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  • Writer's pictureToby

Does your dog Escape?

Escaping dogs can be a big problem for pet guardians particularly in winter and/or storming weather. It's important to remember that dogs are not usually contained in nature. They free roam and many dogs will continue to do so if the opportunity arises.

Why do dogs escape?

  • Exploring

  • Storm phobic - trying to get away from thunder, wind, lightening,

  • Boredom

  • Searching for a mate (if entire)

  • Seeking company of other dogs or people

  • Anxious/fearful

How do they escape?

  • Gates fly open in the wind allowing dogs to wander. They may be sniffing around the yard and/or exploring and the opportunity presents itself

  • Wet soft ground makes it easier to dig out under the fence

  • Storm phobic dogs may try to escape under or over the fence or even rip through wire on occasions

  • Items in the backyard permitting climbing and getting over a fence

How to prevent escaping?

  • Good locks or an extra lock on gates

  • Double gate/airlock

  • Lift the height of your fences in need

  • Dig a channel and bury chicken wire under the dirt at the bottom of fences. Dogs will reach the chicken wire instead of being able to dig out in dirt

  • Remove any items they can climb onto near the fence e.g. BBQ, outdoor table

  • Give dogs access to an inside area where they feel safe

  • Chained/confined dogs who are storm phobic can be terrified in high winds, lightning and thunder if they can't get away. Provide a safe area but not too confined – they need to move about if fearful or anxious

  • Anti-anxiety meds can be very beneficial in these situations Other considerations:

  • Make sure council registration is up to date so dogs can be returned home in need.

  • Ensure they are wearing a collar with their name tag and your contact number (also a requirement under the Companion Animals Act).

  • Consider a GPS tracking device which can be monitored on your phone. Also a great idea for people who take their dogs hiking and/or travelling.

  • Ensure all your dog's welfare needs are met including:

    • Daily exercise providing opportunities for sniffing

    • Enrichment items in the backyard/house to provide outlets for normal dog behaviours

    • Plenty of companion time with family members

    • Social time with other dogs/animals - but only if they are social

    • Regular health checks with your Vet and good diet

Cheers, Toby xx


PS. It is perfectly ok to hug and cuddle your dog for reassurance during a storm. This will not 'make it worse' or 'encourage this behaviour. You cant reinforce fear.

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