Rather dog, cat, or other species, the universal response to abuse or shelter dog is one of mistrust, social withdrawal, physical inactivity, and depression. Abuse takes many forms, including the following:
All tho with a little
patients and a lot of Love you can overcome the problems with these
animals. You will get a great pet full of love, fun and their devotion
that comes with your big heart. Below are many different ways you can over come their fears.
Adopting an Abused Dog
What to Expect and What to Provide for Rescue Animals
Rescue dogs are desperately in need of love and affection. They may have been abused, malnourished, neglected or abandoned. Because of this, rescue dogs are usually skittish and distrustful of humans. Many people warn that a rescue animal will always be wary of humans, and this belief tends to limit their likelihood of being adopted. However rescue animals can make loving, grateful companions after they gain trust. The following suggestions will better prepare you for caring for a rescue animal. With patience, you will see improvement within the first few weeks.
What to Expect
Your new four-legged friend will probably not be very playful and loving at first because he probably never had the opportunity to play or to love without punishment. Expect the dog to be nervous and mistrustful. Let him learn on his own that you are not going to hurt him; you can’t rush him into being your friend. Try to appear non-threatening and don’t use any force. Often, rescue dogs who have been abused cower when approached. If your dog does this, instead of approaching him face on, approach him walking backwards with your palm up and hand outstretched to make him feel less threatened. As he begins to realize you mean no harm, you’ll be able to approach him face on.
What to Provide
Your first responsibility is to provide the dog with a safe and comfortable environment. Give him a special place of his own to foster a sense of security. A lot of rescue dogs respond well to crate training because they have a safe place just for them. Give your dog the necessary comforts—shelter, food and water—and don’t expect him to run to you right away. His physical needs must be met consistently before he will grow emotionally.
How to Train
For the first few weeks, limit training. For instance, when walking him on a leash, let him lead and don’t push him to walk specific distances or run by your side. Once he begins to trust you, you will be able to train him on the leash, but it’s important to allow him crucial time for emotional development.
Don’t rush your dog into obeying your commands right away; just give him time to get used to you. Speak in gentle tones, and be aware of your body language. He might associate common commands as a prelude to some form of punishment.
Adopting A Puppy Mill Dog
If you’ve adopted a dog who came from a puppy mill, congratulations! You’ve given her a new lease on life. Over the next few months, you’ll watch her learn about living in a real home with a loving family—pleasures that she never had the opportunity to experience before. This process can be tremendously rewarding, but it can pose some challenges, too. Trading the stark environment of a puppy mill for a world full of novel sights, sounds and sensations may be tremendously overwhelming for your new dog. Helping her adjust to the big transition will require a lot of patience and understanding.
What Is a Puppy Mill?
Puppy mills are large-scale commercial dog-breeding operations where profit is given priority over the well-being of the dogs. Unlike responsible breeders, who place the utmost importance on producing the healthiest puppies possible, puppy mill owners disregard genetic quality. This often results in generations of dogs with hereditary defects, including dental abnormalities, eye problems and limb deformities. Legitimate breeders also put a lot of effort into giving puppies a good start in life by providing proper nutrition, veterinary attention and thorough socialization. Unfortunately, puppy mill dogs aren’t so lucky. Puppy mills usually house dogs in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions, without adequate veterinary care, food, water or socialization. The dogs don’t get to experience treats, toys, exercise or basic grooming. To minimize waste cleanup, they’re often kept in cages with wire flooring that injures their paws and legs—and it’s not unusual for cages to be stacked in tall columns. Dogs used for breeding often spend their entire lives outdoors, exposed to the elements, or indoors, crammed inside filthy structures where they never get the chance to feel the sun or a gust of fresh air on their faces.
Challenges You Might Face with Your Puppy Mill Dog
Keeping your new dog’s history in mind will prove useful as you help her adjust to her new life. Because she came from a puppy mill, she spent all of her time in a cage. She was forced to urinate and defecate in it, so she probably learned to lie in her own waste because no clean surfaces were available to sleep on. She probably never had the chance to interact with people other than her caretakers.
