The tags and collars at dogIDs are designed to help dogs get home safely, but dog owners can also take precautions to prevent losing their dogs in the first place. Nine tips you need to know:
1) Teach your dog to come when called.
Most people say, “Yeah, my dog comes when called.” But does he really? Will your dog come when called 99 percent of the time? Even with distractions? Probably not.
2) Teach your dog good leash manners.
Dogs get away from their owners by pulling on the leash or twisting out of their collars. It’s very important to teach your dog how to walk nicely on a loose leash and to teach him to remain calm around distractions such as other dogs, runners, squirrels or traffic. If the leash is always loose, your dog might not even notice if you drop the leash because the tension won’t change.
3) Microchip your dog.
Sometimes a dog gets away by slipping through her collar. If she has a microchip, people will still have a way to track you down.
4) Use an engraved dog collar.
Although rare, it’s possible for dog tags to fall off the dog collars. Engraved dog collars are a nice backup. With an engraved dog collar, your name, address and phone number can be engraved right on the buckle of the dog’s collar. Or, you can rivet an engraved name plate to the collar.
5) Double check all gates and doors.
If a maintenance person has been in your home or yard, always double check to make sure all gates and doors are closed securely.
6) Keep a bell on your cat or small dog.
OK, lots of small dogs bark so loud they won’t need a bell. Other dogs and cats are so small and sneaky they can dart out the door before you even realize it. A bell can help you remain aware of the pet’s presence.
7) Use an appropriate leash and collar.
There is such a variety of dog collars available, but no collar will work for every single dog. Some dogs will do well with a regular, buckle collar. Other dogs are able to twist out of these, so a slip or martingale collar might work better. Some dogs do well with harnesses, while others can get out of them. It’s all about knowing your particular dog and finding the safest option.
A Flexi, retractable leash is not appropriate for most dogs, not unless the dog is well trained, well socialized and comes when called. Try a leather, six-foot leash instead.
8) Crate your dog if someone will visit while you’re not home.
If a housecleaning person stops by on Tuesdays while you are gone, that would be a good day to leave your dog in his crate or take him to dog daycare. Not everyone knows how to prevent a dog from sneaking out the front door.
9) Give your dog plenty of exercise and off-leash time.
Some dogs can only be trusted off leash if they are in a fenced area. Others can safely be allowed more freedom. Either way, if a dog is given some off-leash time to run several times per week, it won’t be such a big deal if you accidentally drop the leash on a walk. If your dog gets some freedom every day, he may not feel the temptation to bolt if you drop the leash.
Reflective dog collars.
Your dog could get away from you at night. Reflective dog collars help dogs remain highly visible even in the dark. This could be especially important if you have a small dog or a dark-colored dog.
What are some other ways people can prevent losing their dogs?