Discover a New Breed – Dogs Who Find Lost Pets
Got a dog who tugs on the leash to catch up and play with other canines? One who gets giddy and gushes in the company of cats? You may just have the type of dog who would make an ideal pet detective! Give a listen as Kat Albrecht, a former K-9 cop and now America’s Pet Detective explains how you – and your dog – can become certified to do pet detective work in your community. She also explains the different behaviors exhibited in dogs and cats when they become lost. This is one show you don’t want to miss – for the sake of your beloved pet!
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There’s nothing like a shaggy dog baby. They are shagadelic. And this is the place to find out how to achieve harmony in the household with your pets. Peace! Harmony! Pet power! Holy Shitz Tzu, baby! You will learn how to keep your pets from chewing your shoes or eating your cat. It is all about relationships, baby, you and your pet pet. So tune in, turn on, and get ready for the positively grooviest pet podcast on the planet. Oooh, that is a lot of Ps baby. Yeah, isn’t it?
What is this show called?
No, really, what is this show called?
“Oh Behave” with your shagadelic host Arden Moore. What is happening Arden? Yeah, baby, tell us.
Arden Moore: Welcome to “Oh Behave” on “Pet Life Radio”. I am your host Arden Moore. Thank you again for tuning in this week. Last week we had a very special guest Kat Albrecht pet detective. Take that Jim Carrey.
She is the real deal. She knows what she is talking about. She has helped countless pets be reunited with their people. But more importantly she has a greater vision on how to do something about trimming down the number of pets that do get lost in America. She is only one person. She can’t be everywhere, but she has found a way that possibly might be able to make this something go national and she needs out help.
Kat Albrecht welcome to “Oh Behave”.
Kat Albrecht: Thank you Arden.
Arden Moore: We are going to be back for the second part of Kat Albrecht’s appearance on “Oh Behave” right after these messages.
Announcer: Would you like to go out? [Dog Barking] Well actually I was talking to your owner. I meant on a date, baby, yeah, you and me. [Cat Meowing]
“Oh Behave” will be right back after these groovy shagadelic messages, oh yeah.
Announcer: We are switched back on baby, yeah. So let’s talk pets with our smashing host pet edutainer Arden Moore and the groovy show that is cool baby really shagadelic “Oh Behave”.
Arden Moore: Welcome back to the “Oh Behave” show on “Pet Life Radio”. I am your host Arden Moore. As mentioned we have a very special guest Kat Albrecht.
She is a retired canine police officer who is now founder of the Missing Pet Partnership group. She is also the author of two books that you have to buy. They are very important. The first is called “The Lost Pet Chronicles” and the second is “Dog Detectives: Train Your Dog to Find Lost Pets”. You can learn more about Kat and her great work on her website pethunters.com.
Last week we found out a little bit about Kat and who the heck she is. As mentioned she was a retired canine police officer. She had some dogs by the names of AJ and Rachael that did a very good work about finding people. And she stumbled onto the idea that: You know what? The dogs can also help find lost cats and dogs. She created this and she is going all over the country trying to help others learn how to do this.
We are going to learn this week a little bit about: What is the differences exhibited in behavior by cats versus dogs?; and also how you can become actually certified through her missing pet program so that you can find and help lost pets in your community. And the best news of all- Are you dogs listening? Okay. - She is going to help us get tips on how dogs can be trained to find other lost dogs and even c-a-t-s.
All right, Kat thank you very much for being on our show. I don’t know. With a name like cat is your middle name dog? I am just curious.
Kat Albrecht: Sometimes
Arden Moore: That is not a bad handle, though. You know?
We were talking a little bit about your background and I was hoping you could give us a little Reader Digest summary about, again, who you are and then we can delve right into the behaviors of lost dogs and cats.
Kat Albrecht: Sure
Well, in a nut shell, I am an animal lover who happened also to have been a police officer blood hound handler, search and rescue manager, and detective; who lost my police blood hound. This was back in 1996. I used another search and rescue dog to track him down and find him and realized that I had stumbled onto a concept that needed to be developed and it evolved into pulling in a lot of the science of finding missing people and solving lost person investigations; pulling that into lost pet investigations; discovering that it works; and having the vision to develop this through our non profit organization and training both volunteers and professional pet detectives to go into their communities to recover lost pets.
