It's all fun and games until someone loses a dog

Every month this year I’ve been blogging about the games we can play to enrich our dogs’ lives. Through nearly a decade at Dogs Trust it is so clear to me that reward-based training and enrichment build strong bonds that forge long and lasting relationships with our dogs and I talk about this with owners every day.

But what good is any of this if you can’t find your dog?

  

In my role as Campaigns Officer at Dogs Trust I travel across the North of England to offer training, behaviour, enrichment, health and legal advice to hundreds of dog owners every week.

You would be amazed by how many tell me that their dogs have checked into those most notorious of establishments, the local authority stray kennels.

I know that Dogwood clients are a very responsible bunch but believe me when I say that these are people just like you and me, who think it will never happen to them because they are responsible owners.

So before all of the enrichment, training and behaviour advice I give, these are the first two questions I ask:

Dogwood responsible dog ownership

In response, I hear some or all of these objections to the legal obligation for dogs to wear a collar and tag in a public place - every single day:

That must be a new law, I’ve never heard of it.

Under the Control of Dogs Order 1992, all dogs must wear a collar and identity tag in a public place. Fines can be up to £5000.

Dogwood is private property so dogs are free to go commando once inside but your vehicle is classed as a public place.

Buckle%252Boption
It is also acceptable – and I love this option because tags can easily fall off – to have a collar with the details embroidered onto it (above) or the buckle style tag (left). These options are superb for active dogs including those that do agility or scentwork as tags can get caught on obstacles or in bushes.

It is also acceptable – and I love this option because tags can easily fall off – to have a collar with the details embroidered onto it (above) or the buckle style tag (left). These options are superb for active dogs including those that do agility or scentwork as tags can get caught on obstacles or in bushes.

Their microchip details are up to date so I don’t need a collar and tag.

If we relied on up to date chip details to reunite a dog with their owner, we would first need to find someone with a microchip scanner. Vets, groomers, rescue centres and breeders should all have a scanner but many of these organisations will also have a duty to call the Dog Warden which results in potential fines and costs (Dog Warden and stray kennel charges). On the other hand, if you have your phone number on your dog’s ID tag, any member of the public with a mobile phone (so basically anyone) who finds your dog will be able to give you a quick call and get them back to you.

They’re never away from me.

Even if you never let your dog off the lead in public, the fact that they are in public means that this law applies.

My dog wears a harness.

You can still attach the lead to the harness and exercise them that way but they need to wear a collar to attach the ID tag to. You do not need to clip the lead to the collar.

I don’t want anyone to know my dog’s name.

That’s fine; you don’t need to put your dog’s name on the tag - just yours! All you need is your surname and address including postcode. Although not a legal requirement, I strongly advise putting your telephone number on there too.

Surname and address including postcode - that’s all you need to stay legal.

Surname and address including postcode - that’s all you need to stay legal.

Adding your telephone number too is the fastest and cheapest way to get your dog back to you.

Adding your telephone number too is the fastest and cheapest way to get your dog back to you.

Writing that your dogs is microchipped can be useful but the most precious piece of information is ‘neutered’. As dogs are often stolen for breeding, knowing that they are neutered can be a powerful  theft deterrent .

Writing that your dogs is microchipped can be useful but the most precious piece of information is ‘neutered’. As dogs are often stolen for breeding, knowing that they are neutered can be a powerful theft deterrent.

Additional information about your dog’s health status can be useful to a well-meaning finder in case you can’t be contacted immediately. I would advise adding your vet’s phone number too.

Additional information about your dog’s health status can be useful to a well-meaning finder in case you can’t be contacted immediately. I would advise adding your vet’s phone number too.

 

During my time at DT Head Office I helped deliver the campaign to parliament for compulsory microchipping which was successfully passed in 2016.

I'm often asked to speak on TV and radio about the importance of microchipping and keeping details up to date, as well as the legal requirement for a collar and ID tag. 

This week I was in Carlisle being interviewed by That's Cumbria TV. You can can watch my interview below.


If you would like to ask me about any aspect of responsible dog ownership, please get in touch. I respond to all messages.


The 3 Cs from Dogs Trust reminds owners of our legal responsibilities towards our dogs in order to help keep them safe.

The 3 Cs from Dogs Trust reminds owners of our legal responsibilities towards our dogs in order to help keep them safe.