Chapter 11: Fozzie
Fozzie. I don't know how I ended up with a poodle, but I can't imagine my life without Fozzie. I did not used to be a poodle person. I like big black dogs, like Porter, Tess, and Kelsy. Even Komu and Sky are dark, nearly black. I like mutts. Big, dark, mutts. A poodle? I might pet someone's poodle just to be polite, but a poodle isn't a real dog. Or so I would have said before Fozzie persuaded me otherwise.
I first learned of Fozzie in November of 2012. A friend called to tell me a little white poodle was running down the freeway in Burien, not too far from my home. I took Komu with me, since he is a friendly dog and has been known to lure some dogs. I also brought a humane trap. It only took about half an hour to locate the dirty white poodle on a residential street beneath the freeway. He ran back and forth under the bridge, agitated. I brought Komu out of the car. The poodle seemed somewhat interested, but he wouldn't come any closer. I put Komu back in the car, and got out the humane trap. I put a can of tuna in it, and within five minutes, the poodle went in and triggered the release mechanism. I took him to the vet to be scanned for a microchip. There was none. He warmed up to me quickly, and soon he was letting me hold him. I just quickly gave him a name without much thought because I knew I wouldn't be keeping him. I was not a poodle person, after all. I named him after a Muppet. I was thinking of the white dog, Rufus, but I accidentally said Fozzie instead. Of course, the Muppet Fozzie is a brown bear that says Wacka Wacka, not a white dog. It was a couple of weeks before I realized I'd given him the wrong name, and by that time it had stuck.
I searched for his owners for a couple of months. I notified the shelters that I had found this white poodle, and I put up posters and placed ads on craigslist. As Fozzie adjusted to our house full of big dogs, his personality really came out, and boy does this dog have an excess of personality. He played hard with Komu from the beginning, and to this day he goes after Komu as if he is a Tasmanian Devil. Komu is very patient with him, and plays nicely. Komu will hold up a rope toy for Fozzie to grab onto, and then they play tug of war. Fozzie pulls like crazy, and Komu gives gentle growls and pulls back just enough to balance the 13 pound poodle. My friends laughed at me for falling in love with a little white poodle. They would want to hold him, and people say I was reluctant to hand him over, although I'm not sure I believe them. I do know that it didn't take long for Fozzie to convince me to fall madly in love with him. After two months of not finding his owners, I officially decided he was part of our pack.
Because of his small size, I wanted Fozzie to learn to find lost cats. It is a different skill than following the scent trails of lost dogs. We evaluated Fozzie for cat detection, but he simply had no interest in cats. We tested him for aptitude and interest for finding dogs, and he showed great enthusiasm and train-ability. I started him on the 18 month course to learn to follow scent trails even though I imagined people would laugh at me when I came to search for their dog and a little white poodle jumped out of the truck. Fozzie learned quickly, and has become an excellent scent trailing dog.
On our first day of training Fozzie, I learned something else about him: he loves to run. I opened the car door to get one of the other dogs out for training, and Fozzie jumped right over me. He ran around the parking lot, and he made me nervous when he ran toward the busy road. I didn't panic, and I didn't chase after him. I casually walked over toward him, and when he looked up at me, I ran away from him, back toward the car. He chased after me, and eventually he let one of the volunteers pick him up. After we got Fozzie back in the car, a coyote came trotting along through the section of the park Fozzie had been in three minutes earlier. The next day, I ordered a GPS collar for Fozzie. The GPS collar works like the GPS on your smart phone. It tracks the dog's location, and if he should ever go missing, you can call up an app on your smart phone and instantly see where your dog is, represented as a blue dot on a map. Over the next two years, I would have eight occasions to use this GPS collar to track him down. Most of these times, Fozzie jumped out of the car at home or ran between someone's legs at the front door. When he would bolt, he would be two blocks away within 15 seconds. I timed him once, and I saw him turn a corner two blocks away within 15 seconds. Using the GPS, I could hop in my car and go to his location. He still would play hard to get, and I would usually catch him when he would go up to someone's dogs and they would grab his collar. It was never that Fozzie wanted to get away from something. He just loved to run free. He loves adventure. That's probably why he was running on the freeway in the first place.
