Tag Archives: Friendly lost dogs

More Ways To Ensure You’re Reunited With Your Lost Dog

In the past, before the advent of today’s technology, the internet and social media, we had few options when it came to looking for a lost pet. Putting up flyers around the neighborhood and checking the local shelters were among the few choices available.

Along with the obvious options of microchipping, purchasing ID tags, even getting your pet tattooed, there are also methods or ensuring you’re reunited with your pet should they become lost. When inserting a microchip, make sure it’s properly registered and keep the information current if you happen to move, change your phone number or other contact data. Especially if you lose your dog, be sure to contact the chip provider and ensure the info is correct.

Keeping this in mind, here are some other ways to help ensure you’ll be reunited with your pet should they become lost or stolen:

Social Media

For animal lovers, many of us post pictures of our pets online and this could be helpful if they go missing. Keeping your online friends informed about the connection between you and your dog could come in handy if you reach out to them to help locate your pet.

 

Flyers First

Again, back in the old days, when a pet went missing one of the first things we did was post flyers around our community notifying our neighbors of their absence. This is still one of the most successful methods of finding a lost animal, but think about using the internet to spread the word online as well.

Many of our email and text contacts are friends and family that live nearby. Send a post to them with a picture of your pet and ask for their assistance. Then request they forward this message to their nearby friends and family. This way your message has the potential of reaching hundreds or even thousands of other recipients.

Other Avenues To Explore

Speaking of the internet, don’t forget other options like checking out the Lost Dogs of America website. Here you can put a online listing about the loss of your pet and check to see if someone has posted they have found your dog. They’ll also provide you with a free flyer and list it on one of their individual Facebook pages according to State.

Thank you Amber Kingsley for your article contribution.

 

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Reva is Safe!

 

Reva enjoying her first dinner after being reunited.

Reva enjoying her first dinner after being reunited.

‘Reva is safe! She was brought to her new home on Friday, September 4th. Since getting there, her owner has walked the same route with her daily.

Because Reva came from a feral/skittish lifestyle, she took the opportunity to bolt when a door was opened. Her harness broke in a freak accident and she took off. For the next 8 hours, she was spotted looping the subdivision her house is in and the golf course behind it. Reva knew what way Dan walked her only after 3 short days. Routine is essential with a new dog, especially a timid one. Smart cookie.

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Dan and Denise quickly called the local police station as well as animal control. Flyers and posters went up, neighbors were asked not to chase her, but to call immediately with sightings. Reva came to the front and back of her new home 2 or 3 times. Her bed, fresh water and food were placed behind the house. We really believe not being chased kept her safe and in the area. As nightfall came, there weren’t any sightings of Reva for over 5 hours. A humane trap was set and baited behind the house next to her bed and Dan set watch. And then, an amazing phone call took place: Reva was in someone’s fenced in yard! The homeowners saw her, called Darien PD (which had Dan’s contact info and description of Reva) and Dan was able to pick her up from the house.

Accidents happen. Harnesses and leashes may break when you least expect it. We followed the advice our friends at LDI stress: do not chase and get the word out immediately. Because authorities were contacted, flyers stressing not to chase were posted and the neighbors didn’t disrupt Reva’s loop pattern, she is safe. Never underestimate the intelligence of a dog. Reva was able to retain her walking route only after a few short days, which is critical for a shy dog.

Thank you for the wonderful support, LDI!’

Thank you, Katie Campbell, for sharing Reva’s story!

 

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Fireworks and Reuniting Lost Dogs with Their Families

aspcafireworks

Last year we were honored to present a free webinar for ASPCA Pro that included a lot of helpful information for shelters and owners for dogs that go missing after the fireworks on the 4th of July. Please feel free to share this link.
“In preparation for July 4, experts from Lost Dogs Illinois and Lost Dogs of Wisconsin will give you practical advice to offer support, resources, and tips to worried families searching for their lost dogs. Teaching people how to find their lost pets and avoid common mistakes can avoid heartbreak for many people and animals.
This free, 60-minute webinar will benefit staff and volunteers from any animal welfare agency.”

Click this link to view the webinar slides and access the webinar recording: http://www.aspcapro.org/webinar/2014-06-18/fireworks-rto

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Champ – Lessons Learned.

