Staying in the yard
One topic that seems to come up year after year with our
trainers and behaviorists is the concept that dogs and sometimes even cats can
be trained to stay in the yard. In our lost pet department one out of five pet
owners reporting their pets lost state "he never leaves the yard", which is
ironic as they are reporting their pet lost.
While dogs and cats make fantastic companions they are
still in fact animals. It is true that many prefer to stay near home however
their instincts and curiosities make it impossible to enforce this without a
physical barrier. You may think your pet is staying in your yard for days,
months, even years but it only takes one trip into a world they cannot
understand for them to get hurt or killed.
There is a true story that is told during
training when a new employee will be taking lost that calls. An older gentleman
called in to activate his membership on Monday afternoon. During activation you
chose that he allows his pet to run to run free. This is normally not allowed as
it is considered a responsible pet ownership. The operator was so convinced by
this gentleman that she put them on hold to speak with her supervisor. She
explained that the man was retired almost never left his home and that the dog
was 13 years old. He swore the dog never left the porch in 13 years. He lived in
the country on a dirt road and never has any cars pass by his house. He not only
convinced the operator but she was able to convince her supervisor and the man's
membership was activated. The following Friday the gentleman called in again. He
was reporting that his dog was dead. It had been hit by the trash truck early
that morning. He told us in tears he wished he had listened to our advice.
There is no way to teach a dog or cat to stay
in the yard without a containment system. There are many attractive, even
invisible, options available to keep your dog contained. The cost can be minimal
but the rewards will last a long, long time. Currently there is no containment
system to keep a cat in the yard and should be kept indoors or walk on a leash.