Supervise your dog at all times
Do not let your dog roam out of sight, especially in bush areas. There may be a risk of finding poisons, other animals, carcasses or sharp objects that could make them unwell. Also be aware that during summer months algal blooms are more likely to be present in waterways, and sometimes they can be toxic.
The safest option is to train your dog to always stay within a few metres of you, and for it to pause and wait when it loses sight of you. There are many excellent trainers who could assist. Rotorua SPCA encourages the use of positive reinforcement as the best way to train your dog.
Only let dogs off the leash in permitted areas at permitted times
There are lots of great parks in Rotorua that are fully fenced and where dogs are allowed off leash. They are excellent to use while your dog is still in training. Other parks offer designated dog exercise areas.
Even in off-leash areas you must still keep your dog under control at all times. Train your dog to “leave it” or “away” even when your dog might not be right next to you. This will help if you notice your dog sniffing at something or nearing something dangerous. If you don’t feel fully confident with your dog’s recall and emergency training, be sure to avoid letting it off leash near roads or bush areas. It is also good to check council’s website before you go as dogs are prohibited at some parks to protect wildlife.
Look out for signs about possible dangers
Rotorua Council clearly marks any recent use of poisons for pest control work, with signs. It also uses the safest methods possible for pest management in public places. While all possible precautions are in place to reduce any risk to pets, some dogs are very determined and will find a way. There is also the possibility of intentional, private baiting and a risk of poisoning if your dog eats the carcasses of the animals for which the poisons were intended.
Take care when you are with your dog close to cliffs, areas of rock slippage and construction sites. Dogs are naturally curious about new things, and love to explore areas that have been cordoned off.
Know your dog
The best way to keep your dog safe is to ensure you know its limits and trust its behaviour. If you know that your dog may not always follow your commands first time, (perhaps s/he likes chasing birds or following new scents) be sure to take precautions such as staying in fenced dog exercise areas, keeping it very close or on a long-line leash.
Make sure your dog can be identified if they do lose you
Micro chipping and registration is the best possible way to ensure your dog can find you again if you do get separated, we can do that here at the Rotorua SPCA. Having a collar with your phone number is also helpful, as well as joining online services such as Pedigree Found and Pets on the Net. If you lose your dog, call Rotorua Council on 07 348 4199.