Help, my dog has gone missing!
This is every dog owner’s worst nightmare come true. What would you do? Of course, your first instinct is to go looking for them straight away, shouting their name – but, is this the best thing you can do to find your dog?
This article will outline a few simple steps you can take to help your missing dog find their way back to you. Dogs run off for various reasons: they are frightened by a loud noise and slip out of their harness; you trip over and drop the lead by accident; they catch the irresistible scent of a dog in season or a squirrel has just caught their eye and they are going to catch it! Whatever the reason, stay calm and stay exactly where you are.
Stay calm and stay where you are...
If possible, you should not leave the location where your dog has gone missing from, the point of escape, whether this is on a walk or from home. Most dogs stay around for a while and generally circle the area. Most people start searching for their dogs straight away, so when the dog returns to the point it went missing from nobody is there to get them.
Eventually, the circles your dog travels get bigger; this is when a ‘stakeout’ is required. Ask someone to bring you a comfortable chair, food, drink and clothes/blankets depending on the time of year – this is so the owner is able to stay in the area for as long as possible. Statistics show that most dogs come back within the first 24-48 hours. An alternative to sitting outside is sitting in a car, but be mindful that you need to be as close to point of escape as possible.
If your dog escapes from home, keep gates open and offer food. In the best case use a motion-triggered camera so you can check who is actually taking the food during the night.
It is important to note that most dogs usually show up again during late evening or during the very early morning hours, for example between 10pm and 1am and again between 4am and 6am.