Deb D’Andrea, Nederland. John of Florida wrote me asking how to best acclimate new arrivals to the mountains, what the dangers are, and what our dog-related social customs are. John and his family will be moving here with their beloved 16 pound pup in a year or so.
When we bring our furry friends up to the mountains, or adopt them once we’re here, there can be a time of adjustment from city life to mountain life. In the city, most companions need to be on leash at all times unless in a designated dog park or fenced area; here in the mountains, it is good to follow the on-leash protocol to help ensure they stay out of harm’s way, safely learning their new home and neighborhood critters with you by their side.
I have 25 foot retractable leashes for my Girls to provide them the ability to explore when we hike and keep them safe should I need to get them close quickly. I also recommend harnesses instead of collars as you can pull them out of or away from danger safely using a harness. It is much easier to pull your pup out of a river using their harness; if they only have a collar on, well…
City life also offers lots of man-made distractions which can cause some pets to become desensitized to their natural surroundings, while others become incredibly aware or even over stimulated. Some city dogs have their own yards to play in, while others know an elevator as their path to the outside. Most are under constant supervision, always on leash with their companion.
A friend of mine mentioned she adopted a city pup who was a couple years old and brought her to the mountains to live with her family. When the pup arrived, she intensely explored her new home, sniffing smells never smelled before, hearing wild sounds of the woods, and seeing endless trees. When snow fell, she timidly placed a paw on it, unsure of what that cold, white stuff was; obviously snow was a new thing to her. Over the course of time, the new pup adjusted to her surroundings, enjoying the new sights, sounds and smells that the great outdoors has to offer; along with the freedom to roam a fenced yard on her own.
Mountain town dogs tend to be more social, more aware of wildlife dangers; and more often get to go to parties with their people. On certain properties they have the opportunity to run free and play with their friends while their people kick back and enjoy a BBQ. In these instances, always be sure to check in with your dog throughout the day, and if your dog is a known counter surfer, be responsible and keep them on leash or leave them home so they can’t clean off your host’s table. When invited to a friend’s, always ask if your pup is welcome; most of the time the answer is yes!
Pups or kitties that come from the city may be very curious about everything, potentially getting them in a pickle without realizing it. You’ll need to keep a close eye on them, like a momma dog watches her puppies, helping them learn. It’s critical to have your current contact information and their name on their tags should they choose to take themselves for a walk. I always hate to see the Missing Dog or Cat posters, as with all our wildlife, there is a high probability a beloved pet has become a meal for a coyote, big cat, an Eagle, or has gotten themselves completely lost, unable to find their way home.
Till next time. Deb D’Andrea, founder of 4TheLuvOfDogz & the Caribou Dog Ranch is recognized by the State of Colorado as a Certified Canine Massage Therapist and will visit your home or Vet’s office to work with your dog. Canine Agility may be offered at the Caribou Dog Ranch in 2017 if there is interest. Deb currently has limited availability for new Petz Nanny Clients; and she bakes up fresh dog treats & doggy birthday cakes per order. For information contact Deb at 720-675-7078 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.