Fozzie loved the training to become a scent trailing dog, and he has worked a few cases, usually because I happened to have him with me when I got the call and it was easier to use him than to run home and get Kelsy. Fozzie has had two "walk up finds" already. Kelsy is still my main girl, but when she retires, Fozzie will be ready. I like to take Fozzie with me to places where it's not convenient to take the other dogs. Kelsy and Komu can be a bit unruly sometimes, as you would expect from a working dog, and also I don't like to leave dogs in the car, for a variety of reasons. Sky, the fourth dog in our pack, is just crazy, and I can't take her anywhere. I have a backpack that Fozzie fits in, and I take him into the grocery store in his backpack, so I don't have to leave him in the car. He sits in there quietly, looking out at everything, and most people don't even know he is there. Fozzie's story is just beginning, and I'm sure he will have many chapters of his own some day. (See Fozzie's picture gallery at the bottom of this page.)
Loss Prevention for Dogs
More than 3 million dogs go missing every year in the US, according to various studies. It might never happen to you, but it can be devastating when it does happen. While I earn my living by helping people find their lost pets, I would be very happy if there was no longer a need for my services. You can take precautions to reduce the chances your dog will go missing. You can also prepare, so that if your dog is lost, then you will get him back as soon as possible. Although there are 23 items on this list, you can certainly do most of them without too much time and trouble. Just doing one or two things on the list could greatly increase your chances of preventing a lost dog. The first step is simply to be aware that it can happen. Since 2008, I've spent thousands of hours learning everything there is to know about how dogs go missing, and how to get them back. Still, in the past two years, I’ve lost my little poodle, Fozzie, about 8 times. Fozzie loves to run free. After the first time he jumped past me through an open door, I got him a GPS collar. During five of his escapes, I tracked him on my iPhone as he explored the neighborhood, recovering him in less than five minutes each time. One time he escaped, I didn’t even know he was missing until someone called me a few minutes later, from the number engraved on his tag. I thought he was in the car, but he had rolled down the window, apparently. The last two times he bolted out the door, he came back on his own before the GPS could even pinpoint him. Now that he is approaching three years of age, hopefully his days of running wild are coming to an end. Knowing Fozzie is likely to escape, I have taken precautions to prevent escapes, and to recovery him as quickly as possible. I would be devastated if he disappeared permanently. I have four dogs. I love them more than any possessions, and I take measures to protect them.
1. First, be aware that it can happen a variety of ways. I have assisted with the search for about 1500 missing dogs since 2008. The most common reasons dogs run away are: They are in unfamiliar surroundings with unfamiliar people; they are startled by unexpected noises or events, like fireworks or thunder; a door or a gate was left open by someone who didn’t know the dog was in the yard or room; the dog backed out of a collar; the dog chased a critter and then got lost; attack by another dog; the dog is a known runner (like Fozzie) who takes advantage of an opportunity. Much rarer are instances of predation by coyotes or outright theft from a secure location. Even though theft and predation are rare, I definitely take measures to reduce the risk for my 13-pound poodle. I don’t leave him in the car alone. I have a special backpack he fits in, so he goes into the grocery store with me. I don’t leave him in the yard alone. When he goes out, even in my yard, he is on a leash, attended at all times. In fact, most days, Fozzie is never out of my sight for a second.
2. ID tags. One simple thing—proper ID tags—would probably put me out of business. It is so simple and basic, and it is just stunning how this obvious loss-prevention tool is ignored. Every day, my local shelter shows pictures of five or ten new dogs that have ended up there. Every one of them could be back home if they just had tags. If you don’t like the jingling of tags, or they keep you awake at night, then you can get a collar with the ID embroidered. My Kelsy and Komu, my working dogs, have embroidered collars so they won’t have noisy jingling tags while they are working missing pet cases. Sky and Fozzie, my two dogs most likely to escape, have noisy jingling tags specifically to make them easier to find by sound. Sky’s tag is big and thick, and clanks in a distinctive way. Make sure your dog’s tags are updated with your current number, and make sure the numbers aren’t worn away. Use a good quality ring to attach the tag to the collar, one that won’t break easily. Another easy way to ID your dog is to write your number on the inside of the collar with a permanent marker. It won’t be the first place someone looks, but chances are someone would find the number there eventually. Fozzie has his ID tag with his name and my cell phone number, and he also has his city license, so he could be returned to me either way.
