We received the following message today from Karen L, the woman who helped capture Ocatavia, a missing border collie who had been on the run for several months. If you are unfamiliar with Octavia’s Story listen to it on Let’s Talk Pets Radio by clicking here.
“I can’t believe it!! Tonight I was looking through an SD card that I used in a trail camera looking for Octavia. Missing in Wisconsin May 4th 2020 – Found August 2nd 2020. In 3 months we never had her on camera until 4 days before she was caught…….or so we thought.Turns out WAYYYY back June 22nd and 23rd we actually caught Octavia on camera in Concord, Jefferson County – HWY E near River Road!! This was actually the very first house in Concord that I put the camera at and I think it was actually the day I initially set the camera up!! I learned a lesson….REALLY look through all photos your camera takes!!”
Octavia was safely captured but this is a good reminder to really study those trail camera photos on a laptop or desktop computer where you can adjust the lighting. You might see a picture of your dog!
Local wildlife and lost pets can enjoy snacking on squash, corn and pumpkins set out for fall decorations. They will make a viable food source for a lost dog at this time of year. Make sure you check yards, farm fields and local pumpkin patches for signs that your dog has been visiting. Deliver flyers and ask that landowners keep any eye out for your dog. Ask neighbors and business owners to check their security cameras or doorbell cameras.
Dogs lost from fireworks usually bolt and then hide. They may remain in hiding for several hours or several days. This is okay. Dogs are safe in their hiding spots. They are safe from being hit by cars or from running and getting overheated. They are safe from drowning or being hit by a train.
Let your lost dog have his hiding spot! Let him rest and he will come out when he is hungry or thirsty. Lure him home with scent items, smelly food and a bowl of cool water. He will probably wait until darkness to venture out. Never chase, call, whistle to, follow or pressure a lost dog!
Instead of “searching” for him, use the time to deliver flyers door to door so that if somebody does see him they know who to call and that they shouldn’t chase him.
For an indepth series of how to catch a shy lost dog click here.
More and more people are choosing to adopt their new best friend from a rescue or shelter. This is a wonderful thing! Many dogs, through no fault of their own, need a new home. Unfortunately though, many people are unprepared for the challenges of living with a dog who may be shy, fearful or stressed by the changes in their lives. These dogs are considered “high flight risk” and go missing with alarming frequency from either their new owner or a foster family who may be temporarily caring for them until a permanent home is found. Many owners bring home their new dog and within a few hours or few days, the dog has slipped out of his collar, out of the yard or out of the house.
By far, the greatest risk to these dogs when they go missing is that they will be hit by a car and killed. It happens far too often and this article was written to give you tips to help you safely capture your new pet. Although it sounds like a horrifying situation and many people panic, the good news is that with a calm, clear head and a good plan of action these dogs are usually quite predictable in their actions and can be successfully recovered.
Although we never say never, please consider these tips:
These dogs do not generally travel very far – often staying VERY close to the spot where they went missing from. We find this to be true even if they are unfamiliar with their new location. They generally do not head for an old home or shelter, or set off on long journeys unless they are chased or pressured.
The MOST important thing you can do is to spread the word to everyone that is helping you to NOT call, whistle, approach or pursue your dog. The dog needs to be lured back to the spot it went missing from, as if you were trying to lure a scared cat or tame a wild animal like a squirrel or chipmunk.
Using scent articles (the dog’s bed, his kennel or crate, toys, and dirty articles of clothing or bed sheets from the person most bonded with the dog) will help keep the dog in the area. If the dog is not yet bonded with you you may want to ask the shelter or rescue to provide clothing of the kennel attendant or foster parent who cared for him. If the dog had a kennel mate ask if you can rub an old towel over that dog to use as a scent item also. Place the scent articles somewhere safe (well away from roadways) along with smelly, tasty food and water. When hunters lose a dog while hunting they leave their coat out on the ground at the place they last saw their dog. The dog is often lying on it when the hunter returns the next day.
If you see your dog, immediately sit down on the ground and toss a few tasty treats out around you. It may take a few minutes, or a few hours, but your dog might approach you. He may circle around and approach you from behind. Be patient and speak softly or not at all. Do not be surprised if he does not respond to his name. Newly adopted stressed dogs do not usually respond to sound or sight. They respond best to the smell of familiarity.
Flyer the area heavily and use intersection signs to alert passing motorists about your missing dog. Again, remember to stress “Do NOT Chase” on your flyers and signs. The greatest risk to a shy lost dog is that he will be chased into traffic and killed.
Be patient. Dogs lost from a new home or foster home may hunker down for a day or two and then creep back out to where they went missing from – lured by the tasty food and scent items you left.
Please read through the rest of our articles on Shy Lost Dog Strategies. If shelter and rescue staff and volunteers are helping you please ask them to read through our series Harnessing the Energy to give them pointers on how to most effectively use their time. Never give up! Your lost dog is counting on you to bring him safely home.