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Scared dog has run away - how to get him back

September 6th, 2006, 03:14 PM
Hi there,

We just got a 7 1/2 month old Bernese Mountain Dog flown to us. He was very shy & timid right from when we got him. When we went to pet him he would crouch down a bit in fear. I don't known if he was mistreated or was simply so scared at the new environment, from the plane ride etc. He was raised on a farm with 8 other dogs. There was not much socialization and he never went into the house or a car. (We weren't told of this)

When we got him home he was still very shy and timid. I had him outside on a leash and was sitting down on a lawnchair. My mother was sweeping the deck and he seemed to get aggitated. When she walked by with the leaves he bolted. This was after only about 4 hours of hanging out with him.

He has been gone for almost 72 hours. We live in the country. He is roaming around and our neigbours and us have seen him. But he takes off everytime someone even looks his way. At first we were trying to catch him, but a behaviourist told us that was the worse thing to do. She suggested just sitting there with treats and wait for him to come towards us and toss him a treat. (He's hungry) We had left food out for him, but we were told to take it away as then he would think we are only a food source and not "his nice friendly owners". Eventually she said that would form a bond between us and the dog and he would begin to trust us. However, he doesn't get any closer than 100+ feet from us and he only comes around a couple of times a day. So we haven't been close enough to throw treats.

Any ideas on how to get him closer to us? We are desperate. I feel so bad for the little guy (actually he's about 70 lbs so his not so little).

September 6th, 2006, 03:21 PM
I think the dog has to eat. I would cook some chicken, hamburger, hot dogs or anything that will smell really tempting. Leave it for out for him with some kibble. Do you have a shed or garage that you could gradually lure him into with the food?

Good luck and keep us posted. :fingerscr

Ed U KayShawn
September 6th, 2006, 06:04 PM
wow i really sympathize for your situation this must be absolutely heartwrenching ughhh , the only suggestion I can make is try calling the animal control they should have a large live dog trap that you can borrow, or the local humane society might have one. In any case both places should be called and notified of your situation should someone happen to catch the dog and turn him in, they can notify you right away. They will also give you instructions on how to use the trap. Best of luck to you and lets hope you get him back soon and safely.:fingerscr

September 7th, 2006, 07:13 AM
Hi RuebenRody, that would be one of my worst fears as I have a spooky greyhound, how if she gets scares wants only to run and hide.

I have some info about catching spooky dogs, though this is about greyhound the same rules apply, though with your dog you may have more options that are also listed in this article

Finding Them is Only the First Step
by Michael McCann

Finding a lost Greyhound is difficult: catching a loose Greyhound, who doesn't want to be caught, could be one of the most frustrating challenges one ever faces in Greyhound rescue. Over the years we've heard dozens of stories about Greyhounds running loose for months and even years, and thought to be impossible to catch. The truth is, any Grey can be caught, with time, tools and patience.

The most common scenario is a new adopter with a shy, or downright spooky Grey. Any new experience can set off a run for freedom: a loud motorcycle, something blowing in the wind, or just a stranger, moving to pet him. He panics, slips the collar and he's off. He hangs around the neighborhood, and sightings come in about him every day, almost always in the same general area. People hoping to catch him, chase him, and of course, he runs. As every day goes by he becomes more spooked. Soon, the adopter gets frustrated with the search and gives up. What to do?

The first thing to do is to set up a feeding and watering station. It should be near where the dog has been sighted. He's going to be looking for food, and if he finds a source, he'll keep coming back to it. To help him find it, put some stinky cat food in his bowl. Be consistent, Greyhounds are creatures of habit, and if you are consistent, he'll keep coming back every day to the same place at the same time