3. Martingale collar. Fozzie wears a Martingale collar and a harness. A Martingale type collar is one that tightens up when the dog pulls away from you. A loop of fabric runs through two rings on the ends of the collar, and when tension increases, the loop pulling away from the dog draws the rings toward each other, tightening the collar. Two keys to the proper use of a Martingale collar are that you have to adjust it properly, and you have to be sure to hook the leash to the middle ring. The collar should be adjusted so that when the dog pulls away hard, the two rings just meet each other. You don’t want the rings far apart when under tension, because that means you could be choking your dog. You don’t want the rings to meet under slight tension because that means the dog could slip out of the collar. Some Martingale collars have three rings that look quite similar, and you need to pay attention that you are actually attaching the leash to the middle ring. A good Martingale collar has oblong metal rings attaching the loop to the collar, so you can’t mistake which metal ring you are supposed to attach the leash to. If a dog is new to me, or if a dog is known to try to escape, I fit the dog with a Martingale collar and a harness, and walk the dog with two leashes at once. There’s no way that puppy is getting out of both of them.
4. GPS collars, affordable and useful. I can’t really think of a reason not to have a GPS device on your dog’s collar if there is any chance he would escape. The cost is minimal, compared to other expenses you would face as a dog owner. The purchase price and an entire year of monitoring cost less than a single vet visit. I’m sure prices will come down farther as the technology improves. Two of my dogs, Fozzie and Sky, wear GPS collars. I only have experience with one company, Tagg, so I can’t really compare one device to another. Generally, I have been happy with Tagg, except for a few technical glitches in the past two years. It is very likely that Fozzie’s GPS collar saved his life on more than one occasion, allowing me to track him down quickly, typically in less than five minutes, before he could be hit by a car or something. He doesn’t mind wearing it, or even notice that it is there. Fozzie wrestles with a 75 pound pit bull mix all day long, and his collar unit never comes off. If it did, I could locate it, of course, and snap it back on. Unlike most people, I have a scent tracking dog, Kelsy, who could find Fozzie when he went missing. I would much rather use the GPS tracker to find him quickly.
5. Microchip. A microchip is another basic tool to help your dog get back to you quickly. The rumor that microchips cause cancer is simply not supported by facts. Even if it was true that some small minority of dogs developed cancer associated with the microchip, the benefits of having a chip would far outweigh the slight risk. All those dogs in the shelter every day would also be returned home if they had microchips, even if their collars fell off. Not only do all four of my dogs have microchips, but I also carry a microchip scanner with me wherever I go, in case I find a dog. On many occasions, I have scanned a dog and found a chip number, only to have the microchip company tell me the owner never provided their current information. I can still track down an owner, usually, by calling the vet or the shelter that implanted the chip, but it would be so much easier if people kept their information current. Check with your microchip company to make sure your personal data is current. Also, the next time you take your dog to the vet, have them scan the chip to make sure it is working, and to make sure it is in the expected place at the back of the neck. Kelsy’s chip has migrated to her chest, so a shelter would need to scan her all over in order to find her chip.
6. Photographs. I am surprised how many people call me for help finding their dogs, and yet they can’t provide a clear photo. I have over ten thousand pictures of my dogs, just because they are beautiful. All dogs are beautiful in their own way, so why wouldn’t you have lots of pictures? Even if you don’t want pictures of your cute dog, at least take a few in case he goes missing. Take pictures of your dogs doing cute and funny things, of course, but also take a few pictures that are just very clear, straightforward, and simple. Imagine that your dog is lost, and you need to create missing dog posters: is the picture clear enough that people could easily identify your dog? Be sure to include distinct identifying traits in some of the pictures, to distinguish your dog from similar dogs. Once you have good pictures, share them with friends and family, in case your phone is stolen or your computer crashes. There are people who make a living just photographing dogs, and I highly recommend that as well, if it’s in your budget. You’d be surprised at what a professional photographer could do with your ordinary dog.
7. Scent article. In my freezer, there are scent articles for about 25 dogs, stored in individual plastic bags. I have my foour dogs’ scent stored there, of course, plus my brother’s cat’s scent, plus the scents of many dogs that stayed with me for a short time. When I find a stray dog, creating a scent article is one of the first steps I take, in case the dog escapes from me. A scent article is only really useful if there is a dog in your area specifically trained to find lost pets. Missing Pet Partnership has a national directory of trained scent-trailing dogs. Most metropolitan areas are covered, and some scent dog handlers are willing to travel with their dogs. It costs almost nothing and takes less than two minutes to create a scent article, so why wouldn’t you? To make the scent article, you need a sterile gauze pad, rubber gloves, a Ziploc bag, and a permanent marker. You could do it without the rubber gloves if you absolutely can’t get any. You pet your dog anyway, so he would have a little of your scent, most likely. To make the scent article, put on the gloves, open the wrapper for the gauze pad, and wipe the gauze all over your dog, from head to toe. By sure to wipe around the mouth and ears. If your dog will let you, wipe the pad between his toes, as dogs have special oil glands there. Put the gauze in the plastic bag and seal it tight. Write on the outside of the bag the dog’s name and the date. Do this for each of your dogs, and also for any dog that you are watching temporarily. The 25 dog scents stored in my freezer take up very little room. You should make a new scent article for each of your dogs every six months, although frozen scent articles three years old have been proven viable in training exercises. Make scent articles for your cats, too, just in case.
