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:
- Hounds such as Beagles, Basset Hounds, Dachshunds and Coonhounds.
- Sporting breeds such as Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Pointers, Setters and Spaniels.
- Working breeds such as Huskies, St Bernards, Samoyeds and Great Pyrenees.
- Working terriers such as Jack Russell Terriers, Cairn Terriers and American Staffordshire Terriers
- Sighthounds such as Greyhounds, Whippets and Italian Greyhounds.
- 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:
- A hole in or under a fence or an open or malfunctioning gate.
- The invisible fence stopped working.
- A contractor or visitor left the gate or door open.
- A distracted owner leaves the dog alone outside for “just a minute”.
- 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 his own, we want to give you a baseline from which to start.