At a recent seminar given by Ken Price, founder of The Dream Team, an organization that helps to retrieve lost pets, rescue dog owners learned about the dangers of loosening safety protocols before their dogs are ready.
Throughout his presentation, Ken emphasized this point:
Dogs are living beings that need your care and attention just like children.
The seminar was hosted by local volunteers with Soi Dog, a rescue organization founded to provide a humane solution for the stray dog population in Asia. Also attending were representatives of Free Korean Dogs, who work to move dogs away from the dog meat trade to homes in North America. Both organizations require anyone adopting a dog to adhere to strict safety protocols.
As Ken talked about these safety protocols, he continually reminded the group to think of dogs as two-year old children. This was helpful context for talking about the following scenarios:
- Leaving your dog alone outside a store or loose in your house: For the same reasons these would be unsafe for a child, they’re unsafe for a dog
- Letting your dog walk off-leash in the city: Would you allow a child to walk on a busy street without holding your hand?
- Allowing a dog to be loose in a car: You would worry about your child’s safety so why not your dog’s?
- Teaching your dog safety commands: These have the same effect as teaching your child to be safe.
Ken’s advice is that thinking of your dog as a small child provides a good check-point whenever you have a question about what boundaries to set as a responsible owner. While he believes this type of safety-thinking is good for all dog owners, Ken discussed an additional challenge in adopting a rescue dog.
A dog that has previously been loose or was a street dog will have PTSD that will trigger a response for the dog to run just at the sight of an open door. The dog won’t even grasp what it is doing until it is loose and too late.
Adopters of dogs from Free Korean Dogs have a similar challenge. Many of their dogs include the Jindo, a breed that is not suitable for being off-leash because of its drive to chase and run free.
Ken’s extra advice for those adopting rescue dogs is that no door opens before the dog is secured. He suggests the following practices:
- Between door bell and door opening, the dog should be crated, contained in a closed room or secured in-hand with a leash.
- When going in and out of a car, a dog’s leash is in hand while the car harness is clipped/unclipped
Written by Mia Andrews
The Dream Team is all too familiar with what can go wrong, having helped retrieve hundreds of dogs in the southern Ontario area: a fraction of the dogs that go missing. Ken’s mission with his safety seminar is to educate rescue dog owners about the reality of lost dogs so that we can safely enjoy our new pets.
Soi Dog Foundation (Soi Dog) was established in 2003 in Phuket, Thailand, to help the street dogs and cats who had no-one else to care for them.