Does your dog's ability to escape from the back yard have you convinced that he's nothing less than a hairy Houdini? Your never-ending attempts to keep your pet confined to your yard may seem comical at times, but every escape opens up the possibility of tragic consequences. If your dog is running loose, he's in danger of being hit by a car, injured in a fight with another dog, or hurt in any number of other ways. You're also liable for any damage or injury your dog may cause, and you may be required to pay a fine if he's picked up by an animal control agency. To prevent escapes, you'll need to find out how your dog is getting out of the yard, and more importantly, why he's so determined to get out.
Your dog may be escaping because he's bored and lonely, especially if...
We recommend expanding your dog's world and increasing his "people time" in the following ways:
Dogs become sexually mature at around six months of age. Like a teenager first feeling the surge of hormones, an intact male dog has a strong, natural drive to seek out females. As you can imagine, it can be difficult to prevent an intact dog from escaping when his motivation to do so is very high.
Your dog may be escaping out of fear, especially if he's exposed to loud noises, such as thunderstorms, firecrackers, or construction sounds.
Your dog may be trying to escape due to "separation anxiety" if:
Factors that can precipitate a separation anxiety problem:
Assuming your dog has been correctly diagnosed as suffering from separation anxiety, the problem can be resolved using counter-conditioning and desensitization techniques.
Some dogs jump fences, but most actually climb them, using some part of the fence to push off from. A dog may also dig under the fence, chew through the fence, learn to open a gate, or use any combination of these methods to get out of the yard. Knowing how your dog gets out will help you to modify your yard. But until you know why your dog wants to escape, and you can decrease his motivation for doing so, the recommendations below won't be nearly as effective.
You must also give your dog less reason to escape and make it more difficult for him to do so. Ultimately, that is how you'll put a permanent stop to that "Hairy Houdini" act.