Runaway pet advice begins with calm
Friday, March 8, 2013
When a pet gets away, it can be a very stressful and emotional time for you and your pet. Here are some techniques to help gain control of the situation to bring your pet home safely.
First, it is critical to stay calm and use a composed voice to not frighten your pet. We recommended you employ a cheerful tone to keep your dog interested and relaxed. Using this tone, call your pet’s name with any practiced command to gain their attention. If your commands do not work, try tempting your pooch by using buzzwords or phrases that get them excited, such as “treat,” “car ride,” “play ball” and “eat.” If you do not have these items with you, just pretend that you do to gain his attention. Then, use his excitement to reel them toward you.
If using voice commands and phrases are not effective, appeal to your dog’s follow-the-pack mentality. Turn your body away from your pet and call over your shoulder while jogging in the opposite direction. Your dog’s instincts should take over and they should follow wherever you lead, especially if you have ever played tag or chase with your dog. If you are near your home or fenced yard, use this momentum to lead your dog directly into a safe environment. If you are too far, once your dog is following you, squat slowly, continuing to keep your body turned from your pet, and allow them to “catch” you. Hopefully, your dog will still have a collar on to grab. If not, be prepared to grab onto their coat and hold on tight. Quickly, secure a leash to keep your dog from escaping your grasp. If you do not have a leash, a belt can serve as a quick leash for the walk home.
Prevention is best
Of course, the best way to keep your pet safe at home is to prevent the initial escape. Even the best loved pets will take the first opportunity to breakout – maybe to greet a passing canine, to chase a squirrel or just for the mental stimulation to run wild. Be sure to secure all windows and doors, replacing any faulty screens or loose gates, and also be acutely aware of situations which could raise the excitability of your pet, such as a doorbell sound, visitors, and even the recent exercise level of your pet.
The Animal Rescue League of New Hampshire in Bedford works with many neighboring towns and is often the recipient of stray dogs and cats.
If your pet is missing, please check our Facebook page and call us at 472-DOGS (3647).
The ARL NH is open to all residents of New Hampshire, and actively serves the towns of Amherst, Auburn, Bedford, Brookline, Candia, Dunbarton, Francestown, Goffstown, Hollis, Hooksett, Litchfield, Londonderry, Lyndeborough, Manchester, Merrimack, Milford, Mont Vernon, New Boston, Peterborough, Wilton and Windham. For more information, visit www.rescueleague.org.
Maureen Prendergast is director of Outreach and Investigations for the ARL. She can be reached at 472-5714.