Author Topic: How to keep a small dog safe?  (Read 2908 times)

GreenSheep

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How to keep a small dog safe?
« on: February 24, 2017, 04:44:55 AM »
I'm planning a move to Washington's Olympic Peninsula later this year, and I have a 6.5 pound Chihuahua. (Yes, insert snickering here, but she's actually very much like big dogs I've had in the past. Not one ankle bitten yet!) We currently have a yard with a fence and a dog door, so she's able to go outside whenever she wants. We also live in the middle of a big city, so there are no concerns about large predators. Things will be different in WA. Apparently some of the large cats, wolves, and maybe even the coyotes there can jump 6' fences, which are the usual height allowed. (All of these are actually present and have been spotted by several people I've spoken with there.) I really would like to avoid having to walk her on a leash every time she needs to go out. It restricts both her freedom and mine! Any other thoughts on relatively frugal ways to approach this problem?

Linea_Norway

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Re: How to keep a small dog safe?
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2017, 05:17:15 AM »
What about making a dog run with a netting roof? Like a big, solid aviary.

lizzzi

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Re: How to keep a small dog safe?
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2017, 05:42:08 AM »
I'm in the same situation with a barely-nine-pound yorkiepoo, 16 months old, so very active. Hawks sit in the trees and watch us, and sometimes "buzz" pretty close over my head. Owls, coyotes, the whole bit. We live across the road from the woods. He only goes outside on a six-foot leash with me, and trust me...sigh...we are outside a lot. Seven or eight times in a 16 hour day, a mixture of 15 or 20 minute potty runs with long walks totaling around two and a half to three hours of walking outside daily. He has the run of the house of course, and we do a lot of vigorous playing--chase, tug, fetch, keep away. Lots of visiting outside with other people and dogs who are around. I think he gets enough fresh air, exercise, and socialization, but I just can't get anything done--writing projects, music practice, etc. Every time I start to get "in the zone" the dog wants to go out again. Not sure if it's a situation or a problem...I realize a dog is a lifestyle..but seems like I should be more productive in other ways. Have considered  some kind of roofed dog run, sturdy enough to protect against predators.( I've always been nervous about little animals left alone out in the yard since a cat got into my rabbit's pen years ago. Valiant rabbit fought with the cat, and was so scratched and bitten that he had to be put down.)  Wondering if anybody else has done a roofed run, what you made it out of,  and how it worked out. (Mowing, getting inside to pick up poop, etc.)

Blatant

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Re: How to keep a small dog safe?
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2017, 05:44:31 AM »
I can tell you from experience in Phoenix that wild cats and coyotes CAN and DO easily clear 6-foot fences.

We have two 100+-pound American Bulldogs and we do not allow them unrestricted access to the yard. It's not necessary, at least in my opinion. I don't see the need for leash walks in your case, why not just start be physically being present when your dog is outside in the yard? Your presence should solve any issue with predatory animals.

lizzzi

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Re: How to keep a small dog safe?
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2017, 07:14:52 AM »
I can tell you from experience in Phoenix that wild cats and coyotes CAN and DO easily clear 6-foot fences.

We have two 100+-pound American Bulldogs and we do not allow them unrestricted access to the yard. It's not necessary, at least in my opinion. I don't see the need for leash walks in your case, why not just start be physically being present when your dog is outside in the yard? Your presence should solve any issue with predatory animals.

I have 2/3 of an acre, and it's not fenced. Also, my dog does not yet come when called. (At least not without waving around a high-value treat. lol) My neighbor has a smallish fenced-in area with a place for a campfire in the middle of it, and when we are socializing there with the campfire going in the evening, I allow my yorkipoo to run around loose. I'm probably going to set up the same kind of area in my back yard, but would not let him run loose back there during the day by himself. As you suggested, I would be out there with him, and would keep my eyes open for the hawks. I don't know that a big bird could actually carry him off, but all it would take would be a swoop down and grab him by the head with their talons to blind and/or seriously injure him. My neighbor feeds the birds, which annoys the bejesus out of me...because it attracts the hawks right along with the songbirds she wants to watch out of her window. 

