Suppose you want to prevent your dog from straying. Make sure your pet has plenty of toys available. Also, Don’t leave your pet alone for extended periods as well. Suppose you engage your dog in activities it enjoys. It is less likely to stray.

prevent my dog from straying
Stray dog lying in the street – image by Khoa Vo from pexels

If you’re a dog owner, you know how important it is to keep your dog from straying. Dogs are known to wander and may go out of their routine and explore the world around them.

Some dogs prefer to roam further away than others, but this doesn’t mean they will necessarily wander far from home. If a dog goes missing, it can devastate the owner and the entire community. This is why many people have been looking into ways to prevent their dogs from straying.

But why do dogs stray? Dogs can stray for many reasons, including boredom, mating, fear, and prey drive.

Table of Contents

Reasons Why Dogs Stray


Boredom is a significant reason for dogs straying. Dogs, apart from being energetic animals, are also attention-seeking animals. This means a dog should never be left unattended for a prolonged period or alone with no task to carry out.

Consequently, this leaves the dog bored and may decide to explore its surrounding environments independently. In the process, the dog may lose its way.


Dogs are naturally curious animals, and they are also natural runners. They can be afraid of things that scare them, and some dogs are more fearful than others.

Some common fears that can cause a dog to stray include fear of unfamiliar people or animals. Furthermore, loud noises, fear of being left alone, and a history of abuse and neglect can cause a dog to stray.

Prey Drive

A dog’s prey drive is the instinct to chase and capture prey, which can be a problem for some dogs. Dogs with high prey drive are more likely to stray, especially if you do not socialize them properly to behave around animals, people, and objects.

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When faced with neglect, even a well-behaved dog can find chasing after little animals like squirrels fun and sometimes may not know when to stop the chase. It can lead to the dog straying.


Mating is an instinctual act for dogs. The instinct to mate is so strong that it makes them stray from their homes and sometimes even attack other animals and people.

Dog Straying Can Be Due To Separation Anxiety

Separation Anxiety is a condition that affects dogs and their owners. Dogs with separation anxiety tend to be more anxious about being left alone and may show signs of distress when separated from their owners.

Though common behaviours associated with separation anxiety are barking, whining, and pacing, it can also cause a dog to stray from home. To prevent your dog from straying, it would be best not to leave it along for long periods.

Several things can trigger separation Anxiety in your per. A change in routine, a new pet or a person living in the home can cause separation anxiety. Other factors include weather changes, illness, or even a change in the owner’s schedule.

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New Territory

New territory can be a lot of things. A dog will always get curious and want to explore. Whether in the house next door or the park down the street. However, that is not always a good thing.

When they are in unfamiliar territory, dogs may become anxious. They tend to bark more than usual to warn other animals about their presence. If left unattended, they may decide to explore and stray in the process.

Prevent Your Dog From Straying

prevent my dog from straying
A stray dog – image by Skyler Ewing from pexels

Having realized the reasons dogs stray, how do you prevent this from happening?

All the reasons discussed above have a common root cause: negligence on the owners’ part. No matter how busy you are, maybe due to a schedule change, you must make time for your dogs and never let them feel lonely or abandoned by their owners.

If this happens often enough and goes on for too long, then it is likely that your dog will start going out on his own.

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Prevent Straying Due To Boredom

To prevent your dog from straying as a result of boredom, you try to observe the following;

  1. Make sure you provide plenty of toys for your pet. A bored dog is not only likely to be destructive but also likely to become a stray dog.
  2. Don’t leave your pet alone for long periods—this will make them more likely to wander off.
  3. If you’re going out of town, take a plush toy or two, so they can keep themselves occupied while you’re gone.
  4. If you live in a small apartment, try leaving some food out in case they get hungry while you are away.
  5. Make sure there’s always something exciting happening around the house (like lights turning on and off.

How To Prevent Your Dog From Straying Due To Fear

In the case of fear, you first must understand your dog’s fears. You must work with your dog and help them learn how to confront its concerns and be comfortable in new situations. They might feel threatened or afraid around other people, dogs, or animals.

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Correctly socializing your dogs will make them comfortable around other dogs or people. It would be best to ensure there aren’t any signs of stress.

Prevent Straying For Mating Purposes

There are several other things that you can do to prevent your dog from straying as a result of seeking a mate or exploring new territory. They are

  1. Keep your dog indoors, especially if they have met their mate outside or near a busy road.
  2. Do not let them roam free around the neighbourhood. Make sure they have a collar and tag with their name and address in the event they wander off. It will help to identify them easily. Furthermore, you can quickly contact the police or someone else who can help you find them with their information.
  3. If possible, try to implant a chip in your dog. The chip will help you to locate your dog should it wander off.
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