At our dog training facility in Northern Virginia, we hear many stories of how when untrained dogs get outside, they turn catching them into a game. Meaning, when you get close to them, they will run away; often times, this results in the owner having to “trick” the dog in order to catch them (luring them using treats, cornering them, etc).
Dogs display this running behavior when they get outside for a couple reasons.
First, they more than likely escaped when the door opened, this means that you and your dog have not practiced door manners nor incorporated it into your obedience training. You can see numerous videos of us training dogs to do door manners on our YouTube Channel.
Second, if your dog does this, that tells me that your dog cannot be trusted outside off leash; meaning, their obedience training isn’t to the point where you can allow them to have freedom to run outside. Since your dog never has freedom outside/off leash, to run around, play, explore, and sniff around; when they do get outside with this freedom, they don’t want to come back because they are enjoying their freedom to explore.
Third, they turn it into a game. Your dog knows you are trying to catch them, so they just turn it into a fun game. Fun for them, but not you. They let you get close, they run back, they let you get close, they run back.
Lastly, generally when your dog escapes and you DO catch them, you usually punish them somehow. So this really reinforces to your dog, “Do not get caught or go in.”
Fixes For This Behavior:
This is simply an obedience training issue, that’s literally all it is. Obedience training completely fixes this issue and prevents it from ever happening.
First, your dog now does door manners, so they don’t just run out of the open door.
Second, they can be outside, off leash, and have freedom on a daily basis; therefore, being outside off leash looses it’s “fun” appeal, because it’s a daily occurrence. The dogs we train at our dog training facility in Northern Virginia are literally outside, off leash, and running around freely on a daily basis; therefore, them being outside and “free” isn’t a new fun adventure for them.
Lastly, they come on command every single time you call them, so you never have to worry about having to chase them.
If you find yourself chasing your dog outside, I would recommend finding a qualified trainer in your area that specializes in off leash obedience.