Kat Albrecht: You know, it is one of things that is most jarring to any of us who are most fortunate to have a pet or two or three in our home; and that is when they go missing. I mean, it is something we do our best to try to control it with collar and ID tags and microchips that we not only have our veterinarian implant in our dog or cat, but also- important folks- Make sure you do the paper work and file the registration with the registry that handles that particular microchip brand. That is very important. 40% of people who get microchips for their pets fail to do that vital final step; which is to register. You can’t find your dog folks or cat if it is not registered. So please please please go ahead and do that.
So we can do what we think we can do best to be good pet parents, if you will, but all it takes is: a cat leaning against a window sill that may not be sturdy and plops out the window; or a repair person comes over to the house and doesn’t quite shut the door; or you come in with an armful of groceries and your dog just dashes out and you can’t even grab him.
So I guess there are many reasons why pets can actually become separated from their people, right Kat? Am I missing some other scenarios?
Kat Albrecht: Oh gosh, I mean, you would be amazed at the stories that I hear or the situations. I mean, any where from: a gate being left unlatched; to the pet shooting out the door; to being involved in a roll over car accident; to escaping from a boarding kennel; to escaping a carrier at the airline or at the airport. You know, it just happens.
Arden Moore: That is right.
Kat Albrecht: even to responsible people. Irresponsible people lose their animals; but responsible people lose their animals. And we just need to realize that we need to be taking a very close look at the issue and at working at developing systems to help recover lost pets and prevent them from even entering an animal shelter in the first place by developing services to go out and find them.
Arden Moore: Yeah, my dog Chipper has that uncanny crossing of being both a Golden Retriever and Husky. Huskies are know for saying, “See ya” and Goldens are like, “I love you. I want to stay home.” So when I first got her as a rescue dog she would jump my six foot fence and land in my front porch because the husky wanted to roam but the golden wanted to stay home.
Kat Albrecht: Cute
Arden Moore: I mean, she is like, “I am so confused. I love you but I just got to dash and come back, dash and come back.
Kat Albrecht: Yeah
Arden Moore: Well anyway, building trust and all that helped a lot. And when she travels with me- I do some work for “Fido Friendly Magazine” and she gets to go on these cool trips. – I actually have to line her air carrier with chains around it, so she looks like this Cujo, because she knows how to pick locks and I swear she will be flying the plan. I do that and it looks like she is this menacing dog; but it is the only way that I can keep her in that crate during the airplane ride.
So you do learn; whether you are responsible or irresponsible. It is just an ugly awful feeling to have a pet lost.
That said there is a little bit of differences in both the dogs and the cats on how they exhibit behavior when they are like, “Oh my gosh, I am outside. I am lost. What do I do?”
So you tell me. What is easier? Do you want to talk about some of the different cat behaviors first and then go to the dogs? Or whatever works for you. Let’s run them down.
Kat Albrecht: Yeah, well I just start by explaining that one thing I notices initially when I began looking for lost pets and researching on the internet was that you would find websites that had lost pet tips. The tips were generic. Kind of like what they were telling you to do. What they were telling you to do for a missing cat was the same was of looking for a parrot or a Golden retriever. It was like, cats and dogs and parrots are apples and oranges. They behave differently when lost. They are a different animal.
The tactics and techniques and resources that you should be using to look for them are entirely different. And that is what we teach the pet detectives in our certification course.
And the way I realize was that there are- in my training in search and rescue as a search manager, a berry picker, and a hunter can all be lost in the same area of the woods. Now they are all three missing people but they are out in the woods for different reasons.
They carry different equipment with them. They behave differently when lost and you lost different resources to look for them when they are missing. So that is when I began to think what is some of the equipment we use to find missing people and how should we look for a cat verses a dog and it just evolved from that.
So we differentiate between dogs and cats. But then we also differentiate between an outdoor access cat that suddenly vanishes and an indoor cat that escapes outside or any displaced cat; which can be an outdoor access cat that is transported in a carrier to the vet’s office and escapes from the carrier at the vet’s office. That is a displaced cat; a cat that is transported into unfamiliar territory.