Blatant

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Re: How to keep a small dog safe?
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2017, 06:06:57 PM »
Ah, understood. Outside the parameters of your question, but you pretty clearly have some training issues that could be addressed. At that age, the dog should be getting its bowel and bladder needs under control. The dog -- barring some health issue -- doesn't need to go out as often as you're suggesting.

Could you do a DIY fencing project on a smaller portion of your yard? That gives your dog some semi-controlled space that you can monitor.

bigalsmith101

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Re: How to keep a small dog safe?
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2017, 06:24:47 PM »
I can tell you from experience in Phoenix that wild cats and coyotes CAN and DO easily clear 6-foot fences.

We have two 100+-pound American Bulldogs and we do not allow them unrestricted access to the yard. It's not necessary, at least in my opinion. I don't see the need for leash walks in your case, why not just start be physically being present when your dog is outside in the yard? Your presence should solve any issue with predatory animals.


I live in Washington state, not out on the peninsula but rather 30 miles north of Seattle, and we have cougars, coyotes, hawks, eagles etc. 6' fences pose no issue for these animals.

That being said, the suggestion that your presence alone would deter predatory animals is not sufficient in my opinion. I've been witness on more than one occasion of a small animal being carried away by large hawks and eagles while standing no less than 50 ft away. You don't see them coming, and then they are gone. A full size adult bald eagle weighs about 8-12lbs, and can carry about 3-4lbs. It might not carry off your dog, but it would try and could easily kill it.

I don't have recommendations for you, other than mirroring the comment by Linda_Norway
Quote
"What about making a dog run with a netting roof? Like a big, solid aviary."

You'll need to keep an eye on the Chihuahua, that's a certainty.




Lanthiriel

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Re: How to keep a small dog safe?
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2017, 07:40:33 PM »
The 12-lb Tibetan Spaniel I grew up with in Washington State was left outside every work day. She has a big, insulated dog house and that was it. She lived until she was 14 when her hips went out. Maybe we were just lucky?

lizzzi

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Re: How to keep a small dog safe?
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2017, 09:18:24 PM »
A lot to think about on this thread. I think it's best that my yorkiepoo be on a leash  when outside with me. We are in upstate NY (mid-Hudson valley) in our apartment right now, and even today, big hawks up here were watching us and flying quite low overhead--neighbors with even smaller dogs (chihuahua was mentioned) say that we have to be careful outside with our little dogs because of the hawks. It isn't a place where we could let our dogs run loose anyway, but there are coyotes here, too, and big owls.  Regarding Bandit going outside so frequently: I know it is just boredom and that he knows he'll get treats if he pees. I am phasing out the treats. But he is an extremely active little dog who is like the Energizer Bunny on acid--loves long walks, visiting with other people and dogs, going to his training class (or anywhere else)...just go, go, go. He can "hold it" for four hours or so if he needs to, and sleeps soundly for 10 hours at night.

Ms Ida

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Re: How to keep a small dog safe?
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2017, 09:37:48 PM »
For our city kitty  to enjoy some outside time we built a dog run in the back yard. We do have coyotes occasionlly in the area but my main concern was stray cats the dog run worked out well and we always felt safe with kitty outside even if we went inside for short periods. I am sure a determined cougar would get in but it would be effective against birds of pray.
You can buy dog run kits or much cheaper check Craigslist for everyone that thought they wanted a dog run:) Instead of building the entire length we took two sections of fencing and made a roof, various tie wraps and tarps added to the beauty.  I think we spent around $100. The run was just assmbeled on the grass, we didn't bother securing much on the bottom since we did not have digging concerns or serious predators.