On April 30, I pulled up to a house, and I saw a proud new father in his driveway holding his son. I exited my vehicle and introduced myself. A few hours before, I had seen a post on Facebook about a local family dog, Champ, that was missing. As soon as I could, I contacted the owner, Jeff, to learn more about his dog. He told me Champ had gone missing the night before. He was a large, brindle 10 year old male Lab/Boxer mix, with a white chest, red collar, and friendly disposition. I thought to myself, friendly, big, older dog; this should be easy. Unfortunately, I was wrong.

As Jeff held his son, he explained what had happened the night before: he was letting the dogs out before heading to bed. Champ and his brother, Jager, went out. Jeff let the dogs back in, or so he thought. He locked up the house and went to bed. In the morning, he discovered Champ was not in the house, and not outside. Champ was gone!

Champ’s information was immediately put up on the Lost Dogs Illinois Facebook page and other area pages. Soon, Jeff and his wife got the first call of many from people seeing Champ over the next 8 days.   The first few calls had Champ heading 
toward a nearby golf course. Jeff and Jess headed 
out to look, then spent the day driving around 
passing out fliers and talking to people in the 
neighborhood. Many were now on alert and knew
to call them if he was spotted. That evening, with a heavy heart, Jeff and Jess went home without finding Champ.

The following day, I made more fliers, hoping to get them hung. I also put a flier on the back window of my car and encouraged others to do the same. I was getting stopped multiple times by people asking questions and telling me they were watching out for Champ. Jeff and Jess continued to get calls seeing Champ in the area of the golf course and by the red barn. As more people shared the posts of Champ missing, there were more cars in the area. That meant there were more eyes to spot him, but also more cars that could hit him, and people to chase him away. Another full day came and went without Champ home.Untitled

 

Champ was spotted but managed to slip into clever hiding places each time. I received a message around 10:15pm that night that Champ was now spotted a couple miles down at a park. He was just an arm’s length away from someone, but when they said Champ’s name, the dog turned and ran into the darkness of the park. Someone posted the sighting online and people arrived at the park using flashlights. A police officer even used his spotlight to help. However, if Champ was there, he was not going to come out with that number of people searching.  Jeff took the shirt off his back,and put it and some treats under a play area he hoped Champ would go to for rest.

On Saturday morning  Jeff woke early to check on his shirt and treats. No Champ, no change. Thinking that it was the weekend and that Champ would be ready to mingle, Jeff was sure he would go up to someone and would be home that evening. Families would be out in yards. Fathers would be barbecuing dinner, and the smells would lure Champ out of hiding! Jess also created the Find Champ Facebook page. Champ had 771 followers very quickly. The day passed and there were just 2 calls and still no Champ. Jeff and Jess put out another blanket and treats near the cornfields where they thought he may be.

Seeing Jeff and Jess looking a little defeated, I reached out to Susan from Lost Dogs Illinois. She knew Champ was missing, but I needed to fill her in on what we had been doing and ask for suggestions for next steps. She mentioned that Champ may not be seen for the same reason we thought he would be. Because it’s the weekend and a lot of people would be out, he would hide. I also inquired about using a tracking dog, and she said they do not recommend tracking dogs. They do not find dogs. She did suggest a feeding station and trail camera. She also offered, if needed, a large humane trap. After talking with Susan, I shared her suggestions with Jeff and Jess.  They felt that setting up a humane trap would not be an option as Champ was a Houdini, and there was no way he would be kept in a trap if he went in. We set up a feeding station where  he had been spotted on several different days which lead right to an area we would eventually call “Tick Field.”

The next morning we went to the feeding station hoping we would walk up and find Champ resting on his blanket with a full belly of chicken and bacon. My heart sank. The bowl was untouched. I went home and printed a map marking all the sighting locations. I was trying to see if there was any pattern to his movements. For a few days it seemed he was on the golf course during the day and park at night. If this was true, where was he hiding?

Monday was uncomfortable. Silence is usually a blessing, but this time we would have welcomed the phone ringing and it wasn’t. No one was calling – was Champ ok?

