What to Do with a Stray Dog
By Brittany Sorgenstein
At one time or another while driving, we have all seen a dog wandering hopelessly around a street. He could have gotten out of his yard, or perhaps was dumped by his owner. Either way, if you are a caring person, your first thought is to try and catch him. Here are a few tips that can make it easier and safer for you to catch a stray dog.
Have a slip lead and offer treats
Make sure you have a lead handy, as a stray dog may not have a collar. A slip lead is the best tool. Treats would also be helpful. If a dog has been wandering for a while, he may be very hungry and more willing to approach you if you have food. Try throwing a few treats toward the dog and then turn sideways so as not to frighten him.
Some dogs may come right up to you, happily accepting your help, while others might be frightened and run in the opposite direction. Do not grab at a loose dog, as some will be very scared and sudden movements may frighten the dog even more. Instead, move slowly and don’t try to immobilize the dog.
Run away from the dog
A common mistake people make when trying to catch a dog is chasing him. Have you ever noticed that when you chase your own dog he just runs away and acts like it is a big game? That is exactly what a loose dog will do as well. You are actually better off running in the opposite direction in the hopes the dog will then chase you.
Calling to the dog or patting your legs in an attempt to get the dog to come to you is another frequent error. If the dog is in a heightened state, this could cause him to react negatively. He could bolt in the other direction and possibly run right into a dangerous situation.
Use calming signals
While dogs don’t understand the English language, they do understand body language. You should use calming signals to show the dog you mean him no harm. A few of these signals include yawning, blinking and moving from the side instead of head on. In addition, you should approach slowly and lower yourself to the ground. You are less likely to look intimidating if you are on the dog’s level.
Use a magnet dog
As dogs are pack animals, they could be more likely to trust a four-legged friend over a two-legged one. You can use what is known as a “magnet dog” to lure the wandering dog to you. The magnet dog should be friendly and playful. This may entice the dog to come closer to you so you can safely catch him.
Trap him in a confined area
Finally, if possible, you should attempt to use a yard or a gate to fence the dog in. This will trap him in a confined area until you can call animal control to come rescue him.
While your intentions are good, you can’t really know how the dog is feeling about your rescue mission. Remember that safety must be your main concern—yours and the dog’s. Make sure to call animal control to assist with the situation.