Cyanne

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Re: How to keep a small dog safe?
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2017, 10:09:17 PM »
You do need to watch out for birds. I asked a local DNR officer about this because I was concerned that an eagle could carry off our 10 pound dog. He told me that no, an eagle couldn't but a great horned own might be able to do so. I am in Minnesota and we have coyotes, bears, hawk, eagles and owls. We always go outside with our dog. Luckily he's not a fan of the outdoors (I think he knows he is prey) and doesn't stray more than 10 feet from us at any time.

Mgmny

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Re: How to keep a small dog safe?
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2017, 05:43:45 AM »
You do need to watch out for birds. I asked a local DNR officer about this because I was concerned that an eagle could carry off our 10 pound dog. He told me that no, an eagle couldn't but a great horned own might be able to do so. I am in Minnesota and we have coyotes, bears, hawk, eagles and owls. We always go outside with our dog. Luckily he's not a fan of the outdoors (I think he knows he is prey) and doesn't stray more than 10 feet from us at any time.

We just got a puppy that will probably get to 10-12 lbs full grown (he's an adorable cavapoo). I literally didn't consider the fact that he will be prey until reading this thread... Thanks guys!

We're in Minnesota too, and our backyard backs up to a road across the street from a huge park view reserve. Last bear sighting was 2012, but I know there are owls, coyotes, and foxes...

I thought we were all set with a fenced backyard, but i don't think fences matter to great horned owls!

In my personal experience in life, I've never heard of one person's pet get carried off by an owl, or eaten by a fox. I'm sure it happens, but i don't know of any events personally. I'm GUESSING this is sort of like a fatal car accident or home fire... Worrying about it is useless, and it's very unlikely to happen to you. This is probably the same reason we don't all drive giant super diesel trucks to avoid dying in a car crash - it's unlikely to occur to any one of us.

That said, I'm definitely going to post on my local forum to see what other owners are doing.

lizzzi

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Re: How to keep a small dog safe?
« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2017, 07:03:16 AM »
My neighbor's brother and s-i-l have two Silken terriers. A coyote went after them (New York--mid-Hudson valley), and grabbed one, but then let it go and ran away--they think because the other little dog was barking at it. The injured dog survived, but had to have surgery and had to have a chest tube put in for a while. The coyote grabbed it in its jaws, and both sides of the little dog's body were lacerated-- and a lung punctured.

Blatant

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Re: How to keep a small dog safe?
« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2017, 07:10:15 AM »
He can "hold it" for four hours or so if he needs to, and sleeps soundly for 10 hours at night.

So you're saying he can actually "hold it" for 10 hours. Like every other healthy adult dog I've ever been around.

Not my business, but based on the comments and tone of the thread, I'd say your little bundle of joy is controlling your life and not the other way around. And I say that as someone who adores dogs. But there is an alpha in the pack. And that alpha is me.

lizzzi

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Re: How to keep a small dog safe?
« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2017, 10:37:30 AM »
He can "hold it" for four hours or so if he needs to, and sleeps soundly for 10 hours at night.

So you're saying he can actually "hold it" for 10 hours. Like every other healthy adult dog I've ever been around.

Not my business, but based on the comments and tone of the thread, I'd say your little bundle of joy is controlling your life and not the other way around. And I say that as someone who adores dogs. But there is an alpha in the pack. And that alpha is me.

Ha, ha. Point well-taken. But I do think dogs need to go out more frequently during the day--hence all the working neighbors rushing home at lunch hour or paying dog walkers to take their dogs out at noon. And don't worry--he's not controlling my life--even though, yes, he is a bundle of joy. The "bundle" knows that I'm the Leader of the Pack.

lizzzi

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Re: How to keep a small dog safe?
« Reply #15 on: February 25, 2017, 11:24:36 AM »
He can "hold it" for four hours or so if he needs to, and sleeps soundly for 10 hours at night.

So you're saying he can actually "hold it" for 10 hours. Like every other healthy adult dog I've ever been around.

