Why Puppy Runs Away From Me When I Approach? 11 Reasons

Have you ever noticed how some puppies have a habit of scampering away when you try to get closer to them?

It is a common behavior that raises questions about the puppy’s personality, past experiences, and the dynamics of the human-puppy relationship. 

Let’s explore why a puppy runs away from me when I approach, how to react when it happens, and how to build a positive connection with your furry friend.

Puppy Runs Away From Me When I Approach – 11 Reasons Why

puppy runs away from me when i approach

Puppies may run away when approached for various reasons, including feeling lonely, bored, anxious, or fearful.

Additionally, puppies may reach sexual maturity, changes in their environment, or being trained in limited environments.


One big reason why your puppy might run off when you come close is because they feel lonely or bored.

Imagine how we sometimes get a bit down or restless when we’re all alone or don’t have anything fun to do. Well, puppies feel that, too!

They might need some excitement if you haven’t been spending enough time playing and hanging out with your pup. 

So, when you approach them, they might scamper away in search of something more interesting.

It’s like when we want to find friends to have fun with or do something exciting when we’re feeling lonely or bored.


Another reason is that your dog is dealing with anxiety.

When they feel really worried or nervous about something, they might growl at you when you move them or just touch them and want to escape or hide. 

If your puppy gets super anxious when you’re about to leave or does things like chewing up stuff or having accidents in the house when you’re not there, that’s a sign of separation anxiety.

It’s like they need some space to calm down and feel better.


If a dog runs away from owner, it’s likely because they feel afraid. When you use a stern or angry voice when calling them, they will not come to you.

They will feel even more afraid if you are often aggressive towards them.

They might have had scary experiences with things like thunderstorms or fireworks, as those loud noises can make them fear. 

Moreover, if you have other new aggressive pups, your present puppies may run away from them due to their scare.

Sexually Mature

Why does my dog run from me? Your puppies may have reached a stage of sexual maturity. Just like humans go through changes as they grow up, puppies also experience this.

Around the age of 6 months, they start feeling strong urges related to mating. These natural instincts can be intense, and they may be driven to escape for a potential mate. 

Thus, they may run off when you approach them since they’re caught up in these powerful urges, looking for another dog to satisfy those natural instincts.

Mutually Exclusive Training

Your puppy may turn away when you approach owing to “active disobedience,” which means that your puppy believes that play and training are two separate and incompatible things. 

They may think that the fun and playtime will end if they come to you, for you’ll start training them.

Therefore, to keep the good times going, they decide to run away, believing they have no other option but to escape and have fun on their terms.

It’s like they’re trying to have a great time and do not want to stop it by being obedient.

Fun/ Excitement

If your puppy runs away from you when you approach it, they might find it incredibly exciting and fun.

When playing an exciting game, they will run away from you and may breathe heavily through their noses.

Whenever you call them and move towards them, it’s as if you’ve kicked off this thrilling adventure for them.

Their four-legged agility allows them to dart away to explore new, exciting experiences, which becomes a source of amusement for them. 

Lack Of Training Command

The next significant reason is that your dogs haven’t been properly trained to understand the “Come” command.

It’s a bit like expecting someone to understand and follow the rules without ever explaining them. 

When we start training our puppies, they need guidance and practice to learn what we want from them, including commands like “come,” “go,” or “sit.” 

If we haven’t actively taught them these commands through short and regular training sessions, they might not know how to respond when we call them.

In essence, they haven’t yet learned the language of commands and the rules that go with it.

Limited Training Environment

What is the reason my dog runs away from me when I approach? That is when your dog is trained in a limited environment or specific places.

They have a harder time applying what they’ve learned in one situation to different situations or environments.

For example, if they were only taught to come when inside the house, they might not understand the same command when they are in the backyard or some other places.

They don’t generalize well, meaning they tend to associate commands with specific locations.

Command Repeat

Why does my puppy run away from me? Most owners don’t realize that they’ve repeatedly repeated the command.

It’s like when we hear the same thing over and over again, it starts to lose its significance.

When you keep saying “come, come, come” repeatedly, it can become background noise for your puppy.

They might start to ignore it since it no longer holds any special meaning for them.

Once your puppy reaches this point of ignoring the command, it’s a sign that it’s time to retrain and reintroduce the command so that it regains its importance and meaning.

Your Dog’s Habit

If your puppies run away when you come close to them, maybe it’s just their established habits. 

If your puppy has been accustomed to having a lot of freedom to roam and do as they please, this behavior can become a habit.

They might run away because it’s what they’ve always done, and they find comfort in familiar routines. 

This habit can be especially obvious if there’s a sudden change in their environment, such as moving from a quiet rural area to a bustling city, or if there are significant changes in the household dynamic, like marriage, divorce, or the arrival of a new baby.

Anyway, it’s challenging for your pooches to adapt, so take it slowly.

Escape From Restrictive Space

Usually, my puppy runs away from me when I get close to them as they may want to escape from being housed in a crate – what they perceive as a restrictive or confining space. It is like their natural instinct to seek freedom.

For puppies, if they feel like they’re confined in an area or on a leash, they might try to break free when you approach.

