A couple of days ago; one of my daughters said to me "I don't get dogs that run away." She said that she didn't understand having a dog that wanted to run away from their guardian. I have to admit the concept of someones dog running away has always left me puzzled. I have never in all of my years of living with dogs had a dog that wanted to run away from me. I'm sure there are days when running away might have crossed their mind just like my kids may have had the same thought but in general they like it here. As a trainer I know many people who's dogs want to run away and there are many reasons for it.
Many times a dog wants to run due to genetic make up. Take sitehounds for instance, it is a well known fact that you don't allow them to run off leash. They love to run just for the pure joy of running. They are also triggered easily to moving objects; which means they are gone before you know it. My JRT is the same, she has a feather trigger switch. Sledding breeds would also be in this running category although they do not trigger, they love to run. But in all of these cases the dogs are running after something; not running away from their guardian.
There are the scent dogs who follow their nose. Often they become lost in their scent voyage; finally looking up I'm sure that they realize that they are far from their home, their guardian and where they want to be. Beagles are one of the most common breeds that "take off." Again, most of the time the beagle is not intending to run away; they just can't help following their nose. And for this reason alone, these type of scent breeds need alot of training and consistent work on their obedience skills.
Boredom is probably one of the biggest causes of runners. Life in a backyard can be pretty darn boring; so given the opportunity of hopping the fence and having fun, many dogs take the risk. "Escape artists," is how they are tagged; these dogs who seek excitement outside of their own domain. Who can blame them though, many are labradors, border collies and other over energized breeds and mixes. Once they have a taste of what lies on the other side of the fence; the old saying of "life is always greener," is a factual statement.
And then their is the sad reason for running; no connection to home or guardian. No dog should ever feel this way but sadly many do. Their guardian more than likely sees them as "the dog." Now I know they are the dog but you know what I mean when I say "the dog." No bonding, no amazing relationship, just no connection at all. This is sad for both species, to never know how a dog can change your life if given half a chance to do so. Give and take, it is a simple process; but one which requires an open heart and open mind.
I know that dogs love to run but to have your dog run away from you emotionally is something entirely different. If you know anyone who has not connected with their dog; give them a glimpse into the amazing mind and heart of a dog by telling your story of dog love. I have met many people who are absent of a canine relationship even though they have a canine; and I always try to explain what they could be missing out on.