The Dog Runner! How To Deal With A Furry Escape Artist

 The Dog Runner! How To Deal With A Furry Escape Artist

Written By Amica Graber

Jan 6, 2017

While it’s true that some dog breeds are more apt to run away than others, given the right motivation (cat, squirrel, food, FUN!) any dog can try and recreate The Shawshank Redemption in your backyard.

Losing your dog is one of the worst feelings a pet-owner can experience. If your dog has shown signs of wanting to fly the coop, or you own one of the following breeds, the best way to keep your dog safe is through rigorous preparation.

Which Dog Breeds Are Most Likely To Run Away?

Shiba Inu

The Shiba Inu gets an honorable mention for being so escaping! The foxy little Shiba is a popular pet for its good looks and fun personality. But seasoned Shiba Inu owners will caution a new pet-parent against taking their eyes off a new Shiba in the family.

Related: Dogs That Look Like Foxes 

Shiba Inus are notorious for relishing the screams of their owners as they hightail into the distance.

“After a particularly vicious ice storm earlier this winter, I slipped and fell while walking my Shiba” posted one Reddit user. “I accidentally let go of the leash, and he trotted away. I got up as fast I could and hobbled after him, trying to get his attention. He turned around, saw that I was following him, and sped up. We will not be having off-leash time anytime soon.” 

In addition to being rogue off-leash, Shiba’s are notorious for digging and jumping their way out of fenced yards. Often compared to a cat in terms of aloofness, the Shiba is also a master climber and can shimmy over a 6ft fence without blinking twice.


The Shiba Inu also doesn’t understand the concept of “fear” which can lead to dangerous situations.


Don’t worry, both Shibas were safely rescued!

Sled Dogs

Huskies, Malamutes, Samoyeds...pretty much all sled dogs are engineered to be natural-born escape artists. All sled dogs were bred to be working dogs. Without a “job” to do, these dogs can easily become bored, and try to find “work” by escaping!


Scent Hounds

Beagles, Coonhounds, Foxhounds, Bloodhounds, and other scent hounds are also likely to skedaddle. Any smell caught on the wind is an open invitation for the scent-sitive hound!

Why Do Dogs Run Away?

  • Boredom. Is your dog getting enough exercise? Even a small dog needs two vigorous walks a day. A larger, or hyper breed, will need more activity than a quick jaunt around the block.
  • Fun! Socializing with other dogs, digging up the neighbor’s flowerbeds, chasing squirrels...without that dratted human on the other end of the leash, a naughty pup may be motivated by their idea of a good time!
  • A recent move or change in circumstance. If you’ve moved house, had a baby, gotten divorced, or experienced a significant life change, chances are that your dog will also be affected by it.
  • Mating behavior. If you have a dog that isn’t yet neutered, they’re likely to break out in search of romance.
  • Separation anxiety: if your dog is left alone, they might try and break out out in order to find you :(

Dog Runner

Okay, but if you have a super-active dog breed, how do you make sure they get enough exercise without letting them off-leash? Try a dog runner! Here are some ideas and tips for building a dog run that will contain even the most determined of furry Houdinis!

Dog Run Ideas

Instead of building an enclosure worthy of Jurassic Bark in your backyard, try using some of these ideas to stop the avid doggy explorer.

Wireless Pet Containment System

wireless pet containment system


Don’t want to install a labyrinth of wire fences to keep your dog in line? Maybe you rent, or don’t have enough space to build a dog run. In any case, try using a wireless pet containment system. When your dog leaves the designated area, they’ll receive light shocks until they return. As the system is totally portable, you can take it with you anywhere. 

Although some dog owners have sworn by the wireless system, others say that a determined dog with run through the perimeter, shock-collar aside, and refuse to return. 

Dig Defense System



Dig Defence is great for the digging pooch. Simply hammer it into the ground, and no more under-fence escapades.

Inverted Fence



If you’re handy with tools, build an inverted fence system around the top of your dog run. If a cat can’t scale it, neither can a cunning hound!


Roller Bar Fence


Read this awesome tutorial from on how to build a roller bar fence that is puppy-proof.

Dog Trolley System

Do you have a yard and a dog that defies gravity when it comes to fences? Try an aerial dog runner. They’re inexpensive and easy to make. Just make sure that you build one in an area without any objects that a dog could climb or jump off of, and use a harness, not a collar, to prevent a choking hazard. 

You can buy the parts separately from any hardware store, or buy a dog runner kit from Amazon or Home Depot.

An aerial dog run means your pet can still run back and forth like a nutcase, while still being contained within a safe area. Use common sense: don’t leave your dog unattended while attached to a cable run, and use in short bursts.

What To Do Before You Lose Your Dog

  • Make sure your dog is microchipped
  • Get a personalized dog tag featuring your name, address and phone number
  • Consider buying a smart dog collar that has GPS tracking
  • Make sure your yard and home is secured, and all potential escape routes are sealed

What To Do After You Lose Your Dog

  1. Print posters and put them EVERYWHERE. Include a photograph, description, and your contact details. Get in your car and and paper every lamp post in a 3 mile radius of your home.
  2. Join local Facebook groups for lost pets, and post photographs of your pet. Ask your friends to share your status, which should include the same information as the ‘LOST DOG’ poster.
  3. Post a ‘LOST DOG’ posting on Craigslist
  4. Email or call every animal shelter, veterinary clinic, animal control center — even grooming centers and provide a photograph and description of your dog
  5. Don’t give up! Keep looking and calling around your neighborhood every day until you find your dog!

For more tips on what to do if you lose your dog, read DogPack's top tips for finding a lost dog.

Do you have any tips on owning a Houdini dog? Share them in the comments!