Ten Things You Need to Know Before Hiring a Tracking Dog Service

1375911626rvuyxWe often get asked about tracking dog services for missing dogs.  Some of these services are good, some are not so good and some are out and out scams. They will cost many hundreds and possibly thousands of dollars depending on where they are located and the distance they have to travel. Most will also charge an initial phone consultation fee.  Some services will require that you purchase extra products like flyers and signs. Before you hire a tracking dog service to help find your missing dog, please do your homework.  Here are some key points to consider:

  1. Tracking dogs will not capture your dog. They may or may not be able to indicate whether your dog was in an area and the direction of travel. But you will still have to do the work of flyering the area, monitoring sightings,  establishing a feeding routine and trapping your dog.  Tracking dogs are not a magic pill.  If a service guarantees success, they are a scam.
  2. A tracking dog is kept on a long line and can only travel as fast as the handler travels. (consider the fitness level of the human on the other end of the leash). Rough terrain and extreme temperatures will be factors.  Most lost dogs will be able to easily outpace a tracking dog and handler.  Ask the tracking service if you can accompany them on the search with the handler and the dog. Be suspicious if they say no.
  3. Tracking dogs may be a poor choice for scared, lost dogs that are in survival mode. These dogs need to settle into an area and establish a feeding routine.  Tracking dogs may  pressure them out of the area that they may have settled in. You will then have to start all over in a new area with flyering and signs to generate sightings.
  4.  Be very skeptical of services that tell you they will have to keep coming back to “confirm” a scent. Each of these visits may cost you more money and you risk your dog being pressured again out of an area that he may have settled in. You will then have to start over using flyers and signs to generate new sightings.
  5.  There is no accredited school for training scent dogs for finding lost dogs.  Trackers often claim success when it was actually flyers or another method of generating sightings that brought the dog home. Check references and successes thoroughly. Personally check with at least five or six references via telephone. Do not rely on online “reviews”  or recommendations.
  6. Reputable tracking dog services will have a contract for you to review and sign and will take credit cards. Make sure you have a clear idea up front of what the total cost will be.  Never send cash or wire transfer money. 
  7. Tracking dogs have much greater success at finding lost cats (who hide when scared) than lost dogs (who run when being pressured).  Ask the tracking dog service what their success rate is.  If they guarantee they will find your dog, or quote an overly optimistic success rate, they are probably a scam.
  8.  Tracking success depends on many things: the weather, the length of time the dog was in the area, the terrain and environment.  The service should give you an honest assessment of what you are dealing with. The longer your dog has been missing the less likely the tracking dog will be able to pick up a scent
  9. Search and rescue dogs are certified for human recovery only and will not normally be  used for tracking missing pets. If someone tells you they will bring their search and rescue dog to look for your missing dog, be extremely skeptical. Ask to see their training records and their certification.
  10. Some tracking dog services, lost pet services and pet detectives prey on the distraught owner by making unsolicited contact with them from their missing dog flyers.  Be VERY careful. Many of these are scams, or at the very least – very expensive services that do what you can do yourself for a fraction of the cost.

Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Stay calm, do your research and spend your money wisely.   Generating sightings is the key to a successful recovery. Consider how many flyers, signs, newspaper ads or even billboards  could be purchased with the money you would spend on a tracking dog service.  Your lost dog is depending on you to bring him safely home.

Our tips, ideas and articles are based on information gathered from 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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How Are We Doing? Year to Date July 2014

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Change Your Search Engine to Help Lost Dogs!

 

murray-laptop17243655c-f86b-11e1-9cff-68b062999a5bYou can help lost dogs every time you search the internet just by using GoodSearch as your Internet search engine. Search engines generate billions of dollars in revenue from advertisers. You can make sure some of that money goes to Lost Dogs of Wisconsin to help us help more lost dogs get home!

Powered by Yahoo!, GoodSearch is easy to use, produces high-quality results and will send a penny to Lost Dogs of Wisconsin every time you search the internet through it.  Those pennies add up fast, so you can play a significant part in helping us.

To start earning donations for Lost Dogs of Wisconsin go to www.GoodSearch.com and click the “Get Started” button.

Enter “Lost Dogs of Wisconsin” in the “Who You Want to Help” box, and sign in via Facebook or email to track the donations you generate.

For your convenience, GoodSearch also offers and options GoodApp browser toolbar, which features a GoodSearch search box and options to use GoodShop for all your online shopping.

GoodSearch doesn’t cost you anything, so it’s easy to make a difference! Sign up today and help us help more lost dogs get safely back home!

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How Are We Doing? Year to Date June 2014

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Did Your Dog Get Scared By Fireworks? Don’t Panic!

