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Boxers that Bolt: Tips to Help You Stop Your Dog from Escaping

Why did the boxer jump the fence?

To get to the other side!

Why do our Boxer pups bolt by us and run out the front door? Why do they hurdle the fence or

slip out of their leash and run away? The reason is what a trainer might call a “self-rewarding behavior.” We may know it as— “there is something or somebody really fun (or exciting or dangerous or tasty) on the other side of the door and I am going to get it right now!”

Sound familiar?

Each time one of our beloved four-legged escape artists go roaming they are actually being rewarded for it. Dogs are curious and want to be active and explore and discover. The self-rewarding nature of escaping can make it difficult to change when it becomes a habit, but since we know it endangers their lives we have to find solutions.

Identify why your dog is bolting. Consider these possibilities:

  • Boredom - Home alone all day without activity or interaction

  • Separation Anxiety – Lonely dogs may take off to find their families

  • Chase or Prey Drive – “Must get squirrel!”

  • Food Rewards – Outside food sources like pizza in the neighbor’s trash

  • Protecting Territory – Chasing potential intruders away

  • Play – Who doesn’t love to play chase?

  • Reproductive Drive – Love is in the air, literally.

Make sure you have a happy, comfortable, secure and engaging home environment for your pup.

The Backyard Fence

Build a secure fence. A six-foot fence should deter most escape artists. There are some exceptions! For the very acrobatic Boxer who can leap tall buildings with a single bound, you might look at putting up a coyote roller. There are coyote roller do-it-yourself options.

If they like to dig their way out, you can bury some chicken wire along the fence line or place some bricks at the bottom of the fence line. When you dog stays in the backyard, be sure that you always provide plenty of clean water and a proper shelter.

Exercise and Play

Dogs that get daily walks are less interested in escaping. Just like you, your pup is getting to stretch his legs and enjoy the sights. All those new and different smells along the way are exciting. If they are spending all day in the same yard day after day, they can become bored and frustrated. That is when a neighbor’s yard will start to look and (and smell) very interesting to any dog.

Boxers are naturally playful. Playing with other dogs, tug toys, chasing a ball or Frisbee keeps a wiggle butt stimulated and happy. Boxer’s just want to have fun!

While You Are Away from Home

Try not to leave your dog alone for long periods of time. When we have to work all day and doggy daycare isn’t an option, we can ask a neighbor to drop by, hire a dog walker or go home for a quick lunch and 10-minute walk. Breaking up the tedium in our dog’s day makes a real difference.

Safe, interactive toys are a great way to keep your Boxer engaged while you are away. Freeze wet food inside of a classic rubber Kong. Other toys to check out are Busy Buddy Tug-a-Jug, the Omega Paw Tricky Treat Ball. With a little research you will find lots of options.

You might leave the radio or TV on for background noise. That can make your home feel more like it is when you are home, and it will mask out strange sounds that could be escape triggers for your dog.