Labradors are known to be great escape artists and it can be very stressful for the owner when they do escape. This post will help you to figure out why your Labrador runs away and will help you to prevent it from happening in the future.

So, why does your Labrador run away?

There are a number of reasons why your Labrador might decide to run away depending on the situation.

Possible reasons include being bred to run so it’s in their nature, trying to get home, wanting to mate, curiosity, distractions such as cats, and wanting attention. 

And, what’s the best way to stop your Labrador from running away?

The best way to stop your Labrador from running away will depend on the situation.

Possible solutions include having higher fences, using baby gates, getting it neutered, using a long leash, giving it lots of exercise, training it to not run away, giving it distractions such as toys, and crate training.

There are actually a lot of things that you can do to reduce the likelihood of your Labrador from running away and spending a moment to get to the root cause can make things much easier.

Possible Reasons Your Labrador Runs Away

Below are some reasons why your Labrador might run away and what would make them more likely to be a main reason.

It wants attention

The cause could be that it is looking for extra attention and it knows that running out the door is a good way to get it. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more when you have not been giving it much attention and if you tend to give it extra attention when it does it.

It would help to give it attention throughout the day in the form of training, exercise and by playing with it and it would help to use positive reinforcement training to get it to stop.

It wants to mate

It could be that it wants to find another Labrador to mate with. This is especially likely to be the case if it’s a male. To prevent this from happening you should consider getting it neutered.

It’s curious

Labradors can be very curious dogs. One possible cause of why it wants to run away is that it wants to explore its surroundings.  You can try to reduce this by giving it lots of exercise in your local area and to train it to not run away when you open the door using the method in the section below.

Trying to get home

If you recently moved it won’t consider it as home for a while so it will try to escape so that it can go back to its old home. To prevent this from happening make sure to get it used to your new home, to be extra patient and to be extra observant of your Labrador during your first few months in your new home.

It’s distracted

Labradors are dogs that can have a high prey drive. If they see a cat or a squirrel running then it won’t hesitate to run after it. This is why it’s important to start training them from an early age and to continue to train them regularly.

How To Stop Your Labrador From Running Away

Below are some options you have when getting your Labrador to stop running away.

Prevent it from being able to run away

The first option would be to take measures to prevent it from being able to run away.

Some ways to do this would include:

  • Having high fences
  • Using baby gates
  • Making sure the exits are secure
  • Using a chain lock on the front door so that you can open it without your Labrador escaping
  • Teaching it crate training
  • Giving it distractions such as toys to play with
  • Using a long leash so that it can run while you’re still in control
  • Making sure to keep the front door locked
  • Making it more difficult for it to dig under parts of the fence

Give it lots of exercise

It would also help to give it lots of exercise so that it is fully stimulated and less likely to look for extra ways to be stimulated. Generally, it is recommended for adult Labradors to get at least an hour of exercise per day as healthy adults.

How to get to stop running away at the door

To do this you’ll need to have taught it to stay when told to already.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Put a leash and harness on the Labrador and have some treats that it likes handy
  2. Go to the door for your backyard with your Labrador
  3. Start by telling it to stay and then just put your hand on the doorknob
  4. If it stays give it a treat
  5. Tell it to stay then turn the door handle
  6. If it stays give it a treat
  7. Tell it to stay then open the door slightly then close it
  8. If it stays give it a treat
  9. Repeat each time opening the door a little further
  10. Repeat. This time, when you open the door, gradually keep it open for longer periods.
  11. Repeat. This time walk away to a small distance
  12. Repeat this time using a toy that it likes start by just putting it just outside then try throwing it.
  13. Continue to do it regularly

You can watch how it’s done in the video below.

Teach it to stay off the leash

It would also help to use positive reinforcement training to get it to stop running away when it is not on the leash.

You can watch the video below to see how it is done.

Give it lots of attention

It would also help to give it attention throughout the day so that it does not feel the need to get it from you as much. Ways to give it attention would include exercising it, training it and playing with it.

Things to consider

Don’t punish it

It would help to avoid punishing it when it does it since it might not understand why it is being punished. Instead, it would help to give it positive reinforcement training so that it learns how it is meant to behave.

Don’t take it personally

Labradors are a breed that are known for running away when given the chance and it’s something that comes naturally to them. With this being the case, if it runs away, it’s not because it’s not happy with you but more due to its nature.

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I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.