Have you ever had a dog drop by on a surprise visit without its owner? It might be a dog you’ve met several times before who comes around to play with your dog. Or, it might be a dog you’ve never met until today. You might even end up playing host to several different dogs on the same day – it’s like the dog word gets around! Does your dog go off on an adventure from time to time? If so, here are some steps to take to stop your friend from roaming and ensure dog safety.
Neuter or Spay
An intact male dog’s drive to breed is very powerful, so it will be difficult to keep him at home if he senses a female in heat somewhere in the neighborhood. An unspayed female dog in heat may also be driven to seek a mate. It’s doggy love from afar! Neutering or spaying your dog is essential to dog safety – it will keep him or her from running away to find a mate.
Invest in Adequate Fencing
If it’s practical, a traditional fence is preferable to an electronic one because a dog can see a clear boundary. Obviously, the fence should be tall enough that your dog can’t jump over it. Install self-closing gates, especially if you have children. A good idea is to take a daily walk along the inside fence line to look for breaches, fallen branches, snow piles, or other potential aids to an escape artist.
Provide Home Entertainment
Make your yard a fun place for your dog to hang out in by providing activities to keep him busy at home. You can put out dog puzzles, hide treats or toys, stuff a food toy with peanut butter (frozen makes for longer activity), bait your yard with fake rabbits in tunnels, or provide a sandbox for digging.
Assess the Needs of Your Dog
Every dog has a different temperament and personality. And, some breeds are more apt to run away. Huskies also have a reputation for independence that may include going off on a jaunt. You may want to enlist the help of a dog trainer who will work with you to create a customized approach for keeping your dog safe and happy at home.
Use Reward Training
If you punish your dog when he returns, it’s not going to encourage him to want to come back next time. Instead, give him lots of praise, kisses, and treats as a reward for his reappearance. Another good idea is to train your dog not to go through a door or gate until he’s invited. Remember, positive training is always better than punishment.
Dog Safety is Important
You really don’t want your dog to keep running away. He may get hit by a car, scare a child by chasing him or her, or simply get lost. Of course, your dog should have a collar with an ID so someone who finds him can contact you. If your dog has run away and unfortunately been involved in an accident, take him to an emergency vet center as soon as you find him. If you live in or near Columbia, South Carolina, CVETS is available to help your dog in an emergency.