Why your new pet might try to escape

Please, please, please, we really cannot emphasise enough: newly adopted dogs (and cats!) may try to get out of their new home in the first few days! 

This does not mean ALL newly adopted pets WILL try to run away, only that it is a  small possibility. In almost all cases, you only have to stick out the ‘teething problems’ for a short time!

Here’s why: 

They do not know they are adopted.

They do not know you are their new family.

They do not know where the boundaries of their property are.

They are not ‘escape artists’ and they are not ‘bad dogs’ – 99% of the time, they settle within a week to two weeks.

If you discover your new pet is missing, please contact FAW immediately so that we can assist – and put a ‘lost dog alert’ on their microchip.

What can you do to prevent it from happening?

Put a collar and tag on immediately (as soon as you adopt) and, if you have to, keep them inside the house and only take them outside into the yard in your presence. (Note: all FAWbies adopted from Jan 2016 are microchipped. If you adopted prior to this, please contact us for assistance.)

We also recommend that, when adopting a new dog, you take a couple of days off to settle them in. Remember that the dog doesn’t have a clue what is going on and is looking to YOU for guidance. Dropping them off at home and then going out for the rest of the day is a recipe for disaster. 

So, aside from securing the property (e.g. adding a bit of fencing or plastic piping on top so they can’t climb over a wall), you need to show them the ropes.

Show them how nice it is inside the property, start taking them out for walks so they can familiarise themselves with their surroundings and the concept of ‘on lead outside the property, off lead inside’. This helps them learn where their space begins and ends.

Put yourself in their paws

Wouldn’t you be bewildered? How would you know: here is where ‘my’ home ends and I may not go further? How would you know: I am supposed to stay here; this is my new home now?

Put yourself in their ‘paws’: if you are nervous or afraid, anything familiar seems safe. If there’s nothing familiar, the unknown is as appealing as staying in a place you know nothing about.

Remember that many of these animals have had several homes – their original home, the rescue centre (in our case, they moved so that = 2 homes!) and then yours. Imagine how confusing this can be.

So, please, be aware, be prepared, and give them a chance.

Note: Not all newly adopted dogs run off! Most stay put.

What to do if your new pet does get out

  1. The minute you discover your new pet is missing, please contact FAW immediately so that we can assist; we can also put a ‘lost dog alert’ on their microchip.
  2. Contact all the vets in the area as well as the SPCA, Animal Anti-Cruelty League, etc. You will be surprised at how far afield strays can be picked up. (See numbers below).
  3. Ensure you have a recent photo – and take your phone with you with the picture on it, or a print out, so you can show people.
  4. If you spot your new pet, unless they’re very relaxed in your company already, do NOT chase them! This may cause them to bolt as they’re bewildered or they think it’s a game. Rather sit down if possible and softly call them, preferably with a treat in your hand.
  5. If, by the following day, you still haven’t found your dog, you need to make flyers with their photo on it and hand them out and post at vets, noticeboards, and on lamp posts. (Remember to take them down once you’ve found your pet.)

Copyright: Fisantekraal Animal Welfare, 2017. Kindly credit FAW if you share this information as this helps to create awareness around our work, which helps the animals. Thank you!

Important contacts

FAW: 078 892 7892 / adoptions@faw.za.org / Facebook

SPCA Grassy Park: 021 700 4158/59

Animal Anti-Cruelty League Bellville: 021 951 3010

Animal Anti-Cruelty League Epping: 021 534 6426

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