Lost Dog: What You Can Do Now to Prevent Your Dog from Getting Lost and to Help You Find a Lost Dog

The panic and pain of losing a dog might be avoided completely by taking these steps now. If you lose your dog, the tips below may help you to find her quickly. This information is an excerpt from the Not Without My Dog Resource & Record Book. Click here for more info. 

Socialize your dog: Help your dog get used to different situations, including people and loud noises. A dog that isn’t terrified may be less likely to get lost, and if lost, less likely to hide and easier to find.

Train your dog to wait: Teach your dog to wait while you go out the door first and when you open the crate door. Use a release word to let the dog know when she is free to exit. This will keep your dog from bolting out the door or leaping out of the car before you can snap the leash on.

Train your dog to come when called: Teach your dog to come to you when called. When she comes, reward her with praise and great treats. Never scold a dog you have called, even if she takes forever to get to you. Always make coming to you a good experience.

Train your dog the drop: Teach your dog to drop to the ground on command, so that she might be prevented from running into the street or stopped by your voice if running away. Start by teaching your dog to drop at your side and gradually move away so she will do the drop from a distance.

Collar and ID: Make sure your dog wears a secure collar with current ID tags. Include a phone number where you can be reached and a back-up phone number for a second person who can easily be reached by phone.

Microchip: Have an identifying microchip implanted under your dog’s skin at a vet clinic or humane society. Attach a tag with the microchip number to the dog’s collar. Register the chip and make sure the microchip company has your current contact information. Keep a record of the microchip number and the company’s phone number in a safe place (like your wallet) and add it to your dog’s file at the vet clinic. Contact the microchip company if your dog is lost. Some microchip companies will issue urgent bulletins and provide special assistance if your dog is lost.

Photos: Take clear, current photos of your dog from several angles in good lighting. Digital photos are easiest to distribute quickly by e-mail. Store back-up copies with a friend or family member who can access the photos on short notice.

Description: Write a description of your dog as if writing for a person who doesn’t know dog breeds. Include color, approximate weight, and unusual markings or scars. For example, my dog Bandit has a unique cowlick down the middle of his face, a black triangle marking on his tail, and a toenail that sticks out sideways from an old injury.

Info package: Keep an information package about your dog in your vehicle’s glove compartment. Include photos, a written description, microchip info and ID number, contact info and a copy of recent vet records. This book will serve the purpose!

Contact person: Ask a friend or family member to be a contact person, someone who could easily be reached by phone while you were out searching for your dog. The dog could be lost in an area without cell phone reception, and you wouldn’t want to be sitting at home waiting for phone calls when you could be out looking for your dog.

Amber Alert for Pets: I recently learned of an online ‘amber alert’ network for lost pets. I don’t have experience with this network, but you can find more information at www.findToto.com.

The Missing Pet Partnership has helpful pet recovery and ‘lost dog’ poster information on their website: http://www.missingpetpartnership.org.

From The Not Without My Dog Resource and Record Book (c2010)

by Jenny Pavlovic

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