Three Methods of Greyhound Capture

Finesse Capture : If you are trying to capture a shy spooky hound, and don't have access to a live trap, a finesse capture may be your only option. Things to try are:
When you or your volunteers see the hound, do not to chase or follow him, make him think you have no interest in him. Turn away, don't make eye contact, sit down on the ground, and if you have a hound with you, give some treats to him: there is nothing that will make a hungry dog more curious, than watching another dog eat.
If he approaches you, stay on the ground, avoid eye contact and toss treats in his direction; gain his trust through his food motivation. Lick your lips, and yawn, a lot. These are "Calming Signals." (The book "Calming Signals by Turid Rugass is a good primer on the use of non threatening signals for stressed dogs.) Have a looped leash handy in case he approaches close enough.
If he won't approach anyone, and is fond of his crate, bring the crate to the location and set it up. Put his food in the crate and feed him there. Get him used to eating like he did at home.
If he likes riding in the car, leave the car door open overnight: you may have a surprise waiting for you in the morning.
Leave his own bedding in places where he's been sighted, near a bowl of food. He may connect the bedding and food with home, and stay close to the area.
If possible, set up his feeding station in a fenced area with a gate. Closing a gate behind a hound is a lot easier than trying to get him to come to you.
A squawker, or predator call is a device that trainers use to recall hounds at the track. It usually works well for confident dogs, or dogs in a pack situation, like at the racetrack. It is a good tool to have in your bag of tricks, but be aware that it is nearly always a failure with shy, spooky Greyhounds. If the dog doesn't react to, or runs from the noise, don't use it again; he's not going to be any more attracted to it on the second try.

Live Trap Capture : Some animal control officers and SPCA chapters have animal traps large enough for a Greyhound; however, it is often a lesson in frustration locating and borrowing them. A humane live trap should be required equipment for Greyhound Adoption agencies. They are not inexpensive, but they can save hundreds of volunteer hours by offering a method of capture that is safe and effective. The best type of trap we've used is the Tomahawk Live Trap for large dogs. Tomahawk Web Page or the Midwest Live Trap, Midwest Webpage. The trap ordered should be large enough for a Greyhound: at least 72" Long by 20" Wide, by 26" Tall. If your group can't afford one, perhaps you can pool resources with other groups in your area. It may save you many days of trying to capture a loose, spooky hound.

Set the trap up in the area you have been feeding the dog. Once set up, feed the dog only in the trap. If the dog refuses to enter at first, don't take the food out of the trap. You want to train him to eat in the trap, he'll want to train you to take the food out of it.
Greyhounds have sensitive feet. Most of these cage type traps have wire floors, so when setting the trap, put some sort of cushioning on the floor. A blanket, or straw will work well.
It's not uncommon to catch other critters in these traps first. Just release them and hope for better luck tomorrow.

There are other traps available. One is a humane snare trap that throws a loop over the dog's head. It has not been effective in capturing Greyhounds, because of the unique shape of the Grey's head and neck. If used it must be constantly monitored, because a dog captured with this method can injure himself in his panic to get free.

Chemical Capture : This is the least effective and most dangerous method of capture. Greyhounds are extremely sensitive to drugs and anesthesia. To put drugs like Acepromozine into the dog's food is an invitation to disaster: the drug will take time to work, and in that time the dog will almost certainly be far from your search area. A drugged dog is susceptible to attack by other animals, may fall into a body of water, or wander into traffic. Do not try drugging a dog yourself; this method has been tried by dozens of groups over the years yet, we have never heard of a successful capture using ingested drugs.

The only method of chemical capture, which has been effective with Greyhounds, is a drug dart with a radio tag administered by a qualified technician. The technician must be able to get to within 25 feet of the dog to make a good shot. When darted the dog will run, sometimes for a good distance, until the drug takes effect. The radio tag will lead the searchers to the dog. This method is risky for the dog, and a veterinarian should be available to administer a reversing agent, and to deal with any after effects of the drug. Some animal control officers have dart guns and are eager to use them. If the ACO has no experience with sighthound capture, or with radio tags, don't allow it. It is just too risky!

Staying the Course : When you are trying to catch one of these hounds, you will get frustrated, angry and just plain tired. Some take a long time to capture. When one method doesn't work, try another. When you start getting negative feedback from people who have already given up, ignore it. There is nothing more rewarding than bringing a hound home after a long time on the run, and watching him thrive. Here are a few we know of:

Mike, Marshfield MA Seven Months from May 1997 to October 1997
Age 8 when escaped. Captured in a live trap. Lived quietly to age 14 with Bob and Sue Carson.

