Your dog is an important part of your family. You want to make sure your pet is safe and happy by your side, whether you’re going for a walk or snuggling on the sofa together.
Unfortunately, even the best-trained pets can sometimes escape. Keeping your dog on a leash or in a fenced yard is one of the most important things you can do to protect your furry friend, but even that isn’t foolproof. Here are a few extra steps you can take to ensure your dog stays where he belongs.
If your dog does get away, you’ll want him to be able to find his way back home as quickly as possible. Your first step should be to make sure your dog always has a collar with an ID tag attached. The tag should have your phone number and street address, as well as the dog’s name. As a backup, you should also have your pet microchipped. Your vet can help you with this. If you move or change phone numbers, make sure you update your contact information with the microchip registry.
Animals are biologically driven to mate. This is one of the reasons your pet will begin to wander off and roam your neighborhood. The urge to find a partner will be overwhelming for your pet and it is important to recognize this and protect them from getting lost. It is not always clear when your puppy has entered adulthood and will be able to reproduce. But expect your female dog to enter "estrus" (heat) at around 6-12 months. At this time, she will begin to roam to put herself out there to be found. For males, they will begin to seek a female at around 7 months old and will usually mate for the first time at 1 year old.
The urge to roam and seek out the scent of a female dog in heat will be strong. Be aware of the timeline for dogs and the urge to roam for a mate. If you have a doggie door and easy access to areas outside of your home, secure them so your puppy can play freely in your yard. If you don't have a safe way to secure your dog on your property, walking your dog regularly on the leash is the safest option to keep them from roaming and getting lost. Unaltered dogs usually lose the urge to roam once they are spayed or neutered. If your unaltered dog continues to roam, you may consider spaying or neutering them to help keep them safe. Talk to your veterinarian for advice on this option.
It can take time for a new pet to learn to come when called. But even if you’re diligent about using a leash, accidents will happen. Your dog can rush out when you open the door to grab your Amazon package, for instance, or slip out of the leash to chase a rabbit at the park. Training your dog to come when called will help you in these instances. It takes patience and a little work, but it’s well worth it in the end.
Want to get started on your training? I’m here to help. Download my free Come When Called Checklist for a step-by-step guide to training your new pet to come when called. You’ll not only reduce the risk of your dog getting lost, but you’ll also have much better control over your pet whether you’re inside the house, in your own backyard, or at the dog park.