Mar 17

Min Pin on the Loose: What to Do If Your Dog is Missing

Miniature Pinschers are Escape Artists

Maddox, a beloved Miniature Pinscher, was lost December 2012.

Maddox, a beloved Miniature Pinscher, was lost December 2012. Photo credit: Bring Maddox Home.com

Min Pins are notorious for getting loose. Being independent thinkers, their little minds are constantly whirring, and when they get the idea of getting out, sometimes it’s hard to stop them. So, what should you do when your dog gets loose?

Maddox, Come Home

This story is for little Maddox, a Miniature Pinscher from California who was lost in Oklahoma. Maddox is a male black and tan MIn pin with a docked tail and cropped ears. Maddox was lost December 2012 when he slipped through an open door and out through the garage. I have had this happen numerous times with my Miniature Pinschers, but, fortunately, my Min Pins didn’t get far. Maddox was in strange house with people he didn’t know, and that is a bit of a different situation.

What to do When Your Dog is Lost

First, take a deep breath and try to remain calm. I know that this is easier said than done, but the more clearly you can think, the better you can form a strategy.

Search the Neighborhood First

Maddox being loved by his owner

Maddox’s owners miss him very much. Photo credit: Bring Maddox Home.com

Searching the neighborhood is the first thing to do when your dog is lost. Put together a list of places your dog might have gone and search there first. Were you at home or in a place unfamiliar to your dog? If you were at home or in a place familiar to your dog, it might go to some favorite haunts. For example, when one of my Min Pins got loose, he took himself on his usual route in the park. He was on his way home when we found him.

Search Systematically

In a unfamiliar place, your dog may be more unpredictable, but don’t panic. Start a search pattern if your dog is in an unfamiliar place or if you have not yet found your dog. Start where the dog was last seen. Time is crucial at this point. Recruit friends and neighbors if possible.

If available, use a bicycle to search. You will be able to cover more ground on a bike. Plus, a bicycle can go places that a car can’t.

My grandmother lost her little dog in a small Arkansas town once. She insisted that she wasn’t leaving until her little dog had been found. Those who rode to Arkansas with her were especially interested in finding the dog. A kind policeman even joined the effort. The dog was eventually found, and the weary travelers were able to go home.

Spread the Word

  • Maddox’s owner suggests:

    Check area vets, rescue organizations, and


Since Maddox’s owners were out of state when Maddox was lost, they recruited a large number of people from across the U.S. They have a local Team Maddox, which involves approximately 30 people. a public relations team of approximately 60 people located across the country, and Maddox’s facebook page currently has 4,800 followers. Team Maddox even donated expenses for for tracking dogs to find Maddox. Although the dogs hit on some of the places that Maddox had been, they were unfortunately not able to find Maddox.

Maddox’s owners used social media and other public relations methods to spread the word about their lost Min Pin. For example, they used social media, advertised in newspapers, and posted to Craig’s List to spread the word about Maddox. They also checked vets, shelters, and rescue organizatioins. “Always check shelters!” says one of Maddox’s owners.

Why Microchip?

There are many expenses when getting a new dog–be it from a shelter or breeder. In addition to the adoption fee or breeder’s fee, there are vet bills, carriers, crates, collars, etc. (See How to Outfit Your Min Pin in Style for other Min Pin must-haves.) Microchipping your dog may seem like one more added expense, but it could mean the difference between getting your dog back and losing it forever. I have read many stories in the newspaper about a dog being reunited with its owner because it had a microchip. When weighing the costs and benefits of getting a microchip, imagine the heartbreak you would go through if your dog were lost.

Microchipping is only the first step, however. You must also register your dog’s microchip with the company from whom you bought the microchip. Some companies charge a one-time or annual fee. Make sure your microchip company submits to the AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association) database. If it doesn’t, you may want to also register with one that does. For more information about microchipping, see the article “High Technology: Identifying Lost Pets With Microchips” by the Humane Society of the United States.

When You Find Your Dog

You’ve been searching your neighborhood for hours or maybe days. You’ve looked in all your dog’s usual haunts and some unusual ones. Finally, you spot your beloved Min Pin! Depending on the circumstances, e.g., how long your dog has been gone, your dog may be ecstatic that it has found you, or it may still be on an adventure. Either way, you must still get your dog to safety. Some dogs are very well trained and will come when called or stay when commanded in any situation. However, most aren’t. Because of their characteristic independent-thinking, Min Pins are especially prone to less than obedient behavior in unusual situations.

Situation 1: Your Dog Has Found You!

Your dog comes rushing to you, but does not check for traffic before running into the street. Your first instinct is to rush out into the street to stop traffic. Obviously, this is not a good idea. While putting yourself in peril, it is unlikely that your jumping into traffic will keep your dog safe.

Preparation and obedience training, however, could keep your dog safe. As soon as you adopt your dog, obedience training starts. Incorporate hand signals with the down command and be sure to reinforce this command a few times a day every day of your dog’s life. It just takes a minute. This way, you can command your dog to lay down even if it could not hear a voice command. Because you have reinforced the command every day, you dog is likely to do the command just because you say so.

Situation 2: Your Dog is Still on an Adventure

If your dog has been gone only a few hours, it may still be having fun and looking for new games. One such game might be you chasing it. I have personal experience with this. During a walk, Athena the Houdini dog, escaped from her harness. She was having the time of her life, and me chasing her just added to the fun. She thought it was especially fun to run back and forth across a busy residential street. I reacted instead of responded. We ran up and down our street for about an hour, and at one point, I jumped into traffic–not the greatest strategy.

After that I learned that if I would refuse to play the game, Athena would come to me immediately. All I had to do was turn my back on her. This puzzled her. Why didn’t I want to participate in chase–the most fun game in the world? When she came to “check” on me, I could pick her up and she was back to safety.

To Safe Returns

I wish that no one had to suffer the grief of having lost a dog. Fortunately, when my Houdini dogs have gotten loose, I have found them relatively quickly even though the time during which they were lost seemed like an eternity. However, finding your dog quickly is not always the case. I hope that some of the tips in this blog post either prevent lost dogs or hasten their return home.

P.S. Bring Maddox Home

As of this posting, Maddox has not yet been found, although his owners believe that he may have been adopted. If you know of a Min Pin found or adopted from a shelter in the Edmond, OK area around December of 2012, contact Maddox’s owners at Bring Maddox Home.com. They would like to know that he is safe.



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  1. Kate, mother of Tyson

    Tyson is a runner. Yes, he has gotten out several times. The last time was a week and a half ago. He refused to come when called. He just continued his tour of the neighborhood. Finally, when I said, “okay, I’m going home. I got into my car and pulled into the garage. Guess who followed? TYSON. Once I got him in the house, I quickly closed the door.

  2. margaret begley

    Thank you for doing this story as part of Team maddox please anyone who may have any information reply to this or the maddox hotline number 405-283-6863

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