Why your new pet might try to ‘escape’

Please, please, please, we really cannot emphasise enough: many newly adopted dogs (and cats!) try to get out of their new home in the first few days! Download this handy info on newly adopted dogs: Your new dog

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.

So, in almost all cases, you only have to stick out the ‘teething problems’ for a short time!

What can you do?

Put a collar and tag on immediately 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.

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 shoes

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. Walk around the blocks near your house (take strong-smelling treats like biltong with you) – they may be in a neighbour’s garden, a nearby park, or simply wondering around just around the corner. Ask any passersby if they have seen your dog and go to your neighbours to ask if they’ve taken them in.
  5. There are several lost/found Facebook pages where you can post your missing pet. If you’re not active on Facebook, please let us know so that we can assist.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.)

Important contacts

FAW: 078 892 7892 / info@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

Facebook pages

Vets (check the vets in your vicinity too if you adopted in other areas)

  • Tygerberg Animal Hospital Bellville – 1 Kontiki Avenue, Glen Ive, near Stodels –  021 919 1191
  • Durbanville Animal Hospital – cnr Plein and Durban Roads, Durbanville – 021 976 3031
  • Goedemoed Animal Hospital – Lubbe Street, Durbanville – 021 975 6385
  • Brackenfell Animal Clinic – Brackenfell Medical Centre, Old Paarl road, Brackenfell – 021 981 3811
  • Panorama Veterinary Clinic – 1 Uys Krige Drive, Panorama –  021 930-6632
  • Cape Animal Medical Centre – 78 Rosmead Avenue, Kenilworth –  021 674 0034
  • Belmont Road Veterinary Clinic – 16 Belmont Road, Rondebosch – 021 685 7750

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