8. Know of resources before you lose your dog, like shelters, pet finding services, volunteer groups. You should know about Missing Pet Partnership even if your dog isn’t missing. A third of all dogs go missing at some point in their lives, so even if your dog never goes missing, your friend’s dog or your neighbor’s dog will be missing at some point. Do you know which shelter serves your area? That isn’t always easy to figure out, so do a little research. The Seattle Humane Society does not serve the city of Seattle, for example. Dogs found in Federal Way, just blocks from the King County animal shelter in Kent, are transported to the Pierce County shelter, miles away. I once found a dog who was wandering in an area, and he wandered through three jurisdictions before I was able to pick him up. Which shelter should he go to? I reported him to all three shelters. Does your area have a search dog specifically trained to find lost dogs? Don’t wait until you have an emergency to learn these things. Chances are that there is a Facebook page dedicated to lost pets in your geographic region. Join that group and ask what the resources are for finding lost pets. Even if you never, ever lose your pets, you will eventually know someone who will benefit from that knowledge.
9. Human Animal Bond. Of the approximately 1500 missing dog cases I have worked on so far, about 75% of those families got their dogs back eventually, one way or another, not always because of my actions or advice. In my experience, the biggest factor in whether or not you will get your dog back is the Human Animal Bond. That is your relationship with your dog, how important he is to you, and how you interact with your dog. I have about 10,000 pictures of my dogs. I am with them all day, every day. I work with my dogs. They are my business partners. They are my family. They are my life. I would die for them. Not everyone is so involved with their dogs. To some people, the family dog is a nuisance they put up with. Perhaps you got stuck with the dog when a relative died, and you never really wanted a dog in the first place. Maybe a dog is just a theft deterrent, out in the yard on the end of a chain. Whatever your relationship to your dog, you can take steps to improve your bond. If you don’t feel bonded with your dog because he has behavioral issues, please enlist the services of a professional behaviorist who can help you get past this problem. Yes, it is an expense, but it will be well worth it when you don’t have to deal with this same problem day after day. When I got my first dog, Porter, I did not intend for him to be the center of my life. I got him for a stupid reason: I wanted to deter a burglar who had targeted our rural home repeatedly over the years. Since I first got a dog 15 years ago, our house has never been robbed again. However, the only things in my house I particularly care about losing these days are my dogs. Perhaps your bond with your dog will strengthen without you even trying, the way Porter became the center of my life even if that wasn’t my intention. You can involve yourself in activities that strengthen your bond. Find something you both like to do. Most dogs love to watch TV, not because they watch the TV, but just because they like to hang out with you. Take your dog hiking, if you can do so safely. Take your dog to the off-leash park, if it has a secure fence. Go for walks, take your dog’s picture, spend time with a friend who has a dog compatible with yours. Find your dog’s particular skills, like finding treats with his nose. Go to an obedience class. Take a hundred pictures of your dog with 100 fruits and vegetables on his head. (Google “100 Fruits & Vegetables on Dog's Head in 100 Seconds” and watch the YouTube video. It’s great.) Teach your dog to get you a beer out of the fridge. A stronger bond is rewarding to you and your dog.
10. Recall command, and other obedience. My dogs aren’t big on obedience. A good search dog has an independent spirit, and can be mischievous. One thing I’ve worked on with all my dogs is the recall command—I say Come and they come to me, usually. We work on this command by first teaching them to sit and stay. Then I walk away from them, and they are straining to come to me. When I give the command, that releases them from the sit/stay and they get to do what they wanted to do anyway, come to me. If your dog escapes and runs loose for any amount of time, chances are that this command won’t work. However, it could make the difference in a situation that has the potential to turn into an escape. For example, if you accidentally dropped the leash, your dog might be hesitating, trying to decide if he is going to go on a romp around the neighborhood or come back to you. A practiced recall command could make the difference. One of my dogs, Sky, will likely never make a good search dog, so I am working on obedience commands with her. Basic obedience can make your dog easier to approach by a Good Samaritan who is trying to help your dog get back home. It can also strengthen your Human Animal Bond, decreasing the chances of an escape.
