Josh: A topic I can sink my teeth into – roaming and (nearly) getting lost. When I was young and mobile, I was able to sneak out of the yard three times!
Jeter: I got out a couple of times – once when daddy threw the ball over the fence and didn’t even realize he did, and once when a trick-or-treater rang the doorbell!
Alanis: I had one try at being an escape artist, but didn’t get far…
Josh: The first time I got out was due to a fire in the front yard. Someone knocked on the door, and my daddy ran outside to see the fire at the edge of the lawn. In his haste, he opened up the back gate, and you know where this is going – he left it open! Within a few minutes, I roamed outside the gate, only to hear my mommy frantically screaming for me (more on that later in daddy’s summary). I ran back into the house, and thankfully, the fire didn’t get very far. The second time, my daddy (who is full of fun stories of his complete incompetence) was getting ready to mow the lawn…and again, left the gate wide open for me to walk out of. Next thing he knew, I was all the way down the street (and this is not a quiet street….). He yelled and told me to come, and I obliged. The third time, the guy reading the meter came into the yard to get a closer look and didn’t close the gate. I again wandered outside, but this time, I only went into my neighbor’s yard. My Mommy saw me and I ran back into the house. All three times, I was the only dog living here. Those were the days…..
Jeter: Much quieter days, I am sure. Josh always had a roaming tendency – he liked to see the world! Me? I am the type that wants nothing to do with being alone. My daddy once threw the ball over the fence without knowing it went over. I came back without a ball and he told me to go get the ball, so I obliged by digging under the fence (I was still very tiny!) and grabbing the ball. I just sat there after I got it – no incentive to move away at all until he got me. The second time was more exciting! A group of kids came for trick-or-treat, and as soon as daddy opened the door, I bolted. I just wanted to play though. Within a minute, my adventure was over. Those are the only two incidents in my entire lifetime! I am too attached to people and my dog pack. I seriously have no drive to wander away.
Alanis: No, you don’t. You hate being alone – if mommy and daddy dare leave the house without Jeter, may as well get the violins out, because Jeter is going to mope. Anyway, one day, my daddy was outside talking to a neighbor who was at their window. I heard him and essentially ran run through an opening in the fence! As soon as he called my name, I stopped and ran at him to greet him. I am certainly the type of dog they have to keep a close eye on – not that I WANT to get out, but I am so hyper and insane that nobody knows what would happen if I actually DID get out!
Jeter: You’d probably run up and down the street, barking look a lunatic.
Josh: And likely eating anything that is on the ground – whether it be rocks, leaves, acorns, or heck – she may even try to eat the black top in the street if given enough time.
Alanis: I am who I am….
Jeter: One strange dog is what you are…..
Alanis: No denials here.
Me: I don’t care who you are – you have likely dealt with “loose doggie!” at least once or twice in your lifetime. And I know exactly what the instinct is: Run after the dog! Right? You don’t want the dog to get hurt, so you run after them, screaming at the top of your lungs. You wonder why the dog keeps going AWAY from you as you do this! The answer to that is simple: He thinks you are playing with him. Do you want to get a dog to come back to you? if they are still in your sight, the easiest way is actually the exact opposite: Get down on their level – sit down, lay down, whatever. Don’t shout and scream. If you have a solid “COME” or “TOUCH” command in their vocabulary, use it! The dog should eventually come back towards you. If the dog is out of your sight, that is another good time for the “COME” or “TOUCH” command. If all else fails, and you can’t find your dog, the good old-fashioned hopping in the car will have to do. There are also several groups out there (many on Facebook!) who are Lost Dog specialists. People who find lost dogs will often take them to the nearest shelter. If your dog is away for an extended period, call the shelters. I would even recommend you go to a shelter, if possible, to check out all the dogs who were recently brought in. Dogs CAN change in appearance rather quickly! And one last piece of advice for you: Get your dog chipped, as that is the FIRST thing a shelter or a vet will do if a lost dog is brought to them – check to see if they have a chip!
Don’t feel like a terrible dog parent just because your furry friend got loose – it is a part of their instinctive drive. Just try to find them as soon as possible, and take whatever safeguards you can to help avoid the incident from happening again.