The short version of what happened to a friend and fellow dog trainer from Michigan is that he was training on grouse and woodcock in Maine a few years back and, when he arrived at a training cover, he discovered one of the dog doors on his unit had malfunctioned, the door was wide open and a dog missing. It is not the first time such a thing has happened nor will it be the last. Of course, the dog had no equipment on, no tracking collar, and they had traveled several miles from the previous training cover.
The dog had several things going for him. He was a sensible, friendly dog that did not want to be lost. And most importantly, he had identification tags on. Consider the house dog/pet. Most are fenced in or leashed, and still many become lost every year. Hunting dogs are often bred to be a bit independent and they must spend a lot of time off leash to hunt and, despite all of the precautions, they can get away. Tracking collars can be effective, but are mechanical devices that can fail as well as many other circumstances that can occur such as described above where a dog has no tracking device on.
In these situations, you can never have too much ID. You can put tags on e-collars and tracking collars in addition to the dog’s everyday collar. Tags and collars do fall off, and many e-collars have dropped off the roof of a truck and lost forever that might have been returned with an ID. I am not big on having “Reward” written on the tag, but I am big on offering $20 or so for their efforts or at least to cover the phone call, and more if they went through more than ordinary measures.
The other thing NOT to do is put the dog’s name on the tag. My friend finally did find the dog that dropped out of the dog box in Maine. Two fisherman had tied the dog to a tree and claimed him as their own. But when the dog clearly responded to its name, the fishermen had no choice but to recognize it as they did not know the dog’s name.
-Ryan Frame, LCS Elite Staff