How Do You Find A Lost Dog?

How Do You Find A Lost Dog?

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Sam Basso
PHOENIX , AZ AREA: (602) 708-4531
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How do you find a lost dog?

Dogs get lost for three main reasons:

1. Dogs Are Not A Migratory Species: Dogs, and their wild cousins, wolves are not migratory animals. Migratory animals, such as certain insects, birds and mammals, have natural mechanisms they can use to traverse hundreds or thousands of miles. Wolves are not migratory animals. They hunt within a home range, and over time, learn the routes back and forth, from one end to the other. Homing pigeons, on the other hand, can be released hundreds of miles away from home, and can find their way back without ever having traveled that route before. Wolves learn from other wolves, and by experience, the paths and landmarks of their hunting range. Migratory animals can often go from one location to another without any prior learning at all. Dogs have no experience like a wild animal that learns as a pup from their packs how to survive on their own.
2. No Opportunity To Memorize How To Get Home: Dogs are not allowed to run free in our neighborhoods, so they never memorize the way home. When we walk them, there isn’t much learning and exploring and decision making. So, even though you walk your dog a lot around your home, that doesn’t mean they can find their way home. There is no way to teach dogs, like we could say 100 years ago, how to find their way home. We live in dangerous urban environments, and letting dogs leave the home to stray and possibly come back is both illegal and inhumane.
3. No Lessons On Teaching A Dog To Find A Location: Dogs are not typically taught lessons on finding things or locations. I am a big believer in teaching dogs scent work for this very reason. Dogs can be taught to find their way back home. In the old days, when there were no fences and hunters could let their hounds loose to hunt, some of those dogs might range over 20 miles away from where they started, and they’d make their way back on their own. But these dogs were allowed and taught to use their senses to do this. Most pets can’t find their way back home if you dropped them off 3 houses away from you. This is one reason why I offer scent work for dogs in my advanced obedience classes. But, still, we don’t live in the 1800’s any more.

The first thing you need to understand about lost dogs is the mood states responsible for why a dog gets lost in the first place. Here are some examples:

Escape: Some dogs get lost because they were motivated to escape the situation they were in. There is no greater motivation for survival than escape from perceived danger. This is why we see so many dogs run away during the Forth of July (fireworks); during severe storms; when suffering from untreated Separation Anxiety; or when the situation they live in wasn’t pleasant (starvation; abuse; extreme isolation; dog is sick; intruding animal chased them away from their property). Often times, dogs that jump fences or dig out of yards are escaping confinement.

Exploration: Some dogs get lost because they like to explore. The motivation to explore can be very great in some breeds. Scent hounds (Beagles, Bassets, Bloodhounds, Fox Hounds, etc.) were created to look for mammals. Most wild mammals hide themselves from predators, so you need a very curious dog that likes finding hidden things if you are to be successful finding those wild animals. Most people know you can’t let a scent hound off leash in urban areas. They will take off, nose to the ground, and not come back. Only a very well trained scent hound can be trusted off leash.

Protecting Territory: Some dogs get lost because they are very territorial, but as they get off the property, chasing after an intruder (usually some other animal, such as a cat), they get lost and don’t know how to get back home.

Playfulness: Some dogs get lost because they are very playful. They get away, thinking it is a game, and then either don’t come when called because you’ve made running away a game, or they get away and then can’t figure out how to get back to you.

Foolish Humans: Many dogs get lost because of bad management by humans. Doors are left open; gates are left open by workers; car doors are left open; dogs aren’t supervised in public; equipment fails (old leashes break; crates and kennels have design flaws or have worn out; broken fencing); dog wasn’t trained to Come when called (including learning to find the owner even if the owner can’t be seen, meaning being taught some basic scent detection and tracking skills). Or the human has a bad relationship with the dog, so the dog wants to get away. Or the human neglects the dog’s basic needs so the dog finally has to escape in order to survive. And many dogs are not microchipped, and owners don’t have current photos of their dogs in case they needed to make fliers. Further, their dogs have not been sufficiently socialized so as to not be so terrified if lost, and also not familiarized enough with their neighborhoods so they have a better chance of finding their way home.

