As a pet sitter or parent to your furry friend, the last thing you expect is seeing Fido slip off the leash. Unfortunately, such situations happen even to very seasoned people.
Most individuals who experience such situations usually don’t know what to do next. As such, it’s important that both dog owners and pet sitters understand what to do and what to avoid when a dog has slipped off the leash.
Here is what you need to do if your dog has slipped taken off:
1. Stay Calm
The number one rule to retrieve a dog that has bolted is to try as much as possible to stay calm. Even though you are scared of what will happen next, maintaining your calm can go a long way in easing the situation. Taking action while in panic mode can worsen the situation and leave you in regret.
2. Open up
Most dogs will vanish and reappear after they are tired of exploring. In such a case, the best thing to do is to open your yard gate or any opening leading to your house so that the dog won’t have a hard time getting back into the house.
3. Recall the dog
You can order a runaway dog to come back to you but in a quiet, calm, and cheerful voice. By doing that, your dog will feel that he or she is not in trouble, and will gladly come back. For this to work well, it’s advisable that you teach your pet a reliable recall. You should practice recalling in a distraction-free environment, and then gradually switch to more distracting environments.
4. Give treats
No matter what your dog had done before coming back to you, it’s always advisable to be glad that he finally came back. After the dog has returned, giving them a treat is the best thing you can do.
You should be glad to have your pet back, regardless of what they were up to before they returned. Avoid yelling and scolding the dog as this can encourage them to ignore you next time they slip off the leash.
You should always reward and praise your dog for doing the right thing. Once the dog is close to you again, gently slip a looped leash over his head or reach for his collar or leash while in a sitting or kneeling position. Doing this usually discourages your furbaby from running off again.
5. Stop and lie down
Rather than trying to pursue the dog after he has started running, you should stop, drop, and lie down. This might seem like a silly idea, but to your dog, it’s odd behavior. Doing so will make the dog become curious, and he more than likely will come back to know whether you are okay.
You can also stop, drop, and curl into a ball, as this also makes the dog become curious. If this doesn’t seem to be a good idea, consider sitting down with your side or back to the dog and then wait.
Other than raising curiosity, these approaches appear less threatening to the dog, making them want to come back.
6. Notify the public
The worst scenario is when your dog has disappeared for some time and you have no idea where he could be. In such a case, you should get “Lost Dog” signs to encourage anyone who has seen the dog call you. You should use a large color photo of your dog so that it’s easy to identify them. Be sure to include the dog’s name and your phone number.
Add a line that asks anyone who has seen the dog to immediately call you and not approach the dog. This is in consideration that your dog will only get scared more if they are chased by a stranger. You can even promise a reward if possible, as such posters often attract more response from the public.
Be sure to post the same information on different social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. You should also change the settings so that the information can be seen by the general public. That way, it becomes easier for the information to reach a lot of people, increasing the chances of finding the lost pet.
You should also notify animal control in case they spot or pick up your pet while making their trips. If the dog is microchipped, there is no need to worry too much, as the chances of retrieving him are higher. If you get your pet back and they are not microchipped, the next thing you should do is have them microchipped as you never know whether they’ll disappear again.
The least effective way of retrieving a runaway dog
Now that you know what you should do to retrieve a dog that has slipped off the leash, let’s have a look at what you never want to do when trying to get your pet back. Basically, only one method is the least effective in retrieving a runaway dog, as discussed below
The worst thing you can do after a dog had gotten off the leash is chasing them. Most dogs mistake this for a game, while others get scared and run even faster. The fact is that you can never beat a dog at running fast.
Besides, taking off after your dog only worsens the situation as there are lots of risks such as your dog getting killed if they run into the street. The best thing you can do is run backward while facing the dog. Be sure to call them excitedly so that they are more interested in coming back.
It’s quite a normal thing for dogs to take off when they get the chance. Some of them do it for fun, while others simply want to explore before coming back home. Whatever the case, the most important thing to do is maintain your calm.
Once you get your dog back home, avoid punishing him or her. Doing so makes them think you are punishing them for returning, which makes them not want to come back next time. On the other hand, rewarding them is a way of making them understand that they did the right thing.