How do I stop my dog escaping?

Labrador beside owners legs

It can be very dangerous if your dog tries to escape while you are away from home and they are alone. Your dog is in danger of being injured, causing a nuisance, or even being taken.

Preventing door dashing

  • Practice getting your dog to sit at every possible door and reward them generously every time they do so (see also: how do I teach my dog to sit?)
  • When you are ready for your dog to move, say 'let's go'. Alternatively, say their name and offer a reward as soon as you have moved through the door or gate to keep their attention on you, rather than the exciting things on the other side of the door or gate
  • This takes practice and patience, but keep working at it - ultimately you want them to remain seated until you invite them to go through with you
  • Regularly check your garden for escape opportunities
  • Remember dogs can squeeze through small gaps and love to dig and jump

Could your dog be bored or lonely?

Escapist tendencies may arise from a lack of attention or interesting activities for the dog on the other side of the fence.
  • Set aside time every day to play with and exercise your dog
  • You shouldn’t leave them alone for long period(s) of time
  • When out for a walk, allow your dog the freedom to explore whilst remaining under control
  • Have toys and games available to occupy your dog in the house to prevent boredom

Think about how you call your dog to return

  • Think about how you will call your dog to ask them to return to you. Learn how to teach your dog to come back to you and how to teach your dog to respond to their name
  • Chasing your dog while calling them may make them think it's a game
  • Consider a more gentle approach and offer food or play rewards which will motivate your dog to return to you happily every time they are called
  • If your dog’s recall is not yet reliable, keep them on a long line or lead for safety

Please note: there are many different ways to train your dog. This is just one method of teaching. If you are ever in doubt, please seek professional advice. 

For more information and advice, you can find a puppy foundation course with The Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme, browse our full list of The Kennel Club Accredited Instructors or find a dog training club near you.