Wandering Dogs

If you own a dog and it wanders away or escapes from your property, it may be impounded and you will have to pay a fee to collect it. If your dog causes damage, or injures a person or another animal, you can be made liable for this damage.

Preventative measures to stop your dog from wandering or escaping

There are many factors that can contribute to dogs feeling the need to escape or wander. One of the most common is boredom. 

A bored dog will try and entertain itself, which can lead to undesirable behaviours such as trying to access the interesting outside world beyond their property. 

Walk your dog regularly 

During the walk allow your dog to sniff and explore the environment as much as possible, as sniffing is the most mentally exhausting activity a dog can do. Aim for one 30-45 minute sniffing walk per day. 

Spend time with your dog

Dogs are social creatures that have been bred to be companion animals. Most dogs require at least four hours with their human family per day to feel safe, secure and content. This time should include physical interactions (affection), play, training, and time being able to physically access their humans. 

Enrich your dog’s environment

Spending time in the same environment, with the same toys, same smells, same noises can be really boring.

  • Rotate your dogs’ toys by putting them away and bringing only two out per day

Dogs are natural scavengers and foragers. Feeding them from a food bowl is not only un-natural for them, it is also doesn’t use any of their mental energy! So why not give your dog a job to do working for its food! Not only do they love it, it is also a great way to tire them out.

  • Scatter dry food around the yard or hide it
  • Put wet food in a Kong toy or freeze into an ice block in warm weather
  • Freeze a meal size portion of their dog roll and feed it to them as a big dog roll ice block

Although things like left over toilet roll holders, empty plastic pots, cardboard boxes, egg cartons, milk cartons/bottles etc all seem boring to us, that is not so with our dogs. Instead of tossing these in the recycling, give them to your dog to play with first.

Leave your dog inside the home when you go out

Many dogs find it far easier to relax when left inside as the distractions are far less and they feel more comfortable.

Before trialling leaving your dog inside, it’s important to ensure that they are not able to access any areas or items where they may get into mischief. Begin by leaving them inside for a short trial period, then slowly increase the time they are left alone. 

Sterilise you dog

Dogs may wander and attempt to escape to find a mate. Speak to your vet to discuss this option further. 

Please note the above is a guide only. If your dog continues to wander or escape, then other factors that contribute to this behaviour must be explored. If this is the case, please consult a Veterinary Behaviourist.


The size and activity level of your dog should determine the type of fence that you need to prevent your dog from escaping. The dog must not be able to jump or climb over, dig under or push through the fence.

For dogs that jump, try adding an inward sloping extension to the top of the fence or install a roller fence (sometimes known as Coyote Rollers). Alternatively, you can put up an additional low internal fence about a metre in from your boundary fence. This stops the dog getting a ‘run-up’ at the fence or getting into position to jump up the fence.

If the dog is digging out, you may need to dig a trench around the bottom of the fence and fill it with concrete, or bury a strip of chicken wire at the bottom of the fence.

Self-latching gates

Self-latching gates should be installed to prevent your dog from getting out accidentally.

Pen or compound

When fencing the whole yard is difficult, dogs may be kept in an enclosure. These should be big enough for the size of your dog, and should be built in a quiet, sheltered area. Do not build the pen or compound near your neighbour’s fence or a busy footpath.

A concrete base is better than dirt as it is easier to keep clean and prevents digging out. 

Dogs kept in an enclosure must be introduced to the confinement slowly, beginning with only short lengths of time in the confinement, then this time can be gradually increased. 


Tethering your dog on a rope or chain is not recommended as the dog can easily get tangled. You must still have a proper fence even if your dog is tethered on a rope or chain.

Report a wandering dog