Do Pitbulls Run Away? (Training Them Not To & How To Find Them)

we know Pitbulls as lovable, loyal companions who just want your affection and attention but what if they see a gate left open or happen to get off the leash, Do you think they will run away?

Do Pitbulls run away? Pitbulls do run away whenever they get the chance, They are curious and adventurous dogs that get too excited to discover a new world or chase a moving object. Pitbulls, like other dogs, will run away to either find a mate or because they are stressed due to changes or loud noise and bright lights

Continue reading to learn how to prevent them from running away, and What to do if your Pitbull actually does take off and escape

Do Pitbulls Run Away?  

pitbull on a ship dock to show why do pitbulls run away

Running away is a possibility with any dog regardless of the breed. Pitbulls are bred to be hunting and sporting dogs, once they are off-leash, they go off like a shot, especially with their curious nature.

5 Reasons why Pitbulls run away 

Even though your Pitbull may run away once they got the chance. This does not mean that they do not love you. “Why” is your first step to solving the running away problem. Here are the most common reasons as well as to why your Pitbull may be running away:

Curiosity & Chasing

Pitbulls have a high wanderlust potential and talent to pick up scents of other animals such as other dogs, cats, or any different bodies.

Their prey drive will drive them to run away when they find the gate open or off-leash, no matter how much your dog is loving you it’s hard to control their desire to chase.


Whenever your dog isn’t getting enough exercise, enrichment, or entertainment inside the home., this can be a recipe for negative behaviors andan lead to them running away. They will actively search for something better to do for entertainment somewhere else. 

If your Pitbull starts to dig, mouth things, and destroy, these are signs that your dog is bored and may run away when he gets the chance.


You don’t have to be violent and abusive to make your dog feel terrified cause if you don’t give your dog enough love and affection, your Pitbull will still feel ignored and unsafe.

Dogs are just like kids, just providing food and shelter for them is not enough, you have to provide emotional support and care as well. Pitbulls are affectionate and social dogs, and you need to give them attention.

Moreover, thunder, gunfire, car accidents, loud fireworks, noises, and big crowds can frighten any dog. As a way for Pitbulls or any dogs, in general, to get away from their fear, they will run away. This is why many dogs that do run away do on the 4th of July because of all the fireworks.

You Made it Too Easy

Pitbulls are smart and playful dogs, so if you make it too easy for them to run away, they probably will.

If you have a broken window or door or your lock is too easy to chew or open, they can get past it without a sweat. and remember, Pitbulls can dig and jump too.

Also, keep in mind that dogs are smart enough to Imitate some of your actions, and if a dog sees you opening a door a certain way, they can find a way to do it and open the door themselves.

This also depends on how hard the dog is trying to run away, a dog that is looking for some fun will not try as hard as a dog looking for food or a mate.

Looking for a mate

Pitbull males are particularly known for their wander looking for mates. Once your dog smells a heated female in the neighborhood. He will put all his effort to meet her.

A dog that is looking for a mate will be very highly motivated to find a way outside the house. Finding his mate will motivate dogs to become escape artists.

6 Tips to prevent your Pitbull from Running Away

Running away can put your dog in a lot of danger. Moving cars, malicious people, and dangerous predators like Coyotes and Wolves can harm your dog or worse. So, to keep your dog safe, here are 6 things you can do that will minimize their chances of running away.

Recall training

Recall training is to teach your Pitbull to come and stay when required. The easiest way for your dog to learn any type of training is using positive reinforcement with click training.

Very briefly, Click training is to reward your dog make sure they understand that they are doing something correctly once they do the commands, repeat the click training to make sure that your dog learned to do the required commands and keep increasing the number of distractions and distance.

Give Them a Safe space

Prepare your dog area before bringing your pitbull home, ensure that your yard is fenced in, the gate is tall enough, and there are no large gaps in the fence that allows your dogs to slide through.

If you have more than one gate. Don’t forget to close them all once your dog is at home. Broken windows also could be an easy way for your pitbull to run away.

This may sound like common sense for you, but, you will be surprised with the number of missing dogs because of an easy way to run away.

Exercises and games

Don’t give your dog the chance to get bored and keep them always busy with exercise and fun games, try using a flirt pole or play fetch (sometimes with a bone).

When your dog is alone at home make sure your dog has enough toys to chew and Puzzle games to play with. Toys can keep your dog engaged and entertained.

Well-fitted collar and leash

A good, reliable, well-fitted collar and leash can prevent your pitbull from running away after squirrels or other small animals. Of course you will need to train them how to walk on a leash without pulling, but choosing the right leash can also make this much easier.

Always Have Some Treats

No dogs will turn their back to their favorite treat, not even a strong-willed Pitbull.

So, always keep some treats with you while you are walking your dog, this way you will be ready for any emergency that could happen if your pitbull gets off-leash or break free.

Avoid Areas with Heavy Distractions

Pitbulls are known as a sociable breed but a heavy distraction area could be a nightmare for any dog owner, especially if your dog is still in their early stages of training.