Because your puppy mill dog wasn’t exposed to any new people, animals, sights, sounds or experiences during her critical socialization period (between three to twelve weeks of age), she’ll likely act as though everything in the world is terrifying. Who can blame her? Until recently, she had no idea that a world outside of her cage existed. At first, your home will be a very strange and scary place—almost like another planet! Eliminating outside, wearing a harness and leash, going on walks and meeting strangers will all be new and potentially stressful experiences. It may take your dog a long time to get used to these big changes, especially if she’s an older dog whose habits are well-formed. As her new pet parent, you’ll need to calmly and patiently assure her that the world is not such a scary place and that you and other humans are worthy of her trust. If you take things slowly and go at her pace, you’ll reap the reward of watching your shy dog overcome her fears.
What to Expect During Your First Days Together
It’s not uncommon for an unsocialized dog to hide under a couch or table for days or even weeks at a time, only coming out to eat and drink at night. Remember, the more patient and gentle you are, the faster your puppy mill dog will come around. Here are some helpful tips to start you off on the right foot:
- Give your new dog a crate covered with a blanket as a “safe haven.” If she seems fearful, choose a plastic crate instead of a metal one. If you need to take her out of the crate, you can simply remove the top of the crate instead of pulling her out through the crate door.
- If your dog seems extremely fearful, you can set up a “safe room.” A kitchen, bathroom or laundry room works well for this purpose. To keep your dog in her safe area, you can use a baby gate or an exercise pen (a metal playpen for dogs, available at most pet stores). Put an open crate, food and water on one side of the room and some newspaper or a few potty pads on the other.
- When your dog isn’t in her crate or safe room, it’s a good idea to attach a lightweight leash to her harness and let her drag it around the house. If necessary, you can use the leash to get her out from under furniture if she hides. Letting your dog drag a leash will also help her get used to how the leash feels when it’s attached to her harness, which may make on-leash walks easier.
- If you like, you can allow your dog to sleep beside your bed in her crate. This will help her get used to your presence, and she can quietly bond with you while you both rest. If your dog is small, try putting the crate on a table near the bed so that she can easily see you.
- Because they’re usually housed with other dogs all day and night, puppy mill dogs often trust new dogs before they trust new people. So if you already have a friendly, outgoing dog, he’ll be a great comfort to your new dog, as well as a valuable role model. After initial introductions, make sure that your dogs have opportunities to spend time together. (For information about how to introduce dogs, please see our article on Introducing Your Dog to a New Dog.) If you don’t have another outgoing dog, try to borrow one from a friend or neighbor.
- Please do not have a big party to “socialize” your dog as soon as you bring her home. Give your her at least a few days to bond with you and settle in before introducing her to strangers. When she seems more comfortable with you, she can start meeting new friends, one or two at a time, in quiet, familiar environments.
How to Help Your Dog Adjust to Her New Life
When most people picture life with a dog, they imagine long, scenic walks, parties with lots of friends and playing with other dogs at the dog park. These activities may be possible with your new dog someday, but please remember to be patient. It may take a while to get there.
Introducing the Leash Indoors
At first, most puppy mill dogs tend to panic and try to run home if you attempt to walk them on leash outside. This is why they need to be slowly introduced to leash-walking indoors before venturing out. Before you get started, we recommend that you purchase a harness for your sensitive puppy mill dog. ASPCA behavior experts have found that fearful shelter dogs tend to react better when their leash is attached to a body harness instead of a collar. Many unsocialized dogs panic and thrash around when they feel a collar tighten around their neck, and a harness is less likely to cause this reaction. Allow your dog some time to get used to you and her new home before trying to attach the leash to her harness. When she seems comfortable with her new surroundings, take her and some delicious treats, such as chicken, cheese or liverwurst, to a quiet room. Gently attach the leash, and then immediately feed her a few tiny treats. Keeping the leash loose, start to slowly walk around the room. Continue to feed your dog treats as she follows and walks beside you.
The Great Outdoors
When you’re sure your dog feels comfortable wearing a leash and harness indoors, you can start to gradually introduce her to the world outside. If she’s small enough to be comfortable in a carrier, it may help to take her to a quiet place, like a nearby park. Then you can lift her out of the carrier and let her sit on your lap or explore while wearing her leash and harness.
