written by Lynn O'Shaughnessy
Over the holidays we heard a few horror stories about Airedale escapes that prompted us to write this article of suggestions. These suggestions can apply to anyone who brings a new dog into their family, but they are especially helpful for anyone adopting our rescues.
Please remember that even though you and your new rescue might seem to be madly in love with each other, your rescue is not yet familiar with their new home and may not feel like this is their new home for some time yet. You need to be especially alert and take precautions so as not to give your new rescue the chance to bolt. Nothing would be more horrifying than to see your new friend escape only to run into the road and be hit by a car.
Your placement contract has wording such as "you must keep your rescue Airedale on a leash at all times when not in the confines of a fenced yard." We say this for a reason. Airedales have a high prey drive and even though they seem trustworthy, they might not listen if something tempting crosses their path. Also, you are adopting an Airedale that may or may not have come with some baggage. We don't want to see your heart broken because your new friend gets spooked and is lost or even killed...it would break our hearts as well.
Here are the suggestions.
- If you are taking your dog from the house to the car or from the car to the house, plan on having your dog on a leash. Do not try to hold an Airedale by the collar to accomplish this. If an Airedale is spooked or sees something interesting like a squirrel, you most likely will not be able to keep them from bolting.
- Along these same lines, once you get your Airedale into the car, tie the leash to something such as a tie down or one of the hand holds. This is especially true of a new Airedale. He or she is not yet familiar with you or you with them and they could bolt out a door when you open it. For additional safety reasons, if you attach the leash in such a manner that the dog cannot crawl into the front seat or try to get into your lap, they will not become a hazard while driving.
- Post a sign on the doors at your house for the first month or so for several reasons. Family and friends that come over may not be aware that you have a new dog and just casually open the door allowing a dog to bolt out to chase after a cat or squirrel...or just bolt because they are spooked. The sign serves as a reminder to visitors (and other family members) to be careful around the door. Click here for a pdf file of a sign you can use. For those involved in rescue, please consider giving this sign to your new adopters. It just might save your rescue's life!
- Make extra sure that your new rescue's collar is properly adjusted and that they have not only your tag attached, but the rescue tag as well. You might even consider using a choke chain during a walk or an outing that is removed when you get back home. This would prevent your new rescue from backing out of their collar. Remember, if they back out of their collar, that usually means they have no tags to help reunite them with you.
Take a little extra time to be safe...and you should avoid any potential problems.