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How to catch a loose dog

The How-To Issue

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Lure the dog. If you have it, use food – I try to keep a bag of cheap, strong-smelling dog treats in my car, just in case. Those fake bacon strips for dogs they sell at most supermarkets are perfect for this kind of thing. Lightly toss some in the dog’s direction and start to back away. Hopefully the dog takes the bait, follows you and looks for more food.

Be calm, patient and talk very softly. Keep feeding the dog as long as he’s interested in your food and keep luring him in the direction you’re trying to guide him. Don’t chase him, have him follow you. Hopefully, before you started on this fool’s errand, you thought to bring along a rope or a leash or a belt or some way of keeping the dog with you once you’ve caught him. Loop it into a very loose noose. (I always keep a slip lead, like they use at vet hospitals, in my car because you never know when you might need to catch a dog.) Don’t reach over the dog’s head with it or you’ll probably make him bolt.

Make the loop on your lead super wide and keep feeding. Position yourself at the dog’s side if you can and try to get him to take a treat from your hand with the loop of the noose draped over it. As he is eating the food, let the loop slip off your hand and over his head, onto his neck. While he’s preoccupied with the delicious treats, gently pull the loop taut and feel proud of yourself for rescuing a lost animal.

That was the easy part. The hard part: What the hell are you going to do with this dog now that you have it?

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