After a few low-key trips to the park, you can try taking your dog on a walk. The following tips will help keep the new activity as stress-free as possible:
- Walking with another dog may increase your dog’s confidence. Consider borrowing a neighbor’s dog if you don’t have one.
- Make sure that your dog’s walking equipment is completely secure. If she gets frightened, she may try to back out of her collar or harness and escape. If your dog tolerates the feeling of a leash attached to her collar, you can try using two leashes for extra safety: one attached to her collar and the other attached to her harness.
- Make sure that your dog wears a well-fitted collar with identification tags at all times. If she doesn’t have a microchip, consider getting one implanted, and keep the microchip information up-to-date.
Introducing Your Dog to Friends and Family
In time, your dog will likely bond strongly to her primary caretaker, but if she’s an older puppy mill dog, there’s a good chance that she’ll remain fearful of strangers for a long time—perhaps forever. It’s your job to keep her safe from invasive human contact. Don’t let strangers you meet on the street pet her or pick her up. If your dog learns that you’ll keep her safe, she’ll be far less anxious on walks.
When you bring new people into your home, you’ll find that it’s often easier to have them play “hard to get” when meeting your shy, fearful dog. A friendly human greeting (direct gaze, leaning over, reaching with hands) is actually quite threatening in dog language. Instead, have guests make themselves small by sitting or crouching, avoid eye contact and just let your dog approach on her own when she’s feeling comfortable.
One great way to get to know a shy dog is to sit on the floor while reading a book and scatter treats all around you. This way, the dog can approach as much as she likes and is repeatedly rewarded for her bravery. Have willing friends and family try this technique. When a person wants to meet your dog, ask him not to pet your dog until she looks completely comfortable and seems eager for him to touch her. If he rushes things, he could undo all your hard work! When your dog will readily take treats from the person’s hand, he can try a gentle scratch on the chest and, if your dog still seems at ease, work up to scratching under her collar. These are non-threatening gestures to most dogs.
Training a Shy Puppy Mill Dog
Did you know that yawning, looking away and lip licking are signs that a dog is worried? If your dog shrinks away from something she encounters, try associating that thing with her favorite treat or toy, over and over, until she’s no longer scared. For example, if your dog is afraid of traffic, go to a quiet park where you can see cars far away. Right after each car goes by, give your dog a tiny piece of chicken or cheese. (Don’t feed her treats at any other time during training. She should only get the goodies right after she notices a car.) When your dog eagerly looks up at you for her treat the moment she sees a car appear, you can move a little closer to the road and continue training. As long as your dog stays relaxed, move a little closer each day. You can do the same thing if your dog is afraid of strangers, with treats coming from you at first. (Your dog doesn’t have to receive treats from strangers for this procedure to work. As soon as she sees an unfamiliar person, you give her a treat. With consistent repetition, she’ll still associate the treats with the appearance of strangers.) Some sources say that you should never comfort a shy dog because doing so will “reinforce” the fear. This is nonsense. Please go ahead and do whatever it takes to make your dog more comfortable! Some dogs take great comfort from human contact, and if gentle petting helps your dog calm down when she’s anxious, feel free to pet her. If she’s becoming more confident, you’re doing the right thing.
When you think your dog is ready for a group training class, consider enrolling. Agility training and obedience classes that use positive, food-based training techniques may help build your dog’s confidence. Avoid classes that involve punishment, as this kind of class will intensify rather than improve fearful behavior.
- For house training help, please see our articles on House Training Your Puppy Mill Dog, House Training Your Adult Dog and House Training Your Puppy.
- Because helping a puppy mill dog adjust to her new life can be challenging, consider contacting a qualified animal behavior expert for guidance. Please see our article on Finding Professional Help to locate a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT), a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB or ACAAB) or a board-certified veterinary behaviorist (Dip ACVB) in your area.