Tuesday morning was an eventful one. Jeff and Jess started receiving calls at 6am. Champ was spotted walking down a road. Then, he was on a path behind an elementary school. This was the closest Champ had gotten to home. We wondered with the rain from the night before, were all the scents being picked up and he was on his way home? Again, people were posting all over social media and the area had people everywhere. Champ once again outsmarted everyone and slipped by. At this point, Jeff and I were thinking how crazy it is that Champ has been seen by everyone else but us. We had spent every free minute looking for him and hanging fliers and talking to people, and Champ never showed himself to us.  I asked for help to post fliers in this new area. I was going up and down the streets placing Champ’s information by the mailbox flags. I knew we could not place anything inside a mailbox.  I noticed a mail truck coming our way and was happy to see it. In recent days I had been able give other mail carriers a flier that was happily received with well wishes for finding Champ. This was not the case with this time. She ignored my 2 attempts to get her attention and then turned her truck around and started up the other side of the street where I had just been and watched her as she went up to the mailboxes and took the fliers. Shocked, I looked at the other volunteer and said, “She is taking the fliers!” He was just as stunned. He caught up to her truck and asked her why she was taking them since they were about a lost dog. She snapped at him something about postage and drove off. I called the post office to find out that no one is allowed to put anything inside or on a mailbox.!

Wednesday went by without a single call.  Jeff and I began to walk behind the houses into “Tick Field.” We were playing detective, not allowing Champ to be steps ahead of us anymore. This is when Jeff mentioned Champ also ‘army crawls’. I am out here looking for a brindle coated dog that would blend into everything that also army crawled!  We found some fresh dog poop and a toy that had the stuffing newly pulled out (this is something Champ would do).  As we walked, Jeff was pulling ticks off of himself. Jess showed up and had Jager, Champ’s dog buddy, with her. He seemed to walk a path they felt was where Champ walked. When we exhausted our “research” of this area we headed to the car. While walking back to the car, Jess about stepped on a snake.  Thankfully she saw it before, stepped back and we concluded it was just a garter snake.  WHEW!

Thursday was another quiet day with no calls. I had just finished checking the feeding station when Jess called. It was about 8:15pm, and she had just received a call from a couple of girls who were out on their bikes and saw Champ. He was over by the gates by the beach. This was about 2 miles from the last place he was seen on Tuesday. I was close to the street so I headed over. We had not had any calls since Tuesday morning, and there was still a constant flow of cars and people looking – Champ had moved somewhere quieter.  I heard a ruckus in a yard when I pulled into the gates where he was said to have headed. It was really dark by this time, and it made it very difficult to see. I also knew I could not say his name without him running, so I was praying for backup, just in case. That’s when Jeff pulled up. We canvassed the street and yards, not expecting too much. We went down to the gate where he was first spotted before the girls called his name and he ran. There, we met another woman who saw him too. She said he was standing, sniffing around. He was there long enough for her to pull out her phone and bring up his picture, she was 100% sure, it was Champ. The concern about cars was even greater now. As we  stood there, cars sped by. We couldn’t afford other people looking for him to add to the traffic on the roads. Even worse, Champ could run into the road!

Thankfully, we moved fast. One woman had already posted the sighting on FB, but we were able to delete it before anyone saw it. I talked to Jeff, asking him to keep this quiet, just between a small group of us for Champs safety. Let’s let him get comfortable, even if it took another day or two. We called it a night shortly after to allow Champ the space to find a place to rest and be safe for the night.

Friday morning, both Jeff and I did a quick drive around before work. Neither of us saw anything, which was okay though. For the first time I actually felt that Champ was safe.  SUDDENLY, at 2:42pm, I received a text.  This is what I saw: “Look who I have!”  I couldn’t believe my eyes! I was incredibly happy for Jeff and Jess. Champ looked good. Now, what was the story?

Champ

Well, after the Tuesday morning sightings, it seems that Champ headed down toward the beach through the gates. He took up residence under a deck. A  gentleman  had spotted him, but was unaware that Champ had been missing for all these days. While we were on call for sightings, a relationship was building between Champ and this man. In the morning he would give Champ pancakes, and for lunch he would have some chicken. This afternoon, Champ came out for a little love and his new friend was able to get the phone number off Champs tags and call Jeff. As you can imagine, with this news Jeff rushed over to the house. Champ was under the deck. There was only one way in and one way out. Jeff walked to the back and he whistled “his whistle” and Champ came out like a flash to greet his dad. After a few minutes of hugs, kisses, and tears, Jeff thanked the man and headed home with Champ. I was able to stop by their house within the next hour. I was so happy to meet this big boy that led us on an expedition that lasted for 8 days!

Champ’s travels took him to the golf course, through corn fields, by the red barn, the park, on bike paths, digging in backyards, trotting under windows, and traipsing through the woods.  He came through it all with an abundance of ticks and only a small cut on his paw. Other than that, he was tired and a little clingy, but Jeff was just fine with that as long as Champ was home.

