Things To Do To Help Recover Your Lost Dog:
Get Help From Your Community
- Call your local Animal Control Facility
- Notify your neighbors. Put your ego aside and knock on their door!
- Post a picture of your dog on Facebook with it’s name, age, breed, where it was last seen, and your phone number. Create a Facebook page so people can easily communicate with one another and you.
- Make a flier to post on telephone poles, trees, at local businesses.
- Notify all nearby veterinarians, even if you don’t use them. Someone may pick up your dog and bring it to their vet.
A Dog’s Nose Knows:
- Dogs “view” the world through their nose, ears, then eyes.
- Grab all dog blankets, towels, and beds and put them outside.
- Put a dirty shirt, sweat pants, socks or something that smells like YOU, outside.
- If you have another dog or a cat, rub them down with a towel and put it outside.
- The goal is to bring the familiar smells of “home” outside to give them a landmark.
- If you have another dog, bring your dog with you when searching for lost dog.
- Dogs on the run are going to eat quickly. They don’t know when they will eat again.
- They will also want to eat and run, meaning they want an easy escape route if trouble comes.
- Putting food on a stranger’s back step may not be the best idea as it is too close to “danger.” The backyard may be better.
- Dogs are creatures of habit. They love routines. They will return to where they found food.
- Keep putting food out. You want to reduce the distance they will travel to find food.
- They will likely develop a territory and not stray very far from it (within a couple of miles.)
- We can’t hope to understand why a dog took off or why it won’t come back.
- Don’t waste time beating yourself up over the “why?”
- As time passes, your dog’s natural instincts will kick in. It may begin to lose its domestic nature. The friendliest dog may growl and act aggressive towards strangers. It may turn and run away from you.
- It is in “survival mode.” They are acting on pure instinct where everything is a competitor and a potential predator.
- Do not look directly at dog (eye contact can be threatening.)
- Do not take a direct approach towards dog (predators take a straight line.)
- Drop your head and shoulders (predators keep their heads up and forward with confidence)
- Do not talk to the dog or encourage it to come to you. Your excited, high pitch voice will show nervous/excited/and anxious energy. A scared and hungry dog will NOT trust you. It will run the other way.
- Turn your body perpindicular to theirs. (Dog language – I mean no harm.)
- Drop down low, get on ground if you have too, even lay on ground. (I am no threat. Humans don’t usually lie on ground. It may invite curiosity.)
- If it comes close, be slow and deliberate in your actions. Quick, snatching type behavior will fail. Dogs are faster than we are and they will run.
Building Trust (with food):
- You may not have an opportunity to get the dog to come to you at first.
- Be patient. Keep following these directions.
- You want the dog to trust you, not fear you.
- I like to use pepperoni slices to help lure a dog. It is a high value reward that most dogs (even if fed table scraps) don’t often get. They are also small enough to keep a dog’s interest without making it full.
- Toss a slice towards the dog. Again, do NOT look at it or encourage it. Just give it food.
- It may not take it right away as it is fearful. Give it time.
- Toss another piece and another. Let the dog think. Let the smell wander up to its nose. Let it eat quietly.
- Toss more pieces, however, make the distance shorter, making it come closer to you.
- Take your time and be patient if the dog is eating. Don’t break the trust by moving too fast.
- Don’t give up. Don’t lose hope. Don’t stop trying.
- I have recently experienced the joy of bringing 2 dogs “home” that were not my own.
- The dogs were on the run for 6 weeks and 3 weeks before they were ready to come home.
- It is emotionally difficult. There are highs of a sighting and lows with no sightings.
- You may need to use a Save-A-Heart trap (similar to those for raccoons and other critters.)
- I don’t care what your religious beliefs are, but have faith in something bigger to help bring your family member home.
- Be grateful and thankful to the volunteers and strangers who are helping you. A simple thank you can go a very long way to having an entire community help you.
- Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have questions or concerns. I will do the best I can to help.
Teaching People & Helping Dogs