SEARCHING HINTS AND BEHAVIORS.DOC
Follow the same routes used previously when walking the dog.
Try going for a walk with another dog (leashed) from the home, a dog “friend” or
same-breed dog. Be “happy”, calm and get the dog you are walking with to bark
occasionally. If nearby, a dog might want to return the bark and join the
Dogs use farm fields, golf courses, gravel pits, cemeteries,
power line access roads and parks as shortcuts to get to another street or the
next town. Dogs are attracted to dumpsters with food, most farms,
kennels and multiple-animal homes. Quiet yards, especially on dead end streets
are favorites. They rest on lawns, in fields, cemeteries, open barns & sheds,
under shrubs & porch decks. They try to sleep as close to a house as
possible, especially at night. It affords them protection from harsh
weather and predators.
Dogs don’t usually go into deep woods unless chased. There’s
no food or familiar scents there. Keep in mind when talking to homeowners that
their dogs (and cats) may be agitated all night and dogs may bark excessively
when they know a strange dog has settled into their yard or neighbor’s yard for
the night. Coyotes are a threat but not an excessive one. Many dogs smell
them, sense trouble and go in the opposite direction. The general public and
many lost dog owners are quick to assume that a dog has been a victim of coyotes
when there’s no proof. Worry more about fast cars and keep on searching.
During the winter you can follow tracks through the snow.
Walk beside the tracks, not on them. Bring extra socks, boots and clothes if you
plan to be out for any length of time. Situations vary, but dogs can
survive snowstorms and harsh weather. One real danger is the spring thaw
that occurs on ponds and small vernal pools. Dogs are extremely adaptable.
They revert to “survivor mode.
When “tracking”, be discreet. Walk quietly and talk in
soft, reassuring tones except in woods with bear and moose. Be aware
of hunting seasons and never trespass. Do not have noisy groups of
searchers walking or running around a “sighting” area. Dogs can sense when
they are being “hunted” and can easily outmaneuver the best of you.
Organize everyone and have a plan – “who to call and what to do” if the dog
is spotted. Time is always critical and a quick response is best.
The main requirement for dogs is to have a supply of water and
food. Water can be relatively easy to find, while food is a challenge.
Depending on the dog’s breeding, it can hunt for rodents, birds and snakes.
They knock over rubbish cans and rip open bags. They find food left out in bowls
for cats and dogs. Dogs will also eat birdseed, manure, grass, insects and
carrion. Dogs lose weight during their ordeal but can survive for a long time.
Lost dogs are scared, confused and generally respond
better to rescue attempts made by women. They might also prefer children they
know & love rather than the adult owners. Children must be old enough to
understand the situation & remain calm. Well-meaning people, including owners,
initially chase many of these dogs. Chasing reinforces the dog’s perception
that people are “predators” and may make them run even further.
Searchers must have a leash and “bait” such as:
hotdogs, string cheese, meatballs & “stinky” cheese like Provolone/Swiss,
salmon-flavor kitty treats, luncheon meats, “Little Caesar” dog food & “Sheeba”
cat food –both small tub w/foil peel-back tops.
*****Bring a squeaky toy, ball or
Frisbee if dog likes them.
Lost Dogs Sighting Calls