Never underestimate a lost dogs instincts.
Blu, a very skittish Australian Shepherd ran off from a family members home in Yorktown Heights, NY. He was traveling powerlines, golf courses and crossing the extremely dangerous Taconic State Parkway.
When a dog goes into survival mode they are looking for water, food, shelter and avoiding predators…the #1 predator for a lost dog in survival mode is HUMANS!
Lost dog recovery is so counter intuitive to all the things you think are the right things to do. Chasing, searching, search parties, calling for the dog, these are all things that will invite a flight response in a frightened, skittish dog.
I often get looked at like I have three heads when I am giving guidance on lost dog behavior or the necessary steps to take to get them back safely. In most cases I always instruct the owner to set a feeding station at the point of escape. It does not matter if they have been there 5 seconds, 5 months or 5 years. The point of escape is the most familiar spot to them at that time and instinctually they will often return when all is quiet and they are not being pursued. This is why so many captures happen in the middle of the night.
Each and every sighting was followed up on but he was moving and moving fast. Early evening yesterday we got a sighting that he had crossed back over the Taconic and was spotted not far from the point of escape. A feeding station was set and that night after 10pm when all was quiet, guess who showed up and found the food?!! Nine times out of ten when a dog finds the food source they will return or stick close by. Blu was on camera from 10 pm until 6am. With it being quiet, not being pursued and allowing him to find that food source, it allowed him to settle.
We were preparing to set a trap when Blu walked out to his dad who was in the driveway. The eleven day nightmare for the Rutland family was finally over!!
Stop the chase, allow them to settle. They are such intelligent beings but will make bad decisions when being hunted by humans!! Blu’s instincts were there all along, his dad just needed to see it for himself.
Tim, you were amazing to work with. Thank you for trusting in the process and trusting me.
Welcome Home Blu… now everyone get some sleep!!!