Quick Action Plan

  • Begin search immediately! Do not assume your dog was STOLEN!    
  • Have your neighbors check their yard, under porches, decks, in barns, sheds, garages, etc.
  • Search inside and outside your home and property thoroughly. Check your bushes, garage, under the vehicles, boats, under decks, porches and other small den-like areas on your property to see if your dog is frightened and hiding or stuck. 
  • Carry a Leash on your person during search & don't forget the treats.
  • If your dog is bonded to another dog in the household, bring the dog to the area of sighting and sit quietly with the dog on a leash.
  • Call Animal Control officers, police departments, veterinarians, and animals shelters within a 20-mile radius.
  • CREATE A SIMPLE POSTER w/large bold type and print 150-200 copies to start. Print using color ink. Clear full body photo of dog, Do NOT chase and phone number in extra large bold print, large enough so passing motorists can easily view from inside their vehicles! Post within a 2-3 mile radius of where your dog went missing (point of escape). Provide a copy to police/shelters & Animal Control. Click here
  • FOR SKITTISH DOGS & NEW RESCUES ....While friends, family members, and well-meaning people will want to physically search for the dog, it is actually the wrong thing to do. This will create additional fear in the dog as he or she may feel threatened or hunted and invite a flight response. This will send the lost dog further and further away. It is best to get the posters up in the area as quickly as possible so you can start getting calls with sightings. We only recommend physical searches if your dog is hurt or visually or physically impaired.
  • Leave a feeding station with stinky food at the point of escape (where the dog escaped from). It does NOT matter if the dog is unfamiliar the location. Nine times out of ten, they will return to the point of escape when all is quiet.
  • If your dog escaped from a hiking situation. The dog will usually come back to the point of entry (trail head) or to where you parked your vehicle.
  • Dogs involved in auto accidents tend to stay close to the accident area.
  • Get a notebook to record all sightings of the dog with date, time, exact location and direction of travel.
  • Post on Facebook, NextDoor app, Neighbors by Ring app and other online sites. (Be sure to include a photo). Please note: you do not need to have a Ring camera to access the Neighbors by Ring app. 
  • Ask people to check their home video surveillance, ring cameras etc.
  • Consider using Lost My Doggie for EMERGENCY PHONE ALERT for lost pets (Fee) 
  • Instruct everyone that is helping out NOT TO CALL OUT TO or CHASE YOUR DOG. This will prolong your search. If they see your dog, sit, or lay down (no eye contact) and gently toss treats to the dog to lure your dog in.
  • Man your phones. Your telephone should be manned 24 hours a day. If your dog has an ID tag with your phone number on it, you may very well get a call. Your phone should be available 24/7 to answer calls from possible sightings.  
  • Turn your car into a billboard! Tape lost dog poster on the sides and back of car windows.
  • If your dog bolted out of your electric fence, please turn off the electric fence so your dog will be able to get back into his or her own yard.
  • Physically go to animal shelters, animal control offices, and vet clinics, and hand them a flier. Remember to include Microchip identification numbers if applicable, and ask that they scan and verify ownership of any pet matching the description or photo you provided. 
  • Call local highway departments in nearby towns. If a pet is hit by a car the highway maintenance department is called to pick up the dog. Contact them directly to see if they received any calls. Although this would be very difficult news to receive it would give you closure.

Distribute posters to businesses and public places, including the following:

  • Outdoor Clubs, hiking groups, hunting clubs
  • Animal Services - Vet Clinics, Pet Food Stores, Groomers, Boarding Facilities, Doggy Day Care, and Dog Walkers
  • Apartment Complexes - Tape flyers to the dumpsters and mailbox stations
  • Coffee Shops
  • Convenience Stores
  • Department store parking lots - Under windshield wipers
  • Dog Parks
  • Fast Food Restaurants
  • Farmers Markets
  • Gas Stations
  • Industrial Area - Ask business to post a flier at the time clock & employee area.
  • Neighborhood Delis
  • Newspaper Carriers
  • Park n Rides
  • Pizza/ Restaurants that offer delivery - Ask if they would be willing to give lost dog flyers with the pizza or food that they are delivering
  • Schools - Ask the principal to send out an email blast
  • School Bus Drivers
  • Snowmobile Trails /Bike Paths - put posters facing both directions where trails cross the roadways and at trailheads.
  • State Parks/ Trailheads
  • Sports Event
  • Postal workers
  • UPS, Fed EX, and Utility workers


  1. Record all sightings in a notebook.
  2. Ask questions and listen.
  3. Record the name of the caller and their phone number
  4. Ask simple questions, such as;
    • Where did you see my dog, exact location or landmark?
    • When did you see my dog?
    • Can you describe my dog?
    • What was he or she doing/ behavior? (Examples running down road, playing with other dogs, laying down)
    • Did you see a collar or harness?
    • What is the color of the collar or harness?
    • Which direction did my dog go? Was it in the road, in a yard, which direction was it coming from and where was it headed? Direction of travel.
    • It is best to let them offer the info, do not feed callers specific details such as collar or harness color as it will help weed out false leads.