Cesar Millan Helps A Canine Escape Artist Face Her Fears
Dog Training Expert Cesar Millan helps a family understand the fears that have turned their normally loving dog into an escape artist.
Generally, the safest place for pets to be is at home under the protection of their loving families. But for dogs who learn to associate their home with fear, they will do anything to make their escape. One such dog is Ivy, who has been owned by Wendy and her parents for the past 6 years. Anytime Ivy hears a loud noise, she panics and jumps the backyard fence, bolting into the street. Since Wendy’s dad is a contractor who often needs to use power tools for work, this is a common occurrence. On this episode of “Cesar 911,” Dog Expert Cesar Millan intervenes to help Ivy face her fears before she goes missing or gets hit by a car.
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Since Ivy is a large dog who can easily climb and jump fences, her family can’t simply take away her escape route. Instead, Cesar teaches Wendy how to be a leader who Ivy can turn to for comfort when she is scared. The key for making this escape artist retire is to desensitize Ivy from the sounds that scare her, and to help her family stop worrying to relieve the tension in their relationship.
If you are the proud owner of your own escape artist, have hope that this behavior can be corrected. It’s important to get to the reason behind why your dog is trying to escape, such as fear, boredom, or they simply see an opportunity to explore. Once you understand why your dog may be making a run for it, you can take measures to stop this behavior and block possible escape routes. Here are 6 tips you can use to stop your pup from escaping once and for all!
Block Possible Escape Routes
If your yard has an easily accessible escape route for your dog, simply blocking or removing this path may keep your dog safely on your own property. In general, you should have a fence that is at least 6 feet tall to keep your dog in the yard and ensure all gates and latches are in working order. But if you happen to own a jumper or a climber, a tall fence may not do the trick. Try adding a section to the top of your fence that tilts inward and creates a sort of awning on the inside of the fence. You can do this as a DIY project by using an L-footer or lean-in made from farm wire and attaching it to the top of your fence. When your dog sees the new fencing, they should be deterred from more jumping or climbing. Similarly, make sure to remove climbing aids that your pet may be using to scale your fence. Some examples of climbing aids you may not even realize you have are trash cans, tables, chairs, wood piles, boulders or large rocks, and playground equipment.
If you have a small dog or a digger, you’ll want to make sure any paths under the fence are blocked. Consider pouring a concrete footer around the perimeter of your fence that will prevent digging, or attach an inward facing L-footer along the bottom of the fence. This can be made from chicken wire, hardware cloth, or a piece of chain-link fence, which can be buried to ensure it doesn’t move and for aesthetic reasons. Lastly, consider purchasing your puppy or small dog a Puppy Bumper that will prevent them from sneaking out of any small holes or cracks.
Don’t Leave Your Dog Alone
If you can’t trust your dog in your backyard, don’t ever leave them unsupervised, and especially not for an extended period of time. Until you are sure your dog won’t try to escape your yard, keep him in the house when you go out or can’t watch him. If you see your pup start to escape, correct the behavior immediately and reward your dog for listening. You may also want to keep your dog on a long or extended leash while in your yard so that you can always grab it if your dog is close to making a successful escape.
Make The Backyard Their Happy Place
Dogs may try to escape a backyard if it starts to feel like a prison or gets too boring. Instead, make your backyard your dog’s favorite place so he will never want to leave it! Make sure your dog has food, shelter, and water, as well as fun activities to keep him occupied during his time outdoors. Try rotating your dog’s toys so he doesn’t get bored with them, or give him treat dispensing or puzzle treats that enhance mental stimulation. If your dog prefers people to treats and toys, spend your time outdoors bonding through petting, training sessions, and light grooming or brushing.
Block Their View
If your pup takes his role as guard dog a little too seriously, it may be in everyone’s best interest to block his view. This will prevent your dog from taking off after any perceived dangers or bolting after a squirrel that got a little too close. You can block your dog’s view inexpensively by using rolls of bamboo or reed fencing, or by planting new shrubbery and growing vines along your fence.
Train Key Commands
Teach your dog key commands that will help thwart any escape attempts, and will help ensure your dog comes home safely if he does get loose. Make sure your dog knows commands like “come” and “stay” that will help your dog either return to you on his own, or stay in one place while you approach. This will also prevent catching your dog from turning into a game of chase, which can be dangerous when your dog is loose around busy streets. We also recommend teaching your dog an emergency word, which he knows means stop what he is doing and come back to you immediately. When you use this word, your dog should know you mean business.
Be Ready Before The Escape.
If you know your dog likes to escape, have tools in place to ensure your dog will come home again quickly and safely. Make sure he has a microchip and current city license so he can be identified by a veterinarian or shelter and returned to you when he is found. We also recommend including a GPS tracker on your dog’s collar so you will be able to follow his location at all times.
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