Barney, "The Ghost of Southbridge MA" Out for over a year. First reported sighting November 1999, Captured October 31, 2000 in a live trap. Is a constant shadow of his captor. Lives with the author's family and three other hounds in Massachusetts.

Junkyard Juliet, Pawtucket Rhode Island. Seven months, from November 2001 to May 2002. Captured in Live Trap. Now living happily in Buffalo, NY with Chuck and Sue Bobo and a house full of other Greys.(edited to add: Scarlett, once known as Junkyard Juliet passed away suddenly in September of 2005. She is sorely missed)

Phantom , Cincinnati, Ohio. Out at least ten months. First sighting June 2003, Captured, March 30, 2004. Chemical capture, darted by professional with radio tag. Age thought to be about 2 or 3. Now living happily with her captors in Missouri on a monkey rescue farm. (edited to add: Phantom died suddenly and unexpectedly in the sping of 2005. She was a much loved member of her family and is greatly missed.)

Mesa Boy, Out at least four months. Captured, August 30, 2003.
Age, thought to be about 3. Live trap capture. Loves riding in the car and sharing treats with his adopted siblings and Kent and Lisa Elrod in New Mexico. (Mesa contracted lymphosarcoma and died surrounded by his loving family on July 2.2006)

Connor, Escaped from Camptown racetrack in Kansas, in November 2000. Spent 18 months on the run. Finesse capture. Now a favorite at doggy daycare, and of Peter the Poodle. Now living happily in Massachusetts with Marsha O'Neil. (edited to add: Connor contracted osteosarcoma in October 2005 and was released from his pain on December 30, 2005. He passed quietly in the arms of the woman who loved him so: Marcia O'Neil)

Cavan, Bennington, Vermont. Seven months. Escaped June 14, 2003, She was hand captured after being struck by a car, January 14, 2004. Age 5. Now with the author's family in Massachusetts and doing splendidly.

Campus Queen (Lady Grey), New Mexico. Loose at least 15 months, from May 2003- August 2004 on the Campus of Eastern New Mexico University. Finesse capture. Age thought to be about two. Five days after her capture she gave birth to a litter of 6 and adopted 8 more pups from an "Oops litter". She has been adopted by her captors.

Gus, San Augustine, TX. Gus was reported as a stray on December 1, 2004, and spent the next six months frustrating many attempts at his capture. Finally caught using a chemical capture on June 4, 2005. Adopted in August of 2005 by Ed O'Neil, who after keeping track of Gus' story, felt a special connection and just had to drive all the way from Pennsylvania to adopt him. Here's a link to Gus' story, as it happened: Gus, the whole story.

Marty, Corsicana, TX. Loose about a year, from May 2005, to May 27, 2006. Marty was seen running loose by a Greytalker as she drove through the town. She stopped and tried to catch him to no avail. She reported her sighting here on Greytalk, and within 17 days, volunteers from GALT, and GU East Texas were able to capture him after he ran into a shed. Marty had been hit by a car and suffered a badly broken leg. As of this writing is recovering in foster care and has an adoptive family waiting for him. Reports are he has taken very well to life in a home.

The feeding station is important in keeping hanging around, if he can find food he is going to go roaming in search of food, and chances are he may not come back to the area, then you will have to start searching for him.

Call humane societies or shelters to see if you can locate a live trap

2 sources for buying a trap, shipping due to size is a bit pricey.

You did not state your location I know that a few greyhound adoption groups in the US have live traps and one shelter in Ontario has that I know of local to me, I made sure to know where one is available just in case, with hopes that I never have to ask to rent

All these places listed below have live traps that will be large enough to aid in capturing your dog

Southern Ontario

Hillside Kennels Animal Control
766038 Township Road 5

Provides large (big enough for a greyhound) humane traps. They service outside of their area for a small fee.


