If you have a dog, you worry about them getting lost. Dogs are like 3 year olds- leave them alone for any length of time and they can get themselves in huge trouble, including escaping out of your yard and ending up lost. Since many dogs who end up lost never come home again, prevention is key. Here are some tips on how to to prevent your dog getting out of the yard so you don’t have to go through the agony of losing your dog and worrying about them ever being seen again.
If you keep your dog outdoors when no one is home, make sure that your yard is properly enclosed. Just because you have a sturdy fence doesn’t mean your curious dog cannot escape. Some dogs are supreme jumpers and can clear a fence that’s much taller than they are, and they likely spend the entire time that you are gone working on getting out of the yard. If your dog has escaped from your yard even once, you need to examine your yard for escape routes. Perhaps your dog climbed the wood pile leaned up against your fence, or dug their way out. Watch your Houdini dog when you are home in their own yard and see where they wander the most, attempting to get out. This way, you can take preventative action based upon your dog’s escape tactics.
For chronic escapers, invest in a kennel that they can be placed in when you are not home to better prevent them escaping. If you can leave your dog in the house instead, this is a better option, but for people who are gone from the house for more than 8 hours and find it easier to leave their dog outdoors, have a kennel (a larger one, like a 6X6 foot kennel) on the ready to place your dog in if you are worried about them getting out of the yard.
Another option is to get a chain that does not allow your dog to reach the edge of the fence and place your dog on that when you are not home. I don’t agree with chaining dogs, however, I don’t agree with dogs getting lost even more, and chronic escapees from the yard can still have free use of the yard without being able to escape if they are on a chain only while you are not home. It’s important to make sure that the chain is at least 3 feet from the fence so your dog doesn’t escape anyhow and then get tangled up in their chain. A 15 foot chain allows your dog to wander where they’d like, and if you place the chain where your dog cannot entangle themselves in the fence you can worry less about your dog escaping when you’re not home. Make sure to remove your dog from their chain when you are home.
If your dog is a bolter who will just run out of the yard at any opportunity, it’s best not to leave them in the house and then allow someone to let them out for a potty break during the day. Why? The person who is letting your dog out is not your dog’s owner, and your dog will be so hyper to get outside that they may just head straight for the yard and escape from it at lightning speed, leaving your poor helper with the agonizing treat of trying to track them down. A compromise to this option is to leave your dog outside on a chain, and when the person comes to your home to give them a break, have them place a leash on your dog before letting them off the chain, and then put the dog inside. This is great for people who just can’t stand having their dogs outside all day, and is a reverse version of the break. Rather than letting the dog outside to have a potty break, the individual is leading the dog inside so they don’t have to spend an entire day outdoors.
One of the most effective solutions to a dog who bolts out of the yard is to invest in an electric fence. My sister has one, as her 2 hounds could easily clear her 12 foot chain-link fence and were wandering aimlessly around town while she and her husband were at work. A last-ditch option, I’ll tell ya, a low voltage shock will keep even the most hyper dogs inside the yard, where they belong. They will likely only try to escape once when they get the simple shock, and my sister and her husband each endured a jolt of their own to make things “fair”. Since they have installed their electric fence, neither of their 2 dogs have escaped the yard, and they don’t even try anymore. It appears cruel, but it’s far better than your dog getting out and risking getting lost entirely or hit by a car.
Try walking your dog more. A hyper dog just wants some interaction and exercise, and hounds, labradors, and other naturally energetic breeds are just needing some extra activity outside the yard. If your dog is a chronic escapee from your yard at any given opportunity, perhaps they need more outside interaction. Walk your dog at least 30 minutes a day on a leash to help them get rid of that super energy that they have, so they will hopefully try to escape less from your yard.
Even my dog has escaped from the yard and had to be tracked down, and she’s old and super fat. If I have to keep her outdoors for any length of time, I put my spoiled rotten mutt on a 15-foot chain that is attached to the porch, so she can lay in the sun all day and not wander off. Since I live on a busy highway with a tempting field full of cow poop right across the street, even my fat dog got the escape bug, and I had to take measures to keep her safe and in the yard. There’s nothing wrong with doing what you have to to keep your dog safe, and with a little compromise and thought, you can keep your dog in the yard where they belong.