Training a dog

How to stop my dog from running away when off the leash

Max. D Gray
By Max. D Gray. Updated: January 16, 2017
How to stop my dog from running away when off the leash

For any dog owner the idea of their pet running away is worrying and painful. But it is in your hands to stop this from happening by following some guidelines and being very cautious. For starters it is a matter of canine education, as a trained dog will never run away and will always respond to your call.

You are responsible for your dog, if it runs away during a walk the risk and dangers that it might encounter are many and serious. That's why at we are going to give you a number of tips on how to stop your dog from running away.

You may also be interested in: How to Stop my Dog Attacking Other Dogs

Steps to follow:


Even if obvious, you must always keep your dog on a lead when leaving the house for a walk. Choose the lead which is most adapted to the size and physical activity your dog; this can be short, long, extendible, harness type, etc. Whatever your choice, with it you can stroll with your friend calmly and without incidents. And remember the use of leads is obligatory in cities, so you will also save yourself the fine.

If your dog has the habit of pulling it must learn not to do so and teach it to walk next to you.

How to stop my dog from running away when off the leash - Step 1

A dog needs to walk and play but you must be careful and not leave it loose in any area. Cities are starting to provide more dog parks or areas where dogs can spend some time running without fear of them escaping. These are areas which are well defined with security fences which prevent the animals from leaving. Many of these areas have games for your dog such as tunnels and obstacles ,so they have a really good time; others offer areas with trees where they can rest and romp.

How to stop my dog from running away when off the leash - Step 2

Your dog is your friend and your companion for life, when you create a strong bond with it you love it and look after it as you should. When your relationship with your pet is very close, it is much more difficult to loose him or her during a walk.

The best way to achieve this very special union is playing, giving affection and paying attention to your dog once it has come back. Visual communication with your pet is also very important, teach it to look at you and gradually it will understand that language, and it will respect you as its master.

However, you shouldn't talk to him/her too much during a walk, if you are silent with your dog most of the time, it will pay more attention to you once you call him or her.

How to stop my dog from running away when off the leash - Step 3

You must teach your dog to come when you call it. It is a basic lesson in canine education, and if it learns to do so it is less likely to get lost. The best way to teach your hairy friend is with food rewards, choose its favourite biscuits or treats so when it smells these it will attend immediately. When you go out for a stroll with your dog take your bag of prizes with you and ensure they are very attractive, and whenever your pet obeys give it one.

It is also very important not to call a dog when it's for something the dog might relate as being negative. Only call him for positive things and go directly to get him/her when it is something he o her may not like.

How to stop my dog from running away when off the leash - Step 4

Your dog must always be well identified with a microchip. Remember that in many countries this is compulsory, it is inserted by the veterinarian under the skin in the neck of the dog. The chip stores all of the owner's contact details. So if it unfortunately gets lost and someone finds it these details can be retrieved.

In addition to the microchip, it should have some identification tag on the collar with its name and contact details. Anything that will help your dog return to you if it gets lost. Now, new technologies also serve in ensuring the safety of your dog in the face of it going astray. You can use a GPS attached to your dog's collar and monitor its whereabouts from your mobile phone to know at all times where your dog is.

How to stop my dog from running away when off the leash - Step 5

If your bitch is in heat it will be a magnet for all male dogs to detect her pheromones. Dogs can smell these hormones from many metres distance. If your dog is not well tied it may escape in search of the female. The issue of the heat cycle is complex but, if you are careful, there need not be any risks.

You can change the walking route of the dog, not let the dog go too soon before reaching the dog park, ensure that the lead is attached again and above all ensure you have firm hold of it.

How to stop my dog from running away when off the leash - Step 6

The best time to start training your dog is when he or she is a puppy. Especially before 4 months, puppies will have a special attatchment to their owners and therefore will stay close if you start training him/her off the lead from this early age.

How to stop my dog from running away when off the leash - Step 7

If you'd like to take your dog on playdates or incourage him/her to be friendly with other dogs you may also want to learn how to introduce two dogs.

If you want to read similar articles to How to stop my dog from running away when off the leash, we recommend you visit our Pets category.


  • If your dog does not come when you do call it, don't use the same word over and over again. Just do it once, firmly and loudly. Change your call if he/she does not respond.
Write a comment
What did you think of this article?
My Pyr pup escaped her lead and bounded into the dusk. 3 hours later :(
I heard her barking and walked near her rattling (a little) kibble in her enamelware bowl. As soon as she saw me I turned away heading back to the house.She caught up with me and I kept her heading home with me by intermittant bites...and through the door. Then rewarded with her supper. Of course, I was worried and frustrated while she was gone, but I realized her return had to be all reward.
Nick Ruck Keene
My 2 year old little black working cocker ( spaded) has in recent months started to runaway when off the leash . We have deduced that she is frightened of narrow lanes, toboggans and closed spaces and so try to avoid them but this has severely curtailed the places we can take her. Although as a keen ball chaser she is hopeless when on the leash she is normally obedient and is a happy much loved animal .But she has bolted three times in the last week and has nearly come close to being run over. We are very worried.
OneHowTo Editor
Hi Nick,
try training your dog to come back with treats. If you have followed the tips mentioned above and have not worked it's best you talk to your vet and have your cocker seen by a professional so they can see what the problem may be more closely.
Reeshae McCray
This was very helpful, thanks !
OneHowTo Editor
We're always glad to help!
My dog is a 2 year old Retriever x Mastin which I have had for about 2 months - I found her abandoned in Spain. I already have a Jack Russell and a Labrador so she is well socialised and has friends to play with. She has now started running off when we go out for walks and she is off the lead and despite calling her and having tried the use of treats when she does return, she disappears into the distance. She was recently found about 2km away from where I lost her. Fortunately, due to having a collar with my details in a barrel, she was returned to me. Walks are now becoming stressful and she is spending more time on the lead which is not fun for either of us. Any suggestions? She has been spayed.
OneHowTo Editor
Dear Clare, We have asked our animal expert and she says your best bet is to keep on with the treats in a closed area such as a dog park with fences so it can't escape. You'll be able to let him off the lead in an open space once your dog learns to come back with treats. If you don't have a park near you or this solution doesn't work we suggest taking your dog to a professional dog trainer. Hope this works!
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How to stop my dog from running away when off the leash