You think it won’t happen to your dog, but it happens every day.  Barely a day went by at the animal shelter where a devastated pet owner wasn’t walking up and down every aisle in tears, looking for their lost dog.  Invariably, they are shocked that it happened.  But shih tzu happens and dogs get lost. Short of keeping your dog locked in a bubble, how can you keep your dog safe?  If the unthinkable happens and your dog gets lost, you need to act quickly!

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Shih Tzu Happens and Dogs Get Lost!


Always have your pet wear a collar with updated tags.  It amazes me how many people remove a dog’s collar for one reason or another; they don’t like the noise it makes when the dog shakes or they bathed the dog and forgot to put the collar back on.  Collars can get lost or damaged.  If a collar gets snagged on something, it can break off.  

A microchip is tiny and takes only seconds to put in.  Any vet can do it and most shelters offer it, usually for about half the price, which can range from approximately $20 – $75.  Do you love your dog twenty bucks worth?   Micro-chipping plus tags together can make the difference between your pet being linked back to you and getting home safe … or not.  You can also consider tattooing your dog, or using a GPS product that allows you to monitor your dog’s activity and location.

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Dogs Get Lost, These Tips Help Keep Dogs Safe



When something unsettling is happening within the home it can cause a dog to become stressed, possibly wander off trying to get away from the stress, and end up getting lost.  Dogs can become frightened if workmen are in the home, if furniture and moving boxes are being packed up, or if strangers visit the home.  

Workers and movers often leave the front door open to make it easier to cart items in and out of the house. An anxious dog may use that opportunity to run out the door and escape the chaos.   

When kids go back to school after a long break, it can cause anxiety for the family dog.  The dog may miss the kids and worry that they won’t come back, or they may just get bored without them.  This could cause a dog to escape the confines of the house or yard to go looking for the kids! 

To avoid these potentially dangerous escapes from happening, give your dog a new toy or something else to keep him occupied. Confine him to his crate or a separate room as the kids leave the house in the morning or as workers are going in and out of the home.   When unexpected or unusual activity is happening in the house, keep your dog secured and keep your eye on him!


I know people often love to let their dogs off leash so they can be “free to run”, but be smart about it.  If signs tell you to keep your dog leashed, then do it.  Your dog can get enticed by any number of small animals, people running or biking, and other distractions and take off after them. In addition, off leash dogs can be picked up by Animal Control in public places where they are supposed to be leashed.  There’s often some mean biddy  with animal control on speed dial!

Sadly, dogs have even been shot by authorities in park or camp grounds where unleashed dogs are prohibited.   It’s unfortunate, but an unleashed dog can be scary to many people, even the authorities. They don’t know that your dog is loving and friendly and is only bounding towards them at warp speed to say hello!  Their reaction might be to defend themselves against your sweet pooch, especially if the dog is large or perceived to be an aggressive breed.  

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Dogs Can Get Lost. These Tips Help Them Stay Safe


I love taking my dogs to the dog park and I enjoy chatting with the other dog moms and dog dads there.  My girl Icy loves to greet new dogs as they enter the park, so I’m always on guard when she gets close to the gate.  

Once a mother and her two kids came into the park, just to see all the dogs.  They didn’t know to ensure both gates remain locked at all times, and one of the kids left the interior gate open.  A Beagle made his way over and slipped through.  Several folks tried to coax him back into the dog run, but the dog snarled when a guy tried to grab him.  We yelled out trying to locate the owner but no one responded.   I finally clipped my own dog’s leash on the Beagle, and walked him around the dog park shouting “who owns this little guy?!”  The owner finally came forth.  She was in the back of the park yackin’ it up with friends, not paying attention to her dog!


In addition to a reliable come when called, also teach the “wait” command and have an “emergency recall” command.   These simple commands can save your dog’s life.  

If your dog spots a bird, squirrel, or other moving object he may dart across a street, hop a fence, or jump out of the car and lay chase for many blocks.  He can be hit by a car or lose his sense of direction.   

Make sure your dog reliably comes to you when called.  One of the keys to this is not always calling your dog when it’s time to leave the park, have a bath, or go to the vet.  That can reduce their positive reaction to your call, so when it’s bath or vet time, rather than calling your dog to you, go and get him instead.  

Teach your dog to always wait at the door or inside the car until you give the go ahead for them to exit.  

In the event that something is just too enticing and your dog takes off, tuning you out, have an emergency recall command.  This is a one or two word command that immediately snaps them to attention and makes them run right to you because the reward for coming to you is irresistible.  My dogs know that whenever they hear "Danger! Danger!" they will receive delicious bacon.  It is the only time they get bacon, which is what makes it different from the “Come!” command I use on a daily basis. 


