CSSA Fanciers Inc.
Author Todd Foley First Response You will find your dog. Never give up!!!!! Most importantly, keep a clear head even though you are probably as panic stricken as you have ever been. You need a plan and follow it through. Immediately search area of where dog went missing for at least 15 minutes to one half hour. It would be good to get a general idea of which direction the dog was heading. If he fled from his own yard, leave the gate open and put his crate out in the yard with food and water in it. Call or get a hold of as many people (maybe neighbours, friends, family relatives, the Breeder) as possible, to help in the search party for at least a few hours or until dark. Search in an area of 2 square miles (TARGET ZONE) from where the dog was last seen or lost. If in a rural area, this area may span to about five square miles but usually does not. If possible, obtain a cellular phone. Give all the members of the search party your number. If you are unable to obtain a cellular phone, make sure someone is home to receive messages and that they get them to you. If you have no one at home and have an answering machine, turn it on. Change your message to, asking for information on your lost dog. Instruct search party to not chase the dog but to only notify you when the dog is seen. If you see the dog, do not yell out his name or try and chase him or he'll be gone like the wind. Sit down calmly on the ground, like you are wanting him to play or like you are feeding him, calling his name gently or using some key fun words that he is used to when you are having fun with him. He may come to you but may not. Trust me, your first instinct is to scream out his name and go tearing after him. This won't work. Lost Shelties are in "flight" mode. If you think they will come to you when you call them you may be fooling yourself. They don't wait to see who it is. Talk to anybody you see in that area to find out if they have seen your dog and get the direction of his travel. Most of the time somebody has seen him. They usually travel within a half mile very quickly but do not usually travel more than two - three miles (TARGET ZONE). They usually will go downhill which will be easier on them and also leads them to water. Call to get a Live Animal Trap (see next section) or at least set up a crate. Set it up where the dog was last seen or where he ran from. Most Shelties, if not found after a few hours will eventually be caught in the live trap. Set the trap up before the first night if possible but it is never too late to set the trap up. Call Police, dog catchers /officers / SPCA, Vet (give tattoo # and microchip information), fire station and animal shelters, etc. Have someone stay at the site for the first 24 hours if possible. (not yourself). You must have a clear head in the morning or for the next part of the search. Before you leave for the night, place a piece of your clothing where he was last seen. This may lure him back to this area which is known to happen. After 2-3 hours or during the first night Again, YOU WILL FIND YOUR DOG!!! Of course you feel upset, terrified, and completely helpless. Well, you are not helpless. Again, it is most important to keep your wits about you. Now is the time you have to put yourself to work no matter how tired you are. Your lost dog is probably more tired and will most likely be seeking out a spot to get some rest. He will be fine and they have been known to have been found after five months and be still okay. That first night after dark, get to work, hopefully with your friends' help. Start off by finding a recent photo of your dog and if you can not find one, find a photo of a dog that looks like him. Even if you can not find a photo at all, proceed with making up a Lost Dog Flyer. See the end of this column for a demonstration Flyer . If you have no access to a computer or typewriter, use a pen or marker, just as long as you get the message across that the dog is missing. The key to successful pet finding, is to get as many others to look as possible. The Flyer should consist of the following information: A good clear photo of your Sheltie. The best way is to scan it, then print onto paper in colour if possible, or you can photocopy it. If you have no photo, use a dog's photo that looks like your dog. Use a lot of colour if possible on your flyer. Use the brightest paper such as red & white with black lettering. The colour RED commands attention, ie: REWARD or LOST A REWARD usually attracts a lot of people. An amount of $150.00 and up would be a good figure. A telephone number where you can be reached 24 hours a day. Put a date on it of when you have put this flyer up. Make sure you say to NOT chase the dog, but only to notify you ASAP. If rain is anticipated, cover your flyers with plastic, ie: food storage bags or freezer bags, etc. Make some photocopies of a local map of the area where the dog was either last seen or was lost. This map will