What to Do if Your Dog Gets Loose

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Bentley got loose.  This was due to pure stupidity on my part.  I broke the cardinal rule of training a dog.

NEVER SET YOUR DOG UP FOR FAILURE!

It was the first nice day in awhile, so I decided to take Bentley for a run.  My mom keeps suggesting that when I do this, I leave Bentley off-leash because she is sure he’ll just follow me.  I know better.  But the suggestion kept running through my head.  Who doesn’t want a dog that’s so well trained and loyal that he follows you around?  Thing is, you actually have to TRAIN your dog to do this.  It doesn’t just happen magically.  The path I was running on runs along a highway, behind people’s houses, so it’s got chain-link fence on both sides.  So at one point during the run, I dropped the leash to see if Bentley would stay with me.

Didn’t take long for him to take off.  And I knew we were approaching a street.  He would run off ahead of me, stop, turn, wait for me to get close, then take off again.  So I got his attention, and turned around and ran away from him.  Didn’t take him long to blow past me, but this time he stopped long enough for me to step on the leash and we continued our run.  Toward the end of the run, I decided to try it again.  I get onto this path at the local elementary school.  There’s an opening behind the school, and one at the far end of the baseball field.  I made the huge mistake of *hoping* Bentley wouldn’t go through the opening at the field and would follow me to where we started behind the school.  SO. STUPID.

'Running Dog' photo (c) 2009, Tobias Akerboom (at hutmeelz) - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Naturally he went through the hole at the field.  At first, I kept running, slowly, calling to him, hoping he would see that I was going away from him and come after me.  No such luck.  He knew he was free.  He was zooming around like a rocket.  I knew I had ZERO hope of catching him, so I ran on to the back of the school.  Two seconds later, Bentley came running up.  He had been running through the woods.  It had rained, then snowed, then the snow had melted, so he was absolutely covered in mud. And somehow, he had lost his leash.  His collar was still on, but the leash was nowhere to be found.  I had no idea how I was going to get him home.  Oh yeah, my dog is friendly, enjoys jumping up on people, and it was election day, so people were going in and out of the school to vote.  I was mortified.  Bentley was having the time of his furry little life.

I realized I couldn’t catch him.  He knew that if I caught him his freedom would be over, and chasing him would just make it into a game.  I didn’t want that.  So I decided to just go home.  Bentley sort of followed me.  Mostly he saw me moving off and again ran to keep ahead of me.  He stopped to say hi to some dogs fenced in someone’s yard that were snarling and making a ruckus because they saw another dog.  He wandered in and out of yards.  He went up to people’s doors only to scurry off as I passed.  He almost was hit by a car which made me feel even more stupid, idiotic and embarrassed about the whole ordeal.  I nearly got my dog killed for my stupidity.

In the end, I was able to run into the open garage and he thankfully followed me in.  At which point he got a thorough bath for his troubles.

Worn out after his adventure

Moral of the story:

DON’T SET YOUR DOG UP FOR FAILURE! Also, don’t chase your dog. He thinks it’s a game and will have lots of fun trying to keep away from you. He’s also probably a lot faster than you and has more energy/stamina. Instead, turn the game around and run AWAY from the dog. Now he’s it, and he’ll come running to catch you. At which point you can hopefully get a hold of his leash or collar!

tl;dr: Bentley escaped. I got him back by running away from him.

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Prairie Dog Antlers – Product Review

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Bentley is a chewer.  He loves nothing more than attacking a toy, obsessively ripping out every last bit of stuffing and destroying the squeaker within.  Behold the remains of a few of his toys.

Behold the destruction

Countless others have already been thrown away.  That orange rope? Used to be a raggedy cat.  That weird white ball?  Used to be a Kong Wubba.  That ball actually became his favorite toy after he’d peeled the “skin” off the toy.  He chews on it like it’s bubblegum and will even toss it around for himself.  Needless to say,  all this destruction is a big mess for me to clean up and costs quite a bit of money.

But at PetSmart the other day, I ran across a new “toy” for Bentley.  It’s a piece of deer antler from Prairie Dog Antlers.  Bentley absolutely loves it.  I don’t think he stopped chewing it for the first two days he had it.  It will get worn down eventually, but it’s already lasted a week and has barely changed shape, whereas most his toys last 20 minutes.  It’s also good for his teeth.  They are expensive (this one cost $19), but for how long it lasts and how much value Bentley is getting out of it, I think it’s well worth the price.  It also doesn’t leave polyester fluff all over the house for me to pick up!

Bentley and his Antler

If you have a dog that is a really big chewer, and none of his toys last, I highly recommend checking out Prairie Dog Antlers!  They have a range of sizes, including moose for the larger breeds.

Pet Insurance Options

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'A new cast' photo (c) 2010, Brad Patterson - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

Pet insurance is becoming more and more common.  Some high-end companies even offer it as an employee perk!  But is it right for you?

When you go to a pet insurance website they have tons of examples of super high vet bills and how they could have been avoided for just a few dollars a month.  Horrible things like accidents and terrible diseases.

The thing is, most basic pet insurance only covers accidents and conditions such as cancer or heart conditions.  And you have to be careful just how much of the bill will actually be covered.  Routine vet bills aren’t covered, such as office visits or vaccinations.  Basic plans rarely cover hereditary conditions so if you have a large breed that suffers from hip displaysia you’ll be on your own for the bill.  And some basic plans don’t even cover the bill if your dog gets sick.  However, if your dog accidentally gets loose and gets hit by a car, it’s great piece of mind knowing you can do everything to save your best friend without worrying about the cost.

Another option, however, is creating your own pet insurance.  Sign up for a high-yield savings account, such as one with ING Direct. Each month, automatically deposit money into this account.  Then, should the unthinkable happen to your dear pet, you have the funds to cover it.  And should your pet live happy and healthy for a long time, then the money is still yours.  If you don’t have a pet yet, start this fund early!  If you already have a pet, you can combine a savings account with actual pet insurance and then cancel the insurance once you have a sufficient cushion built up in the savings account.

If you don’t think you’ll have the discipline to maintain the savings account, then perhaps you might want to reconsider if you have the discipline to maintain a dog!