Losing a pet can be heartbreaking for a family. Owners often never locate their missing family member and have no idea what happened to their beloved furry friend. A dog or cat can become confused and wander off in a wilderness area, or even in an urban area. Frightened animals may 'hole up' to stay safe, but this behavior can make them even harder to find. A really frightened or injured pet may not even respond to being called.
A possible solution is to get a trained dog to locate lost pets! Using your dog as a tool to reunite missing pets with their families is very rewarding and gives your scent-following pup a job to do, which most dogs thrive on. Because every animal, including humans, has their own unique scent, you can train a particularly 'nosy' dog to distinguish between individual animal scents and put his nose to work following a pet’s scent trail to locate it. We use dogs all the time for search and rescue to locate humans, so why not put them to work for our missing pets?
A dog that finds lost pets needs to be calm and well socialized with other animals. Also, remember that although all dogs have powerful noses, some dogs such as hounds are particularly suited to finding lost pets. Your dog also must be trainable and able to focus on the job. Working dogs and those with calm, focused temperaments are better tools for locating lost pets. To start with, you will need treats and a dog or cat to act as your 'lost pet' that is comfortable being in a crate. A training stick and a clicker are also useful tools for some training methods.