help you keep track of where the dog was last seen and also may show patterns. Put a notebook beside the phone so you can keep a record of any calls that may come in with information about your Sheltie. Write down the person's name, address, where seen, and time of day, etc. Actually, keep a log and eventually you will see his path of travel and also what time of day he comes out to move around. Make a list of people who can help you the next day. Make a game plan to show which person will do what for you. Everybody must have a job. You can not search for the dog and do all this paper work at the same time. Cook up some liver or chicken with garlic, liverwurst, and keep the juices. You want the smelliest, smelliest stuff you can get that you know your dog will love. Put it in the fridge for the next morning or if you have already set up a trap, put it in the trap. If you haven't already looked into getting a trap, do it now. From our experience with lost Shelties, if they are not found within the first couple of hours, they will be caught in a live trap, but only if you set one. Call the local animal shelter, CSSA member with a trap, Provincial Departments / Ministries of Natural Resources / Forestry, hardware stores, rent-it stores and dog catcher, etc. If you still can't get a trap, at least get his crate out there in place of the trap. With help from people spotting your dog and you putting the trap where the dog is spotted, eventually the trap will get the dog. Setting a Live Trap You have finally tracked down a trap that is suitable for the size of your Sheltie and will not harm him. More than one trap would not be a bad idea. Make up a sign for the trap. See the back page for an example. You want people to know why the trap is set and you want them to call you immediately if he or something else is in the trap. Take the trap, the food that you prepared, the juices from the food, water, and a personal piece of your clothing, to the last spot where he was seen. A pair of dirty underwear or a pair of dirty socks may do the trick or your favourite sweater that you wear all the time. If the lost dog is an intact male, then a cloth with the smell of a female "in heat" may lure him into the trap. Also bring a weather cover, ie: tarp, so the weather doesn't harm him Set up the trap in a covered shaded area, not out in the open, if possible. Pour the juices in a nice long trail heading toward the trap, then put the stuff you brought to lure him in, into the trap. (The food and water must be changed routinely). Attach your sign / poster as described above and also shown as an example at the back of this booklet. 2nd Day or First Full Day Get up before daylight. Lost dogs will usually travel at dusk or at dawn, when there aren't many people around and a lot less harm could come their way. Set trap up if you have not already done so as described above or check the already set traps. Checking the trap must be done many times a day, especially at early morning and before you go home for the night. Call the local authorities, ie: dog catchers and SPCA, and Sheltie Rescue. Go down to their facilities and see for your own eyes. Do this daily. Have someone start attaching the flyers with scotch tape or with a staple gun if possible to the following locations in at least a two mile radius of where the dog was last seen: telephone and utility poles at approximately four feet high in both directions, Super Mail Boxes if applicable, grocery stores windows, schools (children love to help find pets), post office, liquor store, doctor's office, fire station, police station, paper boy or girl, construction sites, road crews, local veterinarian, telephone booths, newspaper racks, Tim Hortons, Taxi Stands, pizza parlours, hair dressers, movie theatre, bowling alley, library and churches. The more flyers you get up, the better chances are you'll get your dog back. Go door to door in the neighbourhoods to let people know to watch out for him and also to let them know that there will be strange cars and people in their neighbourhood at any time of the day or night looking for him. Call the local delivery people, ie: milk man, mail man, oil companies and the local power utility company. Call the local radio and TV. You have to think like a dog. Where would he most likely head? Take one of your other dogs with you if applicable. Get the dog barking, playful like. If you spot the lost dog, go down on your knees playing with the other one. Don't yell his name. Trust me, he'll run like there is no tomorrow. Toss some food in his direction. Try using a whistle. Look into hiring a local Trapper, Tracker or Tracking dog. Walk the parks, streams, along rivers, lakes, where children play, back roads, where there are other dogs , cats, etc. Set up an x-pen with your other dogs, in the area where he was last seen. He will probably be spotted by others many times but do not get discouraged if he is gone by the time you get