3 Tips That Could Save Your Dog’s Life

Save Your Dog Using Leash and CommandsDo you speak dog? Do you teach your dog safety commands? Does your dog look puzzled? Did you know there would be a quiz? All kidding aside, what could be more important to dogs than their very lives?

What’s the Biggest Danger to Our Dogs?

Living in a human world, small town or city, our dogs navigate an increasingly complex world. Few dogs live removed from the dangers of traffic. Simply crossing a street in major cities often proves life threatening for humans. We cannot expect dogs to understand and to cope with traffic and distracted drivers.

1. Leash Your Dog

Leash laws protect dogs and dog lovers. Even if your town does not have a leash law, I recommend using a leash. Keep a leash and extra harness near the door. Put them on your dog every time you take him out near a street. Simple, right?

We would not need thousands of dogcatchers and animal shelters? Because dogs become disoriented, lost or even run away. Dogs feel scared and lonely. Even my pair of keeshonds would get out the side gate. Luckily for me, they spent the rest of their time trying to get back in. That is where our community service officer found them safe and ready to get back into the yard.

Most people know the problem of lost or runaway dogs keeps growing. More lost pets mean the building of more animal shelters, pet rescues and volunteer foster homes. Please use a leash when you walk your dog.

2. Teach Your Dog to Wait

The wait command will literally save your dog’s life. It is never too late to teach your dog this behavior. I learned this command from a Petaluma dog trainer who volunteers on Petaluma City Animal Shelter. Although she teaches dog lovers and their dogs how to walk together without a leash, first she teaches walking dogs on a leash. If you regularly train dogs and dog lovers, you know that basic skills must be mastered first.

Shelter adoptions, like the one we did to get our Cocker spaniel/poodle mix, Sydney, require a canine good citizen course. We took the basic class with Sydney. At one year old, Sydney knew basic commands. But he was never house trained. We took a few private lessons too. Sydney came to us, biting and chewing on hands. He learned fast. But old habits took years to stop. Before we adopted him, Sydney had a bad reputation. He’d failed in two homes, bit groomers, veterinarians, shelter staff and volunteers.

Teaching Your Dog to Wait:

  • Get some yummy bean sized treats.
  • Look at your dog.
  • Speak your dog’s name then the word, “Wait.”
  • When your dog stops moving reward with quick treat + praise
  • Make sure your dog does not move as you open the door.
  • When he waits, praise him. Say, “Good dog. Good Henry.”
  • Sometimes toss him a treat as a special reward

Practice inside. When your dog gets the idea he is rewarded for waiting, go practice off leash at the backdoor. Then practice in fenced yard. If your dog has trouble try this with a friend and using a leash. Take turns holding the leash as the other person leaves by the gate.

3. Use a Seatbelt or Pet Crate in Your Car or Truck

The days driving or riding without a set belt are long gone. But fifty years ago, seat belts had not been invented nor had laws been written to require people to use them. Now all infants and toddlers must be belted into seats and in the rear of a vehicle. Research and facts proved that seatbelts save lives.

Keep all your pets safe on car rides. Daily acts of safely securing pets become routine, making life easier. When we first searched for one for Sydney it took us months. Finally, we found him the right size seatbelt. Sydney tends to wiggle, and he slips out of harnesses super fast. The fit needs to be just right.

Even if your pet rarely rides in a car, teach him to wear and sit in a seatbelt. Going a veterinarian or immunization clinic will be 100% safer, using a pet seatbelt.

Buy one then train your dog to wear it. Praise and give yummy treats, just for wearing it. Just as easy as teaching “Wait.”

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deborah taylor-frenchDeborah Taylor-French

Deborah Taylor-French blogs at DogLeaderMysteries.com. “…an interesting site for anyone who likes dogs.” Commented Kristina Stanley, an award-winning mystery writer. Deborah goes nose to nose for a dog-to-dog point of view. Her dog parenting tips, pet humor and stories are liked by thousands of readers.

Dog Leader Mysteries I, Deborah’s first novel, is schedule for publication in 2016. In both nonfiction and fiction, Deborah’s writing demonstrates positive dog leadership and kindness toward all animals.

As Author Support Facilitator for Redwood Writers, the largest branch of the California Writers Club, Deborah helps other writers. Find her true story of Sydney’s adoption from an animal shelter in, “Punk Rocker With A Poodle Brain” published in Vintage Voices Four Part Harmony. She has raised five adopted dogs.

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16 Responses to 3 Tips That Could Save Your Dog’s Life

  1. Linda Loveland Reid says:

    Loved this article! Good to be reminded that we need to watch out for the safety of our animals. Thanks!

