People are often advised to keep a collar with ID tags on their dogs at all times. But often lost dogs are wearing no ID at all. Were the dogs not wearing collars/ID when they escaped? Did they escape their collars and run off? Did they lose their ID somewhere along the way? All of the above happen. How will someone help your dog find his/her way home if there is no ID? In my post dated September 15, 2014, I talked about a lost dog I found far from home with no ID. Since he never showed up on the Lost & Found list at the Dumb Friends League Buddy Center, I am assuming his family found him quickly. Hopefully they have ID on him now.
For my own dogs, I do not keep collars on them. We do most of our walks off-leash on our property and they run through scrub oak and brush. I don’t want collars getting snagged and choking my dogs, so they wear harnesses with ID tags. However, they often lose the tags (still working on the best solution to stop that!) and end up with no visible ID. So my dogs are also microchipped. I know tags can fall off and get lost, so I need to ensure they have some sort of ID that they can’t lose in the brush. So if they ever do get lost, and someone finds them, they can go to the nearest vet or shelter and find our contact info. In addition, to prevent my dogs from ever getting lost, I do a lot of training to specifically prevent that:
- I train a solid door/gate Wait. (My dogs wait for permission to go through exits, never rush through, even if the door or gate is wide open and no one is standing there to remind them.)
- I boundary train my dogs on our property so they understand that just because they can run through the barbed wire fence, it doesn’t mean they should.
I train my dogs to always know where I am, and if they don’t know, they better find me fast.
- I train my dogs to check in on their own throughout our walks, without always waiting for me to call them. (In fact, most check-ins are voluntary on their part and not instigated by me.)
- I train a solid recall (or Come) so that when I do call, they get to me as fast as they possibly can. (And let me tell you, Romeo and Zuzu are fast!)
What precautions have you taken to prevent your dog from getting lost? What measures have you taken to ensure they find their way back home in the event they do get lost?