As warmer weather takes hold, it’s easy to feel a bit of spring fever and want to get outdoors more and stay inside less. The same holds true for our dogs, and spring can be a time when the escape artists are at their most active.
If your dog is an escape artist, he might dart out the front door when someone opens it. He might know how to hit the handle on the screen door when you have the main door open to see outside and let in some fresh air. He might crash through the screen when the temptation of a squirrel or another dog is too much to resist. He might jump the fence. He might dig out under the fence. There are many variations of the escape artist’s escape plan.
While most people dealing with escape artist dogs focus on providing stronger barricades, they often miss the most important piece of the puzzle: addressing the reason the dog WANTS to escape in the first place! While we do want to ensure we are not providing easy escape routes, it is also essential to address the reason for the behavior in the first place. The reasons can vary as much as the escape routes themselves.
Some of the possible reasons for escaping are:
- Desire to explore the neighborhood
- Desire to socialize with neighbor dogs or people
- Find their owners
- Chase a squirrel, bunny, car, etc.
- Need for more physical exercise
- Need for more mental stimulation
If you can determine why your dog is escaping, you can begin to address the underlying issue that causes your dog to want to escape in the first place. For example, if your dog wants to explore the neighborhood, it might mean you need to get him out for more walks. If your dog wants to socialize with everyone, you might need to find ways to provide more social outlets. If your dog needs more physical exercise or mental stimulation, you might need to find ways to provide those outlets for him.
Find ways to increase your dog’s desire to stay at home rather than roam. The need for a stronger barricade to prevent escape will not be so important if your dog has no desire to escape in the first place.