Prevention is a whole lot better than having to find a lost dog.


1.) Recognize Your Dog Is Performing Escape Behaviors: If you can’t find your dog, your dog is lost. A lost dog quickly goes into escape mode. Remember, escape is the highest motivation for any animal. Escape activates a number of preprogrammed survival behaviors such as: seeking a place to hide (under decks; porches; in bushes; basements; in neighbor’s yards or homes; under docks; in culverts or drain holes); avoidance of predators (strange humans; cars; other dogs; other animals); not trusting anyone or any animal; seeking a group (other dogs; other people; other homes); a need to run in order to find safety; food (garbage; dead animals; backs of restaurants); water (lost dogs can be found in canals, ditches, ponds, pools, near sprinklers); defense against harm (might bite people who try to come near; might attack other dogs; might keep a great distance from even familiar people).

2.) Don’t Panic: When you panic, you will not be able to think clearly. You will act dumb, running around and wasting time. Get a hold of yourself and work a plan. Now is not the time to break down into tears, panic, get angry, get in fights with other people, or get depressed. You can do all of that afterwards. The more you let yourself be stressed out, the dumber you’ll act. You won’t get brilliant ideas, and your dog will not be better off.

3.) Begin Your Search Immediately: You shouldn’t assume your dog will come back. If you’ve lost sight of your dog, then your dog is lost and won’t be coming back unless you find your dog. I have no idea whether it is beneficial to hire a Pet Detective. I haven’t used them so I’m sure the quality varies considerably, from good to rip off artists. But, I’d look into it.

4.) Call For Your Dog: Every couple of minutes, while you are on a search, call for your dog 10 times, about 15 seconds apart. Dogs can come with one command if they can see you. But, if they can’t see you, they have to use their ears and nose to find you. So, you have to keep repeating yourself. The call should be friendly and happy, and so should your body language. If you see your dog, squat down, just like you would with a puppy, and make it a happy reunion. You must prevent any worry or anger from being projected; that will drive your dog away from you. This is also why I believe all dogs should be taught to come to a whistle. Whistles can be heard from greater distances than human voices. That’s why hunters train their dogs to whistles, and why you are told to have one with you when hiking so search and rescue can find you. If your dog isn’t coming, then work on the rest of these steps. Then take a quick break, call for your dog again. Then back to the search.

5.) Search Your Property: Before you go anywhere, do a thorough search of your home and property. Dogs can sometimes get trapped under furniture, in rooms, under houses, under cars, in cars, in garages, pools, hot tubs, entangled in bushes or wire, and so forth. Work over every square foot of your property.

6.) Tell Your Immediate Neighbors: Every time I have had an escape, I have found my dog in my next door neighbor’s yard, snooping around the bushes. Anyone who has had dogs long enough is going to have a dog escape. They now have GPS collars for dogs, and I think it would be wise to invest in one. But, if you don’t have one, then you have to do it the old fashioned way… door to door. Bring a pen and pad of paper along with you. That way you can get contact information from your neighbors, and you can hand out yours to them. Don’t get in long conversations. Knock on the door, step back a couple of feet and wait. When they open the door, introduce yourself as a neighbor, give your name, and then tell them you’ve lost your dog. Give them a quick description, and make sure they know how to contact you. Ask them if they could tell their family, too. Then thank them and move along to the next house. Write down each address, which ones you talked to and which ones weren’t home. That way you can go back a few hours later and talk to the ones you didn’t get the first time around, or leave them a note on next time around. Be systematic. Tell them that dogs can get lost or trapped on a property, or even enter their home without them looking. Ask if you can put a water and food bowl out on their doorstep for the dog. Let them know that they shouldn’t try to capture the dog themselves. That will cause a dog to panic and run even faster, or if cornered to bite someone. Don’t tell them that your dog will bite them, however. Some nutty neighbor is likely to hurt or kill your dog if they think your dog might bite them. Tell them to call you and you’ll go and get the dog.