How to care for an abused Cat
A large majority of cats that are maimed and damaged have probably been abused. Most cat mental health damage is internal and emotional as opposed to their physical appearance. Emotional and internal cat mental health are the most difficult problems to fix. A soft voice and a gentle touch are key elements when dealing with a cat that has been abused. The cat needs to be made to understand that the abuse has come to an end.
When dealing with a cat that has been neglected, you should wait until he approaches you for affection. Because the cat is confused and unsure of your intentions, you will need to exercise extreme patience.
The cat will eventually feel confident in approaching you if you convey to him that he has nothing to fear from you. Let him smell you and pet him when he decided to come to you. He will quickly learn that he can trust you and in time, he will come to you when you call him. As this is a critical time, yelling and raising your voice to your cat can add to his fragile emotional state of mind.
Your cat will become lethargic or even mean if you use incorrect methods of discipline. However, it is important to understand that if a cat does become mean, it is not always a negative thing. If a cat is mean, it shows that they care and are still concerned about what happens to them. A lethargic cat, on the other hand, is tougher to reach as they have lost the will to care.
Lack of response, lack of playing or lack of eating properly are all signs of a lethargic cat. The recommended method to inspire a lethargic cat is to introduce a companion cat. Over a period of time, a lethargic cat will soon desire attention. You should always use a gentile voice and allow him to snuggle with you when this happens.
Give positive reinforcement to your cat and praise him when you notice his behavior improving. Be careful not to raise your voice or make sudden movements as your cat is still recovering from a traumatic experience. You can consider him returning to his normal self once he approaches you and allows you to pet him again. Remember, this is a delicate situation and requires the utmost of patience on your part.
Finally, if you do have to discipline your cat, use a soft, gentile voice. If you are patient and let the cat know that you are here to help him, he will eventually recover and develop into a loving and warm companion.
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to care for an abused Dog
- Ask whoever you got it from about the dog, so you know what and what not to do
- Check it out. First, take the dog to a veterinarian. If the dog is reasonably healthy, have the vet give a Rabies vaccine. Never allow your vet to give a vaccine to a sick animal or give several vaccines at once. Your vet will examine the dog, check for parasites, and give medication if necessary. They will also check for infections, old injuries, and examine the condition of the dog's teeth. You will also find out if it is safe to handle the dog.
- Remove any parasites. If the dog is very nervous or even slightly aggressive, get a closed-end muzzle for the dog. Then, brush or comb the dog and to remove any parasites, preferably outdoors. If the vet administered a spot-on treatment like Frontline, don't bathe the dog for at least 48 hours. To remove ticks, collect the following: rubbing alcohol, tweezers, and paper towels. Settle the pup down and rub the alcohol on the ticks, then start plucking those nasty ticks off of him. Be sure to dig the entire head of the tick out as well, because the tick may still survive. If the bites start to bleed, apply pressure on them with a paper towel. The bleeding will stop shortly. The dog may whine or wiggle if you hurt it, so soothe the animal by speaking softly and petting it.
- Feed it. A neglected dog is almost always a hungry dog. When you take the animal to the vet, ask what kind of feeding schedule you should set up. Why? If the dog has a distended belly, and you overfeed it, you could twist its intestines and kill the poor animal. A hungry animal will devour a bucket full of food in a matter of minutes, so only set out small amounts every few hours. Be sure to provide the animal with clean, cold water as well.
- Give it some love. It has just been neglected, it searches for a loving and responsible pack. Make it feel loved and let it know that you will care for his future needs.
- If you already have a dog, make sure your dog isn't in contact with the one you adopted until it has its vaccinations, and its behavior is stable.
- Please spay and neuter your animals. There are so many homeless animals out there, why add to the overpopulation?
- Don't coddle or spoil the dog. Expect the dog to be nervous. Be a calm leader. Allow the dog to settle in your home.
- Don't feed the dog large amounts. If you must feed before speaking with a vet only offer a small amount of puppy food from a reputable brand 3-4 times a day. (For instance, a medium sized dog should get roughly 1/2c - 3/4 a cup of dry puppy food and a tablespoon of moist puppy food 3-4 times a day to start)
- Use extreme caution. A frightened dog is often aggressive.
- A stray dog may have Rabies. Do not handle the dog until it is vaccinated.
