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Categories: Separation Anxiety

Q. My young dog has an uncontrollable urge to escape my yard, is this because he isn’t neutered?
Cindy,

I have a 17 month old male APBT, who is intact. He is exercised twice a day. But he has this uncontrollable urge to want to escape my yard and roam the neighborhood. I supervise outside in my fenced in yard, but my gate has a little play in it and a 3 inch space where the latch comes together, this is where he's been able to get his big head out of and his body follows. It happened to me the first time as a surprise. He saw something and went to the gate the next I knew he was out running a full speed. It took me 40 minutes to find him. I built a fenced kennel in the yard 8ft x 10ft. He CHEWED through it and got away out of the fence. He doesn't bite or have an aggressive bone in his body towards people, but the sight of this 70 lb-75 lb dog with an impressive physique coming at you can be scary even if hes wagging his tail excessively. My question why is he so obsessed with getting away? Is it because he is not neutered? It is becoming very annoying. I got him as a deterrent from would be bad guys,but now that he has escaped a few times no one is cautious of him because of his very FRIENDLY temperament and now undesirable strangers come by and want to see and pet him! My wife wants him gone because of her concern that he pulls a lot on leash even on a prong collar and if he escape and the wrong circumstances come together we could have a problem. My question, how to deal with this behavior? Is this dog a keeper?

Sincerely,
Samuel

A. It may not be as much an urge to roam as a form of separation anxiety. Some dogs learn how to escape and then become obsessed with getting out of any type of containment. I don’t believe being intact has much to do with it.

The key to this is management, and many times it’s lifelong management. Every time a dog like this is successful in escaping it reinforces that if he tries hard enough he can and will get loose. The problem lies in when you put him in a crate or kennel that he can’t escape from because many times these dogs will injure themselves trying, they won’t give up.

I’d read this article and follow the suggestions to the letter.

If you rehome this dog, it’s likely the behavior will intensify with the next owner. It’s a vicious circle.

I hope this helps.

Cindy
  
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