If you throw a party, keep your pet in mind as you plan the party.  Holidays, graduations, birthday celebrations, engagement parties or showers, Super bowl parties, etc. are wonderful occasions that enrich our lives.  However we can easily get distracted while hosting our event.  

Dogs can find it unsettling to see their home fill up with people, some of whom they don’t know.   Loud noises or people wearing costumes can be scary to your dog.  Be sure to include a plan to keep your dog secure during parties.  This is a good time to consider pet boarding, a pet sitter, or doggie day camp.  If you want to include your pet in family festivities, designate one person to keep an eye on the dog at all times during the party.     

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Tips To Prevent Your Dog From Getting Lost


If gardeners, housekeepers, or workers of any kind are in your home or yard be sure to double check that all doors and fences have been secured after they leave.  Every single time.  Don’t expect them to reliably remember to close & latch gates or doors – ultimately it’s your responsibility, not theirs.    

Never leave your dog unattended in the yard, in a car, or tied up outside a store.   It’s a sad fact that not only do dogs get lost every day, but they get stolen every day as well.  According to, as many as 2 million animals are stolen each year.   What kind of person would steal a dog from an animal shelter, break into your car to steal your dog, steal your dog right out of your yard, or reach over to pet your secured dog outside a store, unclip her leash and make off with her?  You'd be surprised.

Your dog doesn’t need to be an expensive purebred to tempt unscrupulous people to snatch her.  “My girlfriend always wanted a French Bulldog”.  “I got it for my Mom, she’s lonely”.  “They left that poor dog tied up in the yard all day, or in a hot/cold car, or outside a store while they shopped.  They’re cruel and don’t deserve him!”   Don’t give unscrupulous, misguided people any opportunity to steal your precious dog!


As everyone knows, spaying and neutering prevents the enormous number of unwanted puppies that end up in shelters. This is especially bad every Spring and Summer which is unfortunately puppy and kitten season at shelters.  Neutering can reduce your dog’s desire to get out and roam the neighborhood, and can reduce unwarranted aggression.  It could also curtail some theft, since a dog that is spayed or neutered cannot be bred for profit, which is often a dog snatchers goal.

Always practice these safety tips to help prevent your dog getting lost or stolen.   Don’t make it easy for a thief to snatch your dog and don’t give someone an excuse to keep your dog because they’ve convinced themselves she must have been abandoned, or that you must be an irresponsible owner.  People can make all kinds of assumptions about your poor lost dog…. and you!


If the unthinkable happens and your dog goes missing, time is of the essence so act immediately.  Spend an hour or two searching the area, but if you can’t find her, here are some steps you should take:

·    If your dog is micro-chipped contact the recovery service right away to alert them that she is missing.  They may be able to assist in recovery by alerting area shelters and vets. Alert your dog's Veterinarian as well.

·    Keep good quality updated photos of your pet handy, especially when travelling.  Photos should clearly show the dog’s face and body and should be in color, a black and white photo isn’t very effective.   Place color photos on a lost dog poster with details of your dog and your phone number. Make copies and pass them out to all the neighbors within several blocks.  That way neighbors will have the photo to refer to if they see your dog.  Post your lost dog flyer in nearby grocery stores, area veterinary offices, and other central places near where your dog went missing. 
Contact animal shelters in your county. Don't just check the one closest to you, animal control officers will bring dogs and cats to whichever animal shelter has room for them at that moment. You also don't know how far your dog may have traveled, she could easily end up in the next town or even further! Many animal shelters also have a bulletin board you can post lost pet posters on or an online lost pet web page.

·    Go online and post quality photos and details about your lost dog.  You can post on Craigslist, in your local newspaper's web site, on and other sites.  Do a “lost and found dogs in (your city/state)” search online to locate other sites you can post photos and details on.  Many fabulous shelter staff comb through Lost Dog sites online in an attempt to find a dog’s owner if there are no updated tags or microchip.  This works well if your dog has unique physical attributes or is an uncommon breed.  A post for a lost Golden Retriever might be overlooked, but a Komondor won’t be!  For more tips on finding a lost dog check out this page

·    Post signs throughout the area, especially near stop signs and traffic lights.  Don’t use white 8.5” by 11” paper, most of us can’t see them from a car!  Buy large pieces of oak tag in bright or neon colors, post a large color photo of your dog, and write details and contact info in black magic marker in large print.  Don’t cheap out, have large color photos printed!

 Three life saving dog training commands

I hope you find these dog safety and lost dog tips helpful.  Please keep your eyes open and keep your dog safe at all times! Leave us a comment and share your thoughts on how you keep your dog safe. 
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