there. Most likely, the trap will be the hero. While searching, talk to as many people as possible. Set the traps where he was last spotted. Each Day After Eventually you have to go back to work and the friends usually aren't there as much as the first couple of days. Do not feel guilty. As long as you have done as shown above, the trap will eventually get your dog. Check the trap and change it as necessary each day. Follow your leads. Only move the trap to the latest sighting as long as you are sure it was a real sighting. Not everybody is completely honest. Call and go see the local authorities as above, each day. Mark the map with all sightings and keep a log in your notebook. You may go weeks without any sightings then all of the sudden he is around again. If he has not been spotted at all after a day or two, spread the flyers and phone calls to a five mile radius of where he was last seen, to all the people and stores as stated above. Try using the Internet, ie: Sheltie List, to get the word out or make an announcement on your web page if you have one. DON'T GIVE UP. Have a list of friends that will be available each day to help if a call comes in and you cannot be there, or in the event you need a number of people to help round him up. Carry a big net, but be careful, because if it doesn't work, you may scare him away. Always be cheerful, polite, and thankful on the phone. Put an AD in the Classifieds in the newspaper and also check the FOUND ADS. Hand out flyers to every child you meet while on the search. Each Week DO NOT GET DISCOURAGED OR GIVE UP. I could tell you stories that you wouldn't believe. Dogs, especially Shelties, can live out there by themselves for a very long time, even if they are scared. Change all the flyers that you have put up and out and pass them out again. Change the wording to STILL LOST and change the date to the present day. Revisit all the stores, schools, etc., as you have done previously. Keep checking the traps and moving them as necessary. It may take weeks and or months to get him back. NEVER GIVE UP!!! I have heard stories of finding them after five months and in Winter conditions. Found Sheltie At last, your baby is home safe and sound. Depending on how long he was gone, take him to the Vet for an examination. You must treat him differently now. Depending on how long he was in the wild, he has probably become quite independent. Running off might not be such a big thing to him anymore as he knows he can fend for himself. Take all the posters/flyers down. Notify the schools that he has been found and take him to the schools for a visit. The kids would very much appreciate seeing him after they had been out looking for him. Have a party for all who helped. Internet Addresses and Bibliography http://www.sherlockbones.com http://www.petshelter.org http://homearts.com/depts/pastime/shelters/shelters.htm http://www.geocities.com/~olelo/shelties/lostangels.html http://www.geocities.com/~olelo/emergencydoglinks.html http://sheltiehomepage.mcf.com/ (Sheltie-List people) Pat Schaap of Shenanigan Shelties, Maryland, USA Special thanks to the Internet Sheltie-List people and Pat Schaap (Shenanigan Shetlands) for providing so much valuable information. Emergency Numbers and Information Police.......................................................... Dog Catcher............................................. SPCA (shelter)....................................... Veterinarian............................................. Fire Department................................. Animal Shelter......................................... Sheltie trap............................................. Breeder ...................................................... Tattoo #................................................... Microchip info .......................................... Sample lost dog posters below
LOST DOG Sheltie (Little Collie) Female, Blackish Brown and white.     She has been missing since 7:00 pm, Monday June 9th. If you                                        should see her, please call one of the numbers below as soon as possible any time of the day or night. Please DO NOT CHASE her and try and catch her. She is shy and will run away again.  There is a REWARD for her return. (902) 555-1111 or (902) 666-2222
Please help us get our missing dog back. He is a black & white Sheltie with some brown on his face and legs and looks like a small Collie. He is wearing a red collar with a rabies tag. He has been missing since June 9th. We want him to come home very badly, but by now he is probably very scared and will not come near people. This trap is set to catch him and not hurt him. Please help us get our dog back and do not touch this trap. If you see an animal in this trap, call one of the telephone numbers below. If the dog is our dog, there will be a REWARD given to the first person to call. (902) 555-1111 or (902) 666-2222
Canadian Shetland Sheepdog Association
Lost Dog Guide