Do you speak dog? Do you teach your dog safety commands? Does your dog look puzzled? Did you know there would be a quiz? All kidding aside, what could be more important to dogs than their very lives?
What’s the Biggest Danger to Our Dogs?
Living in a human world, small town or city, our dogs navigate an increasingly complex world. Few dogs live removed from the dangers of traffic. Simply crossing a street in major cities often proves life threatening for humans. We cannot expect dogs to understand and to cope with traffic and distracted drivers.
1. Leash Your Dog
Leash laws protect dogs and dog lovers. Even if your town does not have a leash law, I recommend using a leash. Keep a leash and extra harness near the door. Put them on your dog every time you take him out near a street. Simple, right?
We would not need thousands of dogcatchers and animal shelters? Because dogs become disoriented, lost or even run away. Dogs feel scared and lonely. Even my pair of keeshonds would get out the side gate. Luckily for me, they spent the rest of their time trying to get back in. That is where our community service officer found them safe and ready to get back into the yard.
Most people know the problem of lost or runaway dogs keeps growing. More lost pets mean the building of more animal shelters, pet rescues and volunteer foster homes. Please use a leash when you walk your dog.
2. Teach Your Dog to Wait
The wait command will literally save your dog’s life. It is never too late to teach your dog this behavior. I learned this command from a Petaluma dog trainer who volunteers on Petaluma City Animal Shelter. Although she teaches dog lovers and their dogs how to walk together without a leash, first she teaches walking dogs on a leash. If you regularly train dogs and dog lovers, you know that basic skills must be mastered first.
Shelter adoptions, like the one we did to get our Cocker spaniel/poodle mix, Sydney, require a canine good citizen course. We took the basic class with Sydney. At one year old, Sydney knew basic commands. But he was never house trained. We took a few private lessons too. Sydney came to us, biting and chewing on hands. He learned fast. But old habits took years to stop. Before we adopted him, Sydney had a bad reputation. He’d failed in two homes, bit groomers, veterinarians, shelter staff and volunteers.
Teaching Your Dog to Wait:
- Get some yummy bean sized treats.
- Look at your dog.
- Speak your dog’s name then the word, “Wait.”
- When your dog stops moving reward with quick treat + praise
- Make sure your dog does not move as you open the door.
- When he waits, praise him. Say, “Good dog. Good Henry.”
- Sometimes toss him a treat as a special reward
Practice inside. When your dog gets the idea he is rewarded for waiting, go practice off leash at the backdoor. Then practice in fenced yard. If your dog has trouble try this with a friend and using a leash. Take turns holding the leash as the other person leaves by the gate.
3. Use a Seatbelt or Pet Crate in Your Car or Truck
The days driving or riding without a set belt are long gone. But fifty years ago, seat belts had not been invented nor had laws been written to require people to use them. Now all infants and toddlers must be belted into seats and in the rear of a vehicle. Research and facts proved that seatbelts save lives.
Keep all your pets safe on car rides. Daily acts of safely securing pets become routine, making life easier. When we first searched for one for Sydney it took us months. Finally, we found him the right size seatbelt. Sydney tends to wiggle, and he slips out of harnesses super fast. The fit needs to be just right.
Even if your pet rarely rides in a car, teach him to wear and sit in a seatbelt. Going a veterinarian or immunization clinic will be 100% safer, using a pet seatbelt.
Buy one then train your dog to wear it. Praise and give yummy treats, just for wearing it. Just as easy as teaching “Wait.”
Deborah Taylor-French blogs at DogLeaderMysteries.com. “…an interesting site for anyone who likes dogs.” Commented Kristina Stanley, an award-winning mystery writer. Deborah goes nose to nose for a dog-to-dog point of view. Her dog parenting tips, pet humor and stories are liked by thousands of readers.
Dog Leader Mysteries I, Deborah’s first novel, is schedule for publication in 2016. In both nonfiction and fiction, Deborah’s writing demonstrates positive dog leadership and kindness toward all animals.
As Author Support Facilitator for Redwood Writers, the largest branch of the California Writers Club, Deborah helps other writers. Find her true story of Sydney’s adoption from an animal shelter in, “Punk Rocker With A Poodle Brain” published in Vintage Voices Four Part Harmony. She has raised five adopted dogs.