Champ3

Here are some of the important things I learned while searching for Champ:

  •  I think the most important thing I learned was that having a ‘core’ group is crucial.
  •  Too many people responding to a sighting pushes a dog further away.
  •  Dogs get to a point when running scared where they won’t answer, no matter how        friendly they are or who is calling them
  •   Keeping some information quiet is best for the safety of the dog.
  •  Set aside your emotions and think of the dogs safety first .

Finally, I was reminded that we live in such a wonderful community. I have 
 seen again how one dog can bring people together, and now, I have 2 new amazing people in my life ‐ Jeff and Jess, and, of course, Champ and his dog buddies at home. That little boy Jeff was holding when I first stopped over is in for an exciting story when he grows up!

Sidenote:  We want to thank Kerry, Jess and Jeff for sharing their story about Champ. LDI’s mission is to empower our dog loving communities with resources, tools and tips on how to find lost dogs.  The more knowledge that is disseminated;  the more dogs will be returned home safely.

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Best Friends National Conference… The Way Back Home – Reuniting Pets with Their People

Best Friends Conference

Lost Dogs of America and HelpingLostPets.com are pleased to be presenting at the upcoming 2015 Best Friends National Conference in Atlanta July 16-19.

Our joint presentation “The Way Back Home: Reuniting Pets with Their People” will provide proven strategies to assist shelters and volunteer groups to increase their Return to Owner rates (RTO).
For more information about the conference and register, please visit:http://conference.bestfriends.org

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When NOT to Use a Tracking Dog to Find a Lost Dog

Photo courtesy of K McPherson

Photo courtesy of K McPherson

The idea of using a tracking dog to find a lost dog is very compelling, but most people who pursue this option do not have a good understanding of how a tracking (or trailing) dog works.  In some cases a tracking dog CAN provide useful information for locating a lost dog such as confirming sightings or establishing a direction of travel.  However, very few lost dogs are actually found and captured during the search (i.e. a “walk-up find”), which is what most people are hoping for when they hire a tracking dog team.

What many people do not consider is that there are actually some cases when you should NOT try to use a tracking dog to find a lost dog.  In these situations a tracking dog is not only a waste of money, but they can actually be detrimental to finding and catching the lost dog.  The situations where you should not use a tracking dog to find a lost dog include most cases where there are multiple sightings of the lost dog in a general area, and the dog is running in fear from everyone.  This most often occurs with newly adopted dogs and skittish lost dogs.  However, even an otherwise friendly dog can enter what is known as “survival mode” (where they run from all people including those that they know) if they are lost in a frightening situation (such as a car crash) or if they are on the run for several days, especially if people attempt to chase or capture them.  Sometimes these lost dogs will run for several miles (1-5 is common and 10 or more miles is not unheard of), but in most cases the lost dog will eventually settle down in a place where they feel safe.  Generally this safe place is somewhere with food, water, shelter, and (very importantly) where people are not attempting to approach or catch them.  In some cases the lost dog will actually circle around and come back to close to where they went missing.

If you you get multiple sighting (even 2-3) of the lost dog in a general area (hopefully less than 1 mile apart), then the lost dog has likely found a safe place to hide out.  The last thing that you want to do in this situation is chase the dog out of his newly found haven.  If you use a tracking dog, they may help you find out where your dog has been taking shelter and getting food, but in the process you may scare your dog out of the safe place.  Likewise, it is a very bad idea to have human search teams go into this area and look for the lost dog, especially if it is a wooded area.  Even if they see the dog, they are most likely going to scare him out of the area.  In either of these situations, the lost dog may feel pressured to leave the area and find a new safe place, perhaps miles away.

In these types of cases, it is very important to leave the dog alone and encourage others to report sightings, but not to approach or attempt to catch the dog.  Most of these dogs are ultimately caught using lure and capture techniques such as feeding stations, calming signals, surveillance cameras and/or humane traps.

Thank you Danielle of Lost Pet Research and Recovery for giving us permission to use her article.

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Your Friendly Dog Has Gone Missing! What Now? – Part 1 of a Series

Rollie, your  friendly dog is missing. He was in the fenced backyard sniffing around and enjoying himself while you just stepped inside for a minute to get a cup of coffee. The phone rang and you were longer than you meant to be. When you came back out he was nowhere to be seen. Then you saw it, the side gate was open. It must have blown open in the wind last night! Rollie must have used the opportunity to check out the neighborhood.