7.) Put Up Signs: As you drive along the road, you’ll see people hired to hold large signs to direct traffic to various businesses. So long as it is legal to do so in your neighborhood, you could get volunteers to stand at street corners and hold similar signs, with a photo, brief description (Lost Dog), and a phone number. You could also post a yard sign, like a For Sale sign, in your yard… if your homeowner’s association and city will allow it. People that drive by your home will see the sign and it lets your neighbors know what to look for. You can use grease pencils (the kind people use when saying “Just Married” on their car) to put a notice on the windows of your car and friend’s cars. You can probably think of many sign ideas that could be used, just like businesses do, to advertise your lost dog.

8.) Food, Water, Clothes: Meet your dog’s needs. Leave the gate open to your yard because some dogs will come back. Put a food and water bowl out for your dog near the point where your dog normally enters and leaves your property, and at any escape point where your dog left your property. Also put some of your recently worn clothing and dog’s bedding next to the bowls. You would do the same thing if your dog gets lost from you away from home. This is an old hunter’s trick for finding lost hunting dogs. You can also have your neighbors do the same thing, putting your scented clothes, and bowls, at their front door. Just like you can lure a stray dog or cat onto your property to rescue it, you can do this with your dog. If your dog likes its crate or bedding, lay that out for your dog, too. Use tasty human food… you shouldn’t be concerned about your dog’s diet, but instead luring them to that spot to wait for you. Use fresh water. If the clothing is recently washed, rub it on the oily parts of your skin (feet, hands, face, head) so it smells like you. If your dog likes the other dog in the home, rub it on them, too.

9.) Fill A Backpack: You are going to be away from the home, on foot, for many hours. Change into durable and comfortable clothes. Pack some money, phone, wallet, food, and water for yourself. Bring some first aid stuff, sunscreen, water, food, and so forth. For the dog: you’ll need a leash to get your dog back home. A leash can also act as a lasso in case your dog is trapped in a hole and you need a way of extending your reach. You’ll also need to get a collar. Everyone should have an extra no slip collar around the home in case of emergencies (Martingale style is best). And grab some plastic zip bags and bring along some tasty food (steamed chicken, dog treats, anything you think your dog would absolutely gobble down if given a chance). Regarding leashes and collars, many dogs will run away if they see you approaching them with a leash and collar. Wrap the leash around your waist, or put it in a backpack, along with a water bowl and bottled water. Bring along a favorite toy. I always try to lure a dog in for food. I will sit down casually, flip food out towards the dog (you have to understand that fearful dogs sometimes won’t even approach people they know), and let the dog come near me. If my dog comes in near, I’ll spend time petting my dog. Don’t grab at your dog, it can make them run away. If your dog is casually by your side, “honey talk” them, as you casually slip the collar onto their neck and then clip on the leash. Never scold the dog. Make it a happy reunion and make it a happy thing to be with you and to go back home. It is always important to maintain a good relationship with your dog, because one day, you may need that bond to get back your lost dog.

10.) Use Social Media: It is very easy to post on Facebook, Twitter and other social media. It is a quick way to get volunteers to help you, and for getting people to spread the word. You should already have pictures of your dog on your profile so you can link them quickly. If not, take a few moments to post some information and a good photo.

11.) Get Volunteers: Quickly call 4 people that would most likely be able to help you. Tell them where to meet you. Remind them to pack a backpack.

12.) Bring Your Other Dog: If your dog likes your other dog, then bring that other dog along with you on your search. Dogs are attracted to dogs, and the other dog can act as a magnet. You need to make this decision. If the second dog is going to be a help, then bring it along (plus water and food for that dog). If it is going to be a hindrance, leave that dog behind and make sure someone is going to care for that dog while you are away.

