Escaping and Roaming

Young dogs with strong territorial drives commonly attempt to escape the confines of your home or yard. Inadequate attention and exercise, such as regular walks or play, contribute to the urge to escape. Social isolation (from people and other dogs) and separation anxiety also promote escape attempts. Roaming usually subsides as general levels of activity decrease toward the age of five or six years and is less common in older dogs.

A single escape substantially increases the probability that more attempts will follow, unless the dog has an overwhelmingly negative experience while it is roaming, such as being hit by a car. Roaming gives a dog mental and physical gratification. It enables a dog to locate sources of food (even if these are in trash bins), potential mates, or rivals.

Finders Keepers

Your dog’s roaming behavior does not mean it does not appreciate you. It is easy to become frustrated by this behavior, particularly when it is inconvenient to retrieve your roaming dog. When at least you locate your pet, do not scold it! Your dog will associate punishment with you and its home. As difficult as it may be, never command a dog to “come” in angry tones. It may quickly learn to run in the opposite direction. When you find your dog, convey a positive attitude. You may find it helpful to bring along a treat to reward the dog for approaching you. Make sure to bring a leash with you.

If the dog hesitates to approach you, command it to “sit/stay” instead. Give plenty of verbal praise before approaching the dog or repeating the command to “come.” Turn any further hesitation into a game by running away from the dog. Calling it to “come” in a playful tone will encourage it to chase you. Your anxiety is best forgotten and directed instead toward preventing further escapes.

Solutions

  • The best way to control roaming is to prevent escape and minimize the desire to roam. Increase your dog’s physical activity with frequent leash walks. This also allows it to safely patrol its territory. Play with your dog every day, engaging in activities that incorporate obedience skills.
  • Apply obedience skills at every opportunity during your daily schedule, so that your dog’s attention does not wander. If your dog is well exercised and mentally stimulated by you, it is less likely to attempt escape.
  • Neutering may help to control escape attempts. A dog that roams, however, should be neutered anyway to prevent any contribution it might make to pet overpopulation during its escapades.
  • Teach your dog to strongly associate your yard with positive experiences. Withhold your dog’s food for 24 hours. Resume feeding in your yard at frequent intervals and in small portions. On subsequent days, gradually increase the time between meals and resume feeding the normal portion at each meal. The time of feeding should remain inconsistent for an extended period of time. In this way, your dog will associate food with the yard but will not be able to anticipate when it will be fed and will be less tempted to escape.
  • Install a permanent and sturdy fence to enclose your yard. If your dog learns to dig under or jump over it, you may need to extend it in depth or in height. Electric fences and collars should be used only under close direct supervision of a qualified veterinary behaviorist who feels comfortable with their use. Otherwise, they may injure your dog and cause unintended behavioral consequences.

PRINTABLE Escaping and Roaming.pdf

 

Tips for A Well-Behaved Puppy

PuppyThe first year of your puppy's life is the most important.  With the proper diet, the right training and regular veterinary visits, you will ensure that your puppy will grow into a wonderful companion.  Your new puppy will adjust quickly if you are patient, consistent and show them lots of love.

Read more: Tips for A Well-Behaved Puppy

When Cat Meets Baby ...

A new baby can bring a lot of joy into the home (and, of course, some stress). The adjustment might take time, but baby and cat can co-exist, even happily. Here are some tips on helping ensure that happens:

  • Use the entire pregnancy to get the cat used to the idea of a little one. Play tapes of baby noises, or rub baby lotion on your hands before engaging in a pleasant activity with your cat. Set up nursery furniture as soon as possible and allow the cat time to investigate it before certain areas (the changing table and crib) are put off-limits. That way the cat knows there’s nothing unusual or scary about those areas.
  • At least one month before the baby arrives, make the surfaces in the nursery unwelcoming. Cut sheets of cardboard to the size of the furniture and put sticky tape on it.
  • If a litter box had been in the soon-to-be nursery, move it a few inches a day to its new location. Give yourself plenty of time to get it moved completely before baby arrives. Consider covering that area with a diaper pail or dresser so the animal isn’t tempted to potty there again.
  • If cat care routines are going to shift from new mother to partner, those routines should be switched one to two months before the birth. The cat needs to get used to the new caregiver's style.
  • When Mom arrives home from the hospital after baby is born, she should peacefully greet the cat without interruption. After they've reconnected, everyone else can come in. The cat will likely flee the hoopla.
  • Place a used receiving blanket or piece of infant clothing in a quiet area where the cat can investigate it.
  • Allow the cat to approach and quietly check things out while Mom is nursing.
  • Don’t allow the cat in the crib.
  • Close the door to the nursery when the baby is napping. If there is no door to close, install a temporary screen door or hang mosquito netting over the crib to keep the cat out.

