We’ve heard that more dogs are lost during the holidays than other time – maybe because people are coming and going more, maybe because there’s more excitement and high energy, or maybe because all the lights and noise and stuff is really scary to us, or maybe because our fur-kid friends’ parents aren’t paying as much attention and are stressed and frazzled. Trust us, we have pretty calm holidays around the Casa de Buck-White, but we get stressed and frazzled too!
We’ve seen SO MANY posts since January 1st on Facebook and Twitter about lost dogs that it makes us very sad. We try not to judge, really, but there are some very, very simple things people can do to make sure our furry cousins don’t get lost at any time of year. You can find similar lists all over the internet at dozens of different places . . . they all say pretty much the same thing.
1. Spay or Neuter us
We’re happier and healthier and you’re helping to not contribute to the over-population problem. It’s not true that a female dog should go through her first heat and your veterinarian can judge when it’s best for dogs of either genders – sometimes as young as 4 months, depending on the dog. And, guys, it doesn’t make you more manly if your boy dog is swinging a pair — it makes you look kind of dumb, actually, cause you’re being selfish. See? Not “judgy” at all.
Why isn’t every dog microchipped? We think it should be a law, actually. It’s very easy to do – ESPECIALLY with the internet, now. You can keep your info up to date and your dog can always be returned, or at least much more easily. It doesn’t hurt, it’s inexpensive and it could save much emotional heartache.
3. Training, training, training
Work with a reputable trainer, one you trust and that has good recommendations. In Las Vegas we LOVE Mind Your Manners – there are plenty of inexpensive, reputable training programs all over the world. Every dog needs a strong “come” and “stay” command. Every human needs to be able to execute it. It can save a life. And it couldn’t hurt to focus on training to keep us calm and relaxed when someone comes to the door.
Every dog should have a collar with a tag that has, at minimum, name and phone number. And they should wear it all the time. No matter how good your dog is, anything can happen that they could get out without a collar. No matter how responsive your dog, you don’t know what might cause them to run or get loose that “one time you didn’t have a collar on.”
We should always be on a leash. No matter how good we are, it’s other people and other dogs that can be a problem. It’s a special treat sometimes to be off leash, but if there are other people or other dogs around, keep us on leash. You may know US but you don’t know THEM.
Keep us exercised and having an activity and we’re much less likely to run away or get lost or get out or to want to run away. Boredom is a dog’s worst enemy — it’s when we get destructive, naughty, mad, etc. We need a job. Remember – you have your job, your friends, TV, books, really awesome dog blogs (like this one) to read . . . we just have you.
7. Inside vs. Outside
We know that not everyone is our Dads and that some people keep their dogs outside — we don’t understand why and we don’t like it, but we understand it. But for pete’s sake, let ’em inside when it’s too hot or too cold. This is a post about dogs getting lost, not dying, but that happens way too often. Anyway — “dog-napping” is on the rise. More and more dogs are being stolen, especially the more popular breeds like us (labs) and the pocket puppies – y’know, those designer dogs that fit in purses and stuff. Never leave your dog outside unsupervised or provide some level of security to make stealing the dog harder.
8. Be Vigilant
Keep an eye on your dog — if you’re playing or working with us, put down the cell phone or whatever else and pay attention to US. And if you see a dog lost or alone, call animal control or help in some way.
With a few simple tips we can cut down on the number of lost dogs, help us furry folk be safer and happier and drastically cut down on the number of animals in shelters.
Because we think people who don’t take precautions are, well, losers.
P.S. There are a lot of dogs who get lost even though their humans are responsible and do all of the things above and more. And that makes us even sadder and anything we can do to help, we will. To them we say, “Thank you for being a great pet parent!” And we don’t judge them at all.