Tia is an animal rescuer with a big heart. Unfortunately, her heart is not enough to rescue some animals because other health issues keep her from running or chasing after some of the more elusive dogs. That does not stop her from trying, however, as you can see in this video. Using a little creativity and a lot of patience, she is able to rescue this little beagle bugger who is a challenge to get close to, and a testament to the spirit of beagles everywhere!
I checked in with my friends at Petfinder to see if they had some tips for me if I am ever put in the same position as Tia was in this video. There, I found some excellent ideas offered up by The Missing Pet Partnership regarding what one could try when attempting to catch a skittish or hard-to-reach dog – or cat! That’s their specialty.
Most rescuers will tray to call the dog to get them to come to them. As it turns, out, that is a big mistake. Rule number one is, never call a stray dog! Don’t even look at it! Other “don’t’s” include, don’t walk towards the dog and don’t pat your leg. Skittish dogs tend to have a fight or flight temperament. When a would-be rescuer pats their leg or walks toward a fearful dog, the dog interprets that “Come here dog, come here pup” body language as a threat, causing even more fear-induced and adrenaline.
The dog keeps running as long as people are looking, calling, or moving towards him, and the result is more fear. Also, if the rescuer sounds panicked, it makes the dog that much more afraid. This happens a lot when an owner is chasing their dog and it is approaching traffic or another dangerous situation.
Ok, those are the DON’TS. Here are the DO’s:
- Tap into your inner Academy Award-winning actor side and demonstrate a sense of calm. Pretend like you’re eating something, lick your lips or yawn.
- Have a noisy or crinkly bag of potato chips, or something similar? Use it to make noise that the dog will associate with yummy goodness! You can say, “NUM, NUMMY, NUMALISCOIUS!” or whatever your acting repertoire has worked with your dog in the past and also pretend to throw some of those yummy treats on the ground.
- Kneel down and act like you’re retrieving those treats and eating them yourself.
- If you see a stray dog, try not to make direct eye contact. Instead, watch the dog out of the corner of your eye.
- Often, a dog will stop when they see you are using the “nummy strategy.” They will then watch you because you are a potential treat-provider and no longer using the “come here” strategy.
Tia operates out of Seattle, Washington, but you can find even more information on their MPP’s Panicked Pet page.