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MY DOG IS LOST!  What do I do?

Just about any dog, given the opportunity, will venture out of his yard and down the block - not because he's a bad dog, but because he's a NORMAL dog.  The world outside his yard is far more interesting than the world inside it.  Secure fencing and supervision are essential to keep all dogs safe and healthy.  Don't rely on underground fence/collar systems.  You would be surprised how many dogs wearing those collars are found and picked up by animal control, still wearing their collars - and the batteries aren't dead.


You look out and your heart sinks. 

The gate is open and your dog is gone.  It happens to the best of us. No matter how responsible you are, gates get left open, wind knocks branches onto fences, high snow makes fences shorter.  

Here are some tips to help you find them!

8 Helpful Tips for Finding Your Lost Dog – PawBoost Blog



Collars and tags can come off - MICRO CHIP!  License, make sure your dog is wearing an ID tag.  Put your cell number and your landline on the tag.  If you are out looking, you won't hear your phone at home ringing.  They might not leave a message.  Do all you can to help your dog BEFORE they get lost, so whoever finds them, can get in touch with you.  If your dogs is an escape artist, buy a GPS collar so you can track his location.



File lost and found reports, but don't count on them.  Call, but don't count on the person answering the phone to recognize your dog via the description of the dogs in the kennel based on written reports.  Your Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever could be listed as a brown Collie mix.  Search every shelter with your own eyes every three days at minimum.  Most shelters are required to keep strays only 72 hours.  



POST ON - Neighborhood app.  You'd be amazed how many animals get back home via a post on Nextdoor.


Ask your neighbors, family, and friends to keep an eye out.  Many will drive the area to help look.

Walk your normal walking routes.  Visit the places your dog likes to go.  Yes, the pet store and that coffee shop that gives him a biscuit, his dog friends houses that he likes to visit.

Call veterinary clinics in your area in case someone finds your dog and brings them in to check for a microchip.

K9 TRACKING & RECOVERY, Spokane area, WA State

A terrified sausage dog who spent three days lost on farmland was reunited with his owners after they tried to entice him from his hiding place by cooking bacon.


Floyd, a seven-month-old miniature sausage dog, bolted into a field in Middleton Tyas, North Yorkshire, when he was frightened by barking on Friday evening.

The moment he plucked up the courage to come out of hiding on Monday was captured on video by his owners, Fern Holmes and Doug Dinwiddie.

Floyd the sausage dog found with the help of bacon
Express & Star (

Why will your lost dog not come to you straight away - meet Floyd the missing Sausage dog!

Floyd is a seven month old puppy who was out on a walk with his owners when he was frightened by three other dogs, which caused him to bolt into a vast rural area.

At some stage in the search for a lost dog, owners will be advised to not shout or chase their dog, which is met with disbelief, “My dog always listens and will come back if they can hear me”. Whilst we, as humans, think this to be true, the dog, whom is lost, will not. At this point it is important to not humanise the situation your dog is in - you are not looking for YOUR lost dog, you are looking for a dog that is lost. This change in the thought process is not a reflection of any owner or their bond with their dog, it’s about the dog whom is lost.


For three days, the tried and tested search protocols were carried out for Floyd, as advised by The Lost Dog Trapping Team, including two key ones;

1. Scenting, which involved the owners walking around set areas to allow their human scent to guide Floyd back.

2. To spread the message that should Floyd be seen, he must not be approached, called or chased but that people should follow the STOP DROP THINK method. A method which can seem counter intuitive to people, especially for a puppy whom had been missing for three days.

Don’t understand why? This is where knowing about canines and survival mode is vital and can help you find your lost dog quicker and help keep them safe. A canine that has gone into survival mode prioritises these things; survival, food, water and shelter. When they are in this state, every human is viewed as a predator, even the one that has fed, loved and walked them for the last 2-4-12 years. It is not the owners' fault and it is not the dogs fault, it is simply a lost dog. 

Research has located a point in the canine brain that responds to the scent of familiar humans, much more strongly than it does to the scent of other humans or familiar dogs. Your lost dog will be trying to find you, by scent, rather than by sound or sight. Whilst its instinct to ask people to help search for your dog, it’s also wise to wait and hold of that search party to allow your dog to find you, without being presented with ‘scary’ people your dog does not know whom are also introducing unfamiliar scents to the area.


Calling a lost dog by name, or whistling for them can have a negative result, the result often being they are pushed away from their location. The lost dog does not know whom is calling them, they heard a noise, saw it as a threat and moved on which results in owners have to start the search all over again. As an owner, walking around the area your dog was seen to a point you want them to come back to, such as the missing point, is key. This will help your lost dog track back, such as in Floyd’s case. He was seen some distance away from his missing point, but came back to this area as his owners scent was there.


This was not the end of Floyd’s journey. Imagine seeing your missing dog, after three days, thinking they would be unable to survive for those long cold nights alone, all you want to do is run up and grab them. This is the situation Floyd’s owners, and many owners across the country are often presented with and it’s one of the most crucial. Floyd’s owners followed the advice to stay low, to not call or shout Floyd and make no sudden movements. For forty long minutes, Floyd was in their sights, he was carefully assessing the situation and the environment around him. Were these humans to be trusted?


The video, which has been cut short, demonstrates the behaviour of a lost dog when presented with his owners, whom he knew well and whom he trusted. It took him forty minutes of investigating from a distance whilst they stayed low to the ground and let Floyd figure it out on his own. You can imagine how hard this will have been for them, but if they had not done this, Floyd would have bolted and probably would have left the area all together. This video documents the final part of Floyd’s journey to be reunited with his owners, even the part where his owners saw the ‘lightbulb’ moment where Floyd picked up his owners scent which enabled him to trust the humans he was presented with and make that final journey, safe into his owners arms.


Floyd’s journey can help many owners who are in the same position, so please share and educate members of the public about the STOP - DROP - THINK aka REMEMBER FLOYD protocol.


Welcome home Floyd!

Original Article:

Original Video:


This handout may be reprinted in its entirety for distribution free of charge and with full credit given:

© CAROL A. BYRNES "DIAMONDS IN THE RUFF" Training for Dogs & Their People

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