Dogs are full of surprises: most of them wonderful, some of them silly, and a few a little gross. Although it’s rare, it’s important to know what steps to take if your Rover dog runs away. Here’s what you do if your Rover dog takes off after that squirrel.
Call Us Right Away
We’ll jump into action. Save our Trust & Safety phone number (888-727-1140) in your contacts, and call us immediately in case of a lost dog. Call the owner right after you call us—they’ll often have tips on how to get their dog to come to you. We can’t emphasize enough that the earlier you let us know, the more we can help.
If You Can Still See the Dog
If the dog is still within view, use these simple tricks (and treats) to catch them. The most important thing to remember is to remain calm: If you start to chase them, your Rover dog will think it’s a fun game and will keep running.
- Approach them slowly. Don’t run: Instead, crouch down a little and start jogging backwards, coaxing them to chase you. When they’re close enough and you’re confident you can grab them, catch them.
- Follow them slowly. Walk at a slow enough pace so you can keep an eye on them without startling them into running.
- Use a calm voice to call the dog to you. Or excited, like you have awesome treats with you or you’re going to go somewhere fun like a ride in the car or a park. Never yell at the dog to come to you.
- Show them treats. If you have treats with you, try tossing them relatively close to the dog, then progressively closer to yourself.
If You Can’t See the Dog
We know it sounds scary, but after you give us a call, we’ll ask you to call the dog owner. The good news is, an owner might have a good idea of how to bring their dog home. Letting them know as soon as possible will increase your chances of finding the lost dog.
Here’s what we’ll ask you to do:
- Call the owner directly.
- If they don’t pick up, text, e-mail, or send a message to them through the Rover site. In this message, tell the owner this is urgent and you need to speak with them as soon as possible.
- Give the owner around an hour to receive the message and respond. If they haven’t responded by then, send them a message through Rover with details regarding the incident, as well as actions being taken to recover their dog.
What to Ask the Dog Owner
Once you get a hold of the dog owner, we recommend asking:
- Has anything like this ever happened before, and how did they behave? Did they try to track their way home? Did they hide in a neighbor’s garage or yard? These questions will help give you an idea of where to look, just in case the dog has a favorite spot that’s normally out-of-bounds.
- Is your dog food-motivated? Will searching with treats increase the chances of bringing them home?
- Do they respond best to a certain type of person?
- Will they respond to any nicknames?
- Do they respond to a command similar to “come”?
- Are they microchipped? Is their info up-to-date? What about their tags?
- Can you send a photo of your dog? Use that photo to create flyers.
After You’ve Reached Out to the Dog Owner
Even if you haven’t yet gotten a hold of the dog owner, spring into action. Here’s what you do next:
- Get out there and search as often as possible. Bring smelly treats such as bacon with you to assist with attracting the dog.
- Use other dogs to help. If the dog responds well to other dogs, try and bring a dog to assist with the search. But if the lost dog doesn’t like other dogs, we don’t suggest this one.
- Recruit family and friends to start a search party for the dog. Also work with the owners to see if there are any of their family or friends in the area can help physically search.
- Ask the neighbors. Knock on neighbor’s doors to inquire if anyone saw a dog or took a dog in.
- Create flyers to hand out and post around the neighborhood. Print extras, so that you can hand it out to people you meet. Print in black and white, if that’s fastest, and use very bright-colored paper. It’s okay if you don’t have a picture of the dog: just include a brief description (breed, gender, collar), your phone number, and the word REWARD.
- Make posters. Use large, bright poster boards with the same information as the REWARD poster to post around your neighborhood, or anywhere else where the dog was sighted.
- Create a “lost dog” post on social media. Post a message on Craigslist, local blogs, and social media sites with the dog’s description, photo, and your contact information. Also, search these sites for postings of found dogs, such as PetHarbor. Search both “Lost and Found” and “Pets” sections.
- Contact local agencies for help. This includes:
- Your local Animal Care and Control (sometimes they’ll even come out to help you search)
- Pet hospitals
- Dog-walking services
- Animal shelters
- Pet stores
- Other local businesses in your area
Visit your local Animal Care and Control and animal shelters in case they haven’t updated what dogs are in their care. They also might describe the dog differently than you would, so it is best to do a physical check yourself.
- Use services such as www.lostmydoggie.com. LostMyDoggie is a website that can generate robo calls to the community to assist in the efforts of locating the lost dog.
We know it’s stressful to even imagine your Rover dog escaping, but we’re here to help you spring into action just in case. We’ll help you communicate with the dog owner, take steps to bring them home, and use resources around you to your advantage. Bottom line: We’re dog safety experts, and we’re here to help you bring your Rover dog home.