Avoid trying to push your Pitbull to socialize with other dogs or people at the beginning of his training. Instead, try to keep your pitbull in a calm place of mind and work on introducing him to people and pets gradually and patiently.

What to do if your Pitbull actually runs away?

So the worst has happened and your Pitbull has indeed ran away. Now is not the time to panic, and there are a few things that you need to do right now. Remember, the more quickly you take action, the higher the chances of you finding your dog.

Use your recall word

If your pitbull is trained to respond to an emergency recall word. This is a word or phrase that cues him to immediately return to your side.

Don’t waste your time & search smarter

When your dog lost time is of the essence. Start searching for them immediately. Recruit neighbors, family, and friends to help search for your dog on foot or by car. Give them enough treats from your dog’s favorite ones so they can lure the dog in when they find him.

Post on social media

Use the power of social media. Post on your neighborhood community groups and encourage your friends, neighbors, and family to share the post anywhere the locals can see it.

Flyers are not so old

A lost flyer dog with an updated big picture of your missing dog.

Ensure to add your phone number, your name, and your dog’s name in bold and easy font to read.

Alert the rescue organizations & animal shelters

If your dog is missing for more than an hour, get on the phone and alert every shelter and kennel within a 60-mile radius of your home.  

Let them know if your dog has any special marks on him/her that makes it easy to identify them.

How far can lost Pitbulls run?

Pitbulls are good runners because of their energetic nature, size, short coat, but they have some physical and behavioral limitations which will keep them from being able to safely run for more than about 7 miles.

Also, it’s important to note that Pitbulls are a very wanderlust breed which means they can travel a long away quickly if you didn’t look for them right away. And although they are not the faster out there, Pit Bulls are still fast runners, so if they are chasing something, they can cover long distances in short times, much longer than you will think they can.

Mistakes to avoid when searching for your lost dog 

Just like there are things you can do that will help you find your dog, there are things you can do that will have the opposite effect and will only make it harder to find them. Here are some of the common mistakes people always make that you should avoid.

Don’t move on too quickly nor too slow 

While moving too slow will make it harder to find your dog, moving too quickly will also make it too hard for your dog to find you.

If your dog has heard you calling from a distance, you need to stay put for a few minutes to give your dog a chance to find you, cause it’s hard for Pitbull to follow a sound of moving target, this will confuse your dog.

This is especially important if you are searching for them in a car as you can move a lot faster than if you were on foot.

Expecting a lost dog to come when called

While recall training is one of the most effective ways to prevent your pitbull from running away, sometimes your dog may be injured or exhausted.

Your dog might be so close to you but unable to move.

Do not give chase

Don’t chase your running-away Pitbull, cause a panicked dog will run as fast as he can and most of us can’t outrun dogs in sprints, or he may think you are playing a chasing game and this will make the situation even worse cause the dog will run in the opposite direction. 

Instead, call for your dog and move slowly they understand you are not playing with them. Use treats or toys to lure them back.

And remember to not let them out of your focus, because as the dog moves away and becomes smaller in your vision, it becomes increasingly difficult to find them again if you lose track of them.

Ask for trainers and shelter staff help when your dog runs away, and make sure to have enough treats.

Also important to remember that dogs that got lost for more than 24 hours will be hungry and thirsty. This will make them edgy and a bit aggressive, Pitbull or not.

Where are you most likely to find your lost dog?

Dogs can cover more ground than you might think, But usually, Pitbulls go to these most common places:

Animal shelter

Around 6% of lost dogs are found in local animal shelters. Even if it’s a remote chance, it’s a possibility that should not be ignored. Call your local shelters and ask if they have found a dog or if someone has brought in a dog that matches the description of your dog.

A friend’s house

Perhaps you have a friend with whom your Pitbull is known, and your Pitbull has gone away to visit him.

This is more likely to happen if the friend lives nearby and also has a dog that your Pitbull spends a lot of time with. They may have just run away for an unscheduled playdate.

Vet clinic

A panicked dog may get hit by a car or get injured in other ways. There is a chance that someone might have picked your Pitbull up and brought him to a vet clinic.


Sometimes Pitbull doesn’t run too far and they just will go wander around the neighborhood.

Related Questions 

Will a dog come back if it runs away?

While there is a high chance for wandering dogs to come back home after leaving depending on their smelling skills, This chance is lower for those dogs who run away because they are scared, because they will be afraid to come back.

Can Pitbulls find their way home?

Some Pitbulls find their way home because the amazing ability of Pitbulls to find their way home appears to come from their capacity to detect magnetic fields. Pitbulls use their nose to find their way home by increasing their scent range roaming through overlapping rings of familiar scents.

What dog breeds are most likely to run away?

Most wandering breeds are more likely to run away than others. The top three dogs that used to run away are Labrador Retrievers, Cocker Spaniels, and Jack Russells, based on the experiences of 2,000 British dog owners

Helpful Resources 

Why Dogs Run Away

Mistakes Pet Owners Make When Their Dog Runs away

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