Vetstreet. All rights reserved.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
A. Dogs in general are wired to explore their environment and seek out new things, including social interactions, food and mates. Running after something is instinctive for many dogs; certain breeds have a hard time staying at an owner’s side because they were bred to hunt or chase. Huskies are one such breed that is bred to run, and run they will when given a chance, unless they have been taught otherwise. Basset Hounds may be difficult to stop if they’ve caught an interesting smell and are hot on its trail, while Jack Russell Terriers will race off in pursuit of a fleeing animal such as a squirrel. Independent breeds, such as the Shiba Inu, may be more confident in escaping and venturing out on their own than a dog bred for companionship, such as a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, which are more likely to stay close to its owner. However, regardless of breed, each dog is an individual and can act outside of the breed standard based on their personality, training and comfort in a given situation.
It is also possible that a dog is running away from something specific — something he perceives as a threat or a danger. A variety of things can frighten a dog, including a loud noise or a bigger dog. A dog may also run because of a conflicted relationship with his owner. Dogs running out of fear need immediate help from a veterinary behaviorist or a certified trainer.
Running away can be highly rewarding for your dog. The feeling of freedom and the rewards he reaps while free, such as getting to greet other dogs and people, chasing after birds and squirrels, or even finding a tasty bowl of kibble left out for the neighbor’s cat can be reinforcing enough to have a dog salivating for his next opportunity to run.
In order to keep your dog from running, you need to make it worth his while to stay with you. Dogs not only need the basic essentials, such as food, water and shelter, but they need enrichment, including social interaction. Often the draw of running off leash is to discover social interactions that can’t be as easily accessed while on leash. Friendly dogs need regular outings around people and other dogs. Exercise is also critical for pets, both the physical outlet of running and playing and the mental stimulation of encountering unfamiliar sights, smells and sounds.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
Get all the best pet news and information sent right to your inbox!
Thank you for subscribing!
An Indiana shelter with a soft spot for
seniors is making life better for a Golden
Retriever with terminal cancer.
From bringing in your puppy or kitten to
telling your friends about him or her, there
are plenty of ways to make a…
Minimize the risk of a bad trick-or-treat
interaction by brushing up on your dog’s
manners before October 31.
Dr. Jenna Ashton shares how to
determine your pet's water intake and tips
for encouraging him to drink more.
The Schapendoes (aka Dutch Sheepdog)
is known for his incredible jumping skills
and cheerful personality.
Parasites are no fun for dogs. Learn how
to protect your canine from heartworms,
hookworms, whipworms and more.
Check out our collection of more than 250 videos about pet training, animal behavior, dog and cat breeds and more.
Wonder which dog or cat best fits your lifestyle? Our new tool will narrow down more than 300 breeds for you.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.