Losing a pet is depressing and nerve-racking, especially if you feel you’re at fault. But fuming your mind with negative thoughts will do little to solve the problem. In fact, it’s important to stay calm and focused – even if the entire household is in disarray. As a dog owner, understand that we all make mistakes but to be a responsible parent, you must never give up hope, because finding a lost dog takes time, patience and a lot of effort.
Don’t Jump to Conclusions
First, and foremost do you have the slightest clue about what your pooch wants most? If its food, and you’ve forgotten to feed him or perhaps your dog needs an extra bowl, he may just run away in search of some grub. If your dog loves being outdoors (especially if you have a large backyard) it’s quite likely he may have gone for a mid-day walk. Perhaps its gone to play with its furry friends outside? So don’t jump to conclusions too soon. But if your dog isn’t back within a few hours, then it’s time to worry. Know this, dogs are curious beings and love to sniff around. If your dog has very strong instincts, its quite likely he’ll sniff his way back home.
Don’t fret, and avoid negative thoughts. You must be mentally prepared for the worst, but don’t forget to hope for the best. Your dog shall stay safe, as long as you stay strong and calmly try to predict your mutt’s next move.
Does Your Dog Suffer from Past Trauma?
Dogs who have experienced trauma induced by humans are most likely to feel lost on the streets. Imagine heavy traffic, territorial streets dogs and pesky humans walking around. Your pooch will take to hiding on the first day, and won’t run away far, unless its being chased. Traumatized dogs are difficult to find, since they’re scared and lonely. Such dogs will move around only in search of food and water. Some may try finding a way home but it will take time, and they will need your help.
Is it a Pure Breed or an Indie?
I’ve noticed many people posting ads about their pure breeds getting lost. It’s disheartening so here’s a quick tip – If you have a pure breed, keep a close watch on its whereabouts. Pure breeds are generally kidnapped by greedy breeders or individuals who want a pure breed. Sometimes, pet dogs are stolen in exchange for hefty rewards. If your dog has been trained, it won’t run away but if it has been stolen, there are a few things you can do, to get your pooch back in time. Mixed breeds generally find it easier to come back home, since they have stronger senses and inborn instincts. But your pure breed (for e.g. a Labrador) will feel lost and alienated in an unfamiliar surrounding.
Is Your Dog on Heat?
Another possibility to consider if you’ve lost your pet is the breeding season. Although this differs from place to place and breed to breed, it is still a possibility you cannot ignore. If your dog is female, was she on heat? If you have a male pet who hasn’t yet been spayed, did he ever mate? Although breeding is advised by some veterinarians, you can always consider spaying to avoid such complications. Many dogs by instinct, run away to breed so you can rest assured, that your pooch is healthy and alive with little harm being done.
What Should Dog Owners Do?
I’ve met plenty of dog owners who usually don’t have a plan-of-action, in cases where they’ve lost their pet dogs. As an experienced dog owner, I can tell you one simple thing – think of as many possibilities as you can and then plan your search. But before doing so, there are a few things you must consider to get your search party going, in any city or town.
To do before
- Microchip your pooch if you can afford to on the first day
- Place an ID tag with your name and number on the collar
- Keep neighbors informed of your dog’s activity
- Hire a pet sitter if you’re away from home
- Keep your house gate/door locked and secure
- Avoid showing off your pet dog to strangers
- Get your dog accustomed to its surroundings
- Walk your dog on different routes, every now and then
- Get your pet dog comfortable around humans
- Know your pet dog’s secret hideouts
Quick Tips for Rescuing a Lost Dog
- Check the Neighborhood
Start initially by looking for your pet dog within the neighborhood. You can always carry a favorite chew toy or a rattle that your dog is familiar with. Whistling and calling out your dog’s name may lead to something productive, like perhaps if your pet dog is stuck in a ditch and cannot get out. You can ask people around and show photographs of your pet dog during the search.
- Make Phone Calls
It’s important to call local dog organizations in your city just to get a fair idea about your dog’s whereabouts. There are certain NGO vans that come along and pick up dogs who need spaying. If your dog doesn’t have a collar, then its important to find out if such a van entered the vicinity. You can also contact rescue officials or animal control and give them a description of your lost dog.
- Start Socializing Online
Make a post on social networking sites like Facebook which is catchy, has multiple images and preferably also a video. Socializing your post informs many other dog lovers in your area of your dog’s missing situation. Other sites like Twitter, Instagram and perhaps dog organizations can also be considered. Local Facebook groups are abundant online, and you may never know who’s on the lookout at just the right time.
- Rally in Volunteers
If you want to conduct a thorough search of the area outside your compound, you’ll need help. It isn’t easy to drop everything and start looking for a lost pet. So a tad bit of help from animal volunteers who live close by can make a big difference. Getting many people involved can be tricky, especially if you expect them to do all the work. Make a feasible plan that allows volunteers to come at their own free time, to help you out.
- Make a Search Plan
Don’t expect anybody else to do the hard work, that’s your job as the owner. Since you know your area best, come up with a search plan that allows you to check hideouts within a specific period. Try looking for your lost dog early morning or late at night. Maximum area coverage in the least bit of time can give you more leads. Your dog will be used to a certain feeding routine, so search behind meat shops, restaurants and eating joints.
- Avoid Hefty Reward Sums
Some dog owners tend to give out posters with a reward sum – well, try not being over generous because a post like that can attract nasty mischief makers. Even if you do find your dog, your pooch will become an object of monetary interest, so it may likely be stolen the next time.
Check Breeding/Adoption Sites
Now what I mean to say is that you should check websites where breed dogs are generally put up for adoption. However such sites will feature individuals who are willingly selling breed dogs for some fancy bucks. If you find your pooch being advertised, call the police immediately and dog organizations, just to grab a check.
Place Posters of Your Lost Dog
Get some flyers printed with your dog’s image and description mentioned in clear, concise text. Don’t make the poster confusing and ensure you mention everything including your contact details. You should be manning the phone for any kind of spotting – colored posters have a higher chance of being effective as compared to black and white posters.
Start a Local Search
- Within 2 Km Radius (both sides of the road)
- Garbage Dumps
- Open Fields
- Construction Sites
- Behind Food Joints
If it has been more than three days, there are certain other tactics you can employ to find your pooch. This is where you must stress on time management and little more hope.
Schedule Routine Search
A routine search generally takes place after a certain period of time has passed, and you have been given certain information of your dog being spotted in multiple areas. This is when your search can get complex, and why your pooch hasn’t returned will still be a mystery. But there is hope, ah yes! Pick out places that you know your dog is most likely to visit. Check out such places at odd hours of the day.
Make a Path of Your Scent
Your dog may be confused about finding its way back home. So make a path for your pooch. Use an old piece of cloth and shred it into pieces. Tie the cloth to electrical posts, mail boxes and anything you can find, to make a clear path that leads back to your home. You will have to make multiple paths covering distances within a 1 to 2 m radius.
Wait for your dog’s return because, it will take time and may cost you some money. But if you have adopted a pet, then there are certain responsibilities that you must undertake. Here’s a sound tip – during the initial search, throw pieces of your old t-shirt where ever you go. This ensures your pet dog that you’re on the lookout and will ease your canine companion while its away from you. You can always keep a bowl of food outside the property premises, just so it can find its way back home.