Why does my dog run away every time she goes outside?

This is a question that we often get from sitters and owners who work with Rover. Help the community out by answering them in our forum!

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Think of your favorite dessert ever. Now, multiply that by x100. That's what going outside is like for your dog. To your dog, everything outside is more interesting than you. Whether it's noises, smells, small animals to chase, or anything else you can think of - your dog is choosing those things over spending time with you. You will need to really work on reinforcement training with your dog in order to build up trust, respect and authority between you and your pet. If you don't, your dog could get hurt or become a liability saying hello to the wrong neighbor.

YOU are going to have to work hard for your dog's attention before they listen to you when they're surrounded by distractions. You'll find many ways to train your dog to come when called on the internet, but think of HOW you want to train your dog and pick a method your dog will be most responsive to.

For some dogs, that's positive reinforcement training which could include play, treats, activity or anything else that encourages your dog to stay with you because they'll have more fun (or treats) if they are engaged with you. For other dogs it might mean correctional training, or negative reinforcement training (i.e. remote training collars, fences). I've personally had to use this method with my dog, because there was no way I could make our time outside more fun than chasing rabbits and ultimately I needed a correction tool to distract him from a chase and possibly being hit by a car. Now he's excited every time he sees the collar because it means he gets to go outside without a leash and he can RUN! ;)

All dogs need a healthy amount of exercise to burn off their energy, otherwise they're more difficult to train or become anxious - which brings on many other behavioral problems. After you find out what type of training to begin with your dog, be consistent and calm, and you should have some success! If not, you may want to consider a fence to keep your dog safely at home.

All the best,