How To Keep A Dog From Running Out Of The Yard

We hope it never happens to you, but every year, a lot of dogs get away from even the most attentive and caring owners. Prevention is the secret to preventing this heart-breaking situation. Read on to learn the most common reasons dogs are running away and keeping your own beloved pet safe. Here’s how to keep a dog from running out of the yard!

Why Dogs Escape

how to keep a dog from running out of the yard

Before you learn how to keep a dog from running out of the yard, learn why they escape.

1. Quick Dog Escape Route

Not every dog is a jumper, but our four-legged friends are naturally designed to ride. As a breed, most dogs are curious and want to be involved and explore and learn. And a too-low fence, a broken gate, or an open window makes it extremely easy for a curious dog to start exploring.

Of course, on a lovely spring day, it’s good to let the windows and doors open and cross-breeze. Just make sure those windows have protective screens or security bars and put up a baby gate or door barrier to prevent your dog from jumping out of the open door.

It’s also a good idea to track your dog in the yard, and regularly check the fence for gaps or weak spots.

2. On the Chase

Some dogs may care less about running after potential prey, but if your dog likes to chase, it’s important to take extra measures to keep it safe. No matter how vigilant we are as owners, the prey drive is hardwired, so awareness and proper training will go a long way to keeping your dog at your side (and keeping smaller neighborhood mammals safe).

3. Nature is calling

Reproductive desire is a strong force, and untreated male dogs, in particular, are driven to wander in search of a partner. Also, the most reasonable, the well-trained dog may be overcome by natural impulses. If the neighbor’s undefeated Lady hangs out on the sidewalk, and your undefeated Tramp takes a sniff, the desire to mate could lead them straight through the fence and down the road together in search of conjugal bliss.

Of course, protection and proper fencing will keep a hound from running away. But the best “fix” of all is to get your dog spayed or neutered by ASAP! Studies show that neutering can minimize sexual roaming in about 90 % of cases. When your dog’s nerves calm out, they’ll be far less likely to chase the neighborhood’s tail.

Your dog’s timeframe to be fixed is very flexible; most vets agree that dogs should be squandered or neutered as early as eight weeks, but others suggest waiting until the dog is six months or older to allow for maximum growth.

4. Boredom

It’s not just nature that is calling dogs out of the yard; some of them hit the road out of sheer boredom. You can help relax your dog’s exploratory impulses by having “Three E’s”:

  • Exercise now.

At least one good walk during the day (the length and pace of a “good walk” can vary depending on your dog’s age and activity level) will help settle your dog down and make it comfortable when you’re out of the house.

  • Enrichment

Give the brain of your dog a workout with puzzle toys and games.

  • Entertainment

A single dog is more likely to get bored and look for greener pastures. Keep your dog active and engaged with lots of socialization. For certain dogs, this may actually mean having a certain quality sofa time together at the end of the day. If you have a higher-energy pet, consider doggy play dates or trips to the park to burn off.

Note of warning about yard time: of course, a yard can be a wonderful place to exercise, enrich, and entertain your dog! Only remember to restrict the yard time to when you’re at home and to be able to supervise your dog (and double-check the door locks).

5. Scary Views and Sounds

Animal control authorities around the country see a 30-60 percent rise in missing pets every year between July 4th and 6th. The biggest suspect, huh? Fireworks, guy.

Loud sounds, bright lights, and large crowds can scare even the happiest dog. Of course, you’re expected to go ahead and spend holidays with family and friends. But for your dog’s sake, consider keeping them safely indoors while the party rages elsewhere.

Scary sounds and sights are not limited to holidays. Thunder, gunfire, and car crashes may all drive a terrified dog to run. 

How to keep a dog from running out of the yard:

If your dog is easily spooked, you can do a few easy things to keep them safe all year round.

When outside, protect your dog with a well-fitted collar and leash (you might also want to use a back-up collar or harness if you plan to be in an environment with possible fear triggers. You may use a sturdy carabiner to tie the collar to the harness). Scared dogs can back out of loose collars, which explains why so many strays are found in the nude.

Work on retraining every chance you get! A panicked dog will not respond to her name, but the more naturally you can make her recall, the easier it will be to call her back.

Build a “safe space” or a den for your dog at home (a crate or a closed-door room is perfect). Keep your dog indoors during thunderstorms and noisy parties, and make sure that doors and windows are safe and locked. As adventurous as dogs can be, they’re also gentle animals who tend to stick to their owners. With a little foresight and caution, you can keep your dog at home healthy.

How To Keep A Dog From Running Out Of The Yard

how to keep a dog from running out of the yard

You’ve got a fairly airtight fence, so how is it possible that your dog managed to escape? Dogs gain independence in a few ways: they can either hop over, ascend, or dig under a fence to get out. Think jumping is hard, huh? Some dogs can climb the whole fence on their own. Others use climbing supports, such as outdoor tables or benches, to propel them.


