Some dogs are real homebodies that will ignore a door left open or never pay much mind to wandering outside of the boundaries of their garden other than for walks, even if the opportunity arises.
Others, on the other hand, are very opportunistic about taking themselves off to explore the neighbourhood, and will think nothing of following someone who said hello to them over the wall, wandering off through an open gate, or even in some cases, darting out through an opened door or scaling a fence to go walkabout!
There are a great many different reasons and motivations for roaming and wandering off, and a lot of these are situational or relate to the dog’s care and lifestyle-whilst others are inherent evolutionary traits, or specific to certain breeds.
Understanding why a dog might roam can help you to address and rectify the behaviour, and so in this article we will look at the breeds of dog that are most likely to roam and why-and why certain types of dogs, regardless of breed, might wander off on their own. Read on to learn more.
First of all, an unneutered male dog of any breed is much more likely to roam, wander off or escape than any other type of dog or any specific dog breed. This is because an unneutered male dog is highly driven by their hormones, and if there is a bitch in heat anywhere in the area, even some distance away, your dog will know this and go onto autopilot with the sole intention of getting to her and mating.
Dogs that are bored, under exercised or under stimulated come next, because they will be continually looking for ways to address their boredom or high energy levels. Dogs whose needs are not being met in these areas may either roam, or become destructive within the home.
If your dog is hungry, they are also likely to roam-dogs are always ready to eat and rarely say no to food, but if your dog is genuinely hungry-perhaps for a necessary reason such as being put on a diet, or having to fast prior to veterinary treatment-this can give them the extra push needed to head off in search of a meal.
Very friendly dogs-the type that stand with their paws on the gate in the hope of getting attention from a passer-by-may also wander off after a new friend, or if something is happening over the road or next door that they want to join in with.
Although hormonal, behavioural and situational factors have a large impact on how likely any dog is to roam, there are nonetheless certain dog breeds that are significantly more likely to roam or be apt to proactively look for ways to get out and wander off than others.
The Siberian husky tops the list here-these dogs possess the complete package of evolutionary traits that makes them likely to disregard boundaries and wander off. Historically, these dogs were not used to being confined to a small territory, and would instead run and work over large areas, and they also have extremely high exercise requirements that are challenging to meet within a suburban home.
They also have a strong prey drive, and are bold, inquisitive and adventurous, as well as being confident, outgoing and friendly, and not shy or nervous.
The Alaskan malamute comes a close second in the list, for all of the same reasons as the Siberian husky, as do many of the other sled dog breeds and dogs of the spitz type. Again, dogs of this type are not highly territorial-or rather, they know and guard their own territory of the home and garden, but think that their whole territory is much larger, and encompasses much of the surrounding area too.
Dogs from within the hound category like the Beagle and the Fox hound, who were traditionally kept as outdoor dogs and used for working roles and that only recently became popular as pets also tend to be roamers, and can be hard to manage and control within a suburban home, because their transition to pets is a very recent one.
These dogs again retain their evolutionary drive to go out and explore, unconfined by small territories and boundaries within the home.
Certain terrier breeds including the Jack Russell, Airedale and Fox terrier also tend to produce more than their fair share of roaming dogs, because terriers tend to be inquisitive, adventurous and have a low boredom threshold, accompanied by high activity levels.
The high prey drive of terriers plays a part too, as does the terrier propensity to dig, which often serves as both a form of entertainment and a way of creating the opportunity required to get out and go exploring.
In order to stop or reduce your dog’s tendency to roam, taking into account their breeding and what makes roaming appealing to them is the key. Ensuring that you provide for your dog’s lifestyle needs in terms of entertainment, exercise and their ability to manifest their natural behaviours is vital, as is keeping a close eye on your dog and ensuring that the opportunity to wander off is reduced or removed.