Dogs have been used for search and rescue to find lost people for decades. But what you may not know is that your furry friend can also be trained to find lost pets, like your cat, when he wanders off. How is this possible? Let's start by looking at the fact that just like humans, every animal has its own distinct scent. This does not mean each breed, it means each and every individual animal has his or her own smell, one that no other animal shares.
Traditional search and rescue relies on the dog being able to track the person in question by their scent, often retrieved from an item of clothing they wear. Just as your dog can be taught to locate a missing person in this manner, he can also be taught how to find your pet cat in the same manner. No more spending hours searching the neighborhood the next time your kitty gets out when he is hiding under the house. You can even train your dog to help find other people's lots cats or dogs, making him very popular with your neighbors.
The task itself is to train your dog to recognize the scent of your cat and then to be able to find your cat by following this scent wherever it goes until he finds your kitty safe and sound. While this might seem easy enough, the reality is that it could take some time before your pup can successfully track your cat anywhere he happens to go, even up in a tree.
You can teach this trick to any age dog as long as he has been trained to follow basic commands. Not only can this be a very important skill for your dog to learn, but teaching your dog to seek out and find your cat or anything else by scent can be a lot of fun. Bear in mind, you will need to be very patient and have enough time to work with your pup on a daily basis until he masters it.
To get started training your dog to find your cat, you will need a few things to make the training easier and more successful. These include:
Training requires that your pup understand exactly what it is that you want him to search for, then you have to teach him to look for your pet, and finally, you have to teach him how to let you know he has found your cat.
Can i train my dog to find my cat who is already lost ?
Hello Sara, That depends on a lot of factors, such as how long the cat has been lost for and how far away the cat may be. If your cat disappeared this week and you have items of scent you can use for training, it may be possible if the cat is close by for your dog to find. Know that, unfortunately it can take several weeks to train this and by then scent trails will likely be washed out and faded, plus object with scent for training purposes less strong. It is possible in rare cases I believe but normally it would not be successful in my opinion. There is probably no harm in attempting to teach this if you wish to though. Also be sure to contact your local humane societies and leave a picture and description of your cat with them (and make sure the cat isn't there). You can hang up flyers and check with local rescues who have missing animal pages on their websites. I hope you are able to find your cat! Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
Was this experience helpful?