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Technology might help keep tabs on your dog

Bruce Springsteen's lyrics, "Baby we were born to run," may be just as applicable to dogs as it is to people. Some dogs simply are born to run and have a tendency of getting off the leash, escaping a fenced-in yard, and eventually getting lost.

There are a number of reasons why dogs may run, including boredom, reproductive drive, predatory drive, and even rewards like discarded food in a neighbor's trash can.

For dogs that are prone to running away, the results can be getting hit by a car, ending up in a shelter or being taken in by a neighbor or someone else. You may never be reunited with the dog.

Many people use tattooing or an imbedded microchip to track down errant pets, but there also may be another option.

Dog and cat owners are increasingly turning to GPS technology to help locate their pets should they become lost. The dog wears a special collar with a homing device that feeds information to the pet owner's computer, smart phone or another device. The location of the animal can be shown on a map, and the device even provides directions, if necessary. Then the person can keep track of the animal's whereabouts. The devices also may be able to send alerts should the pet go outside of the target zone established.

While these devices can help locate a dog or cat that's on the go, there are ways to help reduce the risk for roaming in the first place.

* Neuter your pet to reduce his propensity for roaming to find a new mate. Neutering dogs also helps reduce the pet population at kennels.

* Have a sturdy fence to contain the dog. Dog runs and chains are not as effective.

* Provide stimulation for the dog so that he or she will not be tempted to roam out of boredom.