Source: Jacque Lynn Schultz, CPDT

PRINTABLE When Cat Meets Baby ....pdf

Pick the Perfect Pet for You

Before you pick a pet, keep in mind that the pet is a commitment that you have for its entire life. For large breed dogs, that can mean 10 or more years; for a smaller breed, it can be 15 years or more. Cats may live up to 20 years. Pets require continued daily investment of your attention and energy. Do not acquire a pet of any kind if your decision is based on frivolous needs or spontaneous urges. Put yourself in the animal’s place.

So you decide you do want a pet. Here’s what comes dawg Webnext.

Dog? Cat? Or something else?

Don’t be misled by popular misconceptions that all cats are antisocial toward people or that no one should have a dog unless they own a house with a yard. Neither should you limit your options to a dog or a cat. You might find great companionship in a pet rabbit, bird, or an aquarium of fish. Be open-minded and consider all the options.

Here are some important points to think about:

  • A pet dog requires a bigger investment of time and energy than does a cat. Regardless of size or breed, a dog should be walked on a leash for a minimum of 20 minutes at least twice daily. It is not enough to let it out into the backyard, nor can it be allowed to roam unsupervised in the neighborhood.
  • A dog must be taught acceptable behavior as soon as it enters your home. Puppies should begin obedience training and social interaction (with other pets, children, and adults) from the very start. Obedience training should be practiced daily. Dogs make wonderful pets if they are given ample opportunity for the exercise, play, and social interaction with their owners.
  • If you are a first-time pet owner, a large-breed dog is probably not the best choice. A smaller dog will be easier to manage so that you can perfect your obedience skills and acquire experience.
  • The approaches to raising dogs of any size are identical. Train a small dog the same way you would train a large one. You would not want a Great Dane to jump on your guests, so don’t tolerate this behavior in a Lhasa Apso. Read tips about stopping a dog from jumping.
  • Although most dogs will enjoy playing with people, cats can generally amuse themselves. Most cats enjoy interacting with their owners but are often content to play alone.
  • Though their activities can be more solitary, cats thrive on attention and social contact with their owners. Cats have a very different social nature from dogs. Cats tend to be more discreet and unassertive than dogs, but they can be as attentive and responsive as any dog. A cat’s relatively small size and independent nature make it an attractive candidate for small living quarters and busy households.

PiccoloHiRes WEBMale or female?

  • Male cats and dogs tend to be larger than females and may be more active in general. Females may be easier to training and less destructive. Females may not play as roughly as males, but both sexes are equally playful. Males tend to be more aggressive toward other males in particular, and aggressive behavior may be more easily provoked.
  • Male dogs may be less tolerant of children. Dominance aggression in male dogs is more common. That does not mean that females can’t be aggressive or are always calm and sweet-tempered, nor does this suggest that male cats or dogs are not responsive to their owners.
  • There is probably no difference between the sexes in territorial aggression or the demand for affection. The decision between a male and female is one of your preference. The fundamental guideline is to choose a healthy pet with a good temperament.

Evaluating the litter

  • Avoid selecting a pet that remains extremely shy and intolerant to handling over more than one visit. An overly anxious pup, for example, is most likely to remain so as an adult. The most assertive pup of a litter is likely to become extremely dominant as an adult. If you choose a pet that displays any temperamental extremes, be prepared for lifelong challenges.
  • Testing a puppy’s temperament during the first few months of life can be misleading. Pups go through phases of development that are largely influenced by their environment. A pet’s earliest experiences influence it throughout its lifetime.
  • Look for the pet that has the traits you desire, but in moderation.
  • Have your new pet examined by a veterinarian within seven days after adoption from TCHS.

Checklist for Pet Selection

Before adopting a pet, consider:

  • Motivation (whim or well-planned goal)
  • Financial investment (short-term, long-term)
  • Required changes (removing valuable objects, tolerating occasional accidents, placing screens on windows to prevent escape)
  • Adult size (small, medium, large)
  • Breed characteristics, physical attributes (activity level, hair length)
  • Gender
  • Time and energy for pet’s daily maintenance (exercise, grooming, play, affection)
  • Municipal and state regulations regarding pets
  • Your previous experience (basic obedience training, house training)
  • A secondary caregiver (if you leave on vacation or become ill)

Source: Canine and Feline Behavior Problems, Second Edition

PRINTABLE Pick the Perfect Pet for You.pdf

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