Rollie fits the profile of an opportunistic dog. You may never know what happened in those few minutes when Rollie escaped, but it doesn’t really matter. What matters most is what you do next. Quick action will help you recover Rollie safely and the following series of articles is designed to help you find a friendly dog that took an opportunity to go for an adventure.

First things first, you need to check out our 5 Things To Do If You Have Lost Your Dog and get those steps underway. Keep food, water, his bed and familiar scented articles at the spot where he went missing from for the entire duration of his adventure. Many of these dogs do return on their own. Especially if they aren’t being chased and driven out of the area.

Contact all of the correct authorities – police, shelters, animal control facilities and then get busy printing your flyers and signs.  You need to go door to door with your flyers as soon as possible. Somebody, somewhere, has seen something. You might talk to 99 people that haven’t seen anything. But you are looking for the one person that has seen something. Has somebody seen your dog in their yard or did they see a vehicle stop and pick your dog up?

Three things will generally happen to the opportunistic dog:

  1. He will get picked up by a Good Samaritan who doesn’t want to see him hit by a car. Depending on the Good Samaritan’s actions: he may be reunited; taken to a shelter, animal control facility or rescue;  rehomed or kept by the finder.
  2. He will wander far outside  the owner’s original search area and start to live on his own (survival mode); eventually ending up at a farm, business or house where somebody either recognizes and reunites him; takes him to an animal control facility, shelter or rescue; rehomes him or keeps him.
  3. He will be picked up by the police or animal control and taken to a facility. Keep in mind that he may end up far outside the jurisdiction area of the local shelter and may be in the next county or the next state in a very short time.

Okay, now that we know the possible outcomes, let’s go through them step by step to try to maximize your chances of finding Rollie.

Continue on to part 2

Our tips, ideas and articles are based on information gathered from over thousands of  successful lost dog recoveries. Any advice or suggestions made by Lost Dogs of Wisconsin/Lost Dogs Illinois is not paid-for professional advice and should be taken at owner’s discretion.

 

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Did Your Lost Dog Get Picked Up By a Good Samaritan? Part 2 of a Series

Immediately put a sign in front of your house to alert neighbors and passersby that your dog is missing.

The first thing we need to do is clearly define the difference between a dog that is “picked up” and one that is stolen.  A picked up dog is one that was lost or perceived to be lost and a Good Samaritan took the dog to keep it out of harm’s way. Very few dogs are actually stolen. Stealing involves a person who commits a crime of  intent by illegally entering your house, yard or vehicle and taking your dog. There is a big difference because the motive is different.  We will cover the stolen dogs in a future article. But now let’s get back to the dog that was picked up by a well-meaning passerby.

The type of dog most likely to get picked up is the small, friendly dog lost in an urban or suburban area. They may get picked up within minutes of going missing, especially if they are seen near a busy road.

Larger, friendly dogs may get picked up but are more likely to have traveled a farther distance before they do. Many people are wary of larger dogs, or they don’t have a vehicle large enough to put them in, or they are transporting children or their own pets. It is simply easier to pick up a small dog than a large one.

First and foremost, you must understand that the Good Samaritan meant well. But now the guessing game of understanding human behavior begins.  Here is a little quiz.  Let’s see if you can tell which of these scenarios will most often end up in a happy reunion.

The finder thinks:

  1. Somebody has lost their dog and I must try to find his owner.
  2. Somebody has dumped this dog or lost him out of negligence and I must rescue him. They don’t deserve him back and I will keep him or give him to Aunt Mary who really needs a nice little dog for company.
  3. I’m in a hurry and I can’t keep this dog  so I will take it to a shelter (or vet clinic) that is in the town where I work.
  4.  I can’t keep this dog but I don’t want to take it to the local shelter because they don’t have a good reputation, so I will take it to a better shelter or rescue where the dog can be adopted to a new home.
  5. I can’t keep this dog so I will research which is the correct shelter, stray holding facility or animal control facility that services this area and take him there.
  6. I will wait and see if the owners post signs and flyers and then I might give him back. If I don’t see any signs or flyers, they mustn’t really want him so I will keep him or give him away.
  7. I will wait to see if the owners offer a reward and then I will turn him over.

If you guessed numbers 1 and 5  you are correct. Finders who proactively look for owners, and dogs taken to the animal control facility, stray holding facility or shelter that serves the area where the dog was lost are the dogs that are most likely to be reunited with their owners. Educating the public about this is a large part of what we do.

