How to Train Your Dog to Not Run

Hard
2-4 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

If your dog has started running away from you, or away from home, he is in danger of several hazards. Your dog can easily run so far that he gets lost and can't find his way home, he can run out into traffic and become an accident victim, he can run afoul of another dog's territory and be attacked, or in a rural setting, he may be attacked by wild or feral animals. Coyotes especially are known for attacking dogs that have strayed too far from their owners or homes.  Curbing running behavior and teaching your dog to stay home, or with you, is an important skill to keep your dog safe.

Defining Tasks

Some dogs are especially prone to running. There are several reasons for a dog's running behavior; they may be scared, excited, or they may have learned to run after prey or to explore their environment. These are natural instinctive behaviors for a dog, and, with the exception of being scared, it’s fun for your dog--a reward in itself. Training your dog not to run will need to address the natural reward he gets from the behavior, and counteract it. It can be difficult and take some time to eliminate this behavior, especially once it has developed, however, it is critical to overcome your dog's tendency to run--for his own safety. Preventing the behavior from developing in the first place, by training your young dog to respond to your verbal commands, keeping him in an enclosed area, or on a leash, will prevent the self-rewarding running behavior from occurring in the first place. Ensure enclosures such as fenced yards are secure, gates are closed, and that your dog cannot jump the fence, or dig under the fence to escape. Some dogs have a tendency to go for the door or gate every time it opens, escaping if they can. Training to teach your dog that you own the door will curb this door bolting behavior.  

Getting Started

You will need to spend some time teaching your dog commands to control him, both on-leash and off. This will require a time investment and lots of treats, praise, and rewards. You can also teach your dog not to bolt for an open door or gate, and it may be useful to engage an assistant to help you with this. Using a long leash during training is helpful to simulate your dog being off leash, while still retaining the ability to restrain him and prevent him from running. In extreme circumstances, where the dog is repeatedly in danger, the use or a whistle and shock collar may be necessary to prevent the dog from running and putting himself in harm's way.  

The Claim Exits Method

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Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Set up
If your dog has a tendency to rush a door or gate whenever it is open or unattended and escape that way, you will need to establish that entrance ways are your territory. You will need to carefully supervise your dog during the training period to make sure he does not escape. Put a long leash on your dog to help ensure his safety. Have an assistant come to your door or a yard gate and open it.
Step
2
Provide verbal cue
When your dog runs for the door or gate, say “No” or “Stop”.
Step
3
Physically block
Restrain the dog. If he gets to the door first, then put your body between the door and your dog. Physically block your dog; own the space. Wait there.
Step
4
Reinforce retreat
Wait for your dog to back away from the door and be calm. When this occurs, reward your dog and move away from the door. If your dog runs for the door again, repeat previous steps.
Step
5
Establish ownership of exits
Repeat this exercise many times daily, and over several days until your dog learns that you own the door, and that they will be rewarded for ignoring an opened door or gate.
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The Alternate Behavior Method

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Effective
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Step
1
Teach 'come'
Teach your dog to come when called. Call your do and give her a treat when she comes. Eventually do not always give treats to your dog for coming to you, only occasionally reward her. Most dogs become proficient at this command, you can eventually reward with just attention and praise.
Step
2
Teach 'touch'
Teach your dog to come and touch your hand with her nose by calling out “Touch”. Always provide a high-value treat when performing this command, such as cheese or meat. Do not use this command as often as 'come', which is for every day and is not always rewarded with a treat. In an emergency situation you can call out “Touch” and get a more sure response, since your dog will expect a tangible reward for responding every time. Also, because your dog actually touches her nose to your hand, she will be close enough for to restrain her in a dangerous situation.
Step
3
Teach 'down'
You should also teach your dog to go 'down' from a distance. Working in an enclosed area, free from hazards, while off leash, teach your dog to lie down. Reward her with a treat when she performs this task at a distance. Add distractions, such as other dogs, throwing balls, passersby, etc.. and give the 'down' command, so that your dog learns to respond to this while off-leash, even when distracted.
Step
4
Use long leash
Use a long leash, 20 feet or more. Walk your dog in a relatively quiet, safe neighborhood. Give your dog some leash. Give the commands 'come', 'down', and 'touch' frequently to get her used to responding in different situations. Reward her for responding correctly.
Step
5
Apply off-leash
Repeat these exercises over several days to establish good voice control over your dog that can be applied even when off-leash. If your dog starts to run away from you when off leash, you will be able to give a verbal command to direct her behavior.
Recommend training method?