They might associate your presence with reducing their freedom to roam and explore. 

Try To Get To Their Old House

Why does my dog keep running away from me? Maybe your dogs are trying to get back to what they perceive as their “home.”

Dogs may not fully grasp moving to a new place or understand that the unfamiliar surroundings are their new home.

To them, the desire to return to what they know as home can be strong, leading them to try to escape and find their way back to their familiar environment.

It is especially relevant if you’ve recently moved to a new location with your puppy.

What To Do When Your Puppy Runs Away From You?

What To Do When Your Puppy Runs Away From You

Play With Your Dog

Playtime is essential for your puppy’s physical and mental well-being. It provides an opportunity for exercise, mental stimulation, and bonding.

Engage in games that your puppy loves, such as fetch, hide-and-seek, or interactive toy play.

Playing the “find me” game to reinforce recall skills is a good idea. Hide and call your puppy’s name, rewarding them when they find you.

Besides, you can play the “catch and release” game to teach your puppy that coming to you doesn’t mean the end of fun. 

By making playtime enjoyable, your puppy will be more inclined to come to you willingly, as they associate your presence with fun.

Don’t Chase Or Punish Your Dog

Chasing or punishing your dog when they run away isn’t a good idea. If you chase them, it can become a game for them, making them run even farther.

And if you punish them, they might become scared and not want to return to you. 

So, it’s better to use positive methods. When your dog comes to you, it will be best to give them a treat and lots of praise. 

Remain Positive Behavior

Staying positive with your dog is really important. When they come to you, even if it takes them a little while, always be happy and praise your furry friends.

Never scold or get angry, for it can make your dog afraid and less likely to come next time. 

Dogs respond better to kindness and positive reinforcement. So, keep that smile on your face, use a cheerful tone, and reward them with treats and pets when they approach you.

Therefore, they’ll think that coming to you equals good things and be more eager to do it again in the future.

Train Your Dog To Your Recall

Training your dog to respond to your recall is crucial for their safety and your peace of mind. Start in a quiet, familiar place with minimal distractions. 

Use a specific word or phrase, like “come” or “here,” and say it in a happy, inviting tone. Practice this regularly, gradually increasing the level of distractions and distance. 

Be patient and consistent in your training, and over time, your dog will learn to respond to your recall positively, coming to you reliably even in challenging situations.

Never Let Your Dog Alone In Unconfined Area

It’s essential never to leave your dog alone in an unconfined area. Dogs can be curious and may get into trouble if left unsupervised in a space with potential hazards. 

Ensure your dog is either in a securely fenced yard or a safe, designated indoor area when you can’t be with them.

Provide toys and activities to keep them mentally stimulated and prevent boredom. 

Supervision is key to your dog’s safety and well-being. Thus, always make sure your puppies are in a controlled environment when you’re not around to watch over them.

Create Familiar Surroundings

Creating a familiar environment for your dog is crucial, as dogs thrive on routine and familiarity.

Keep their living space consistent, with their bed, toys, and food and water bowls in the same place. 

Stick to a regular schedule for feeding, walks, and playtime. Avoid frequently changing your home’s layout or introducing new items that might confuse or stress your dog.

Familiar surroundings help your dog feel secure and comfortable, reducing anxiety and promoting stability in their daily life.

Have Your Dog Neutered

Having your dog neutered can be one of the solutions to prevent dogs from running away when you approach them.

Neutering can reduce certain behaviors in dogs, such as roaming and attempting to escape to find a mate.

It can make your dog more likely to stay close to home and less inclined to scamper away searching for a mate. 

Create An Easy Escape Path

Creating an easy escape path is a strategy to keep your dog from escaping when you approach.

It means providing your dog with a clear and accessible route to move away from you without feeling cornered or threatened. 

To create an easy escape path, ensure there are open spaces or clear routes around your dog so they can move away comfortably if they choose to do so. 

This approach can help reduce your dog’s anxiety and give them peace of mind when you approach.


Why does my dog keep running away from me

Is It Normal For Puppies To Run Away From You?

Yes, it is normal for puppies to run away from you sometimes.

Puppies are naturally curious and full of energy, which can lead them to explore their surroundings or chase after something interesting.

It’s not typically done out of defiance or to spite their owners. 

Puppies often run away temporarily to burn off energy, investigate new scents, or follow their instincts.

Most puppies do return after a while, but owners need to ensure their puppies’ safety by providing proper training, supervision, and a secure environment.

Is It True That Puppies Usually Return After Running Away?

Yes, in most cases, puppies tend to return home after exploring or running away. However, keep them safe by preventing potential hazards and teaching them to come when called.


What are the reasons the puppy runs away from me when I approach? Loneliness, anxiety, and fear can drive them to seek distractions or escape.

To stop your puppy from running away when you come close to them, spend time with them, use gentle commands, and train regularly. Don’t repeat commands too much.

Besides, make sure they’re not bored or confined. Gradually introduce new places to optimize the training process.

Finally, be patient and positive when playing and caring for your dogs.


Photo of author
Hi I am Mitchell. Dog Growth is a blog about dog caring and training where I share my experiences to my community. Hope you enjoy it!

Leave a Comment