But as you can see from the other options, there is a lot of human emotion in play. We see a lot of the “wait and see” method. The lesson we have learned  is that it doesn’t matter which scenario played out. The key to getting your dog home is to generate sightings by using flyers and signs. You must “convince” the finder that you are desperately looking for your dog. If the finder has decided to keep your dog you will either make them feel guilty by the amazing search you are conducting or a neighbor will “rat them out” by noticing that they have a new dog that looks just like the one on the flyer.

Put a sign in your yard as soon as possible. If the Good Samaritan was merely driving by and doesn’t live in the area, he may drive by again, checking for signs.  Do the legwork of going door to door with your flyers. Talk to everyone you see.

Use intersection signs at strategic locations throughout the area. They are an invaluable tool to alert the neighborhood that your dog is missing.

File a lost dog report and leave a flyer with your local police station and your animal control facility. Do the same for every vet clinic, animal shelter and rescue in a 50 mile radius. (You may need to expand this) Create a paper trail showing that you are actively searching for your dog. This may be invaluable if there is a question about ownership.

Use traditional and social media and Craigslist to get the word out. Put an ad in your local newspaper and call your local radio station. Remember that not everybody has a computer.

Look at the map. Where does the road go that you suspect that your dog was picked up on? Think about the traffic patterns, the commuters and the places of employment nearby. Get flyers out to those towns and places.  You will find many other suggestions for generating sightings on our website.  Print hundreds of flyers and use them. They don’t do any good sitting in a stack on the kitchen table.

Quickly spreading the word is the number one way that a small friendly lost dog will be reunited. Get going now!

Continue onto part 3

Our tips, ideas and articles are based on information gathered from over thousands of  successful lost dog recoveries. Any advice or suggestions made by Lost Dogs of Wisconsin/Lost Dogs Illinois is not paid-for professional advice and should be taken at owner’s discretion.
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The Happy Wanderer – Part 3 of a Series

 

Do you remember that old song from Girl Scout camp, the Happy Wanderer? “I love to go a-wandering, Along the mountain track, And as I go, I love to sing, My knapsack on my back.”

This is often the scenario played out by the friendly, opportunistic large dog, or a friendly small dog in an unpopulated area. They took the opportunity to go for a wander, smelling new smells, maybe chasing chipmunks and rabbits; but they never gave a moment’s notice that they forgot to bring the map.

As we discussed in Part 2, the chance that the small friendly dog got picked up quite early in his adventure is very high.

But today, we are going to talk about the larger friendly dog that was having a good time but ended up a long ways from home. (In particular, think hounds, labs, huskies, spaniels, setters, pointers, German shepherds and other working and sporting breeds). Whereas, shy lost dogs will often stay within a five mile radius of where they went missing, friendly lost dogs may travel in a linear fashion, zig zagging across the countryside.

These dogs may find their way back home IF you give them a helping hand by leaving food, their bed, and familiar scented articles out for them at the place they went missing from. Do this the entire time they are gone. Refresh the food daily with new smelly canned dog or cat food or some leftovers you are having. Dogs return by scent, not by sight or sound. So that same nose that led him away, may lead him back.

But you don’t want to rely on that, because there are far too many other scenarios that could have occurred.

  1.  He could have gotten chased by people who thought he was “just a stray” and  didn’t want him in their yard or farmyard.
  2. He may be seen but be assumed to be a wandering farm dog and nobody calls in the sightings.
  3. He could have crossed a river or a bridge and can’t figure out his way back.
  4. He could have been picked up by a Good Samaritan, animal control or the police across a state, county or jurisdiction line and have ended up in a shelter, animal control facility or stray holding facility many, many miles away.
  5. He may have found a food source or some friendly doggy companions at a farm and decided to stay awhile. In our experience, most farmers won’t proactively look for an owner, but will let them hang out as long as they aren’t causing trouble or chasing livestock.
  6. He may do this numerous times, staying somewhere for a few days, then moving on again.
  7. He will eventually end up at a farm, business, or backyard or driveway of somebody who decides to either proactively look for the owner, turn him in, or keep or rehome him.

If they decide to proactively look for an owner or take him to the correct stray holding facility for the area, great! Except that by this time, the owner may have given up or they may not be looking in the right spot. Compound that with the problem that many of these larger friendly breeds look alike (think black lab or yellow lab) and it becomes even tougher to find your dog.