- A stray dog may be somebody's lost pet. Put up posters and ads in the paper. Have your vet scan the dog for a microchip.
- A stray dog may not be housetrained. Do not punish the dog for going potty inside, as this may further damage the animal's already nervous disposition. Watch the dog's habits and bring it outside every few hours, allowing it enough time to sniff around, get acquainted with the area, and then do it's business.
- Keep small children away from the animal until about a week has gone by. By then, you should know the medical condition and general nature of the animal.
- Never feed any of your dogs cheese, anything from pigs (ham, bacon, etc), onions, animal bones, grapes, garlic, chocolate, sushi, apple cores, or corn cobs. These could lead to illness, diarrhea, choking and/or death.
Things You'll Need
- A Martingale collar - it tightens in two spots so if the animal becomes frightened and tries to back out of the collar, he can't (as opposed to a flat collar that is much easier to escape from).
- ID tags
- A leash
- Pet food or treats
Cat Training Tips
I’ve never been very interested in
I’m not sure where all our feral cats came from, but I have a pretty good idea. We have a quirky neighbor who lives across the street, and she once had numerous cats. One day she decided she didn’t want to feed them anymore, and every time the cats would come in her yard, she’d chase them away with a broom. The unwanted cats spread across the neighborhood, breeding and having kittens. I’m pretty sure our feral cats are descendants of the original unwanted felines.
I’ll never understand how people can do this. How can anyone just up and decide one day that they no longer want to care for their pets? And if they do make that decision, why not call local animal shelters to come get the animals, instead of expecting the animals to fend for themselves? The neighbor’s cats were loving and docile, and I’m sure local animal shelters could have found good homes for some, if not all, of the felines. Now, the resulting generations are wild as minks.
Catherders – Herding Cats
My grandchildren are wannabe catherders. They love animals, and when they found out we had two litters of kittens, the kids were delighted. Of course, they were itching to pet and
As the grands went about herding cats, I couldn’t help but recall the famous catherding commercial from a years-ago Super Bowl commercial. I think it’s the best commercial of all time, and I’ve included the video so you can see it, just in case you missed it.
Herding cats isn’t easy, and the grandchildren had no luck in their endeavors. Maybe it’s because they didn’t have horses? Next time, I suppose they could saddle up the Great Danes and ride them. Actually, it’s probably a good thing the kids weren’t able to catch the kitties. I picked one up the other day and thought I was tangling with a buzz saw!
To read more: http://hubpages.com/hub/Cat-Training-Feral-Cats
How To Rehabilitate a Previously Abused Pet
Whether dog, cat, or other species, the universal response to abuse is one of mistrust, social withdrawal, physical inactivity, and depression. The thoroughly defeated dog or cat often hunkers in the corner of a room, not daring to explore its environment. This fear can extend to the outside world, giving an appearance of agoraphobia (fear of open spaces). Severely affected animals may not want or know how to play. They remain vigilant, reclusive and often quiet. These are general signs. Specific signs may reflect the type of abuse the pet suffered. For example, if a young dog or cat has been forced to spend many hours alone, it may fear a return of this situation with such intensity that they become overly attached to a caring owner and may show extreme anxiety when separated from him/her. Alternatively, affected dogs or cats may simply fear being left alone – a slightly different situation.
Cats that have not been exposed to people during the first 7 weeks of life never become fully accepting of people and thus rarely make good pets. Cats that have been mistreated by people during the same period may become positively hostile to strangers for the rest of their lives. The same is true for dogs, except that the sensitive period usually concludes at around 12-14 weeks.
Abuse and neglect have other serious ramifications. The behavioral flaws arising from inappropriate rearing can threaten animals' lives because affected pets do not know how to respond appropriately to different situations.
How To Rehabilitate a Previously Abused Pet
First of all, don't expect things to turn around overnight and do not have too high expectations for the final result. It often takes a year to transform a reclusive, abused pet into a family-friendly companion. Even so, do not expect a miracle: You are unlikely to achieve complete resolution of the issues. Previously abused pets can become accepting of their human family members but making them into well-rounded social successes is an almost impossible task. That said, to attempt such therapeutic work can be a rewarding challenge, and those who have met with success never regret the decision they made to make a formerly miserable pet happy and save its life.
