By now, unless you are not media savvy, you must have noticed how many dogs are running loose, lost and on the run. I have been involved in many dog searches and learn more each time I go out. Yesterday, Tuesday, February 18th I saw a post on facebook that there was a dog by the name of Lady who was lost in the Horsham, PA area. So many things ran through my mind. Did the people who lost her know what to do in those critical moments after she ran off? How long had it been since they last saw her? What were they doing to try to find her. Obviously there was a post on facebook which was great, but did they know some of the critical steps that would make finding her and bringing her home safely?
Steps to Take
What are some of the steps you should take if your dog runs off? First, time is of the essence! The first several hours are the most critical in a dog search. That is not to say that dogs that have been missing for weeks or even months are not returned, but their chances lesson as each day goes by.
- One of the most important steps is not to chase or run after the dog. Even if the dog knows you, their instinct is too run. Our instinct is to run after them but a dogs instinct is to continue running away. If you are in eye sight of the lost dog and in a safe place, crouch low or sit on the ground. You can make whimpering sounds as if you are injured or a puppy.
- Do not yell the dogs name. Yes, that is correct!! Think of it this way, you are “yelling” out, “FIDO” really loud. In the dogs mind, they think they are being yelled AT. They don’t understand that you are calling to them to bring them home. You want to lower your voice and speak in soft gentle tones.
- Bring smelly, high reward treats. What is that? Examples would be hamburgers, canned cat food, bacon, chicken. Anything that would entice the dog to come to you.
- Break out the grill! Set up a grill in your yard or the location where you think the dog is. Start grilling bacon or burgers. This has worked time and again. Once that dog becomes hungry or gets a whiff of the food, they will follow the scent.
- Leave an article of clothing, a blanket or toy near the location where the dog was lost. Something that has a familiar scent.
- Tell everyone you know! Get on facebook and let people know what, where and how they ran off. There is also a pet amber alert system that will call everyone in your neighborhood. Use it!!! Search all the lost and found pet sites and place your dog on that site. Call the local police and animal shelters. Call the post office to alert the local mailmen, women in that neighborhood to be on the lookout. Call UPS/Fedex. Their drivers are on the roads all day. Put signs up in your neighborhood, at grocery stores, etc. Make sure to ask your township if signage is allowed!
- Make sure to have a recent picture of your pet to get out to everyone. You also want a recent picture of your pet with yourself for proving this is your dog!
- Make sure any and all notifications have a contact persons name and phone number for people to contact you regarding any sightings.
- Gather a search party together to comb small areas. Remember to be quiet and calm while out searching. Running, chasing and yelling will only chase the dog further away.
- If you know the area the dog is in, get a humane trap and place food inside and wait. You can also set up your own feeding stations in areas that the dog is in.
Taking the Right Precautions to Avoid Escape
Making sure your dogs have the proper collars, ID tags and microchips is so important. If your dog is too run off, their first means of ID is the collar with the tags. If the collar comes off, then its the microchip if the dog is found. Without these, if your dog winds up at a vets office or SPCA, the likelihood of recovering your dog becomes much slimmer. Their is no way for them to ID your dog and know that it is yours!
Watch your doors! Watch your gates in your yard. If your dog is a door darter, teach your dog the command “back”. Keeping the dog “back” from the door is critical. If you know your dog has a tendency to want to open the gate, put a lock on it. Make sure to check gates religiously. If your dog is a fence jumper, stay in the yard with your dog! It only takes a second and they can be gone.
Lady’s story has a happy ending. She was found safe in the wee hours of this morning (Wednesday, February 19th). Her former foster Dad set up cardboard box shelters in an area where she had been seen running. Lady had recently had puppies which all were adopted. He used some of the puppy blankets and cooked hamburger. He placed those items inside the boxes. This morning in the dark, he drove through the area where the stations were and saw eyes peering out of the box. There was Lady!! Patience and perserverence pays off. Welcome home Lady!
For more tips, like our facebook page at www.facebook.com/dawnthepetnanny. You can find us on the web at www.dawnthepetnanny.org or you can give us a call for all your dog walking and pet sitting needs at 610-716-7716.