Usually, it is in the warmer weather that we see an increase in postings for lost dogs. Also, when there are storms or fireworks, more dogs get lost. 

Accidents can always happen but most cases of dogs getting lost are preventable. It is usually about parental and family responsibility and changes in lifestyle beliefs. 

There are postings every day. As a pet parent and dog trainer, I am distressed. However, over a lifetime of owning dogs what would you consider the norm of having one lost, meaning an escape, not stolen? 

Stolen is another category based mostly upon having a dog unsupervised on one’s property. But a dog that escapes from your house or yard multiple times is just unacceptable.

Some owners seem to be in denial about their responsibility. Part of that is teaching children safety measures and taking increased precautions. If you know you have a dog that digs under or jumps over a fence, why is the dog left unsupervised?

How do we reduce the number of these potentially disastrous situations? Teach your family not to open outside doors unless their pet is secured. This could include a gated area, crate or another room with a door. Design a barrier which bars access to the door with a gate that people can go through but the pet cannot. 

In some cases, the barrier can be an indoor version of electronic fence which is reasonably priced over the internet. The pet wears an electronic collar which is activated as they near a restricted area. It keeps most pets away from doors. 

Even if your pet is mostly reliable outside, off leash in a non-fenced area, remember they are animals and will often be distracted by prey. If you have other people that have access to your yard – such as landscapers or other service people – make sure the gate is secure before you let the dog out. 

In general, dogs should not be outside without a fence, electronic fence or electronic collar, or on a leash or long tether line. Letting them run loose should not be acceptable to any caring pet parent. 

Losing a pet by accident can happen. But the biggest problem is an owner’s ego thinking THEIR dog can be off leash and can be trusted to stay with them 100% of the time.

Train your dog! The Stay and Come command can be trained by your family or any local trainer. Invest in a GPS-type tracking device. There are several on the market and some have monitoring fees. This is a sound investment but is not foolproof, since some pets can lose their collars along with the device. But if tracked quickly, it could be a lifesaver. 

Some pets are never found and it is a nightmare for families as well as the pet. Post on Facebook, veterinarians’ offices, animal control and shelters so the community can help. 

But for the most part it shouldn’t happen in the first place. This is a solvable problem – let’s fix it!

Abby Bird is owner of Alphadog Training Academy.