13.) Make Maps: Go to Google Maps. Print out a map of your neighborhood. You need to break up the search into zones. Start with a 2 mile radius, then a 5 mile radius, then 20 miles, then 60 miles. Everyone should have extra maps with them if they have a dog, just in case there is ever an escape. You need a Dog Watch Team: If you were really planning ahead, you’d also have a volunteer team with friends. You would have formed your team when you got your puppy. You all agree to work together if anyone loses a dog. Everyone has an emergency kit and printed out plan in case they have to be activated. You should start working your 2 mile radius, then work each additional radius. Everyone should know which veterinarian you use so the dog can be taken there immediately if found injured. Everyone in a Dog Watch Team should have a dog first aid book and kit; they should have read the kit and kept the supplies fresh and clean in case of emergencies.

14.) Make Fliers: I always have pre-formatted Lost fliers of my dogs on my computer. They are ready to go. If you don’t, then you need to make them up: big photo (color is best), all identifying information; contact information for yourself; and the word “REWARD”. If you can’t make up a flier, get on the phone, ask your friends if they can. If they can’t, some of the quick print shops will make up a fast flier for you. Call them first, tell them the situation, and ask what it will take to do a rush job. If you can make fliers immediately, then do that. If you have to wait, then have someone else make them up, and you proceed with your search. You can always do a follow up delivery of fliers the next day. It is also important to get fliers to animal control officers so they are on the lookout for your dog. Outdoor fliers should be laminated so they won’t be destroyed by rain, snow, etc.

15.) Work Your Two Mile Radius: Parks; houses; businesses; public works; streets; schools, alleys; waterways. If you have volunteers, break the map out into zones, one for each person. Everyone should have a phone on them, and one person should be the Coordinator. Don’t run down your phone batteries by wasted calls back and forth. When each zone is checked, then notify the Coordinator. Typically, a lost dog isn’t running towards any particular goal, they are just running. They could just as easily be running in a large circle, or they could be running in a straight line. The better you know your dog, the better you can predict what they might do. Old dogs don’t go so fast, for example. Big, athletic, energetic dogs might go quite a ways.

16.) Example: I know of a woman who lost her 6 month old German Shepherd Dog puppy in northern Arizona. It is fairly rural and forested in that area. When the dog was young, I had recommended she start working on the dog’s obedience. But, she decided she could do it on her own without classes. One day, the dog got out the front door (she was visiting relatives, but was away from their house at the time), and ran off. This wasn’t home, it wasn’t fenced, the owner was gone, so the dog didn’t see this property as her territory. Once out the door, the family member called the dog, but it kept on running. When the owner got home, she told everyone she knew, even outside the area, her dog was lost. Her family organized into a search party, divided up the area into zones, and started looking, knocking on doors, posting fliers, and so forth. Eventually, she heard from a local resident that they heard someone had found a puppy that looked like hers and took it in. She got the name and address of the person, and went to their home. Sure enough, they had the dog and had decided to adopt it as theirs! They didn’t look around to see if someone had lost a dog, they just figured Finders Keepers. She got the dog back. It took her several days to find her puppy. The main thing working for her is that she didn’t give up. She was foolish to not train the dog; to leave the dog with people who weren’t watching for the dog to escape; to not recognize that the yard wasn’t fenced and was an escape risk; that the puppy would possibly panic at that age being left with strangers in a strange place; and she didn’t have the foresight to plan for an escape.

17.) Be Creative, Don’t Give Up, And Network: If you’ve worked over your 2 mile radius, you are then going to have to expand your search. Post some trail cameras near the bowl, food and bedding at your property or where you last saw your dog. The dog might be visiting the spot in the middle of the night, and the camera will be your eyes. You can find them at many sporting goods stores. You also need to check your attitude, keep it determined and positive. And now is the time to mass market your dog’s profile. Network with local rescue groups.