Not my business, but based on the comments and tone of the thread, I'd say your little bundle of joy is controlling your life and not the other way around. And I say that as someone who adores dogs. But there is an alpha in the pack. And that alpha is me.

Ha, ha. Point well-taken. But I do think dogs need to go out more frequently during the day--hence all the working neighbors rushing home at lunch hour or paying dog walkers to take their dogs out at noon. And don't worry--he's not controlling my life--even though, yes, he is a bundle of joy. The "bundle" knows that I'm the Leader of the Pack.

Just adding to my post above to say...but it's a constant struggle for dominance!

GreenSheep

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Re: How to keep a small dog safe?
« Reply #16 on: February 25, 2017, 12:31:28 PM »
Thanks for the suggestions! Seems like there's no perfect answer, but there are some ideas that could make it easier.

For those with new pups, I love "The Power of Positive Dog Training." It's a happy approach to training that strongly discourages yelling, humiliation, physical abuse, even the word "no." I trained my almost-10 year old dog with it when she was a puppy, and she defies all Chihuahua stereotypes. Very sweet with guests, no concerns about chewing things, etc. People can't believe her personality is in a Chihuahua's body. She's never going to win awards for her tricks, but it's funny that she knows phrases I made up for her like "Are you hungry?" at mealtime and "Unleash the hound!!" when I want to take off her leash.

The first link is for the latest edition, and the second link is for the one I used, which is now a penny plus shipping.

https://www.amazon.com/Power-Positive-Dog-Training/dp/0470241845/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1488050545&sr=8-1&keywords=the+power+of+positive+dog+training

https://www.amazon.com/Power-Positive-Training-Howell-reference/dp/0764536095/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1488050545&sr=8-3&keywords=the+power+of+positive+dog+training

Dusty Dog Ranch

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Re: How to keep a small dog safe?
« Reply #17 on: February 25, 2017, 08:49:56 PM »
Sounds like you need one of these: https://www.coyotevest.com/

We have a 60# spaniel lab mix (see pic to left!) and we supervise her nightime potty visits just in case. No wolves on the Oly Peninsula (yet), but a definite possibility where we live. I worry more about cougars though...they're sneaky.

GreenSheep

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Re: How to keep a small dog safe?
« Reply #18 on: February 26, 2017, 07:28:24 AM »
Sounds like you need one of these: https://www.coyotevest.com/

We have a 60# spaniel lab mix (see pic to left!) and we supervise her nightime potty visits just in case. No wolves on the Oly Peninsula (yet), but a definite possibility where we live. I worry more about cougars though...they're sneaky.

I have never seen anything like that! I wonder if it has actually saved any dogs or if it's more of a gimmick. If it works, it could be worth it.

Elle 8

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Re: How to keep a small dog safe?
« Reply #19 on: February 26, 2017, 07:45:55 AM »
In my personal experience in life, I've never heard of one person's pet get carried off by an owl, or eaten by a fox. I'm sure it happens, but i don't know of any events personally.

I know someone who witnessed their cat being taken away by a coyote in Rhode Island.

Rural

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Re: How to keep a small dog safe?
« Reply #20 on: February 26, 2017, 10:39:54 AM »
 Would a larger dog companion fit your lifestyle? And would it help? I've never had anything but large dogs, so I'm not sure if the larger animal would be helpful or not. But I can tell you that the coyotes steer wide of our place because of our two great Danes.


 Unfortunately, truly rural areas are not really safe places for very small dogs. But people do keep chickens safe, so it's possible with a little dog. You might look at chicken runs in addition to looking at dog runs the price might be lower/ there are likely to be more DIY ideas online.




GizmoTX

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Re: How to keep a small dog safe?
« Reply #21 on: February 26, 2017, 11:44:15 AM »
We have friends who had 2 Goldens, 1 adult weighing 65 pounds & the other a half grown puppy (not related) weighing about 20 pounds. Coyotes jumped into their suburban backyard & carried off the puppy while the older dog cowered in the corner.