Here's how to proceed:
Some specific measures include the following:
Once appropriate background measures are in place, and the pet is on the mend, it is time to consider active rehabilitation in the form of desensitization. Desensitization is the behavioral equivalent of homeopathy: A little bit of what ails (step-wise approach to feared person or situation) is employed under close control to do some good.
Whether the "little bit" entails limited and controlled exposure to strangers or being left alone depends on the particular needs of the pet. Desensitization is best performed in conjunction with counter-conditioning – a process in which animals' fear cues are associated with a positive (or, at least, different) response. The usual strategy is to replace a previously fearful response with an appetitive response using delicious food as the conditioner.
With reference to training, as ethologist Konrad Lorenz once said, "Art and science aren't enough; patience is the basic stuff." This is especially true when it comes to rehabilitating formerly abused animals. Such animals present the greatest challenge, because they are not blank slates for inscription but rather have already been exposed to un-erasable unfortunate learning. However, this is not to say that amazing turnarounds cannot be achieved - for they can - only that trainers must work hard with such pets to superimpose new learning that will submerge earlier adverse learning experiences.
Rehabilitating an Abused and Neglected Dog
in animal rescue, there are many times a dog or puppy comes to us after
being seriously abused and/or neglected. Often times these are great
dogs, who just need a second chance at life. They need to learn to love
and trust human beings again, which can be quite a task. If you
have taken in an abused or neglected dog, whether permanently or
temporarily, there are some important factors to consider. Caring for
this dog will be different than caring for a dog that has no past abuse
or neglect. Certain steps will need to be taken to ensure that the dog
will learn to trust again.
1. Give the dog a ton of love and reassurance. Move gently and quietly around him, and pet him slowly. Speak to him often, in a regular speaking voice, never louder. Sit down on the floor with him, and rub his belly or ears if he will allow it.
2. Keep the dog away from other people. Crowds will unsettle him and will hinder his ability to start to trust again. This is temporary. The dog will need to be re-socialized at a later date. Some dogs will require more time to adjust than others. Caring for a dog that has been abused and neglected will take time and patience.
3. Keep the dog away from other pets, at least in the beginning. The idea is to keep as many stress factors away from your dog. Until you get to know your dog a little better, it is best to keep him away. Other animals may make him nervous and scared, and he is likely to react in an unfavorable way.
4. Work on obedience training. This will help foster a relationship between you and your dog, and as your dog learns commands, both you and he will be happier. Start this right away, but be prepared to have lots of patience and take your time. Do not enroll in an obedience class, this is something you should work on alone with your dog, at home.
5. Gradually allow your dog to meet with others, once he has shown some progress. You will know your dog is ready when he starts becoming more active, alert and friendly. Once you think he is ready, invite others over a few at a time. Introduce him to other pets slowly.
It is important to remember that each dog will be different. Often times, the level of abuse and neglect may play a role in how quickly the dog can recover from his emotional wounds. Rehabilitating an abused and neglected dog may take weeks, months or even years. In some cases, the dog may truly be scarred for life and will need an owner who will understand that, and provide them with a loving and nurturing home anyways.
Another factor to consider is if you are up for the challenge. If you are not, don't take on the task. It will only succeed in frustrating you, and hindering the dog from moving forward.
Caring for an abused and neglected dog is a rewarding job. When the dog has overcome his fears and has learned to love life again, it is a joyous feeling for the caregiver. Consider opening your heart and home to a dog in need and you will be rewarded greatly.
Your dog is lost! What should you do? Here is a time line for immediate action, what to do after two hours, two days and beyond. Keep this emergency guide on hand, in case your pet is lost. Speediness and thoroughness are essential for bringing your dog home safely.
- Don't waste time! Get a couple people to work in an organized way simultaneously. In the first two hours, ask family and friends to search around town and up to a two-mile radius of the location where the dog was last seen. Tell any children you see that you are looking for a dog and posters will be up tomorrow with your phone number. However, keep in mind that many children have been warned that this is a trick used by potential kidnappers and kids may become frightened.
