It’s boring when you are not around. Very boring. Soooooooo boring.
Some dogs are good at self-entertaining. But the smart ones need a lot more interaction.
Here are a few things I’ve seen be quite effective in reducing a dog’s urge to escape:
- A Long, Hard Walk. I know your morning is already rushed, but if you can get a good walk (or run) out of the way, your pet is going to be much more likely to take a nap right after you leave. It’s hard to escape when you are napping.
- New Toys. Especially chew toys. But having toys to rotate out throughout the week, can give your dog something fun to look forward to as you are leaving. The trick is to rotate them every day (or every other day) in order to give them something fresh to play with.
- A Playmate. Never underestimate the value of companionship. If you get a small dog that is unable to jump fences and too weak to dig through/under/around them, they can be an excellent “anchor” to the yard. Plus, they double as chew toys (winky face).
If your dog exhibits a lot of nervous behavior (whining, scratching, frantic chewing), they may be suffering from separation anxiety. This can be caused by a lot of things, but most likely they were left along a lot in their past and they are terrified of it.
Separation anxiety is a hard one to work past. You can try distracting them. Hide dog treats around the yard or house for them to find. Get a dog bone (like this one) that you can fill with flavors such as cheese whiz or peanut-butter. Give it to your pet just before you leave and they can learn to associate your departure with something fun.
However, separation anxiety is not something to take lightly. If not repaired, it will only get worse and can spread to other unwanted behaviors, such as nervous peeing or biting.
The bottom line is, if your dog truly has separation anxiety, they should probably stay with a friend or sitter while you are at work. During the night-times and weekends, you can work with them by closing them on the other side of a bedroom door for increasingly longer periods of time and reward them for their patience
You can also spend this time to do crate training with them.
By helping them slowly build an acceptance to the fact that when you are gone you will come back, you can often overcome separation anxiety in your pet — and stop the escapism. But for starters, you may need someone to help watch your loved one while you get them accustomed to the idea.
Seeking A Mate
This is most common in un-neutered males (although, occasionally you will get a female that wants to wander. )
Fixing your pet can help with this. In addition, using the anti-boredom tricks above can also go a long way towards fixing this issue by distracting your pet.
Finally, you can invest in more and — better fences. However, unless you erect a privacy fence, going down the “barrier” route normally results in a system where you have fences inside your fences.
Which is ugly, and doesn’t solve your pet’s real problems. But it can work if you invest enough.
I hope some of these ideas help.