If your fence isn’t solid enough, your dog may as well squeeze through loose panels or knock over broken boards. Especially clever dogs will even paw at a latch and open a fence gate.

As much as we would like to prevent this, human error can also establish the optimal conditions for dogs’ escape. For example, if you forget to shut the fence gate, you make it much easier for your dog to lose.

Your dog may decide to walk because they’re lonely out there. As good as it is to have all that open space, they may prefer your company or just be looking for a friend. A defensive dog can see something beyond their boundary that they think threatens the house, so they need to get out there and keep it away.


They may have discovered “treasure” on the other side: a new friend to play with, a snack, an enticing stream of water, or a wide field to run in. And, of course, some hunters are prey-driven. A simple fence won’t deter them from chasing a squirrel or a rabbit that just ran through the yard. They might just be a puppy or a teenager who wants more outlets for his tremendous energy.

Many dogs have many means of escape. Some are jumpers; they’re beginning to run from the bottom, and they’re going over. Some people use something near the fence to climb up, and then they’re heading over. Some dogs are diggers, relentlessly burrowing on their way to independence. And there are the chewers who can make a hole wide enough to pass through the fence. Deep thinkers can find out how to actually open a gate. Some dogs run through the gate every time it’s opened and bolt out before you can catch them. A variation of these methods is used for specially trained dogs.


Although it might sound counter-productive, you should take your dog for a walk every day, even if you have a nice fenced yard. The great physical and mental stimulation that comes with a walk will help your dog use some of their energy and keep them from getting bored while they’re out in the yard.

Dogs run—-That’s exactly what they love to do. But running away or out of the yard is not just an inappropriate action on the part of your beloved pet. It can be dangerous for him and anyone who follows him. So get tough—-and get on with the preparation.

Phase 1

Set yourself up as the boss. Your dog wants to see you as the pack leader so that he listens for the first time. Praise him when he reacts to you immediately; if he does not, rebuke him strongly and compel him to respond by leashing him so that he must obey. Be consistent and don’t let him get away with something, or bolting out of the gate is going to be his next trick.

Phase 2

Teach your dog simple commands to become an automatic response. Start with “sit,” “down,” “come,” and “stay”—these should be practiced on a regular basis before your dog can obey commands easily. Praise him lavishly when he does, and even give him occasional attention. When the gate is opened and your dog’s running instinct kicks in, the order given by his pack leader should be enough to deter him.

Phase 3

Try for your dog to come to you when he’s on a leash. Purchase a long lead and let him walk around the yard. Tell him to “come.” Reward him lavishly when he does so immediately; if he doesn’t, take him back to you with the lead. Continue this practice until it comes to you every time. Then train without taking the lead. When the gate is opened, and the pressure is raised, your dog should be able to respond to your verbal command of “come” as if he were on the leash.

Phase 4

Do not punish your dog for running away, because the next time he attempts to bolting, he will balance punishment with “come” Instead, thank him for coming back, and continue to work with him until his training overtakes his canine instincts.

Having good things go away is the concept of “negative punishment,” and having bad things happen is “positive punishment.” Essentially, he is punished twice, and neither punishment is correlated with the act of knocking out the door! Actually, both of them are related to you finding him, which will make it much harder to find him the next time he gets lost.

How To Keep A Dog From Running Out Of The Yard: A More Detailed Guide

dog running

Here’s a more detailed guide on how to keep a dog from running out of the yard.

First of all, get him back.

Easier said than done, you may say. The experienced door-dart is also an experienced keep-away player. Don’t chase your dog; you’re just going to play his game. Play a different game, man. Find a squeaky toy, take it outside, and squeak it. It may be counter-intuitive, but when your dog appears, run away from him, always squeaking. 

If the dog chases you, let him grab one end of the leash. Play the tug, swap it for a treat, then squeak and play some more. Let him follow you, play the tug-the squeaky one, into your fenced yard, then close the gate (or into your garage or home, if you don’t have a fence). Play a bit more squeaky with him.

If you’ve rolled up your cavorting canine, the section about retribution needs repeating: no matter how mad you are, don’t scream at him! Don’t even politely criticize him. And don’t take the dog back inside right away — that’s retribution, too. 

Hang out there and play for a bit. I guarantee, if you beat him or push him back to the building, he’ll be harder to catch the next time. Instead, happily and honestly support him with whatever he likes most.

Don’t let it happen to you.

Control is important to the general welfare of dogs and to the effective adjustment of actions in particular. It keeps your door-to-door dog alive, and it keeps you well. If you can’t fence your whole yard, you may be able to fence a small area outside the door(s). 

If you can’t set up a physical fence, build a barrier outside the door(s)—a small area with a self-closing lock so that if it breaks out, it’s still in place. Don’t even consider “underground shock fence”—dogs can escape as quickly as through open doors.

Your dog’s ability to escape can be blocked by baby gates or exercise pens inside. Insist that everyone — family and visitors alike — make sure that the dog is behind the barrier before they leave the door or greet the visitor.

