Dear Porky & Buddy,
Several years ago, (when I was young(er) and foolish(er), I got a beagle puppy. I named her Randy and she was a great dog, but after only about six months she ran off and although I tried really hard, I could never find her.
I felt terrible and stupid and vowed to never make that mistake again, but just recently I finally bought my own house with a nice fenced in yard and I think I am ready to try to be a better “pet parent” now.
But I still think about Randy and want to never have to go through that again. If I do lose my new dog, how should I go about finding her or him?
You’re jumping the gun (so to speak) a little.
Start out by taking some sensible precautions that will make it much less likely that your new best friend will end up wandering off to meet Randy.
First, do your research about what kind of dog you want to adopt. (Yes, we are absolutely assuming you will adopt.)
Beagles and other hounds and hound mixes are great dogs, but they are hunters and they easily wander off on the trail of something. If you are prepared for that, fine, but be truly prepared, or you might want to think instead about a breed or mixed breed with less of a wanderlust.
Second, it’s great that you have a fenced yard, but that is no substitute for good identification — a collar with your name and number stitched right in (not just a tag that is easily lost) and preferably a micro-chip that you keep registered.
It is also no substitute for spending time with your new friend. Dogs left in yards by themselves get bored and will sometimes try anything to get out and explore. Go exploring together instead. That’s why you want a dog, right?
Third, make sure your new dog is well trained and learns to come without hesitation when she or he is called, no matter how tempted to run after something interesting. There are a lot of other commands that are important, but, for safety, “Come” is the one that is fundamental.
You can find great instructions and advice for teaching that command from the ASPCA at http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/virtual-pet-behaviorist/dog-behavior/teaching-your-dog-come-when-called.
Next week, we’ll write again about what to do if your dog becomes lost in spite of your best efforts. But first you have some homework to do. Have fun adopting!
Speaking of adopting, go to www.oswegohumane.org to see all of the Oswego County Humane Society’s great pets available for adoption.
The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County.
Our office is located at 265 W. First St., Oswego. Phone is 207-1070. Email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Website is www.oswegohumane.org.