There are few feelings as great as hitting the sidewalks, paths, and unmapped trails with our four-legged friends, or setting up the family barbecue with a tail-wagging clean up crew awaiting the season’s first droppings.
But our beloved dogs can come into conflict with the wildlife who are also getting out in the nice weather. And that’s why The Fur-Bearers put together this list of three tips to keep you, your dogs, and your local wildlife co-existing as spring blossoms.
- Remove attractants from your home. The first step to preventing conflict is always to remove attractants – from outdoor dog food to spilled bird seed, inviting any kind of wildlife into our backyards increases the chances of a negative conflict with our pets. Take a look for anything that might be of interest to an animal, like barbecue grease traps, fallen fruits or berries, or even dropped and forgotten dog treats.
- Remember it’s their home. Imagine you’re hanging out at home with your kids, and some random stranger with a large knife starts walking around the house, even going so far as to poke their head inside your front door. To many animals, that’s exactly what it’s like when dogs sniff around their dens or nests. When you’re in parks, trails, or other places wildlife call home, remember that it’s their home – and treat it with respect.
- Leash up! In one study, researchers showed 92.3% of dogs who came into conflict with coyotes were off leash. There is anecdotal evidence that dogs can startle bears, and when running back to their person, bring the running bear along with them. And, of course, a dog sticking their nose in a den, nest, or even lethal trap, is a lot more difficult when they’re on leash. If you will have your dog off leash, please be aware of the wildlife in the area, and make sure you’ve trained a strong recall.
The wildlife with whom we share our communities want what we do: a safe place to raise their families. And, fortunately, by learning to co-exist, we can make sure they have just that.