- Bring along your dog's favorite toy, or another noise that makes him come running. Dogs can hear sounds from very far away and may come if they hear a comforting sound! Shaking a treat bag or something else a dog knows means food can help, too.
- While you're out searching, have someone else make phone calls to your local Humane Society, animal shelters, rescues, vets, and police departments. Contact your neighbors to be on the lookout. If you're close to a county line, contact similar places in that county, too. If your local TV and radio stations make community announcements, ask them for help. Notify the local pounds and shelters. If someone does find a dog and brings it there, they will know to reach you. If they do say they have a dog that matches, make sure to visit yourself, and don't call off the search until you're sure it's yours. Their description and yours can easily vary.
- Same evening after it's too dark to search any more: Create an ad
with a recent picture of your dog. If you don't have a photo, and your
dog is a purebred, use a picture from a book. Describe the dog so an
average person would recognize him if he saw him. Include identifying
information about him like his collar, dog tags, tattoo, identifying
features like scars or unusual coloration's, or microchip ID number
- Be specific: "LOST: (Dog's Name) a brown dog with white face and paws, SPAYED female; 60#, got loose from yard on Dec. 1, 2005 (Location where lost) near the post office in Our Town, PA around 4 p.m. Wearing a pink collar with rabies tag and license. Is on anti-seizure medication. Family pet. REWARD. Call (610) 555-0000."
- "Family pet" tends to motivate people to look. Advertising it as a "show dog," "breeding dog," "therapy dog," or "search and rescue dog" is not a good idea. Too much disclosure is not always the best policy in these matters.
- A reward tends to motivate people. However, don't state an amount. If you make the reward too large, like $5000, people will wonder about the dog's value and some people may not want to return your pet.
- Always say a female is spayed, whether she is or not. Again, this is to protect the dog from the unscrupulous who might see a breeding opportunity. The same logic applies to a medical problem or genetic defect. People will be less likely to think of breeding a dog that could be perceived as valuable if they think it has a medical problem. That gives an urgency to the ad, too.
- If the dog is friendly, say "Please try and coax her into your garage or fenced yard and call us." If the dog is not friendly or could be a fear biter say, "Don't attempt to corner her. Simply call us with her location ASAP."
- It is a good idea to make a few copies of flyers in different languages, like Spanish or French, especially if you live in an area with people of many different backgrounds.
- Day 2: Intensify the search. Make at least 200 photocopies of your ad. (Printer ink runs in rain; photocopier toner won't.) Start posting on bulletin boards and in high visibility areas like gas stations and grocery stores in your neighborhood. Tape flyers to phone poles (in many places, it is illegal and unsafe to use staples because it's a danger to pole men). Ask friends and family members to distribute flyers door-to-door. Be sure to put extra fliers around that playground, or notify the owners of that dog park.
- Take "found" calls with a grain of salt. At this devastating time, you are vulnerable and there are unethical people who may try to take advantage.
- If someone calls and describes your dog from your ad and says, "I've got your dog here," respond, "Does she have a black mark inside her right leg?" and they say, "She sure does" and your dog doesn't, hang up quickly. You don't want to deal with such people. If they say, "No, she doesn't" and you think it could be your dog, simply say you made a mistake, that's another dog you've seen before.
- If someone tries to blackmail you into a higher reward before returning your dog, try to make sure they have the right dog (or any dog at all) and ask the person to meet you in a public place. Then go with another person to meet them. Don't be taken advantage of. If it is your dog, offer a token reward.
- Recent scams include people calling for out-of-state airfare for your lost dog. They might say your dog has been stolen and dumped far from home and they found him 200 miles away. Don't fall for it.
- After 2 days: Extend your search
- Go a little farther by vehicle and start spreading the word to your local mailmen, UPS and Fed Ex drivers, joggers, runners, bikers and anyone else walking around the search areas.
- Drop off or fax a copy of your ad to area shelters.
- Expand the radius of your search area by several miles - call shelters even beyond the area you think your dog could have reached.
