Lost Dog Action Plan :
1. First ~ Place food, water and familiar items outside, in the area where your dog went missing from or was last seen
(e.g. blanket, dog bed, your coat, or anything that has your scent on it) Note: continue to keep food & familiar items in the area he or she went missing from, until your dog is found!
Often times a scared lost dog will return to the home or building, he or she ran from – it is important to keep that area quiet and people free…Be sure to have scented items from home and food available, outside, at ALL times.
2. Next, call local (City and Town) Police Departments, County Dispatch, Local Vet Clinics & Humane Societies (please include the humane societies in the surrounding Counties as well) You can use this link to find shelter locations near you: http://www.adoptapet.com/animal-shelters
3. VERY IMPORTANT: Do not start a search party on FOOT…this may scare a lost dog into hiding or cause them to run in fear. The most productive step in getting information or sightings on a lost dog, is by printing out flyers ASAP and distributing to ALL the residential homes with-in a 3 to 5 mile radius from the area your dog went missing from, or was last seen. Flyers should be placed directly inside newspaper boxes of the homes or taped to front doors. THIS STEP HAS PROVEN TO BE VERY SUCCESSFUL IN BRINGING LOST DOGS HOME…ALSO, PLEASE ALERT PEOPLE NOT TO PURSUE or CHASE YOUR DOG, IF HE/SHE DOES NOT COME TO THEM…BUT TO CALL YOU WITH TIME AND EXACT LOCATION WHERE DOG WAS SEEN. NOTE: for Hounds, Labs & Husky’s – start out with a 5 to 10 mile radius, as they can travel a long distance in a short time. Also, expand flyer radius by 1 mile, for every 2-3 days of no sightings – this tip applies to ALL breeds.
4. VERY IMPORTANT & HELPFUL STEP: Make poster size signs and post at nearby intersections AND IN FRONT OF THE HOME YOUR DOG WENT MISSING FROM (often times, people will drive around looking for an owner, if they find or see a lost dog) ~ USE bright colored poster board and make letters large enough for drivers to see.
5. Post Lost Dog Ad on internet sites: MOST POPULAR is Craigslist (many finders of lost dogs, check ads on Craigslist…in hopes of finding an owner) be sure to post your ad under the Lost and Found section, as well as Pet section. Other sites you can post on, are: Petfinder.com, lostandpound.com, findfido.com, and pets911.com.
6. Place Lost Dog Ad in community newspaper – Post under lost and found in the classified section. You may also want to contact local Radio Stations ~ (some stations make free public announcements on missing pets)!
Important TIPS on What to Do – When You Get a Sighting: If you get a sighting, be sure to keep food and water in the area…at all times, this may help to keep your dog in this location, in case he or she does not come out, while you’re there (as many dogs won’t, when lost and scared). NOTE: Still keep fresh food at the home or building where your dog originally ran from, there is always a chance of them returning to that location.
Who should go to the sighting location? IF possible, the one person, or owner, who is MOST bonded to the dog, should go to the location.
What should you bring to a sighting? Be sure to bring good smelling treats, leash, and familiar scented items from home (e.g. favorite toy, dog bed, blanket or bed sheet, your shirt or coat).
Once you arrive at a sighting location, what should you do? Do NOT walk around the area, sit down in the location your dog was spotted. If you see your dog while standing, slowly LOWER YOUR BODY DOWN TO THE GROUND and avoid eye contact. This will help prevent him or her from running away (and don’t move towards the dog – wait for him or her to come to you). Only say words your dog is familiar with and has a “happy-positive” meaning for them, like; treat, car ride, or want to go for a walk? Remember lost dogs are scared, which causes them to be fearful of everyone…and often times will not recognize their owner. They don’t want to be noticed, so avoid eye contact, especially if they look right at you (put your head down). BUT try to make him/her aware that you have something to eat (by saying treat, or pretend you’re eating, and/or crinkle the bag) which will cause them to be curious…and hopefully lure them towards you. You can try to toss a treat near them, but not AT them….be patient, as they will be unsure of you, and what you are doing, at first. You want the dog to get a whiff of the treat (if possible). If your dog starts to show interest in the treat…be very quiet or say “good girl” in a happy-positive tone. Once the dog eats the treat you tossed, then continue to toss treats slowly, but DO NOT GET UP….let the dog come to you by tossing treats closer and closer to yourself.
Again be very PATIENT and do not move….this is so important, per you need to give the dog time, to recognize your scent and/or voice. If you are luring a dog that doesn’t know you…they need time to gain your trust, in order to get close enough for you to touch and/or be able to pick up safely. BE VERY CAREFUL a scared dog may bite out of fear…which is why it is best to have the owner or the person who is bonded most with the dog…go to the sighting location.
NOTE: IF your dog does not come out on his (her) own, after sitting and saying familiar words, and if you are unable to get a visual of your dog. This does not mean he or she is no loner in the sighting area. Keep saying familiar words…try NOT to walk around looking for them (listen for any movements)…then place the treat(s) and scented items (if any) from home, on the ground and get up slowly, and walk AWAY. Your dog may come to the treat, shortly after you leave, as this is when they feel safe to come out. Check the treat area after several hours…to see if it was taken. Continue to keep food, water and scented items from home, in that area. If you see, or have other verification of your dog coming to eat the treats (either by paw prints, or trail cam)…then it may be time to set up a humane live trap. These are usually available to use (for a minimal fee) at most Humane Societies or Animal Control Facilities.
Also, remember to heavily flyer the area, after EACH sighting. The goal is to keep track of your dog with sightings. It is recommended to mark all sightings on a Google-map, as this can be VERY helpful in learning the travel pattern and the area where your dog is staying. Please CALL me for more information on mapping sighting locations. I am HAPPY to help you with this step. There are many reasons of using a Google-map, to help find a lost dog.If you have ANY questions or updates, please feel free to call me at anytime:
Colleen Duero ~ (262)355-5290
Lost Dogs of Wisconsin, Caseworker