If your dog went missing from the fireworks last night – don’t panic. Immediately put out your dog’s favorite blanket, some food and water, and something that smells like you (a dirty sock or pillowcase). Then file a report with us from this link: http://lostdogsofwisconsin.org/report/lost-dog-report/ . Our volunteer flyermakers will make a flyer for you to print and share. We will also post it on our Facebook page. Tell EVERYONE – to not call or chase or whistle to your dog. Let him relax and he may very likely come home on his own when it is quiet. Do NOT let people congregate in your yard or driveway. Your dog is frightened and will stay in hiding until everything calms down.

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Fireworks and Dogs Don’t Mix!

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How Are We Doing? Year to Date May 2014

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Bee Bee’s Story

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A “HAPPY” story and reminder for all – on why you should NEVER GIVE UP!!
Reunited ~ after being lost for 7 MONTHS!! Bee Bee the Shih-Tzu Mix from Milwaukee in Milwaukee County.

Bee Bee is finally home safe and sound, after she went missing back in October 2013. Even though she was gone for several months with no leads, owners never gave up and either did Lost Dogs of Wisconsin. One of our dedicated Craigslist matchers (Christine) continuously sent owners, possible matches on found dogs that were posted on MADACC (Milwaukee Animal Control) website. Owners never failed to check out any possible matches and today was NO exception. They got the call 2 days ago, from our volunteer, about the possible match. Owners were out of state, but called MADACC right away. One question owner asked, was if the dog had a heart murmur…when they answered YES…there hopes began to rise – this was a distinct feature that Bee Bee also had. Although the found dog at MADACC…looked quite different from when Bee Bee went missing, they still had a good feeling on this one. Today owners were able to go down to MADACC and see the dog for themselves. It didn’t take long for Bee Bee to show her excitement – when she finally saw her owners again…after 7 months!! Here is the messages our volunteer (Christine) received today, from owner:

“OMG! We picked her up today. She was so grateful to see us. She was also severely matted. She is at the groomer right now! Thank you! thank you! thank you! This is a miracle. She was missing since Oct ’13. We pretty much gave up our search, but you did not! My wife is in tears!
I can’t thank you and Lost Dogs of Wisconsin enough, wow”

Congrats to ALL of you…and WELCOME HOME Bee Bee – You were deeply missed!! (Lost: October 6, 2013 – Reunited: May 10, 2014)

 

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How Are We Doing? Year to Date April 2014

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Lost Dogs of America Announces the First Annual National Lost Dog Awareness Day

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On April 23, the U.S. will celebrate its first annual National Lost Dog Awareness Day (NLDAD). Created by Susan Taney and Kathy Pobloskie – directors of Lost Dogs Illinois and Lost Dogs of Wisconsin, respectively – the canine-centric holiday aims to bring attention to all dogs that are lost each year. On a happier note, NLDAD also celebrates the thousands of lost dogs successfully reunited with their families.

Lost Dogs of Wisconsin (LDOW) is an all-volunteer organization created for the exclusive purpose of providing a free service to help reunite families with their lost dogs. With the help of popular social media platforms, Facebook and Twitter, and their extensive connections throughout Wisconsin, LDOW is able to facilitate a statewide alert as soon as a lost or found dog report is received. By working to recover lost dogs, LDOW helps to decrease the number of homeless animals brought into shelters and animal control facilities, thereby preventing unnecessary euthanasia. Lost Dogs of Wisconsin offers an invaluable service when many feel helpless otherwise. The Lost Dogs mission has been so successful that the concept has been accepted and put into practice in Wisconsin, Arizona, Minnesota, Texas, Florida, Colorado, New Jersey and Iowa under the umbrella organization Lost Dogs of America.

The tenacious efforts of these combined states’volunteers along with over 150,000 fans have helped reunite over 21,000 dogs with their families since 2010. Getting lost dogs back home reduces stress on owners’, staff at shelters/animal control facilities, other dogs in the facilities, and ultimately saves taxpayers’ money. It also opens up kennel space for truly homeless dogs.

“When a dog goes missing, most owners do not know how or where to begin looking. Our specially-trained volunteers make them a flyer to distribute and offer helpful support and advice tailored to their situation and locale.  We also constantly remind the public that not all stray dogs are homeless and that there is likely an owner looking for a dog that has been found” explains Pobloskie.  “One of our recent success stories was a lab mix named Abner.  He was missing nine weeks during really bad weather.  We never gave up, and neither did Abner’s owner.  She read the articles on our website and followed the advice of her LDOW caseworker. Abner was successfully lured into the home of some kind Good Samaritans who patiently gained his trust.  Never doubt a dog’s ability to survive.”

For more information on Lost Dogs of Wisconsin, please visit http://www.LostDogsofWisconsin.org or join the LDOW community on Facebook (www.facebook.com/findfido) and Twitter (@LostDogsofWisc).

If you are interested in starting an organization in your state, please see our website Lost Dogs of America  www.lostdogsofamerica.org for more details.

 

 

 

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