Nellie, a rescue, cocker spaniel from a puppy farm, was spooked while on a walk with her dog walker on Thursday 10.8.23 in Ashton-under-Lyne OL6. She managed to escape and bolted.
A few people tried to catch her but sadly this pushed her further away and she continued running. If she had been left alone she would have soon stopped running and would have gone to ground. When she first ran she was only round the corner from her home and she would have very likely made her way home last night. But because she was approached and chased she ended up over 2 miles away from home.
Nellie’s owner phoned us for help and we immediately advised to stop any searching, remove her name off Facebook posts and the specific sighting locations in order to try to stop people from searching. We needed Nellie to stay where she had ended up after the sightings had stopped. Searching would have made her run again, which could easily have pushed her onto the busy A635 and push her even further away from home. The best chance a dog has of getting safe once they escape is for them to make their own way home which is usually when dark and late at night when at it’s quietest out there. They very often manage to do this in many cases on the first night.
So while advice was given to owner and sighting locations pinned on the map, owner had her house door open, waiting for Nellie to make her way home. Sadly she proved to be too far away to try.
This morning, Nellie’s owner received a phone call from a person who saw her near to where her last sighting had been. The lady didn’t approach or try to interact with Nellie and just waited while Nellie’s owner got there. Because Nellie wasn’t searched for and allowed to settle she was calm enough and recognised her owner straight away. Nellie is very happy to be home and currently sleeping her adventures off. Welcome home Nellie ❤️.
Please, if you lose your dog, don’t go out searching, ask people not to search or approach and if you do a Facebook post please don’t put actual locations on or your dog’s name. People, when they see a loose dog, want to try to help. A lot of the time they try to catch the dog and if they know the dog’s name they will shout their name while approaching or chasing them. The dog soon associates their name with strangers chasing them and trying to catch them. Further on with time, if still out, and they are in complete survival mode (this can happen straight away and does with many dogs) hearing their name will cause confusion. When in survival mode, the survival part of the dog’s brain becomes dominant and they no longer think of home and the comforts of home. They are only concerned with actually surviving out there. So hearing their name causes confusion because deep down they know that word but they don’t know how or what it means. Confusion is a negative emotion and a dog will run and run in order to get away from that feeling. This is why we never put dog’s names on our posts until the dog is safely caught.
When a dog becomes lost, allow them to calm down and settle so they can then try to come back home. People will recommend that you contact a drone group, but using a drone is the same as searching. A drone can’t catch a lost dog. Drones are good for dogs lost on moors etc especially where it’s thought that the dog is stuck somewhere. Many drone groups also encourage ground searchers to search. A lost dog does not need this and it can easily put them into danger. Doing posts on social media can actually impede a dog’s chances of getting home safely. So if you feel that you need to do this, don’t put their name or specific location of where lost plus any sighting locations. Ask people not to search, approach or chase the dog. Trust in your dog to keep safe and get back home. Meanwhile, contact us or another team who takes the same approach to lost dogs as we do, and we/they will advise you on the next steps should your dog not come home the first night.