How To Protect Your Dog – Pet Theft Awareness Month

As February is Pet theft awareness month we thought we would do a blog post for tips to keep your dog safe. Pet theft is on the rise and more than 60 dogs are stolen in the UK every week. Almost half of UK families have a beloved dog and the need to know how keep them safe is higher than ever. Working dogs and ‘designer’ breeds are especially targetted due to the high price tags that are attached to them.

Here are some ways to protect your dog against theft:

At Home

  • Front Garden: Never leave your dog in the front garden or drive unattended, even if you live in the middle of no where. If anyone can see and quickly access your dog, the potential for grab and go is high. Rural dog theft is on the rise just as quickly as urban theft.
  • Back Garden: If in the back garden, make sure your gate is locked and secure. Thieves want a quick and easy get away, so the harder you make it for them the less likely they will see your dog as a target. A simple inaccessible padlock on a gate or a high fence will make all the difference. If it is going to take more than a couple of seconds to get in they will move on.
  • Stickers on front doors: We have all seen the “A crazy Pug lives here” or “enter at your own risk”. They may seem cute and funny but to a thief you are advertising with big flashing arrows you have a dog and at some point it will be left alone.
  • Markings: check at the end of your drive or around the outside of your house or walls for anything unusual like chalk marking. Some thieves work in gangs and use chalk arrows, symbols and markings to indicate a house that has been targeted. If you spot something like this, report it immediately and share it to your local area so your neighbours can be aware too. Remove the markings and remain vigilant.
  • Social Media: Switch off your GPS tagging and be vague when you are posting pictures of yourself and your pets on social media especially when you are at home.

Out and About

  • Outside Shops: NEVER leave your dog tied outside a shop even if they are your local shops. Any dog is a target no matter their breed, age, shape or size. If I spot a dog tied up outside my local shop, I stand next to it and wait for the owner to return just in case I thwart an attempted theft. Most owners are appreciative (some are not.. but you can’t win them all) and if I can prevent one family from dealing with the hearbreak then there I will stand.
  • Microchips and ID Tags: It is law for your dog to have both in England and it is down to you to ensure that all the details are up to date. If the worst happens you want to make sure they will find their way home.
  • On walks: Avoid answering questions from strangers who seem overly interested in your dog. When we walk your dogs we say things like: ‘oh that dog is old’, ‘that dog needs medication’, ‘that dog is neutered’. Stealing to order for breeding farms are a big thing especially for popular breeds so the more you make your dog undesirable the better. Rather avoid talking at all with anyone that you get that feeling from. Walk in a busy area and keep your dog close to your side until that person leaves.
  • Locations: Vary the locations where you walk your dog and the times you walk them. When we get asked “do you always walk here?” our standard reply is “no, not really” even if it is one of our many regular locations. Strangers do not need to know that information.
  • Training: If your dog walks off the lead, teach thema fast recall so you can get them away quickly from any dangerous situation including a theif. Don’t let them out of your sight.

One step further – Technology

  • At home security cameras – a small but powerful deterrent and if the worst were to happen you can hopefully identify the thief
  • GPS trackers – these are becoming more and more popular, are widely available and inexpensive. The downside is that they can easily be removed by thieves but this might give you a starting point if your dog is stolen.

If you have any questions about how we keep your dogs safe on walks please get in touch.