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Finding a lost dog requires a number of things to happen as quickly as possible. With the average friendly Lab, it will be fairly easy to track down the dog, but with more fearful dogs all of the steps below may be needed.


Of course, prevention is the best choice of all, so please be careful when entering and exiting your home after bringing your dog home. You will also want to use a martingale-style collar or snug harness to avoid your dog backing out of his/her collar when suddenly frightened by a new or unexpected sound or experience.

  1. Reach out to your neighbors in person, by listserv, and through social media to ask them to be on the lookout for your Lab. Be sure to include a photo and your contact information.

  2. Extend your reach farther via social media by using your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. You can also post to the Lab Rescue LRCP Facebook Group, and lost & found groups in your area. Include the date lost, last seen location, and your mobile phone number.

  3. File a report with local shelters and animal control. Be sure to include shelters from surrounding counties as well. You also may want to visit these shelters, as sometimes a match will be missed.

  4. Contact your microchip company and report your dog as lost. Since 2012, all Lab Rescue dogs are microchipped; if you haven’t registered the chip yet, check the veterinary paperwork provided when you adopted your dog for the chip number. Most microchip companies will issue a notice to all local vets.

  5. Contact your local vets directly. Send over a flyer and give the date and time your dog went missing, location, description of the lab, the color of collar, chip number, if wearing tags, and any other identifying information that would be helpful.

  6. Put up flyers and posters in high-traffic areas. You can use to create your flyer, or make it yourself using the helpful tips at Use clear sleeves to protect the signs from the weather. Include the same information as in the social media posts.

  7. Take a scented item of your dog (collar, blanket) and place in Ziploc bag. If needed, a dog tracker may use these items.

  8. Place your dog’s bed and other familiar items (e.g., your clothes or the clothing of the foster if recently adopted) outside your front/back door. You will also want to set up feeding stations at the place the dog escaped, and at any location the dog is sighted. Use a piece of cardboard about 3' x 3' covered in flour with a little fried chicken, rotisserie chicken, cat food (something that smells) in the center. This way you can see the footprints of whatever is eating at the station. You will also want to leave water out.

  9. As you meet people during your search, text each person a photo of the poster. If they have the number handy, they are more likely to call with a sighting. 

  10. Print a map of the area and note every sighting location, date, and time. When you get a report of a sighting save the caller’s name and number. Be aware that there will be false sightings.


Additional Tips for Fearful Dogs

  1. For more fearful dogs who will not come when called, Lab Rescue LRCP and many animal shelters and rescues have traps you can borrow. The trap should be set where the dog was last spotted and on level the ground. Camouflage the trap with brush/leaves. Use WD-40 on the hinges of the trap to make sure the door closes smoothly. Leave fried chicken or rotisserie chicken in the back corners of the trap when it is set up. That way the dog will move into the trap allowing the door to close. You will need to check the trap at least three times a day and release any wildlife caught.

  2. To encourage the dog to come to the trap, take three cans of mackerel or tuna and mix it with three gallons of water. Shake the mix and pour it from the trap leading out in several directions.

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