6 Tips to Prevent Your Dog from Going MIA

Recently, my neighbor called me to help her return a dog that was sitting outside her fence gate.  The unknown terrier mix , later identified, as Rudy, was attracted to her property because her dogs were in their back yard.  Not knowing the history of the dog, she was afraid to approach Rudy.  Fortunately, he turned out to be extremely friendly toward people and other dogs.
Rudy had a city registration tag on his collar but it was unreadable due to it’s age, 2002.  A spot check of nearby homes did not result in finding anyone who knew to whom Rudy belonged.  There wasn’t time to take Rudy to the humane society the same day, so I took a picture of him and uploaded it onto the shelter’s website.  I  hoped his owner would find the picture and know that Rudy was being well cared for during his absence.
The following day, I took Rudy to the Michigan Humane Society to have him scanned for a microchip.  Hopefully, one would be found and I would be able to return Rudy to his owner without him having to spend any time in the shelter.  Sadly though, he did not have a microchip.  Therefore, I checked him into the shelter knowing that they would place a hold on him for four days, to give his owner time to find him before placing him up for adoption, provided he successfully passed the temperament evaluation.  After having spent the night with Rudy and being a dog behavior expert myself, I knew he would pass such an evaluation with flying colors.
Fortunately, Rudy’s story has a very happy ending.  As I waited for Rudy to be checked into the shelter, his owner entered the shelter lobby joyfully exclaiming, “you found my dog!”  As it turned out, Rudy had travelled approximately ten blocks during his neighborhood exploration.
Early this morning, I saw two adult Rottweilers running loose on Wayne Road in Westland, Michigan.  At first they would not come to me but with some encouragement, they jumped into my truck for a ride and some pet massages.  Fortunately, they had stayed together during their outdoor adventure as one of them didn’t have any tags on his collar.  The female Rottweiler had a city registration tag but no further identifying information.  Therefore, I took them to the Michigan Humane Society in Westland, Michigan.
Due to it being a Sunday, the shelter was closed.  However, have no fear, a Westland Police Officer saved the day.  He appeared on scene and assisted me with placing the dogs in kennels and giving them food and water at the shelter.  Due to the female having a city tag, I am sure they will be home with their owners tomorrow.  It’s just unfortunate that they didn’t have a phone number on their collar.  If so, I would’ve been able to return them to the owner on the same day.
These recent events point out how crucial it is to have identification on your dog so your loved one can be returned to you as soon as possible.  To protect your pet:
  1. Register your dog with your city hall and place the tag on your dog’s collar,
  2. Place your cellular telephone number on your dog’s collar,
  3. Ask your veterinarian to microchip your dog,
  4. Ensure your dog’s outdoor play area is secure preventing your dog from jumping over or digging under the fence,
  5. Spend more time with your dog when he/she is outdoors to prevent your dog from becoming bored and seeking an escape route, and
  6. Train your dog to come, stay, and not to bolt out doorways by joining a dog training class or by hiring a professional dog trainer for in home training.
If you follow these tips, hopefully your dog will never become one of the missing.  But if the unfortunate happens and your dog goes missing in action, you will have peace of mind that you took the steps necessary to aid your dog’s safe return.

About Michael Burkey

Michael Burkey is a professional dog trainer, behaviorist and owner of MichiganDogTrainer.com, a highly successful dog training company whose aim is to promote peaceful relationships between pets and families. Additionally, he is an expert trial witness, certified Canine Good Citizen (CGC) evaluator for the American Kennel Club (AKC), former Police K9 Handler, Search and Rescue (SAR) K9 Training Director and SAR K9 Handler, obedience and rally competitor and social worker. Dog training is a complex science and art requiring knowledge of behavioral science and learning. You can rely on Michael's experience, teaching methods, and integrity. He can be contacted at info@MichiganDogTrainer.com or 734-634-4152.
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