Operation Greyhound
ATTN: Bob Palmatier
El Cajon, CA 92021

Will cover Southern California


First State Greyhound Rescue, Inc.
2245 Bald Eagle Road
Drumore, PA
ATTN: Tanya MacKeand

Southeast PA, South Jersey, and Delaware


Greyhound Adoptions of Florida
ATTN: Marilyn Varnburg
Citra, FL 32113
Phone: 352-671-5333

Will cover Central and South Florida.

Halfpint Haven Borzoi and Greyhound Adoptions, Inc.
ATTN: Lisa Simpson
Jacksonville, FL

Will cover Northeast Florida


Greyhound Support Of Kansas City
ATTN: Kate Bressler


Greyhound Pets of America/Md., Inc
Baltimore, MD
Ethel Whitehurst

Greyhound Rescue Inc.
ATTN: Darlene Riden
Gambrills, MD 21054
304.229.4944 Main
202.720.1969 Day
410.721.1154 Home

Will cover MD, WV, Washington DC and DE.



Greyhound Friends Inc.
ATTN: Louise Coleman
167 Saddle Hill Road
Hopkinton, MA

Massachusetts, Southern New Hampshire, Eastern, CT. If trap is needed farther afield, arrangements can be made.

Berkshire Humane Society
214 Barker Rd
Pittsfield. MA

Berkshire County
__________________________________________________ _

Seekonk Animal Control
There is a required $275 deposit by check, but they won't keep the check if they get the trap back.

Southeastern Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.

New York

Greyhound Walking Club of Central New York, Inc.
P.O. Box 2114
Liverpool, New York 13090

ATTN: Bridget Lichtinger
315.451.6186 (home)
315.664.3110 (cell)

Will cover a 250 mile radius from Syracuse, New York if transportation can be arranged.

North Carolina

Greyhounds R Us, Inc
ATTN:Millicent Smith
Asheville, NC
828-697-6644 or 828-243-0072

Willing to work with any groups within an area for which we can arrange transport of the crate.


Cincinnati Greyhound Connection
ATTN: Suzanne Reep
Cincinnati, Ohio
(513) 742-9452 (home)
(513) 478-1870


The Dogs' Den
127 Sanjo Drive
Grantville, PA 17003

ATTN: Denise
717-648-0773 Cell
717-469-7325 Home


First State Greyhound Rescue, Inc.
2245 Bald Eagle Road
Drumore, PA
ATTN: Tanya MacKeand

Southeast PA, South Jersey, and Delaware

Keystone Greyhounds (GPA)
Harrisburg, PA
ATTN: Dianne Shadle
(717) 234-1860

South Central Pennsylvania, Northern Maryland

Monica's Heart Greyhound Adoption
ATTN: Kay McNelis
Altoona, PA

Central and Western Pennsylvania, Western Maryland, upstate New York
(Binghamton and Elmira areas)


National Greyhound Adoption Program
ATTN: David Wolf
10901 Dutton Road
Philadelphia, PA 19154


Will cover Southern NJ, PA, Delaware.


Greyound Rescue Foundation of Tennessee
ATTN: Fuzzy Orange
Sunbright, TN 37872

Phone: Fuzzy Orange 423.628.5012
Mike and Jan Kirby at 865.690.0009
Fax: 865-693-9687

Will cover.We cover from Bristol TN, to Chattanooga, TN - SW. VA Western NC and Northern GA


GPA Salt Lake
Attn: Kathy Exarhos
Salt Lake City, Utah 84106

Phone: Kathy(801) 440-7801
Main Number: (801) 712-7800
Website: Webpage

Will cover parts of Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Idaho, Western Wyoming and Arizona


Richmond, VA
Contact: Gil Caldwell
Phone: 804.314.4129 or 804.330.0259

Covering Richmond, VA Beach, Roanoke, and areas north of Richmond.
__________________________________________________ __________________________

Virginia Greyhound Adoption
Oak Hill, Va.
Contact: Ted Vranken
Phone: 703-501-2165
If unavailable please email

Covering Northern Virginia to Fredericksburg, all Central Virginia