The Wandering Dog

Puppies are a great fun to watch. The day they start to wobble around they begin to follow their dam. Their traverses are however, limited to the confines of the enclosure they live in. Around six week age they begin to interact well with the grownups and children of the family and try to follow them. And one fine morning they leave for their new homes.

Life is fun both for the puppy and the new owner. The puppy follows the master like his shadow. Some of them get so much attached to a family member that they will wait at the door of the bathroom, till he or she is out after a bath.

One of my Labrador puppies used to do the same and if I sneaked out of the rear door and hide somewhere in the house, the puppy would begin to howl after he lost patience.

This trait continues till about nine month’s age. Thereafter if you have a dog puppy he will certainly try to sneak out of the house especially during nights, when he thinks he is not being observed. Initially he just wanders around trying to identify the new smells outside the gate of the house. His traverses then are short and he returns within a few minutes. Gradually with age the area of his exploration grows larger and larger.

What starts as purely an exploration gradually changes to search of a mate during the months when maximum numbers of bitches are in season. What starts as an exploration ultimately becomes a passion by the time a dog turns adult. If confined in the house he begins to howl. He may even try to chew the doors. Some of the larger breeds often turn aggressive.

The owner, out of sheer frustrations searches a mate for the dog and uses him, presuming that this will ease the stress on the dog. But on the contrary dog still wants to go out. Many times he manages to do so and returns home after a few days, badly bruised with bleeding wounds on neck, ears etc.

Vets often recommend neutering a wandering dog. But that seldom has any effect. A neutered dog may not be able to breed, but his wander lust is not curbed. He continues to sneak out and roam around and often return home with injuries.

Dogs are pack animals and they roam around scouting for food. They are originally carrion eaters; hence a carcass may attract them easily. A domesticated dog always has that trait in his genes. At home he considers the family members as his pack members and a family head as his leader. Once on the street his wild instinct returns and he may form his own pack, if he is physically powerful or he may join a pack and have fun with his mates, roaming around the city. A novice dog owner finds it very difficult to control such a dog and tries various measures, including the harshest ones.

Often people ask how to control a wandering dog?

Once a dog is deep in to the habit it is difficult to cure. But it is not impossible. The problems of this type do not occur overnight. Therefore if the owner is slightly careful he can overcome the problem by training the dog much before the instinct to wander takes roots. In order to do so make it clear in your mind that dogs are not cows that can be let lose to forage around.

A dog is an animal that requires a constant interaction. Therefore if you intend to leave your dog alone for more than two hours at a stretch from the day one, you can be assured that as an adult he would like to sneak out in search of better pack. Inculcate the habit of ‘cage living’ in your dog. Some people object to this idea-as they feel it is cruelty. Yes it is cruel to leave your dog in a cage while you go out to watch a movie with your family. But it is in perfect order if dog enjoys his stay in the cage in your living room with the family around.

Dogs in nature live in the lairs. Therefore a cage with a corner to hide gives him an ideal set up. If lots of toys are also around his stay becomes a pleasure.

Teach your pup to accept the leash as his fate accompli for going out of the house. Never ever take him out without a leash. Being animals of routine they start accepting the leash as a part of the ritual of going out. This has two advantages. Once the pup or the dog is safe from the traffic and two - he does not dream of wandering around. He goes on a fixed beat and returns home.

Teach your pup to retrieve. The advantage is that once trained you can exercise him well in a confined area. Once properly exercised and walked briskly twice a day, the dog does not even dream of roaming out.

Keep your dog fruitfully occupied. A well trained dog can perform several tasks happily. His mind is then completely occupied and is always alert for your call or command. Such dogs never wander around. It is only those dogs whose owners have more fruitful occupations than looking after their pooch, venture out. In other words train yourself to keep your dog at home.

More By  :  V. K. Joshi (Bijji)

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