    • Thanks Linda for reading and leaving a lovely note. You just entered my contest on Dog Leader Mysteries for the comment.

      The person who comments then shares the most on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, will win a gift certificate to Copperfield’s Book Store. I’m also planning 2nd & 3rd prizes too.

  2. Great tips. Seatbelt! Who knew!

  3. Hello Readers & Redwood Writers,

    Please give me a shout out or #comment or #question cause I love to write to save dogs’ lives & dog lovers’ sanity! Woot!!!

  4. marc hoffman says:

    Great article. Nice advice for first time dog owners or a long time pet owners such as myself. When our dog Sydney travels in the car he always wears his seatbelt. This post is a yummy treat for all dog owners and lovers.

  5. Thanks Marc for your kind note. I’m so glad you find it useful and helpful for both new dog parents and experienced dog lovers too.

    You are now entered in the Comment Contest I’m running on Dog Leader Mysteries for $$ prizes.

  6. Ellen Skagerberg says:

    I have to add that leashing your friendly dog could save your dog and someone else’s dog in another way.

    My nephew has the most wonderful, sweet pit bull rescue dog, and of course Moses needs to be walked regularly. But he’s extremely territorial around other dogs, so my nephew takes Moses only where dogs are required to be on leash.

    Other people’s friendly dogs come bounding up, with the owners calling ahead cheerfully, “It’s OK, my dog is friendly!” Meanwhile, my nephew is physically restraining Moses. Sometimes he has yelled, “Are you trying to get my dog killed??! Because if my dog attacks your dog, they will put my dog down! Get your dog away from my dog!”

    Please respect leash laws!

  7. Excellent comment Ellen. Most dog lovers fall short in understanding dog to dog relations and language. I write about many of those sticky moments of dog lovers not taking firm leadership.

    Using a leash, every time you walk your dog in public, shows your dog that you will keep him or her safe. Safe from speeding cars and safe from other dogs.

    We have had to resort to tossing rocks after yelling “STOP” at an oncoming unleashed dog. Due to our dog being 16 pounds, we can pick him up and kick other dogs away.

    Your comment has inspired me to write another “saving dogs’ lives & dog lovers’ sanity” posts on Dog Leader Mysteries.

    Ellen, your comment enters you free in my Comment Contest, which I run at DLM. A chance to win gift cards to Amazon or a local bookshop of choice! See you in the winners’ circle!

  8. Sher Gamard says:

    Thanks Deborah for this helpful information. I’m not a dog owner but I do walk in Ragle Ranch Park several times a week. I’m always grateful to see that 90% of dog owners are very considerate and keep their dogs on leash — much safer for everyone. And, as Deborah points out, safer for the dogs too!

    • Hi Sher,

      Thanks for reading and leaving your comment. Yes, leashes make life safer for all the other people, wild animals and dogs in any public area.

      The biggest heartbreak comes in the bad news of someone have been bitten or had their dog bitten by an off-leash dog. So much pain and suffering can be avoided by leash laws and dog lovers leashing their dog every single trip out of their home.

      You are now entered in my Comment Contest!!!

  9. Lindsay says:

    Really enjoyed reading this. Not enough people have the common sense to leash their dogs where I live. I cringe every time I see one off leash. All it takes it one nano second and your dog could see a squirrel or nothing at all, and then bolt into traffic. You just never know, even the best trained dogs. It’s just not a good idea any way you look at it…

    • Thanks Lindsay for visiting and leaving a comment.

      I feel so much like you do. I worry for the dog or dogs I see off leash. It just takes one second. I know a family that had a beloved dog who never ran out off their front lawn. Then one day, he did. He lived but suffered with seizers until his death.

      You have now entered my Comment Contest. If you share on social media, then go to my blog Dog Leader Mysteries and leave a note so I can add your name. Each share after your entry gets you another change to win 1 of 3 prizes!

  10. Виктор says:

    Of course there are many other safety precautions to remember while traveling, such as making sure you have a first aid kit, that you have all your dog’s supplies and so on. But these five tips are just as important and will help keep you and your dog happy and, most importantly, safe!

  11. Thanks for your comment.

    Yes, a first aid kit should be in your auto at all times.

    For those of us who hike with our dogs, we bring along extra water and snacks plus a small first aid kit. What do you keep in your first aid kit for your dog?

  12. Jade Brunet says:

    It is good to know that when teaching a dog to wait, one should start by using a leash. I like what was mentioned about how basic skills must be mastered first in the training process. Another thing to look into would be to find a leash that best meets the circumstance of your canine friend. If you have a small dog, a heavy duty leash would not be your best option.

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