18.) Tell Everyone: Use social media, post fliers, send emails, knock on doors, and so forth. There are lost dog web pages out there, with tips on finding dogs, or posting information on lost dogs. I would first, however, start visiting the shelters. Shelters will sometimes only keep a dog for a week, and if the dog isn’t claimed, put the dog to death. So, you need to get your fliers there, and personally visit them once per day. Some shelters are well run, and some are killing factories with lazy people running them. You have to care because you can’t assume they care. You need to work all the shelters within a 100 mile radius from where the dog was lost. There won’t be that many. And you can have your volunteers help you. If you can’t get volunteers, PAY SOMEONE to help you. If I was going to assemble a paid team, I’d contact a number of rescue groups and hire some of their rescue people; get some experienced people that know their way around the community. If that doesn’t work, then run an ad in Craigslist for part time employment. Post information on Craigslist, Facebook, and Twitter. There are also a number of reputable lost dog websites that you should use… do a search and enter the information. Call 5 local veterinarians and ask for names and contact information for all the rescue volunteers they know, so you can call them and alert them. Many of them are networked with other rescue volunteers and they can help put the word out. You should also be contacting all the veterinarian offices within a 100 mile radius. Some will take dogs in and treat them. People will drop dogs off at vet offices if they don’t know what to do with a lost dog, to avoid dropping them off at local shelters. It is also important to be safe: there are criminals that will steal dogs, then lure you in to meet them alone, and rob you again. Always meet people in public places, not at your home, never alone. Change your voice mail message to give brief information about your lost dog. And think of all the people who are involved around the community: FedEx and UPS drivers; postal workers; pizza delivery employees; dog walkers; people who walk their dogs for exercise; school bus drivers; taxi cab drivers; gardeners; public bus drivers; toll booth operators; building inspectors; code enforcement officers; road workers; police officers; animal control officers; food vendors; utility workers; repair workers (plumbers, electricians, carpenters) etc. Contact folks that are out and about in your area, with eyes to see. Be creative as to places where a dog might roam, such as churches; flea markets; park and rides; backs of grocery stores, restaurants and places where there might be food scraps. Think of places that have large contact lists that might be able to tell a lot of people on your behalf: homeowner’s associations; churches; ball sports clubs (such as a local soccer or softball team); MeetUp groups (check online); apartment complexes; doggie daycares; public schools; private schools and day cares. And then there are businesses that might let you post fliers or put up a Lost Dog table (kind of like Girl Scout Cookie stands): grocery stores; pet stores; gas stations; coffee shops; department stores; convenience stores; warehouses; hardware stores; etc. Businesses draw people from miles around. Then there is the mass media. Some will do special interest stories if you can give them an interesting angle. Some have print or online sections where you can post information about lost dogs. You could even go on Blogger and make a blog all about your lost dog, with photos, instructions, and contact information… it costs nothing and gives you an instant web presence. Send out emails to all your contacts (but do them in small batches, otherwise you can be blocked as a potential spammer…. maybe 5 to 10 contact names per email). Be creative. Also, recognize criminals will steal dogs to get drug money. They will drop a dog off at a kennel, pay with a phony check, pick up the dog early, and then try to get a refund for the time not used. So, it is good to network with professional kennels and the police, too.

One warning… not everyone loves your dog. Keep your search team, and helpers, to a minimum. Once you locate where your dog is hanging out, you don’t want unwanted attention.

19.) Traps: It is also possible to capture a runaway dog using a humane live trap baited with your dog’s toys, food, clothing with your scent, and some chicken. Traps might not be legal in all communities, so check with animal control. And if put out, they need frequent checking so that the dog doesn’t die in the trap because of exposure to harmful weather, crazy people and so forth. Rescue groups often know people who are experts at capturing dogs. Find that person in your community.

20.) Found Dog: If you find your dog, then please, take down your fliers and notices. Don’t spoil it for the next person that has a lost dog by becoming a nuisance. Figure out why your dog got loose and prevent that from happening again. If your dog need training or behavior modification, then hire an expert. If the yard wasn’t secure, then fix it. And make sure your dog feels happy to see you. Never punish a dog for running away… it will run away again if you do that.

