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There are rewards in the environment for dogs that escape that are naturally reinforcing, such as immediate access to people, animals, food, garbage and smells — or just the pleasure of anuninhibitedrun. Adding to the complexity of the behavior, some dogs will dash out the door because of the attention and fun that occurs when their owners pursue them in what seems like a game of chase.
As a trainer, I've worked with various dogs who bolted and ran regularly from the home: a Dachshund who broke free to chase after wild turkeys on the property, a Labrador who escaped to socialize with neighborhood dogs, a Pomeranian who freed himself to get access to a neighbor's compost pile and a Pit Bull who muscled himself through doorways to experience the sheer joy of running. Regardless of motivation, the best way to keep the dog safe is to use management and training strategies both to prevent escape and instill polite manners at exit points.
Here are the top strategies I employ in teaching dogs, from puppies to senior pooches, to treat doorways as stop signs, rather than green lights:
Don't forget to use proper identification on your petsto increase their chances of being returned should they ever become lost. Microchip and identification tags are essential safety nets for any dog and are especially important for dogs with a history of escape behavior.
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