RCMP in Maple Ridge are mourning the loss of “Bear”, a service dog who died Tuesday night after being hit by a car while chasing a suspect.
Early Tuesday morning, a police dog named “Bo” was killed in a car crash in Richmond, B.C.
It is not common for RCMP to lose a police dog in the line of duty like this and having it happen twice in such a short span has got to be a terrible blow for the force and the handlers who live with these wonderful animals.
Now I do not fault anyone for these dogs death’s but we as civilian dog lovers, trainers and pet care providers can learn a lesson from both of these accidents to improve our canine companions’ safety.
Firstly, no dog training feature has more potential to save a dog’s life than a solid recall. That means that the dog comes when called. I don’t mean he will sniff around, finish what he is doing and then come when he feels like it. I mean, if you yell “HERE!” the dog will pivot on a dime and return to your side no matter what the distraction. This will keep the dog off the road, off thin ice and potentially out of some very dangerous situations.
Now “Bear” was trained to chase bad guys and was doing his job (thank you Bear). Our dogs want to chase squirrels and we need to be able to get them under control before they reach the road. I will cover the basics that I use for training recall in a later article. If you’re not sure how to get started in the mean time I suggest that you get your dog in an obedience class right away.
The second lesson we can learn is about dog safety when riding in the car. All too often I’ve seen dogs in the back or pickup trucks, driving around on the owners lap or hanging out the window. Now the safest place for your pet is in the back seat and in a carrier. I realize that we all love to see them with their head out the window, smelling the breeze, but realize just how dangerous this is. On your lap, while you are driving, they are a risk to you, your driving and can easily be killed by the air bag in a low speed collision. Imagine even getting hit from behind at a red light at low speed. Your air bag deploys and could kill your best friend. Give this some thought the next time you let them in the front seat. Keep them in the back, use a dog carrier if you can.
Have a safe and happy summer.