By HELEN PALMER
A reader has asked me to write on the responsibility of keeping your dog or puppy safely on your property and what to do if someone’s pet roams on to your property
At first I thought of writing about all the responsibilities of acquiring a pet and checked two web sites: one for the American Kennel Club at http://www.akc.org/dog-owners/responsible-dog-ownership/ and another one by The Spruce at http://www.thespruce.com/responsible-dog-ownership-1117471.
However these covered far more than I have room for so I will narrow the subject to preparing the property to safely confine your pet and what to do if someone else’s dog roams on to your property.
Before obtaining your new family member, look at the size of the dog and then critically look at your yard. If you are planning to get a German shepherd dog, you need a large enough area for the animal to run at full speed, play fetch with you and/or play tag with another dog.
I was asked to visit a friend’s home to evaluate her German shepherd’s behavior. The yard was barely 15 feet by 20 feet and the dog was not getting enough exercise. The solution was to get neighborhood children to take the dog on long daily walks on leash.
The area should be securely fenced or else you might need to take the time to train the new arrival to the underground fence which takes several weeks of repetition for puppies.
My fencing was adequate for my standard schnauzers but not for my papillon. However, I discovered that the fencing was not secured in one corner and my latest schnauzer pup was able to push against the fence and slip out between the fence and the wood post. Stapling the fence to the post stopped that, but I had a few uneasy moments as I tried to locate my pup and bring him back home.
For my tiny dog, I started her on the underground fence but then replaced the perimeter fencing. I selected fencing that the papillon could not sneak through and she was delighted with the freedom of playing with the other dogs.
When I adopted my golden retriever, he discovered that the chain link portion of my neighbor’s fencing could be pushed outward allowing him to escape and check out the neighborhood. It took special hooks to secure the chain link to the ground, and I asked friends who played baseball to come and throw the ball for the retriever to fetch. The extra exercise seemed to satisfy him and he stayed home after that.
As far as what to do if a dog roams onto your property, I have had a couple of those in the past. I was able to guide them into the backyard and then call the animal shelter. In both cases the owners had alerted the shelter and the owners arrived quickly to claim their pets.
I felt well compensated watching the relief in the human’s face and the glee of the reunited dog.
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