21.) Lost Dog: Some dogs take days, weeks, months or years to find. I wouldn’t give up too quickly. I’d put in some serious effort, including spending some money if necessary to hire people to help.

22.) Safety: When a dog is lost, you might be going into unfamiliar and unsafe neighborhoods. You should let someone know where you are going and when you’ll be back. Take off all valuable jewelry. Have your phone programmed for a fast 911 call. Wear running shoes. Hide money in your shoe in case you are robbed. Bring along some “muscle”, in terms of friends who can and will back you up in a fight. Don’t enter people’s yards without their permission (and especially don’t enter a gated property; guard dogs will attack you or you could cause the escape of another dog and compound your problems); don’t let yourself get surprised; if you can bring mace, do so; don’t enter abandoned buildings alone; don’t wear clothes that make you look like you are not part of the neighborhood or rich or otherwise; walk like you know what you are doing otherwise your vulnerable attitude will be picked up by criminal types;  don’t enter caves or holes without proper procedures, be sure to use assistants, and use proper gear such as ropes and other things that cave explorers or utility workers would use; park your car in a lighted place, remove visible valuables, lock up and take your keys; be wary of sexual approaches – predators will try to engage you in conversations or try to touch you; and trust your gut when it says you need to get out of there. Emotionally distraught people are more likely to be victimized by criminals, so keep the drama in check. You know what a dangerous neighborhood looks like… assume the more dangerous the location, the more likely you’ll be physically attacked.

23.) Territory: Many dogs will eventually start hanging out in a specific area, and eventually, this will become their home, their territory. To understand how a dog might use territory, it is useful to examine what their wild relative, the wolf, does. Wolves are innately driven to perform regular and systematic scent marking by visibly patrolling, urinating to leave a scent, defecating to leave a scent and visual marker, and leaving bodily scent along the borders and trails of their territory. Dens are usually located in the center of the territory. When the female is about to give birth, all the wolves of the pack are in a heightened state of defense, increasing border patrols and scent marking.

Wolves scent-mark with urine, on average, about every 900 feet. The urine scent lasts for about 2 weeks. Both the alpha male and female raise their legs to urinate, primarily, on territorial boundaries and trail junctions. Territories often overlap about a half mile or so into the boundaries of adjacent packs. Wolves patrol their boundaries every 1 to 3 weeks, yet I find dogs, in our yards and in our neighborhoods, will urine mark on every walk we take, and a lost urban dog will probably patrol their entire territory once a day. I am sure they will urine mark frequently because they feel crowded and have a greater need to patrol and mark.

Thus, it is going to be important to establish several feeding stations in the territory, especially alongside that dogs suspected foot tracks. Dogs will keep revisiting those places, mostly in the dark, to eat and drink. Once the dog gets a regular pattern of visiting those sites, you can place a trap there. At first, you’ll just let the dog get used to the trap, but you won’t open or bait it. You’ll either have spotters with binoculars at night, or indications of dog tracks at the feeding sites, or you’ll be using wildlife cameras to confirm you have the right animal. Then, after you’ve fed the dog every day, you are going to then start feeding 2 days, fasting the dog one day. On the fast day, 24 to 36 hours after the last meal, you are going to bait your trap with some tasty food… and then wait. You will need to check your traps first thing in the morning. You can’t wait until the day is hot to confirm if the dog is there… in direct sunlight, the dog will die from overheating, or in winter, might freeze to death. When you fast a dog, hunger peaks in 36 hours, so waiting any longer is of no use. I would keep fresh water available at all times, however. Traps should NOT be left open during severe weather (such as during hot daylight hours), because you’ll kill the dog as it is trapped in there. And people WILL steal your traps, to get money for scrap metal, so private placement is crucial. On hot days, or bad weather, dogs will be hiding in a place they deem safe, you don’t want to flush them out of hiding if that would mean they would be exposed to danger.

