When Your Dog Runs Away

Although the doberman is one of the smartest, most obedient and trainable dogs, some are a challenge for their owners.  If your dog has been through obedience training and is still having issues, you’ll need to find a solution that works best for you and your dogs personality. Remember some dobermans learn quicker than others.

When a dog does not obey your command you need to ask yourself a few questions. Did he hear you? You may need to speak louder or consider he has a hearing problem. Is he distracted by some smell? Get his attention, you need to be more interesting than the smell. Does he respect you as the leader? Is he a stubborn dog? Is he testing your authority? If so then this dog will need more work. Keep in mind that it takes about one and a half to three years for a dog to fully express his dominance, but once established it’s usually permanent.  A dominant dog will take advantage of owners that they perceive to be weak. Beware trying to get your dog’s affection by excessively petting him, spoiling him or not doing enough training. When your dog is disobedient let him know immediately your disapproval by the tone of your voice.

happy doberman dog runs awayBasic obedience training teaches your dog valuable commands that will keep him safe and make him a good canine companion. But another important part of obedience training is showing the dog that you are in control, that you are the boss. The more training dogs receive from their human pack leader, the more they will respect their leadership. If you give a command be prepared to follow it through with a correction if ignored. How do you do this with a dog that runs away or does not come? If you are doing basic come command training, you would be keeping your dog on a leash or rope to learn to come when called. Then you would test his come obedience with distractions around, still on a rope. Only when your dog comes every time called should you trust him off leash. If your dog is still disobeying this command, go back to training on a rope increasing the distance and distractions, little by little.

If you lose patience in “come” training or your dog still won’t reliably come when called after considerable practice,  you need to deal with this fact. It is important for you to prevent having your dog escape, lost or injured in traffic. This is for his safety and your sanity. Decide to only allow him off leash in a fenced yard. Don’t take any chances off leash if you’re not sure that he’ll return to you.  Also, when in your car, make sure to put the leash on before opening the door.  Smart dogs like the doberman will wait until your guard is down before trying to escape.


If your dog runs away or escapes, he will either run away quickly or wander around exploring, staying in sight but not reachable. He has basically decided that his freedom is more interesting than you.  So you need to be more interesting to entice him back.  Remain calm. If you can see him try calling his name while kneeling down with open arms, smile and sound inviting.

If the come command doesn’t work try these tricks:

  • opening the door to your house and run in calling your dogs name, he might run in after you.
  • if you have food, try enticing him closer with it, the smellier, the better, dogs love cheese, this works well with food motivated dogs.
  • follow him, wait until he is busy smelling, urinating/pooing, then walk up behind him quietly where his peripheral vision can’t see as well.
  • lie flat down on the ground, your dog may be interested to investigate you
  • if you think your dog is teasing you (he’s playful and bouncing around out of reach), try sitting down and ignoring him
  • open the car door and happily ask if your dog wants to go on a car ride.
  • try starting a game of fetch with a favorite toy or squeaky
  • let your dog see you pretend to leave (but don’t really leave)
  • try running in the opposite direction, dogs are predisposed to chase and may follow your chase game

If you manage to get your dog in reach, don’t lunge for him, his reflexes are faster than yours. Let him come to you, then pet and praise him while slowly grabbing the collar. Don’t show him any anger for coming to you.

If unfortunately your doberman has run away out of sight, note what direction he went and gather people to search the area. Your local humane society should also be able to help search.

Do you have any tricks to help catch a runaway dog?

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