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AnswerDear Zena,
My Siberian Husky often runs away from home. He will usually get tired and try to find his way home, but by that time he is usually too far away. When we get in the car to bring him home he keeps on running and thinks it's a game.

How can we train him to stay in the yard and not run away? How about using the electric fence or bark collars with the lemon spray. I don't want to hurt him but are these methods bad for him?

Tyler C. (Utah)


Dear Tyler,

Some breeds of dogs are more likely to stay home near their family. These breeds tend to be the more co-dependent types; the dogs that follow their parents everywhere, right behind them all the time. Zippy, my Giant Schnauzer doesn't like it when she can't see me, so she will follow me from room to room. Whenever we go to the dog park, she stays close by while the other dogs run and frolic freely with the others.

Siberian Huskies are very energetic dogs who love to work, and as a result, they require a large amount of exercise. Sometimes, when they don't get enough exercise, they can take on a destructive nature, or in your case, run away. They can be difficult to train as well so they present a challenge. I am not surprised that your Husky thinks it is a game when you track him down with the car. He doesn't understand what the problem is, because he is having a great time running about exploring, and he probably thinks you have come to join his game.

With respect to the fences and collars, if you are uncomfortable with the idea you could try ensuring that your dog gets enough exercise to see if this changes his behaviour. If that fails, talk to a few local dog trainers to get their perspective. You could also talk to your vet and see if they have any feedback, or if they can pass along names of some people who have tried these methods.

Sincerely Zena & Zippy


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