Many animal species defend territory, thus some dogs will attack other animals or people that enter their territory. This is a risk to the dog you are searching for, and it can be a risk to you. If you enter the territory of a strange dog, you can be attacked and mauled. Every searcher should have some kind of defense with them in case a dog attacks. If your dog has entered the territory of another dog, your dog can be attacked. If people hassle your dog during the search, then your dog can be run off this new territory and will be on the run again. Searchers need to keep a low profile, no hard stares, no chasing, no threatening body language. And you want to keep your search low key, because some people are crazy and will go out there to either capture or harm your dog.

Territory is the environment where family, home and food can be found. For example, life’s most important social interactions happen in the territory; prey availability – food – has a great deal to do with how large the territory will be; and dens are located near the center of a territory. Thus the wild ancestors of the dog, wolves, must defend sufficient territory in order to survive. Dogs are territorial because of the same motivation. In the wild, wolves establish travel routes within their territories, memorize the terrain, and they regularly patrol these routes. If a resident pack with an established territory encounters a trespassing wolf, they might try to kill it. Most wolves, killed by other wolves, are killed along the boundaries of the surrounding pack territories. A lone wolf is one who isn’t a part of a pack. Lone wolves generally inhabit the overlapping areas between two packs. It is interesting to note prey animals also tend to group within the overlapping areas between two rival packs. The competition for food, territory, and mates is intense in the wild.

Dogs can form packs, patrol, scent mark, bark and howl and growl, and use aggression to define territorial boundaries. Some dogs are more territorial than others. Dogs also defend territory.

24. Tracking: It is helpful if you know how to look for signs… footprints, places where a dog might sleep, scat (dog poop), and such. These clues, along with visual sightings, can help tremendously. An experienced tracker can tell a great deal from animal signs… direction, motivational state, time the track was laid, gender, and on and on. You won’t have time to learn all this during your search, but you might find someone who is experienced to assist you.

I’m sure there are other good ideas, but this is a start.

MORE: I’ve been asked for some creative ideas on capturing a loose dog, many of which you may have already tried… a.) you may need a tracker, or using animal tracking skills. You can walk up and touch a wild animal if you take your time, seriously; there are books on animal tracking like a native American; you might even be able to hire such a person or get them to help you as a favor; b.) the other idea is obviously a team to surround the dog with nets; plus you would net off the area in advance, over several days, to limit escape routes; c.) Another idea is to hang out regularly, daily, in the dog’s environment until the dog gets used to your presence, providing food and water. You don’t look at them, you gain trust, like Jane Goodall did with the chimpanzees. We want instant results, but it won’t work that way. You have to habituate a wild animal to your presence, and you’d have to do the same here. Look at what she did with the chimps. d.) You could try animal snares, PROVIDED, there is an observer. Animals develop particular routes through where they live, preferred pathways, and snares could be made and set, made of some soft non-injurious materials, and a sound maker to let you know the dog is caught. Ever seen them in a survival book? You’d have to pick a design that would prevent injury, and be there instantly to get the dog.

Once a dog is loose, they gain the wariness of a wild animal. It’s why it is so hard to kill a wild rat, they learn to not trust any novelty in their environments, they won’t taste strange food, they will spook at the presence of strangers. Once they are on the run, they won’t come even to their owners. You also don’t want to set up lures that would attract predators that would kill this dog, such as urine scents, etc., that animal trappers would use. You could bring in coyotes if you aren’t careful.

Sam Basso is a professional dog trainer and behaviorist, in the Phoenix/ Scottsdale metropolitan area. He’s known for being fun, kind, intelligent, and humane. Sam Basso has a unique personal touch. He has appeared on his own TV show, been a guest radio expert, gives seminars, publishes a dog related blog, does rescue volunteering, and is active in promoting animal welfare and fair dog laws.

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