- Visit the animal shelters and rescue leagues to look for your pet every other day. Don't expect volunteers to recognize one brown dog from another. If the dog is a dirty, matted mess that lost weight, you may have trouble identifying your own pet. Ask if there is a quarantine area or an area where injured animals are kept in case your dog is separated from those shown to the public.
- Check the "found" ads in they newspaper each day your pet is lost.
- Stay positive.
Dogs have been re-united with their owners even after a year or more.
Keep going back to the shelters showing pictures of your dog.
- Many vets, neighbors, shelters & rescuers have found that the fastest way to place an animal back with its family is by following info on tags & microchips. Be sure that your dog is wearing a tag at all times, also be sure to microchip & register your dog.
- Put articles of clothing or a dog's favorite toys outside the house. Dogs are attracted to things that bring them comfort. A scent of their master whom they love can allure them.
- Plan ahead for a "lost dog" emergency. Always have a picture of your dog on hand and a record of his ID tag, tattoo license numbers, and/or microchip ID information.
- Keep these phone numbers handy: your vet, the animal rescue league, the Humane Society and animal shelters in your county and possibly a neighboring county, local radio or TV stations that make community service announcements, local and state police.
- Some people tell you not to put the dog's name on its tag or dog thieves might easily lure the dog into their car. Anyone close enough to read the name tag is probably already holding the dog's collar. It is very difficult to call for a dog without a name. "Here doggy" just doesn't cut it for most dogs who are frightened and are often afraid of strangers.
- If you have a purebred dog, check with the rescue organizations for your breed. Many of them have "Lost Dog" links on their websites. Some rescuers will travel a distance to help their breed in need.
- Never respond to a found pet claim alone. Take a friend and ask to meet in a public place such as the park.
How to Rehabilitate An Abused Dog: Teaching An Abused Dog to Trust
You may not normally be in a situation where you’re wondering how to rehabilitate an abused dog. This is usually a task for the experts at animal shelters. However, if you should ever have a need to approach a dog that appears to be hurt, abandoned, and/or abused, I share with you how to go about gaining his trust enough for you to approach him in order to be able to get him the help (and love) he needs and deserves.
If you come across a dog that is in dire straits, chances are that he is making himself unapproachable. He may be hiding in the bushes, or just doing anything at all to keep you more than arm’s length away.
Here are a few pointers that you may try. Be careful, be gentle, and most of all, be patient. This may take awhile.
When you approach this dog, make yourself smaller by bending down so that you’re not towering over him. This will make you appear less threatening.
When talking to him, speak in a soft, gentle tone. Make him feel that you mean no harm. Move slowly because fast movements may harm him and scare him further away.
Try to call him come to you, if that’s possible. If he begins to approach you, praise him in a soft, cheerful voice. Have patience. Let him come on his own terms. Keep in mind that he may be used to having someone hit him when he comes and he doesn’t trust you yet.
Try offering food to him as an incentive to approach. He’s probably very hungry anyway, and will see this as an offering. When he gets close enough, give him the food. You may have to throw it his way, or lay it down and step back. Just keep trying.
You can also try to just sit quietly and wait for him to approach. He may need to do this on his own terms.
When you do finally gain his trust enough for him to come close to you, treat him gently. Keep your palm up as he approaches you and gently rub under his chin or on his chest. Both of these spots are calming to a dog.
If he moves to step backward, let him retreat. It’s okay to simply have him near you for a few minutes at a time. In time, he will stay longer on his own.
If you have a leash, gently put it over his head and just let it sit. Let him get used to having it on him before you try to lead him anywhere. You don’t want him to run away with the leash on, though. Wait until you have his trust enough that he will stay with you.
If you succeed this far, you may need to take him to an animal rescue or dog adoption center where they know how to rehabilitate an abused dog. This dog deserves a better life now. If you can take him in yourself for find a good home for him, then I love you for it.
As I said earlier, and as you can probably imagine, this may not
happen right away. There are many stories of people trying to gain the
trust of a dog that takes days, even weeks. Here is a fine example of
the patience of two women, who spend three months
gaining the trust of Rosie, a Rottweiler, who had been living alone in a
national park for over a year.