11. Some basic socialization. Teaching your dog to be friendly around strangers will increase the chances of a Good Samaritan being able to lure your dog to safety. The downside to that might be that if your dog is too friendly, someone might be tempted to keep him. Just how friendly you want your dog to be is debatable, and you have to make that decision based on other factors in your life, such as how often your dog has to interact with the public. At a minimum, you want your dog to at least not be deathly afraid of strangers. If your dog is just going to run from every human he sees, that is going to make it very hard for him to find help if he is lost.
12. Update and share information. Create an information sheet about your dog, such as whom to contact in an emergency if you aren’t available. Include pictures, basic description, and any health precautions someone would need to know about if they found your dog. Include several ways of contacting you, such as phone and email. Share this information with a few family members or friends that you can rely on in an emergency. If you were to be incapacitated in a car accident, and your dog escaped, would friends and family have the necessary information to recover your dog while you were in the hospital?
13. Be aware of predators. Statistically, being taken by a predator is one of the least likely things that could happen to your dog, especially if your dog weighs more than 15 pounds. In more than 1500 lost dog cases, no dog over 15 pounds was ever taken by a predator, that I’m aware of. Still, take precautions, especially if you are hiking in the wilderness. Give your dog a noisy ID tag, so he doesn’t accidentally sneak up on a bear. Keep your dog on a leash while hiking, if possible. Dogs have been known to chase after a bear, make the bear angry, and then run back toward you. The dog can outrun the bear, probably, but you definitely cannot. If you have a small dog, keep him in sight even in your back yard. Although it happens very rarely, I do know of at least ten instances where the small dog was in the back yard not far from the owner, and a coyote took the dog in a stealth attack without the owner even being aware what happened. I always keep my Fozzie on a leash outside. If I had a really securely fenced yard and I let him out off-leash, I would keep myself between Fozzie and the forest as much as possible. Predators aren’t something you should worry about too much, but just take a few simple precautions.
14. Avoid leaving your dog in your car. As much as possible, avoid situations where you would need to leave your dog unattended in a car. Especially small dogs. I have a backpack Fozzie fits in, and I take him into the grocery store with me. Try to plan your trips so that your dogs will be safe at home when you have to go inside a business. If I absolutely had to stop somewhere on my way home, and I had to leave my dogs in the car for a few minutes, I would try to park where a security camera was aimed at the car. I know of at least a dozen instances where a dog was stolen from a car, or the car was stolen with the dog in it.
15. Do not leave your dog tied up outside a business. You might think you live in a neighborhood where everyone is friendly and everyone watches out for everyone else. That may be mostly true, but it only takes one person to ruin your day. Even if you can see your dog from inside the business, leaving her tied up outside is still a bad idea. Besides outright theft, your dog could be frightened by an unexpected loud noise, and either back out of her collar or chew through the leash. A few dogs tied to outdoor furniture have been startled by something, then startled when the chair or table moves, and then they have run in blind panic while the furniture chases them down the street.
16. Fenced yard, safety check, reinforcement. Before I take a dog to a foster home or send a dog to a new home where he is being adopted, I go there and check how well the backyard is fenced. In most cases where the person thought their yard was secure, I found several places where a dog could escape, by forcing a board out, climbing on a wood pile, going through a gap beneath the fence, or finding a low spot. Different dogs require different fences. My Komu, for example, can jump a seven foot fence with little effort. Fortunately, he is not one to try to escape. Make sure your gate latches are secure and reliable. Electric fences, relying on units on the dogs’ collars, will fail for a variety of reasons, and I don’t recommend them. Invisible fences also won’t keep predators or stray dogs out of your yard. If you have a fence, make sure it is solid, tall, secure, with good gates and no weak spots. An ineffective fence is worse than no fence at all.
17. Know your neighbors. If your dog should go missing, friendly neighbors who know your dog could be the key difference in making sure your dog doesn’t get too far. Also, they may be a good source of information about which way your dog went, and when. If you have a frosty relationship with some of your neighbors, that will make it harder to ask for their assistance if your dog is missing. If everyone on the block knows and loves your dog, they will watch out for him if he gets loose, and probably help you with the search effort. Also, in a neighborhood where all the residents know each other, a thief specifically targeting dogs is less likely to go unnoticed.
