Wildlife and Pet Concerns
Exercising Dogs During COVID-19
With so many parks closed and off leash areas no longer accessible, how can you exercise your dog?
- You can throw a ball in your fenced yard. If it isn’t fenced you could put a light weight parachute cord on the dog so you have control to prevent him/her from running into the road if you ball tossing isn’t very accurate.
- You can go for a walk around the neighborhood but use it to exercise your dogs’ brain too. Use each intersection as a stopping point to practice, sit, down and heel. Practice at each corner of the intersection before moving on down the street to the next intersection.
- If there are low walls or a large rock you can have them sit, then Hup and sit on top. They then have to wait until you give them command to off.
- There are indoor exercises too. We had to use some of them during winters of lots of deep snow.
- You and your dog can use the steps to run up and down. I like to toss the ball down the cellar stairs. The dog has to run down stairs, find the ball, and bring it back for another game of fetch.
- Practice sit and stay while you step through the doorway into another room, then give a release command so the dog only comes through doorway when you say. Practice at any door way, but especially at the door going in or out of the house so you don’t have a dog bolting out into the road when you open the front door.
- Both indoors or outside you can use a piece of carpet or other object as a target. First have the dog sit on the target. Then point and have the dog go and sit on it. Then have 2 pieces of carpet and you can direct him/her to one then the other. Amazing how much exercise can happen in a small apartment. Outside you can make the distance even further apart. The dog has to focus on what you want and run to the spot to sit to get his reward- whether that is praise, a treat or a toy.
- Think outside the box – how can both you and your dog work together to get exercise, work on obedience and build a good human- animal bond.
Emerging Spring Wildlife
In spring, there are more calls about "abandoned wildlife" and especially young wild animals. In most cases they are not abandoned; the mothers may be out looking for food or moving them from one den site to another. Residents who see these animals should:
- Leave them alone.
- Observe them from a safe distance for 24 hours.
In most cases mom will have returned to care for her young. It is a myth that if you touch young animals, the mother will reject them. Mom’s instinct will be to clean them and continue to care for them.
Fawns can be left in one place for 4 hours or more while mom is browsing. A mother rabbit only goes to the nest early morning and evening. If she sees a predator (like a human, fox etc.) she won’t go near the nest. Don’t hang out by the nest/den waiting for mom. Watch from a safe distance giving mom plenty of space. Animal Control Officers have often put a baby squirrel back on a tree and walked away. Looking back, you often see the mom come down, grab their wayward offspring, and carry them back to the nest.
If mom is seen deceased/injured, or the young are still there in 24 hours, or appear cold/distressed, then call Animal Control. Massachusetts Wildlife Rehabilitators are licensed and trained to raise orphaned wildlife so they don’t imprint on people and can be returned back to their home territories with the skills they would have learned from their parents.