What is the Least Effective Method to Retrieve a Dog?

Last Updated on June, 2023

A dog slipping off-leash is an issue that’s not new to dog owners; these furry athletes can get excited for anything while outside and can easily escape your grasp.

And the chance of them returning back to you is a bit slim; many household dogs don’t know much about the outside world, and them running away can result in severe injuries, and the dog owner might also end up losing the dog.

If they tend to slip off-leash, most of us naturally pull off some methods that will never help the dog come back. 

Those are the methods that we are going to take a look at, the methods that are least effective way to retrieving a dog that has got off-leash.

With that, we’ll also take a look at some effective ways that’ll help you get back your dog and the things you can do to prevent these types of situations.

Here are the 3 key points from this article:

  1. The least effective methods to retrieve a dog that has gotten off their leash include screaming and shouting, running after them, and punishing them if they return.
  2. The most effective method to retrieve a dog that has gotten off their leash is to remain calm and call them by their name with a cheerful voice.
  3. Things you can do to prevent situations like this include training your dog, attaching a GPS tracker to their collar, and getting a good collar and leash.

TLDR: The least effective way to retrieve a dog that has gotten off-leash is to scream and shout, run after them, or punish them if they return. Some effective methods to retrieve a dog include using treats as a lure, remaining calm, running in the opposite direction, or lying down on the ground. You can also prevent situations like this by training your dog, attaching a GPS tracker to their collar, or keeping them on a leash in secure areas.

Here are The Least Effective Ways to Retrieve A Dog That Has Got Off-Leash

These are the methods that simply won’t work to retrieve a dog that has got Off-Leash, and most likely, this is what many owners do.

Screaming and Shouting

Shouting Dog

I’m pretty sure that this is what all of us will do right away!

But You Know What?

This is not the best way to get your dog back. When a dog runs around out of control and if you start shouting at them thinking they’ll return, forget it!

Screaming at your dog can scare them because your dog knows what mood you’re in, and if they notice any frustration and anger in your voice, they will run even further away from you. 

They might also think that there is a threat after hearing you shouting, and this will only make the dog run away from you even further.

So avoid shouting at your dog when they run away from you. 

Note: How to Stop a Dog From Running Away?

Running After Them 

Girl Chasing a Dog

If you chase your dog thinking that you can catch them, it is impossible.

Dogs’ excitement level increases when you start to chase them and might think that you’re playing chase with them and will start to run faster. 

And if you keep chasing them, they’ll keep on running, so never chase after your dog if he has gotten off-leash.

Never Punish Them If They Return

If they return by any means, you should avoid scolding and punishing them as this can only worsen the situation.

Doing this to your dog after he returns will make him think that you are punishing him for returning to you, and if an incident like this ever takes place again, there’s zero chance your dog will return.

So after your dog’s back, approach him immediately, praise and reward him with some treats.

Now that you know the least effective method to retrieve a dog that has got off-leash let’s take a look at some effective methods. 

Related: Inhome online dog training classes

Effective Method to Retrieve Your Dog

Forget about doing what’s mentioned above; those will never work to retrieve a dog.

So to get your dog back conveniently, here is the effective method to retrieve a dog that has got off-leash.

Treats, Treats, Treats 

It’s always important to have some treats while going outside because it can help in situations like this.

If your dog responds to your command and successfully gets back to you, you should reward them with a treat and praise him. 

Suppose if your dog refuses to come back, you can use a treat as the lure to get him back. 

While he’s on the move, take a treat and wave it; this will entice your dog to come back to you.

You can also use a toy or a ball if you have one in that situation.

Dog Treats

Remain Calm 

If you don’t have a treat or a toy, you can do this.

Your dog might have probably taken off because someone or something might have got his attention.

In this case, you should lower his excitement level and get his attention back to you; you can do this by calling your dog out and staying still and calm. (1)

However, if you’re in a traffic area, remaining still can be difficult, but doing so can bring pooch back.

Running In The Opposite Direction 

Dog Chasing a Man

This is a great and effective method to retrieve a dog; instead of you chasing the dog, let the dog chase you. 

All you have to do is once he starts to run in one direction, you should call him out with a cheerful voice and simply start running in the opposite way; this will make your dog curious and will entice him to check what’s going on. 

So this is a great method that you can use to get your pooch back.

Lie Down On The Ground

While your dog is on the move, call him out and immediately fall to the ground.

This will very much make him curious, and he will want to check what has happened to you.

This might sound crazy, but it will work if done perfectly.

Also, make sure that your dog notices you while calling him out. The main mission is to make him notice your action, and if he doesn’t, there’s no point in doing this.

Call Your Dog By His Name 

Don’t forget your dog has a name; call him out by his name with a calm and cheering voice. This will help you to get your dog back. 

These are every effective method to retrieve a dog that has got off-leash, these are proven ways, and if done as mentioned, there is a 100% chance to retrieve your dog.

Suppose if your dog failed to respond and failed to come back to you, immediately write a missing post about your dog on social media with his photo and inform animal control, plus inform your friends and neighbors.

And keep every door in your house open. There is a chance that your dog can come back. 

Never forget to microchip your canine even if you have a GPS Tracker attached; it is a unique identifier where if anyone finds your dog, they will contact you through the information on the microchip. 

Also read: How to scan a dog microchip with phone?

Things You Can Do To Prevent Situations Like This

These are some tips that you can do in advance to prevent dreadful situations like this. 

Train Your Dog

The first and foremost thing you have to do is train your dog and make him respond to your recall command. If you haven’t trained your dog yet or are finding it hard to train your dog, I suggest you check out this training program.

Attach A GPS Tracker To your Dog’s Collar

A GPS tracker is essential for any pet, so make sure to attach one to your dog’s collar; it can assist you in tracking your dog easily with a mobile device, no matter where your dog is.

I personally use and recommend the Whistle Go Explore, which is a great tracker with amazing battery life. Check out its complete review HERE!

Or you can find the best one for you with our best pet tracking devices guide.

Get a Good Collar and Leash

This is something that is so important if you’re always taking your pup outdoors; a good leash will help you to hold on to your dog tight, and a secure collar, if adjusted perfectly, will never let your dog get out. 

I use a BAAPET 6ft leash which has a padded handle that is super comfortable and lets me hold on to my dog securely without slipping. For the collar, I use the Blueberry Pet Essentials Personalized Collar.

Always If you’re investing in a collar, make sure to get it personalized with your Name and Phone Number, this way, if your dog gets lost, it’s easy for the person who finds the poor soul to contact you.

Don’t Let Your Dog Off-leash Unless It’s a Secure Fenced Area

Never do this, even if you have a well-trained dog; allowing them off-leash can prove costly. Because a dog can get excited for many things around them, especially if they see a cat or a squirrel, they will forget everything they learned.

Also read: Leash Training a Dog

Final Thoughts

A dog owner or even any pet owner, for that matter, needs to train their pet right after bringing them home; this is the best thing that can be done to prevent situations like this, so make sure to do it first.

Now that you know the least effective and effective method to retrieve a dog that has got off-leash, you know what to do when this incident takes place; it’s up to you to execute them perfectly.


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Thomas Villalpando is the main author of IPet Guides. He spends his time reading, training, and working with several Dogs' behaviors. You can find more about him here.

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