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I was in Plantation yesterday providing some follow-up Dog Guard Out of Sight Fencing® dog training for a client and Winston, his Australian Shepherd.  We were out front reinforcing the perimeter training and redirection process when one of his neighbors passed by.  He mentioned that he was thinking about an underground dog fence system for his dog and had a question that was an immediate need.  His dog is continually getting out of the yard and runs all over the neighborhood (hence his need for an out of sight dog fence).  It is always a massive chore for him to catch his dog.  Since he knew that I was also a dog trainer, he asked if I had any dog training ideas on how to catch his runaway dog.

Australian shepherd out of sight dog fence running away in plantation

I first told the neighbor that the best way to catch a dog that runs way and all over the neighborhood is not to give him the opportunity in the first place.  Make sure that he has self closing hinges on all his gates and that they are in working order.  Put sound alarms with time delays on the gates to let him know if the gardener or pool company has left the gates open.  Also, make sure that he sees where his dog is before he opens the front door or presses the garage door button.  These are all great ideas and seemingly simple enough to implement, but life happens.  Our dogs do get out and run down the street.

I continued to explain that most dogs don’t want to really run away for good.  They want to get out to explore, mark their territory, and return to the safety of their “den”.  The problem with this is that there can be leash laws in many cities that could cause them ending up in the local dog pound.  With the crazy way that people drive in South Florida, they might be hit by a car before they decide to return.  Some dogs might look menacing and could scare the neighbors as they are exploring and leaving their mark.

If your dog has already escaped your yard, the best way to deal with the situation is to passively manage it.  If you try to “chase your dog down the block”, that will only get him excited and he will run farther away from you.  Here are some ideas:

  • Grab a leash and collar and calmly follow your dog down the street.
  • Slowly close the gap between you and him as you are calmly calling him to you. You want to have him look up and see you, but you don’t want him to overly adrenalize because of your presence.
  • If you see any “friendly neighbors” in his path, ask them to call him and stoop to one knee. Dogs often like to go to strangers because they see them as “new playmates”.  If your dog goes to the neighbor, ask them to calmly hold and pet him.
  • When you get to the neighbor and your dog, calmly hook the leash on and passively walk him home. Do not go overboard with any “bad dog” because the moment of escape has long passed.
  • If there is no neighbor, continue following him. Pat your leg and calmly call him to see if he will finally come.
  • If possible, try to direct him down dead end and quieter streets to minimize the possibility of cars.
  • Slowly herd him back towards your house. Do this by changing the sides of the street so that you can slowly move around him. This will normally have him change directions.  You just want to make sure that direction is back towards your house.
  • Make sure that you have left the front door and garage door up so that he will see a familiar entrance as your house comes back into his view.
  • He will normally simply run right back in. This is because his adventure of checking out the neighborhood and leaving his “little calling cards” is now done.  It is time to come home.

Again, remember that catching your dog after he had left your property is never an easy task.  When you make a big deal of it and adrenalize the situation, catching your dog can take forever.  Being calm and trying to passively direct is your best chance of quickly correcting the situation.  We are always willing to help solve the problem to make your life easier.  Contact us by going to  Dog Fence Training Help.  There are more great training and safety articles at Best Out of Sight Fence Trainers Plantation South FloridaIf you are also looking for specific dog training information, you can visit Home Dog Training South Florida.