here” are extremely valuable and can be even more so in an emergency.

Practice recall training as much as possible.

3. Imitate play behaviour

Running after your dog and shouting when they bolt off can sometimes only make matters worse. The dog thinks it’s just energetic play.

Instead, run in the opposite direction and once you’re a few feet away, drop to the ground and roll around. Imitate their behaviour! Most dogs will come back to see what you’re up to.

4. Lead training

When you’re on walks, use a well-fitted collar and lead to keep your pooch by your side. The flexi style leads will still allow him some room to roam.

If your dog is particularly prone to darting off, you could even use a head harness or front-hook harness that discourage pulling.

5. Keep boredom at bay

One of the reasons dogs run away is boredom.

Calm your dogs exploratory instincts by providing enough exercise (at least one walk a day), enrichment (doggy puzzles and toys) and entertainment (lots of social time with other dogs and humans).

6. Get them neutered

As one of the reasons for a dog running away is the powerful reproductive drive, neutering is a good way to prevent this behaviour. Studies have shown it decreases sexual roaming by about 90%.

As curious as our four-legged friends are, they’re main loyalty is with you! By incorporating some of these tips into your training, you can keep your dog safe and in sight.

Whatever training you decide to do, keep it fun! Successful training is an enjoyable bonding activity for you and your pooch and shouldn’t feel like a chore.

Having trouble with your dog running away? We’ve got a range of dog leads to suit pups of all sizes! Call us on 09 448 2227 or come and see us in store!


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