When an outdoor access cat vanishes it means something has happened to interrupt the behavior of that cat coming home, meaning that the cat might be trapped. It could have been transported out of the area. It could be injured .It could be deceased. There are a lot of things that could happen to it. And you need to conduct an aggressive physical search in your neighbor’s yard. Getting permission from them to look under and in everything; because that’s where your cat is most likely to be. So it’s a target search of the cat’s territory and a few houses beyond.
With a displaced cat, indoor only that escapes outside, that is a case where more than likely- depending on the temperament of the kitty- more than likely that is a cat that is hiding in fear and it is going to be silent. Because the behavior of a sick, injured, or displaced cat is that they hide in silence and often it is very close. So your cat might be hiding under your next door neighbor’s porch or in the bushes between your house and the neighbor’s house.
And often times you can use a baited humane trap as a recovery tool. Again, a kitty with more bold- what we call curious crown temperament- might hide for the first couple hours then they might show up back at your door. But if you have got a cat with a very, - what we call - a catatonic behavior, a former feral, than more than likely you need a human trap to get your cat back home.
And dogs travel and they are picked up by people who determine what is going to happen to them. Often by people who are rescuing the dog and are reluctant to take it to the shelter.
So using giant florescent poster boards, doing what we call intersection alert. Standing on a street corner with a giant poster board using a two word description of your dog if possible: black Labrador, white poodle, Dalmatian, red collar. When I say these words you are getting a visual image in your mind. And you stand on a major intersection street corner near where the dog escaped with these florescent signs getting the attention of passer-byer and that is the way you are getting your message out.
Arden Moore: Let me make sure people are listening and paying attention, being good doggy and kitty owners.
Instead of doing this huge War and Peace diatribe that is in the itty type that nobody can read; you want the big news quickly like headline. Think headlines.
Kat Albrecht: Right
Arden Moore: And make it in something that grabs the persons eye and attention as they pass by. Which is why you are saying get rid of just the white paper or the white poster. Colored posters; really really hit hard with what makes your dog or cat a distinctive looking; because then they can come up to you and get more information, correct?
Kat Albrecht: Correct. Or they can pull over.
First of all, the main thing is they will see and read the information. Where as, most people just ignore the 8 ½ by 11 piece of paper where the only thing you can really read is reward or lost, or even lost dog. That is not giving them enough information and people are to lazy, seriously, to pull over and read it. And by using the fluorescent color and a giant- and you can go to an…
On our website petowners.com there is a section there under recovery tips that is titled 5 + 5 + 55 posters. The concept is that you want to use 5 words that people in 5 second can read when they are traveling 55 miles per hour. Reward lost dog white poodle. Reward lost dog yellow lab. And they will pull over.We have had dogs that were missing for six weeks that the owner put those signs out there and then got their dog back; because the person had their dog but never noticed their posters before.
Arden Moore: That is really good. It is almost like you are creating your own billboard. You are being a human billboard.
Kat Albrecht: We, kind of, describe it as; well if kids can stand out on a Saturday and hold up car wash signs, why can’t you stand out and protest that you want your dog back. You are getting the message out there and…yeah.
Arden Moore: Well that is a really good tip. And folks that is on pethunters.com. She has a lot of recovery tips.
Because… Time is of essence. I know that I shared this with you. I had a cat gone for 57 days and Houdini hound that like to head back home; but isn’t time of essence, as well, when it comes to cats and dogs.
Kat Albrecht: Yeah, and it is interesting because it is very different with dogs and cats. With dogs, because they get out and, depending on their temperament, if they encounter a person within their first 20 minutes of being out, often times if the dog is friendly and may come up to that person and they may capture that dog; then if you wait and a week later that person who found that dog and may gave it to somebody else, might see that poster a week later and not even make the connection that it is your dog. That it was the dog that they had seen or that they found. So it is very critical to get the information out there, with dogs, very quickly.
Where as, I am not saying that posters aren’t important with cat, but often times if you have a cat that is trapped and hidden or trapped and concealed or that is hiding in fear you can put up as many poster as you want; but if nobody see the cat then they are not going to call. That is why you need to get on your belly with a flashlight looking under and in everything. And not just asking your neighbors to look for your cat because I can guarantee you that they are not going to get on their stomach and look under their house or under there deck for your cat. You need to that because that is your cat is most likely to be.
