9 Ways to Help a Shy, Panicked, or Scared Lost Dog


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9 Ways to Help a Shy, Panicked, or Scared Lost Dog

If you find a lost dog, they are most likely scared or panicked. They may be friendly, but they are away from their familiar surroundings and might act skittish. Here are a few tips for helping a lost dog should you find one.

Lost dog on a bridge looking scared
  • Remember – most dogs you see out on their own are LOST, not stray – and someone is desperately looking for them and wants them back home safe and sound. Making sure your own fur kid has a tag will prevent you from being in a dire situation. Tags like PetHub’s Get Me Home Club tag come with a QR code that can immediately notify you when sit's scanned (if you have a premium account) so you can get your pet back in your arms asap.

  • DO NOT CALL a panicked or timid stray dog! Chances are that the pooch has already had several people trying to “capture” him and he is likely to bolt out of fear of being snagged.


  • Make a noise – a cough, sneezing sound or throat clearing to get his attention, so he knows you are there.

  • Do NOT make eye contact or stare at him. Instead, take a submissive stance, looking away – ALWAYS keep a sideways profile to the dog – it’s less confrontational.

  • Food is a great motivator -- even if you don’t have food, use a crinkly bag or the like -- pretend to eat the food (“Yummy-Yummy-Yummy”) and “drop” some on the ground and kneel pretend to be looking for it. Check out Pawstruck’s uber-popular chews and treats. These are great to carry on hand for your own, and other dogs.

  • If that isn’t an option, rather than approaching the dog, sit down, or even better, lay on the ground and pat your chest.

  • If you have food, place it on the ground near you, smell it, taste it…and let him know you have food (although, often, a panicked dog won’t be able to smell well because his olfactory senses are shut down). Super yummy and fragrant treats and food are excellent at grabbing a dog’s attention. 

  • Another option – play with a ball or frisbee – but IGNORE THE DOG. This awesome and affordable frisbee flies great and is well-loved by the PetHub team.

  • Let the dog approach you – and don’t reach out to him.  Let it be 100% on HIS terms.


And don't forget! PetHub has revolutionized an affordable tag to get lost dogs in the hands of their owners as quickly and safely as possible!

Nervous white puppy without a collar