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‘Come’ is the No. 1 lesson.
‘Come’ is the No. 1 lesson. / Debi Bishop / Getty Images

Q: We brought a lost puppy home for the night, hoping someone would be looking for her. No one was. Now, I am so protective of this dog, it’s weird. My kids are careful, but their friends leave doors open and I lose my mind! Any help?

A: You’re wonderful for coming to the puppy’s rescue. To help you both, I suggest:

Microchip. If a pet is lost, odds of recovery increase if it has a microchip implanted.

Tag. If you want double protection, offers digital ID tags with a QR code. If your pet is missing, anyone with a smartphone can scan the tag and contact you.

“Come.” Most important: Teach a reliable recall, an order to come when called. Start by practicing indoors, without distractions, by using a high-value treat. Once the dog will “come” indoors, even when distracted, practice outdoors. Take no chances: Use a long training leash. (By the way, dogs can be taught not to run through open doors!)

Steve Dale is a certified dog and cat behavior consultant who blogs at

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Contributing editor Steve Dale is a certified dog and cat behavior consultant. He writes a twice-weekly syndicated newspaper column and is the host of two syndicated radio shows. Most recently he is the author of two e-books that answer common (and some not-so-common) pet-behavior problems, Good Dog! and Good Cat! (available wherever e-books are sold).