Note to editors: When dogs chase wildlife, wildlife loses. It's especially problematic during winter in Colorado. This column provides advice to pet owners from a professional dog trainer.
Dogs and Wildlife Don’t Mix
By Annie Phenix
We live in a visual candyland here in Colorado, and dog owners love nothing more than getting out into the natural beauty with their dogs. What’s wrong with that? On the surface, it’s a great thing to get exercise for both dog and owner. Unfortunately, there is often one thing missing on the trails, the lack of which endangers dogs, people and wildlife: a truly reliable recall to which a dog will respond.
Can you honestly call your dog off from its thrilling chase of wildlife? Dogs chasing wildlife is not only illegal, it’s dangerous for everyone. Wild animals cannot afford the calories, stress and dangers from a high-speed chase. Dogs that don’t have a reliable recall get lost in the mountains nearly every week. If I had a dollar for every client who called me after their dog was attacked by another off-leash dog, I would be a very rich dog trainer.
Dog owners need to come to terms with the fact that we are bringing our dogs into the homes of wildlife and that native animals deserve our respect and protection. Our dogs, and others’ dogs, deserve protection too, even though sometimes that means we protect them from their own strong impulse to chase. What can you, the responsible dog owner, do to ensure your dog stays nearby on hikes? Here are some real life training tips:
CPW is an enterprise agency, relying primarily on license sales, state parks fees and registration fees to support its operations, including: 42 state parks and more than 350 wildlife areas covering approximately 900,000 acres, management of fishing and hunting, wildlife watching, camping, motorized and non-motorized trails, boating and outdoor education. CPW's work contributes approximately $6 billion in total economic impact annually throughout Colorado.