One of the finer points of responsible pet ownership is keeping our dogs healthy and happy!
While accidents happen and dogs get loose its crucial to ensure we are prepared for incidents and get them safely.
The most effective way to not lose your dog is to train them.
Ensure your dog can pay attention and focus on you. Practice a solid recall many times on a long line in all different locations so you know your dog will come when called.
If you train with me you’ll note my recall methods are always positive only to ensure a successful rapport and bond between dog and handler.
Dogs often get lost when they become distracted and chase or follow a scent. Poorly trained dogs will then not respond to their handler ensuring for failed attempts at retrieving dogs and a risk to their life.
Obedience classes are handy for this because of the large distractions. Don’t assume one set of classes are going to be enough for your canine friend. Join into dog-related activities regularly so you keep up on your best friends training.
A topic most forget about is socialization.
Dogs who are poorly socialized are the dogs who jump fences in terror, dogs who are on the run for days with no one being able to come near them, these are the dogs with the highest risk of death.
The idea of ‘I can train myself’ sounds wonderful but most people never think of the exposure factor. If your dog is even slightly fearful of people in your presence be certain he or she is not going to approach a stranger should they get lost. They may also go farther into flight mode and refused to approach their own handler. I have seen this on many occasions where dogs would run for their own owner because their flight response and stress levels become so high.
By training your dog to become confident in and out of your presence with strangers, when you get your dog to attend puppy classes or adult classes immediately, this ensures your dog's ability to come to someone should they try to catch them. This is LIFE-saving and necessary for all dogs!
Handling is another important topic we need to consider when ensuring our dogs are able to be retrieved.
The general public is rarely savvy enough to carry a dog leash and or collar on hand with them. When most people find dogs they grab the animals collar or scruff. This movement can be dangerous to the finder should the dog not be used to this procedure.
If your dog is unsure or simply doesn’t want to be lead this can result in a bite or bucking response resulting in the finder to let your dog go and risking their life once again. By teaching your dog in a happy manner with food that collar-grabbing and scruffing gently isn’t a negative to them we can increase the finders success in getting your dog safe!
Proper identification is a must for all dogs.
Having a high-quality collar with tags is an easy way for a finder to access you. I tend to avoid plastic buckle collars because over time they lose strength and often break more than any other type of collar. Belt buckle styles are best especially if your dog is tied. Having an extra piece of ID such as a microchip is beneficial should the dog lose the collar, This gives a veterinarian or shelter the availability to access your information.
Having your dog spayed or neutered limits their goals of travelling to find a mate.
Many times when we have had bitches in season we have had many boys visiting our fence line. One even came 17 KM away to visit us. Should your dog be a show dog or used for breeding have extra safety precautions in place to ensure they cannot escape.
Often with my more intelligent dogs, they figure out how to open gates and doors. Our current live-in German Shepherd can easily let himself out of a gated yard in seconds. He can open doors with a latch style handle instead of a knob. Keeping this in mind we clip our gates and lock the doors should he be left unattended in these areas.
A dog who is exercised regularly, mentally stimulated and kept happy will rarely take off from their handlers.
Provide your dog with things to do such as chewing bones, walks in the woods on a long line if necessary so they are used to travelling in high scent areas and can focus and listen to recalls.
If you do these things your dog’s chances of getting lost will be much smaller. Your chances of finding your dog if they do happen to get lost will also be much higher.
No owner wants their furry companion to go missing, so make sure you are responsible and do everything you can to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Want to become a pack leader, contact April today!
Image Credit: "Should I Leash My Dog" infographic by ShouldILeashMyDog.com