Why Does My Dog Run Away From Me?

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Dogs Fleed and Owners Panic 

As a dog-sitter, owners trust me with their pets. They trust me to feed them, walk them, and most of all – not lose them. Bunker, a yellow lab I had been looking after, decided to make a run for it while I was walking her around the block one evening. She was trained off leash by her owners and she had never done this on our previous walks.

In fact, she was the type to be clingy and walk by my side wherever I went. As I chased Bunker in the Colorado heat, all I could think about were her owners. How would I tell them that I had lost their beloved Bunker? After what seemed like an hour of chasing her around the block I got hold of her, and I was never able to trust her off leash again. I was overwhelmed with relief, but I was also confused. Why did Bunker take off? 

Most of us dog owners spoil our fur babies, we spend money, time and energy on ensuring that they are healthy, happy and comfortable. Yet, they still tend to run away from us. In this blog, we will dive into the psychology of why dogs run away from their owners or pet-sitters, and what we can do to prevent losing them as well as increase our chances of being reunited with them both quickly and safely. 

why dogs run?


Dogs On The Run 

Any dog owner whose dog has run away from this knows how it feels. It’s an overwhelming rollercoaster of emotions: panic, fear, frustration and confusion. The search process is frightening, as you think of the possible worst scenario. But then comes the confusion. Why did my dog run away? Dogs are supposed to be pack animals and bond with their humans, after all, they are “man’s best friend”, right? 

Firstly, rest assured, you are not alone and your dog is not trying to leave you because they don’t love you. According to a blog on Peeva, one in three pets will go missing at some point in their life. To put this into perspective, each year more than ten million dogs run away from their loving owners. It can happen to any pet owner, and it does not determine whether you are a good pet owner. 

When dogs take off, there are usually reasons as to why they do it. Let’s get into a few common reasons your dog may take of or has a habit of running away: 

  • Your dog is bored

    . Boredom is one of the most common reasons a dog runs away or makes a break for it when you’re least expecting it. Dogs require attention and stimulation. Without it, they can get bored and crave a sense of adventure and excitement. Running out of the house and jumping over the fence can seem like a great idea in moments of boredom for a dog. 

  • Your dog isn’t secure

    Another common reason a dog may take off is simply because it can. Maybe you don’t have a fence around your yard. You’ve made it easy for your dog to escape. As a dog owner, it’s your responsibility to ensure your dog is secure all the time. 

  • Your dog just loves to run

    It can be as simple as that. Some dogs love and need to run. Depending on the breed, age and personality of your dog, some dogs may take a run for it – to take a run. 

  • Your dog saw something

    Dogs are curious creatures, and when they see something interesting they may want to get a closer look at it. Dogs can see much farther than we can. 

  • Your dog is scared

    Every fourth of July, animal shelters notice a huge spike in runaway dogs and cats. Fireworks frighten them, and when animals are scared, they attempt to remove themselves from the situation they are in. Loud noises can often have the same effect on your dog. 

  • Your dog’s routine has changed

    When dog owners travel and leave them with a dog-sitter, they are in a new environment with a new “owner”. Dogs are sensitive to disruptions in their lives and routines. They may take off and try to find their way back to their original home. 

Dog Tags

If my dog escapes, what should I do?

As a dog-sitter, I have faced many dog runaways. From dogs breaking the leash by pulling too hard, to dog’s I trusted off leash making a run for it when I least expected it. But there’s something I did that I noticed was most helpful when trying to get a fleeting dog to come back.

Remain calm. Dog’s hear and feel stress in a human’s voice. When we scream for their name and hear the panic, they may want to run even further. From my experience, dog’s are more likely to come back to you if you have a positive tone in your voice and if you get down on all fours with your hands spread apart as if you’re requesting a hug.

Whether your dog ran away from fear, from seeing something in the distance or from change of routine, this will give a sense of comfort to your dog rather than screaming at them making it seem as though they are in trouble. 

Dog’s are intelligent animals, and they know when they do something wrong. Your dog may be smart enough to know that you will get angry with them for running off, making them fearful of returning back to you mid-run. By remaining as calm and collected as possible, your dog may feel safe enough to turn around and abort the mission. 

For leash dogs, the same kind of behavior is important. When a leash breaks and your dog is free, they may want to enjoy the thrill of being off leash for a little longer, resulting in them taking off. If you act as though nothing happened, your dog may not even be able to notice the leash has broken. 

If your dog has noticed and begins to make a run for it, try calling their name and getting down on all fours with a positive tone in your voice. Always keep treats in your pocket for the food motivated pups out there. A yummy bacon strip may be worth coming back for. 

FOUND ME Dog Tags To Help Reunite You and Your Dog 

Collars – they’re helpful. They identify your dog as well as provide a phone number and address to help someone who finds your dog bring them back to you. Personally, I don’t like sharing my phone number. There are so many risks that come with it, and put into the wrong hands, too many breaches of privacy can be done with just your phone number and address.

Typically, we buy an engraved dog tag once, but over time they deteriorate and I have come across too many dog tags I just couldn’t read. The phone number was half erased due to damage and water, making it lose all of its purpose.

     Thankfully, FOUND ME has come with an alternative for this issue. FOUND ME dog tags, with QR code on them help a finder contact the owner through a chat that does not share your phone number or address. All it takes is for a good samaritan who has found your lost pup to scan the QR code. The rest is done by FOUND ME. The chat is automated, secure, and breaks language barriers by translating the conversation to the language that is set on your phone.  

About us

We are all at risk of losing the people pets and valuables that mean the most to us. FOUND ME was created as a global solution to tamper this risk and provide peace of mind. We exist to protect everyone and everything important in our customer’s lives.

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