Now it may eventually end up in a shelter. But cats, and sadly I think a great majority of the stray cats that are taken to the shelters are cats that were lost three, four, six months earlier and the owners gave up on them. Then it took that long for them to overcome their fear and get established in the territory and for somebody to get sick and tired of them pooping in their garden; that they set a trap and took it down to the shelters.
Arden Moore: Yeah, that is a very good point.
This is a good time that we can take a break for our sponsors.
We are listening to Kat Albrecht, probably, Americas top pet detective. She is the founder of Missing Pet Partnerships and a retired police canine officer.
We are going to talk more about how we can be certified pet detectives, if you will, in our own community and how our dogs can help us: right after this commercial break.
Announcer: Would you like to go out? [Dog Barking] Well actually I was talking to your owner. I meant on a date, baby, yeah, you and me. [Cat Meowing] Oh behave.
We will be right back after these groovy shagadelic messages, oh yeah.
Announcer: We are switched back on baby. So let’s talk pets with our smashing host pet edutainer Arden Moore and the groovy show that is cool baby really shagadelic “Oh Behave”.
Arden Moore: Welcome back to the “Oh Behave” show on “Pet Life Radio”. I am your host Arden Moore. Again, we have Kat Albrecht probably Americas top pet detective. She is, in my opinion, the top pet detective on this planet because she has a quest to make it so that we can have what might even be considered like a 911 for missing pets someday.
You know, we use 911.When we are missing our children, our older senior citizens, other people we know immediately what to do. Call 911. Well we don’t have that sort of universal system in place yet for our missing dogs and cats, but we can if we help people like Kat Albrecht who is doing everything she can to make sure that we get to enjoy our pets forever, as long as we can., and not have to worry about them becoming lost.
We were talking with Kat about some of the different behaviors that cat and dogs exhibit when they find themselves, “Oops, I am not at home anymore. I am lost.”
Now what I would like to ask you about Kat is this missing pet partnership program. I understand you have a certification course that can help people who like you want to do something to help in their community help find lost pets with their people.
So can you talk a little bit about that? That sounds really amazing.
Kat Albrecht: Sure
There are two courses that we offer. The first is the missing animal response technician course. That is a five and a half day training. Most of it is classroom. We do spend some time training a limited number of dogs. We do allow ten of the registrants to bring their dogs and we do basic evaluations and some beginning training with the dogs.
The course includes teaching you how to offer pet services as a fee based service, as a side business or as a service within an existing business like if you are a pet sitter, a dog trainer, a groomer, or you want to add lost pet services.
It can also be that you are a volunteer with an organization. You want to use this as a means to raise donations for your organization. Like Missing Pet Partnership, if we go out and work a case with our volunteers we ask for a donation to our organization for offering the service.
Our technicians are trained in things like: search probability theory, deductive reasoning, behavioral profiling, the use of high tech equipment, blood stain analysis, different forensic testing, and how to solve cases and how to process clues and information because you need to know how to do that.; how to conduct an investigation.
We also offer an abbreviated course which just focuses…It is actually the first two and one half day of training for lost pet first responders. These are for people that really just want to learn about the lost pet behavior; because that is really the main component of that portion of training. And so it can be for shelter workers, trapped due to return workers, rescue group volunteers, and people who want to volunteer just to find lost pets in their community.
So there are the two options. You don’t have to necessarily want to be a professional pet detective. Our hope is to train the lost pet first responders who will also back up and assist the MAR technicians. The MAR technicians are going to invest a lot of time and energy and their own money into training a dog to find lost pets; but the lost pet first responders might be the ones who are going to go out and stand on the street corner doing the intersection alert, or checking the shelter, or sitting and watching a humane trap. And then maybe the MAR tech would be called in with the actual search dog that would come in and do the investigations.
So we are holding courses this year in 2008. We are going to be near Grand Rapids Michigan in May; Sante Fe California in June; Seattle Washington this August; West Swanzey New Hampshire in October; and near Boulder Colorado in November. So we are hoping that we will get people across the country to come and get some training.