The Negative Consequences Method

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Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Set up warning and stimulus collar
Using negative consequences for running behavior may be necessary for dogs that are in an environment where it's not possible to contain or supervise the dog, such as for rural dogs. Fit your dog with a shock collar and have a whistle on hand. Supervise your dog while off leash.
Step
2
Signal
When your dog runs from you or your yard, let out a blast on the whistle. If the dog comes to you, give a treat.
Step
3
Activate stimulus collar
If your dog proceeds, rather than returning to you, activate the shock collar. Be sure to educate yourself on proper usage of training collars before use; shock collars should be adjusted to the minimum effective setting.
Step
4
Reward return
Call your dog back to you, reward for coming back.
Step
5
Establish
Repeat this exercise multiple times over a period of several days, until your dog learns not to run away from you or your yard area, as negative consequences will occur. If you are not going to be present, you can use a shock collar with a specific range; if the dog strays more than 20-50 or 100 yards from the transmitter, they will receive a signal to stop followed by a shock if they continue.
Recommend training method?
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Written by Laurie Haggart

Published: 11/14/2017, edited: 01/08/2021

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Socks
Not sure maybe mountain curv
3 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Socks
Not sure maybe mountain curv
3 Years

I’m having a problem with her loading to go to woods and when it’s time to leave the woods! Once you start heading back in the direction of the truck she will duck off and hide just out of sight from you!! I think
My boyfriend may have whooped her for not loading or maybe left her in cage in back of truck or has to be something like that I believe with all my heart ! Because she acts so strange when it comes to loading up!! And if you leave she will follow you but once she gets close she will suck off in the woods again but will stay just out sight of you seeing her ! Other then that she is a great squirrel dog! !!

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
241 Dog owners recommended

Hello! I am going to give you information on how to teach recall. Your dog is not too old to begin learning this command. Recall: STAGE ONE – 'Catching' or Charging Up the 'Come' Cue Start in a distraction free environment so that your dog can focus only on you. Whenever your puppy or dog is coming to you on his own, wait until he is a couple of feet from you and then say his name and the word 'come.' When he gets to you, make a big fuss. With this exercise, your dog will learn that coming to you is a really good thing. After a while, you can lengthen the distance between you and start using the word when he is coming to you from a greater distance. Coming to you should always be rewarded, whatever the circumstance and no matter how long it took your dog to respond. Motivate your dog to come by being exciting, running away from him, waving a toy, or having delicious food for him when he gets to you. This will show him that coming back to you the best thing he can do. STAGE TWO – Solidifying the Cue Through Play Make sure you play the Back and Forth game with another person that your dog is comfortable with. Start the game in a quiet environment so it is easy for your dog to focus on you. Hold your dog back while the other person calls him excitedly. Try not to use his name or the cue word but talk excitedly to ‘gee’ him up. Do not release him until the person calls his name followed by the cue word “come.” When the cue word is given, release your dog and let him go running to the person calling. As soon as he reaches them they should praise and reward him with a game of tug or a food reward. When your dog has had his reward, have the other person hold him back as you call him and release as you say his name followed by the cue word. When he comes to you reward him with another game of tug or food reward. Repeat this game back and forth but only do a few repetitions so your dog does not get bored or too tired. Keeping it fresh means the game is always fun to play. STAGE THREE – Adding Vocal Cue With Hand Signal Inside Now your dog knows what the word “come” means you can use the cue word to call him to you while adding a hand signal to the word. Hand signals are always good to build with vocal cues so that even if your dog cannot hear you he will understand what the hand signal means. This is good if your dog is a distance away from you. Start in a quiet environment. Walk away from your dog and call his name followed by the cue word and a hand signal. Praise and reward him when he comes to you. Start increasing the distance you call him from and praise for his compliance. If he does not respond, go back to the previous distance and repeat. Only practice this cue for a few minutes so your dog does not get bored. The secret to success is to always keep it fun, exciting and fresh. When your dog recognizes the hand signal, try calling his name and using the hand signal by itself without the vocal cue. You will then be able to use a combination of vocal cue only, hand signal only and the two together. Now your dog knows what the cue word means you can start to call him from different rooms or from areas where he cannot see you. This will encourage him to respond even when you are out of sight. STAGE FOUR – Adding Vocal Cue With Hand Signal Outside Now your dog is consistently coming to you in a distraction free environment you can proof your recall cue by taking it outside. Practice the recall in your yard and then gradually build up to the point where you can use it in the park or similar environment. The ultimate test is to use the recall when your dog is engaged in a different activity. Wait for a lull in that activity and then call your dog to you. Praise his decision to comply.

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Question
Buck
Beagle
9 Months
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Question
0 found helpful
Buck
Beagle
9 Months

I need him to stay in the yard and not run. I think he needs a shock collar. How do I use it?

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
241 Dog owners recommended

Hi there. There are a few different methods for keeping your dog in the yard. One is boundary training. The other is an invisible fence system that utilizes a shock or vibration collar. You can do some research on both methods and see what would work best for your situation.

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