Increasing your dog’s amount of aerobic activity is another way to minimize darts. If you keep your canine pal busy and exhausted, he’s going to be less inclined to look for opportunities to make a run.

Train, train, train, train.

Now that we’ve dealt with the prevention, you need to focus on training new habits.

Teach your dog to wait at the door until the release cue has been given. With your dog sitting next to you at the door that opens outward, tell him to “Wait.”

Move to the doorknob. 

If he doesn’t step towards the door, click on your clicker or use a verbal marker to handle him tastefully. Repeat, shift your hand closer to the doorknob in tiny increments, press and treat, and stay seated.

When your dog is getting up, tell, “Oops!”Make him sit down, then try again. If he gets up a few times in a row, you ask him too much; go back and move your hand just a few inches towards the trigger, and go forward more slowly.

Hold the knob while he remains seated. Please click/treat. Jiggle the handle. Repeat, click and treat each time, then open a crack to the entrance. Click and treat if your dog doesn’t respond. If he’s going to get up, say, “Oops! “And shut the door, please. You tell him that getting up shuts the door; if he wants a chance to get out, he has to wait.

Gradually open the door in increments of one or two inches. 

Any time he gets up, “Oops, man! “Open the door / try again. Do a few repetitions at each move. If you can open the door all the way, take a step, stop, turn around, and face your dog. Wait a few seconds, press, then go back and treat.

If your dog is solid with you going out the door and doesn’t bolt out of the front door, often ask him to go out, with or without you, using a release note such as “free.” Other times, walk out the door and lock it, leaving it inside. When the door is locked, he’s free to get up and walkabout. You can send your release cue through the closed door, or just leave it to find out it’s all right once you’re gone. He’s going to work it out.

Finally, teach anyone who communicates with him how to ask for a “wait” at the entrance. The more diligent everybody is in reinforcing the sitting-and-waiting, the more comfortable your dog will be waiting, and the less likely your dog will be out of the door. Yeah, the better he’s going to be and the easier you’re going to breathe. And this is a winning combination.

How To Keep A Dog From Running Out Of The Yard: Best Tips

how to keep a dog from running out of the yard

Beyond ensuring that your dogs still wear appropriately fitting collars with up-to-date identification tags and are microchipped, there are many other things you can do to keep your pet safe.

1. Padlocks 

Countless dogs end up sneaking out of the front door or through an unsecured gate when their own family members become lazy. This can be avoided by leaving your fence gate closed. Also, padlocking the gate prevents pets from fleeing from service technicians, such as meter readers, pool cleaners, or landscapers during regular visits.

2. Change your fence or restore it

There are several different types of fence materials you can use to make your yard safer. Some of the most common ones involve block walls, chain link, or wood fencing. 

Be sure to build a tall cliff to prevent your dog from jumping over and, if your dog is an outstanding climber, a chain link may not be your best choice. Also, remember to check your fence regularly and make repairs as necessary.

3. Increase or Delete View

Dogs sometimes get nervous because they can hear or smell, but don’t see what creates the noise behind their door. If you have a lot of foot traffic or crime in your area, it could be good if you give your dog away to see what’s going on. 

This can be achieved by smart window doorways that allow your dog to see what’s going on on the other side of your fence. If you have a wooden or a block fence structure, this might just be what the vet ordered.

On the other hand, you may want to block the view of the street. This is particularly valid if you currently have a chain-link fence system. Your dog may just need a little privacy to calm down.

4. Coyote rollers

Dogs who jump even the tallest fences can need some extra incentive to remain in their yard. This is where the coyote rollers come to play. Coyote rollers can be assembled from a kit or make your own by using large PVC pipes and wire cables. 

The concept is intended to prevent your pets from reaching the top of the fence and pushing themselves over. Instead, they’re “rolling” back into the yard.

5. Unseen Fencing

In reality, often, the best protection against escape is invisible. Invisible fencing can either be used on its own or as a second layer of “hairy Houdini” defense that somehow still manages to escape. Though these fences are controversial because they provide a mild electrical shock to the dog if they attempt to escape, they are a lifesaver for many pet owners. 

However, be very cautious with electric fences as some dogs can leave the yard, feel a shock, and be afraid to come back to the yard for fear of it happening again. Follow the guidelines for preparation and use exactly.

6. Footers

If your dog has learned to escape by finding its way out under the fence, consider putting footers on your fence line. In general, this is a line of concrete poured along the inside of the fence during construction to improve sturdiness. However, you can build your successful footers by burying cinder blocks, chicken wire, or bricks underneath the fence, thwarting any escape attempts.

Final Words

Besides worrying about their well-being, it’s frustrating to realize that you can’t trust your dog even in your backyard. Don’t despair; there are some very easy things you can do to prevent your canine from running out of the yard or succeed. If your dog runs from the yard, it’s important to note that you don’t have to punish them when you catch them or come back. This will not remove the need to run, and it may make them afraid to return to the yard.