What can you do?

Do everything listed on our Five Things to Do If You Have Lost Your Dog flyer, our Action Plan and then include the following:

  1. Expand your flyering area quickly. Start with a 50 mile radius and then expand to 100 miles. Enlist friends and family to help you. You may want to use an automated calling service or the USPS mailing service called “Every Door Direct Mail” to help you. Check out our Generating Sightings pdf on this website for more ideas. When you get a sighting – go in and heavily re-flyer that area.
  2. Place a yard sign in your own yard.
  3. Place ads in your local newspaper and surrounding newspapers. Many small newspapers are owned by larger companies that can target many communities with one ad. Place an ad with the local radio station also.
  4. Assign a couple of Facebook and tech savvy friends to post on as many different social media sites as possible. Make sure you include a picture and contact information! Many neighborhoods, on line newspapers, vet clinics, pet supply stores, restaurants and bars have Facebook pages. It is an easy and free way to spread the word.
  5. Use intersection signs at strategic locations to catch the eye of the highest number of motorists.
  6. Check Google satellite photos for paths he could be traveling on – railroad tracks, jogging and hiking trails, old logging roads, etc.
  7. Do not limit your thinking with geographical boundaries – “he wouldn’t have crossed that river, or that busy freeway.”  Chances are he did and he will.
  8. If you have a familiar looking dog (lab, golden retriever, etc), don’t be afraid to disclose specific details on your flyer. What color collar was he wearing? Distinguishing birthmarks, size, etc. You will need the help of the community and animal shelters to identify him.
  9. Check out every possible lead even if it seems impossibly far away. Never underestimate the distance your dog can travel. Don’t be surprised if your dog doesn’t recognize you at first or doesn’t perform specific behaviors. The stress of being on his own and/or a shelter can alter behavior.
  10. The longer your dog is missing and the more often he is chased,  the more likely it is that he will go into “survival” mode. Please refer to our series of articles on capturing a shy, elusive dog.

We can tell you numerous stories of dogs that have gone hundreds of miles and been recovered. Don’t give up! Your dog is out there relying on you to find him and bring him home.

Our tips, ideas and articles are based on information gathered from over thousands of successful lost dog recoveries. Any advice or suggestions made by Lost Dogs of Wisconsin/Lost Dogs Illinois is not paid-for professional advice and should be taken at owner’s discretion.
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Risk Factors for an Opportunistic Lost Dog

These are the indicating factors that will predispose a dog to being an opportunistic lost dog.

1) Demeanor: A friendly, butt-wiggly type of personality. Will your dog readily go up to strangers and is everybody’s new best friend? Is your dog highly motivated by treats, praise, and belly rubs?

2) Origin: Dogs that have been well socialized in puppyhood are more likely to be opportunistic.

3) Breed: Some dogs seem to be predisposed to being opportunistic. They enjoy exploring and will “follow their nose”.  They are:

  1. Hounds such as Beagles, Basset Hounds, Dachshunds and Coonhounds.
  2. Sporting breeds such as Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Pointers, Setters and Spaniels.
  3. Working breeds such as Huskies, St Bernards, Samoyeds and Great Pyrenees.
  4. Sighthounds such as Greyhounds, Whippets and Italian Greyhounds.
  5. Small friendly lap dogs.

4) Dogs lost from a familiar location (especially on a nice sunny day).

5) Dogs lost from an opportunistic situation such as:

  1. A hole in or under a fence or an open or malfunctioning gate.
  2. The invisible fence stopped working.
  3. A contractor or visitor left the gate or door open.
  4. A distracted owner leaves the dog alone outside for “just a minute”.
  5. A dog chasing prey. (squirrels, rabbits, deer, cats, or even another dog)

The key factor to the opportunistic dog is that the dog was in a happy frame of mind when he went missing. Any one or a combination of the above will predispose a dog to being picked up by a Good Samaritan or traveling a long distance. Our next series of articles will focus on the strategies to help you find your friendly or opportunistic lost dog.

Please understand that although we are generalizing, and a friendly dog may quickly revert to being a shy dog when on its own, we want to give you a baseline from which to start.

Our tips, ideas and articles are based on information gathered from over thousands successful lost dog recoveries. Any advice or suggestions made by Lost Dogs of Wisconsin/Lost Dogs Illinois is not paid-for professional advice and should be taken at owner’s discretion.
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