We live next to a creek & hear the coyote howls & see bobcats regularly. There are owls here that can & do snatch small pets. We always walk our 27 pound Sheltie on leash at dusk/night.

GreenSheep

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Re: How to keep a small dog safe?
« Reply #22 on: February 26, 2017, 12:08:23 PM »
Would a larger dog companion fit your lifestyle? And would it help? I've never had anything but large dogs, so I'm not sure if the larger animal would be helpful or not. But I can tell you that the coyotes steer wide of our place because of our two great Danes.


 Unfortunately, truly rural areas are not really safe places for very small dogs. But people do keep chickens safe, so it's possible with a little dog. You might look at chicken runs in addition to looking at dog runs the price might be lower/ there are likely to be more DIY ideas online.

Unfortunately, no. I love dogs and have had at least one dog almost all my life, but after this one goes, it's time for an empty nest so we can do more traveling. I do love Great Danes, though!

A chicken run is a good idea! Thanks!

Dusty Dog Ranch

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Re: How to keep a small dog safe?
« Reply #23 on: February 26, 2017, 06:10:28 PM »
Here's a product review: http://www.wootube.net/2016/07/review-coyote-vest/.

Warning, you might get sucked into the blog if you love dogs and great photography and funny writing.

GreenSheep

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Re: How to keep a small dog safe?
« Reply #24 on: February 27, 2017, 07:00:50 AM »
Here's a product review: http://www.wootube.net/2016/07/review-coyote-vest/.

Warning, you might get sucked into the blog if you love dogs and great photography and funny writing.

That WAS worth reading (and full of cute!), but I'd love to hear from someone who can say something like "I saw a <insert predatory animal here> attack my dog while my dog was wearing this ridiculous outfit, and my dog is totally fine!" (This pickiness is directed at the company, not at you. I appreciate your bringing it up! I just wish they had real life testimonials. Or maybe it's just that predators don't bother going anywhere near these things that look like porcupines.)

Mgmny

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Re: How to keep a small dog safe?
« Reply #25 on: February 27, 2017, 08:05:42 AM »
In my personal experience in life, I've never heard of one person's pet get carried off by an owl, or eaten by a fox. I'm sure it happens, but i don't know of any events personally.

I know someone who witnessed their cat being taken away by a coyote in Rhode Island.

Sure. And I'm sure some of us know house fire victims and care crash victims too. But that doesn't mean we all have fire suppression systems and we don't drive anywhere.

Easye418

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Re: How to keep a small dog safe?
« Reply #26 on: February 27, 2017, 11:07:15 AM »
5lb Pom here in Texas.  Indoor potty trained on potty pads.  Never allowed outside unsupervised. 

100 extra large potty pads at Costco run $14.95.  She is pretty good at hitting the pad.  Pads can last 1-3 days.  Just pick up the #2's and flush em a couple times a day.  It's not fun, but it works.

lizzzi

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Re: How to keep a small dog safe?
« Reply #27 on: February 27, 2017, 12:45:29 PM »
In my personal experience in life, I've never heard of one person's pet get carried off by an owl, or eaten by a fox. I'm sure it happens, but i don't know of any events personally.

I know someone who witnessed their cat being taken away by a coyote in Rhode Island.

Sure. And I'm sure some of us know house fire victims and care crash victims too. But that doesn't mean we all have fire suppression systems and we don't drive anywhere.

I think the point is that we know incidents can occur even though they may happen rarely. In keeping your small pets safe, it is best to be aware that they are seen as prey for some creatures, and that we should be mindful of doing anything we can to minimize the dangers. (Just as we all try to be mindful and safety-conscious, and minimize the risks of motor vehicle accidents and house fires.) Not all pet stories have happy endings, but I think we can and should be aware of perils to our animals, and try to minimize the risks as much as possible.