Why Your Dog Loves To Run Away

By  //  February 4, 2023

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Delicious Digg This Stumble This

Dogs run away from their owners for many reasons. However, it can also be due to their natural instincts and behavior. Dogs are natural runners that love exploring and hunting.

So do dogs normally run away? Well, yes and no. There are other reasons your dog runs away from you. Let’s explore some of the more common ones.

Why Dogs Escape From Home

Your dog loves you but sometimes it just bolts and escapes at seemingly random times. Owners have to understand the reasons behind the behavior so they can address it properly. Here are the more common answers to why do dogs run away from home.

When your dog isn’t doing much at home and isn’t having its needs for physical activity met, it will get bored. Leaving it alone for a long time with nothing to do can trigger this.

It can make your dog restless and lead to destructive behavior. These behaviors include destroying furniture, scratching floors and walls, and even running away. They might even eat food like limes that they’re not supposed to. (can dogs eat limes? The short answer is no.)

Why do dogs run away with food? Boredom is one main reason. So, you may need to re-evaluate your dog’s daily routine and provide more opportunities for exercise and play.

Anxiety and Fear

Some dogs could be fearful of new surroundings, people, and unfamiliar sounds. Dogs that are high-strung and nervous will most likely run away when they encounter something unfamiliar.

Abuse in the past is also another answer to why do dogs run away. If your dog has separation anxiety and cannot be left alone, it might run away and try to follow its owner.

Excessive Confinement

Putting dogs in a confined space for long periods isn’t healthy.

A dog running away might not like being chained or confined. These dogs may not have received proper socialization or training since they become too excited once they’re set free.

Instinctive Behavior

Why do some dogs run away? Dogs that have a strong prey drive will run after smaller animals such as rabbits, birds, or squirrels. Some dog breeds have stronger prey drives such as hounds, terriers, beagles, and mastiffs. These dogs were originally bred as working dogs and their prey instincts make them run after small animals.

Mating Instinct

When dogs are in heat, most of them will attempt to run away when they sense a female dog nearby. Female dogs will also become more open to exploration. If your dog hasn’t been neutered or spayed, its sex drive could be the answer to why do dogs try to run away.

Dangers of a Missing or Runaway Dog

A missing or runaway dog is dangerous for your pet. They may run into traffic or become anxious and territorial which can lead to self-injury or result in other people getting hurt.

They can pick up diseases. Even if your dog has its complete shots, running away from home leaves it exposed to outdoor elements. They can eat things or pick up pests and bacteria that can make them sick.

Exposure is another risk. Dogs don’t do well in extremes. They could freeze to death or suffer heat stroke. Hunger, thirst, and cold can make them prone to disease. They can be picked up or stolen. If your dog runs away, it can be picked up or stolen. So, even if you have a dog tag for your pet, it’s possible that you won’t be reunited.

They can get hit in traffic.

The most common danger that can happen to a dog is getting hit in traffic. When a vehicle hits a dog, the result is often fatal, especially for smaller breeds. They can be placed in a shelter or pound. A runaway dog can be placed in an animal shelter or pound. If you don’t find it immediately, it could stay there for a long time and feel depressed. Some shelters even euthanize animals.

Deborah Dobson, a dog behaviorist in North Carolina, explains: “Dogs appreciate and feel more relaxed having a daily routine.”

How You Can Prevent Your Dog from Running Away

How do you stop your dog from running away? There are many ways to prevent dogs from running away. The key is to know the underlying cause and address it so your pet will feel safe and less anxious.
Here are some strategies you can try:


If your dog is a high-energy breed or has a high prey drive, you can give it lots of physical exercises and mental stimulation. Long walks, playtime in the park, and running can help meet its needs and stave off boredom.


Proper socialization will help your dog become well-adjusted. It will be less anxious and nervous because it knows how to behave in new situations that entail meeting new dogs and people.


The best way to prevent a dog from running away is training. A trained dog will know its limitations and the expectations of its owner. Basic commands can help your dog understand what to do in certain situations so it knows that it doesn’t have to run away every time you leave home.

Commands like “come,” “sit,” and “stay” are easy for most dogs to learn while making a huge difference in preventing unwanted behaviors. You can also use conditioning to make your dog feel less stressed.

An example you can start with is to open the door but don’t leave. Stay with your dog and let it get used to the idea. You can also use conditioning to make your dog feel less stressed when you pick up the keys or open the door. An example you can start with is to open the door but don’t leave. Stay with your dog and let it get used to the idea.

Spaying or Neutering

If your dog escapes because of its mating instinct, one way to prevent it from bolting is to neuter or spay your pet. This can reduce its mating drive and prevent it from roaming or running away.

Having a Daily Schedule 

Dogs follow a natural schedule. If an owner trains their pet to follow a fixed daily schedule, it will be less prone to running away. Deborah Dobson, a dog behaviorist in North Carolina, explains: “Dogs appreciate and feel more relaxed having a daily routine.”

Bringing It to a Doggie Daycare

If your dog always runs away when you leave, you can try bringing it to a doggie daycare or a friend’s home. Usually, dogs that experience separation anxiety do not feel secure without a human present.

Proper Love and Attention Can Keep Dogs From Running Away

The best way to prevent your dog from running away is to give it the love and attention it needs. Helping it manage its anxieties and fears so your dog becomes more confident will lessen the possibility that it will run away from you.