Skittish, hard to catch dogs are hard to catch, unless you know what you’re doing! Our volunteers at Missing Pet Partnership are trained in how to approach panicked, stray dogs using two different techniques: calming signals and a snappy snare combined with a magnet dog. Here’s an example of how these techniques recently helped MPP capture a skittish, stray dog.
Case 10-012 – MoMo (“Mo” as in the three stooge’s dude, not “moo” like the cow sound…yeah, WE don’t name these pets, we just help recover them!!!)
While driving to one of our weekly K9 training sessions, MPP volunteer Brian Newsham spotted a loose white husky-like dog in my neighborhood. Never passing up a chance to rescue a loose stray, Brian went to work. He was careful to NOT call the dog, to NOT look at the dog, and to NOT walk directly towards the dog. These are three biggest mistakes that would-be rescuers make when trying to capture a loose dog. Instead, we train volunteer pet detectives to ignore the dog, to approach slowly but by “curving” and to focus their attention on the ground as they drop treats while making “nummy, nummy” noises. By fixing their attention on food on the ground and NOT on the panicked dog, it helps calm a loose dog down, enable our rescuer to get close, and encourages the dog to approach us for food. It doesn’t work all of the time, but it does work!
So, as Brian did his “nummy, nummy” routine, the dog was hiding inside bushes in a front yard and watched Brian with great interest. But there was one problem – Brian was actually treatless! He was picking up grass clippings (fine if you’re enticing a goat) and pretended like the grass was treats. The dog did approach Brian but quickly realized the “nummy, nummy” was a total scam and took off trotting down the road. We switched to Plan C.
Plan B would have been to run back to my house and grab real treats, which I did, but I also grabbed my Snappy Snare and my dog Kody, a magnet dog. Kody is wiggly, friendly, and gives off play signals to other dogs. We use magnet dogs to draw in panicked strays that may be leary of people but that will zoom in right up to our magnet dog. They get tunnel vision and never notice us because they’re so focused on making eye contact with the magnet dog. This enables us to position a Snappy Snare over them and right as they are sniffing noses with our magnet dog, zing, we release the snappy snare and capture the dog.
Some dogs respond to treats, others are hyper excited with meeting a new dog. We never know which “bait” a dog will respond to (food or other dogs). I grabbed hotdogs and was prepared to try food-as-bait again, but I wanted to bring Kody out of my truck to see if this dog would be attracted to her.
And he was! It was a text book style recovery. The stray zoomed right up to sniff Kody and as he did, I caught him with the Snappy Snare. We then went to work right away in our efforts to get this lost dog back home. Our goal at Missing Pet Partnership is to train and develop teams of volunteers who recover strays and lost pets and get them back to their families WITHOUT HAVING TO INVOLVE ANIMAL CONTROL. Here’s what we accomplish by doing this innovative work: (1) we save the animal from injury or death by recovering it before it can run into traffic or be lost forever (2) we save taxpayer money by not having burden animal control and our shelters with one more “stray” to process (3) we save families money (impound fees) and the heartache of not being able to find their lost pet, and (4) our volunteers get practical animal recovery experience as they prepare to offer lost pet services in times of disasters.
Our next step after capturing MoMo was to do the following: (1) although the dog had a collar, he did not have an ID tag so an easy reunion was not possible (2) we scanned him for a microchip but he did not have one of those either (3) we posted his FOUND DOG information in the free “lost-and-found” classifieds on Craig’s List (4) we created giant FOUND DOG signs and put them up at the major intersection near where we captured him, hoping his owner would be driving around in search of their lost dog and see our obvious signs
We did all of those things but we had no results. Three hours later, we found the stray’s owner. A teenager we talked to said she knew where a white husky lived. Sure enough, we knocked on their door and the owner confirmed that her dog “MoMo” (it means something in Korean, and MoMo is supposedly some Korean breed, so the owner said) was missing. When asked why she wasn’t driving around in search of her dog, she said, “Because he’s gotten out before and has always come home. I didn’t want to leave my house in case he came home.” Amazing, when you think about it. There are so many reasons why people (like this) fail to show up at animal shelters and fail to find their lost dogs! But in this case, we were lucky — Momo was back home where he belonged.
Snappy Snares are a fantastic loose dog recovry tool and Missing Pet Partnership needs more of them! This 4th of July, there will be many more MoMo-like dogs running around that our volunteers would like to capture. We only have 3 Snappy Snares and we need 7 more, but we don’t have the funds to buy them. If you can, please purchase a stainless steel, 65″ Snappy Snare, have it delivered to us, and help MPP save the lives of panicked dogs just like Momo. All Snappy Snares ordered can be shipped to: Missing Pet Partnership, Attn: Brian Newsham, 1229 SW 326th Place, Federal Way, WA 98023.
Thank you for helping Missing Pet Partnership to make a difference in the lives of animals and the people who love them!