As I write this, we are having an April snowstorm and the thermometer says 19 degrees outside. Our dog and our visiting dogs are safe and warm indoors. My husband just happened to look out the window at the right time and spot two dogs we do not know running loose on our property. He bundled up, went outside to find them and brought them inside. Fortunately, they were wearing ID tags so we could call and notify the owners.

The owners are on their way now to pick them up. These dogs both have on electronic/shock collars. Either the dogs ignored the shock and left their property or the collars are not working. I’m not sure which, but either way, it’s a reminder for those who do use shock collars (and anyone who knows me knows that I do NOT recommend them) that they are not a foolproof way to keep dogs contained. (Nor are physical fences for that matter.)

When dogs are outdoors, it’s best to be with them or at least keeping an eye on them so you know they are safe. If your dog does happen to get out, your best bet of a safe return is to ensure they are wearing ID tags so if someone finds them, they can notify you. Microchips are a good idea too, but that would mean they would need to find their way to a vet or shelter who can scan for the chip. And then, you need to make sure your info with in their system is up-to-date.

If your dog does escape or get lost, it’s also very helpful if your dog is friendly toward strangers. There have been a number of times we have tried to help loose dogs, but they are so shy of strangers that they won’t come close. I have also seen the opposite problem when I have helped owners get their dogs back because the dogs would come to me but NOT to their owners. In some cases, these are dogs who have been punished for “running away” but in reality are punished for coming back or being caught. In some cases, they are just having too much fun running loose and know their owners are the end of that fun.

The main point I want to make here is to do your best to keep your dogs safe and out of harms way. And if your dog ever does get lost, hopefully you’ve done all you can to help ensure a quick and safe return.