After seeing many reports of owners losing their dogs, we'll like to share a guide to help increase the chance of finding your dog if it happens to be lost. Do note that this guide relies on science, logic and personal experience, it is to increase the chance of recovering your dog and not the other way round, which a lot of owners had been doing when their dogs go missing.
1 - Start searching right away
The moment you find that your dog is lost, the first instinct is to start searching for it, and it is not by screaming. We know that it is hard, but try staying calm, depending on where and how the dog is lost, look at the proper direction. If you have another person with you, have that person help by checking on other possible direction, do not stick together as it lowers the chance.
From the perspective of dogs, usually they are not afraid for about 20 minutes unless they ran away due to fear, some fearful dogs even feels much more relaxed after running off. Most are rather curious and busy doing the things they like - sniffing, peeing, picking things on the ground, interacting with humans, they will only continue dashing off if they see someone chasing from behind. If your dog sees you, never scream and chase, you will just look scary, squat down and invite your dog over, if you have food or treats it will be even better.
Below are a list of place that dogs usually get lost, and also the first place to check.
Running out of gate
Check stairs, usually they are still at 1-2 levels above or below your apartment. For landed houses, check with your neighbors, check areas with grasses.
Running out of park
Follow as closely as possible, do not scream, but call out to the name of your dog happily. While doing this remember not to follow blindly, look at the area your dog is running towards and remember the surrounding.
Void decks are very hard to track with bare eyes as there are many pillars that can block your vision. Try to predict the direction your dog is running towards and find a shortcut, also try not to stomp on the floor (loud sound) while running, always remember not to scare your dog.
2 - Share information with people nearby
If your dog is lost for hours and unable to be tracked by chasing, then sharing the news will be better. Don't go asking around Facebook or the Internet first, call your family and notify those that are around the place your dog ran off from, if your dog was lost at your house, notify your closes neighbors. If it's outdoors, spread the information to businesses/staffs - workers, waiters/waitresses, shop owners etc. Come back and ask them again after awhile, provide them your contact.
3. Notify both AVA and SPCA
You must notify both of them in case someone had sent your dog to them. Make sure you have your dog's microchip number ready.
4. Start creating posters
Have someone that can create this fast, don't need any special design, just provide the key information. Paste these posters near the place that your dog was lost.
Tips to creating a good poster
☻ Huge and clear headline (LOST, MISSING)
☻ Use recent photo, clear and possibly looking as close as the time your dog ran off - if it is not wearing anything, use photos that are not wearing anything. Never use beautiful photos especially those that are taken in studio, it will be hard to compare in real life.
☻ A must to put huge text "REWARD". If you do not know how much to give, use huge text like "REWARD $$$". Never attempt to offer small amount like $50.
☻ Provide minimum 2 available contacts.
☻ State where the dog was lost.
☻ Consider both Chinese and English versions.
5. Start spreading information to others
Now is the time to start sharing with as many people as you can. Newspaper, Facebook, Forums, keep spreading and ask your friends and family to help. Do consider paying for media services, they are much more effective.
6. Constantly check for updates
Keep checking back for updates, lost and found pages/websites. Talk to the people that you have shared with before, especially near the place that your dog was lost.
Don't scare your dog if you find it!
Step on the leash instead of reaching to grab with bare hands (if a leash happens to be on your dog).
Use your dog's favorite food and toys to help with your search.
Remember that dogs can survive up to 3 weeks without food, 3 days without water.
Dogs are scavengers so they can actually find food and water easily.
NEVER ever rely on PSYCHICS/ DOG COMMUNICATOR! They will screw up the places and provide misleading information!
Don't give up for minimum 3 weeks, keep trying.
Remember to rest your eyes, being tired will make you careless and lower the chance of finding your dog.
Don't scold the person who took your dog, it is your fault for losing it. Thank them instead no matter how long it took for your dog to be returned.
If your dog isn't found after days, consider that it might've been with a person that is illiterate, check with elders (neighbors, communities) and have them help share the information with their friends.
No matter what, the best is always take better precaution before your dog escapes, accidents do happen but it will definitely benefit to be better prepared!
Check out this post for more information on tips to prevent your dog from escaping.