Imagine your four-legged hunting buddy smells a hot scent and darts into heavy cover. After several minutes, you can no longer hear branches breaking, so you whistle for him to return. As time passes and he doesn’t return, you grow increasingly frantic. Here’s how to prevent losing a dog in the first place, and what to do if he does go astray.
Microchip your dog and, most importantly, keep an ID tag on his collar, complete with your current contact information.
REIN IN YOUR DOG
In a scent-soaked field, it’s easy for a dog following its nose to get distracted. An e-collar is an excellent tool for training your dog to only follow the scent of your quarry. Modern e-collars can operate well beyond earshot of a whistle, making it easy to communicate with your dog from a distance. The better collars have multiple stimulation levels, as well as sound or vibration modes.
Consider using GPS-equipped collars, especially if you’re running multiple dogs, which can be tracked on a single hand-held unit. GPS collars are a bigger investment than basic e-collars, but they offer priceless peace of mind with wide-roaming hounds and upland bird dog breeds.
If you do lose track of your pooch, form a search party if possible with your buddies and their dogs, spreading out to cover plenty of ground. Start by searching into the wind, which would be your dog’s most likely direction of travel; most dogs eventually double back after they lose the scent trail. Stop periodically and listen for sounds of your pooch on the move. If the initial search is unsuccessful, leave an article of your clothing and a water bowl at the dog’s last known location, and check back periodically. Post signs about your lost dog and ask others to keep watch—you never know who’ll provide a fresh lead. And don’t lose hope, even after a few days.
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