18. Cameras and security. I know of several instances where surveillance cameras provided clues as to what happened to the missing dog. It wouldn’t be high on my list of priorities, but if you’ve done everything else on this list and want to do even more to keep your dogs safe, security cameras couldn’t hurt. A web cam is also a nice way to check in on your dogs when you aren’t home, and see what they are up to.
19. Vacations. Perhaps 10% of my lost dog cases involve the owners being on vacation. I simply won’t go on vacation without taking my dogs with me. If you do go on vacation without your dogs, make sure they are staying with someone reliable. If you are taking them to a “Spa” or “Resort”, ask to tour the facility before you let your dog stay there. If they say customers aren’t allowed in the back, go somewhere else. If I absolutely had to leave my dogs at a kennel or spa, I would choose one with web cams that allowed me to check in on my dogs. If you are leaving your dog with friends or relatives, make sure they understand how important your dogs are to you, and you will be very upset if anything happens to your dogs. I know of many instances where the dog escaped and the people watching the dog didn’t tell the owners because they didn’t want to ruin their vacation. Make sure whoever is watching your dogs knows they are to call you immediately if anything at all goes wrong. Give them alternate contact information as well. Before you go on vacation, make sure you have a scent article stored in the freezer, as described above. Make sure the microchip and ID tag are correct and current.
20. If an escape does happen:
a. Don’t chase. In most cases where people witnessed a dog escaping, they made matters worse by chasing the dog and freaking him out. One time, my Fozzie leapt out of the car door at the post office, near a semi-busy street. I grabbed at his leash and missed. I didn’t panic, though, and I didn’t chase him. Instead, I walked away from him toward the post office, away from the street, and got him to follow me. Then I could grab his leash in a casual way, without lunging for it. Some people panic with a dog near a street, lunge at him, and actually drive him into the street. A better way to approach such a situation would be to get yourself between the dog and the street, so that if he did bolt, it would be away from the street. Chasing a dog may be your first instinct, but it almost never works. The more you chase, the more the dog panics. The tiniest dog can outrun the fastest human. Instead of chasing, use calming signals.
b. Don’t call the dog’s name. If a dog is panicking, or if he has had some frightening experiences, calling his name will likely just cause him to run and hide. Instead, don’t look at your dog—basically act like you are ignoring him—and let him hear your calm voice. A good way to do it is to turn your back to the dog and either call someone on your cell phone or pretend to call someone. Don’t address your conversation to the dog. Talk about anything mundane, like stopping at the store to pick up milk on the way home or something. Another technique you can use if your dog is too far away to hear a normal conversation is to turn facing to the side of the dog, 90 degrees, and call the name of some dog your dog knows and hopefully likes. This has worked on many occasions. I know of hundreds of cases where the owner of a lost dog saw their dog, called the dog’s name, and the dog ran farther away. Perhaps it could work to call your dog’s name, but the chances are too great that it will have the opposite effect.
c. Calming signals. Dogs use calming signals to communicate with each other. They often try calming signals on humans, although most people are unaware of it. Turid Rugaas has put out books and DVDs on the subject, so please seek out her works. If you encounter your lost dog in the street, and your dog is anything but happy to see you, pretend you don’t see your dog. Walk to a point 50 feet to the side of your dog, as though you are going to walk right by, unaware your dog is there. Then walk by your dog again, maybe 30 feet to the side this time. If there is wind at all, walk to the point that will best carry your scent toward your dog. Sit down on the ground—don’t crouch or squat—with your shoulder toward your dog so he can see your face but you aren’t looking at him. Yawn and lick your lips. Get treats out of your pocket and pretend to eat them, or if you don’t have any treats, get a crinkly wrapper or paper out of your pocket and pretend to eat something. If you have treats, accidentally drop some on the ground. Let your dog come to you in his own time. Very likely, once he relaxes and gets a good whiff of your scent, he will come right up to you, wiggly and happy. Don’t lunge at him, but let him come all the way to you.
d. Get help soon. Don’t wait too long to get help. If you can’t locate your dog within half an hour of an escape, enlist the help of neighbors, friends, family, animal control, volunteer groups, or professional pet finders. You can always cancel your request for help. Many times, I have schedule my search dogs to come out in the morning, and I have been happy to learn that the search is cancelled because the dog came home or was found. If you wait days before you ask for help, it will be harder for people to help you. There are many more things you can do to find a lost dog, as I have described in my book, Three Retrievers’ Guide to Finding Your Lost Dog. You can even download this book to your smart phone and have it handy just in case you need it. If you never need it for your dog, eventually someone you know will need this information.