Arden Moore: And they can learn more. There are two websites, I guess, the pethunters.com and yoursimssingpetpartnerships.org. Is that correct?
Kat Albrecht: Actually, they are both now the same website.
Arden Moore: Okay
Kat Albrecht: So whatever you type in. It is just ….pethunters.com is easiest to remember but it is the same website. But, yes, our website has the lost pet recovery information; but then it also has the detective training information.
I should also mention, we have partnered with HomeAgain, a microchip company. And they have a program, a proactive pet recovery network which includes volunteer pet rescuers. You can go to homeagain.com and sign up to be a volunteer to get lost pet alerts in your area.
Arden Moore: Oh, that is great.
Kat Albrecht: We created for them a training module which we encourage anybody to go and take. It is kind of a primer for our course. And that website is petdetectivetraining.com
So it is easy to remember petdetectivetraiing.com.
Arden Moore: Okay
Kat Albrecht: It is kind of a fun little course to take that will educate you in lost pet behavior and then you take a little quiz at the end.
Arden Moore: I love quizzes. I love quizzes. As long as there is no homework, I love quizzes.
You know, HomeAgain is a pretty big player in the microchip industry and I know that it is hard to get the total definitive estimates, but I have heard things as high as ten million pets are lost or stolen every year. And so micro chip companies; I am so glad to hear that you are partnering with that, HomeAgain. And that is a great idea. So I am happy to see that.
And in your book “Dog Detectives: Train Your Dog To Find Lost Pets” you have a whole section on how to become a pet detective whether you want to do it as a volunteer or want to be paid for it. And so I do encourage the listeners to go out and dash out and get “Dog Detectives: Train Your Dog to Find Lost Pets” It is probably one of the best dog books I have read and I do read a lot of dog books. All my pages they are definitely dog eared, if you will. Pardon the pun. You new I was going to say that. But is a great book and I think we all should have that.
One thing that I wanted to ask you is…You know, we talked about how people can do their part. We have some pretty talented four leggers out there that can’t speak English but are really willing to help find some of their furry friends. What is it that would make a good dog or…I don’t know if cats can be trained to find dogs, probably not. But what are you looking for in a good dog that can find other dogs.
Kat Albrecht: You know, we…Just to, kind of, sum it up or to make it very easy. We look for…The dog should have no aggression towards humans, dogs, or cats and no major fear issues. So we want a really good solid temperament in a dog; because you may be called to go to an airport or a construction site or something that could be…You don’t want a dog that could easily be intimidated or distracted.
But basically we are looking for either a dog that loves loves kitties and will give a physical response when they detect the scent of a cat or when they know that there is a cat or a kitty there; whether it is whining, wiggly the tail, a change in body language, and intensity in interest where they want to get the kitty but not get the kitty.
Arden Moore: So it does what I call “monkey mouth”. When she sees a kitty around she will go, “Ah ah ah ah ah”.
Arden Moore: And the whole body is wiggling and she is doing the licky lou. She might make a pretty good pet detective, yeah.
Kat Albrecht: Actually, yeah.
See we never work the dogs off lead. So we don’t turn the dog loose. They are always working…and even when they are working in the cat detection; which is an area search mode, the dogs are always in a harness that is attached to a lead, under our direction.
So we are really using the dogs…This is when we are searching for a cat. We are really using the dog’s nose and their body language to alert us. We are telling them check this; check this, as we’re searching around a house and under a deck or searching a big pile of trash. If there is a cat in there then the dog- when they pick up the smell- we want a dog that the tail is going to start going and the dog is going to be telling us, “Ah, there is our kitty here.”
Arden Moore: “I love kitties.”
Kat Albrecht: Yeah, “I love kitties.”
So that is what we look for in the cat detection dog.
In the trailing dog that we train to track and trail the scent of lost dogs we want a dog that loves to play with other dogs. That when it sees another dog it becomes hyper, excited, and focused on the other do.
One of the tests that we do when we evaluate is we have somebody take what we call a target dog or another friendly dog and run away or hide around a corner and the dog that I am evaluating I want to see it getting really excited, like [make a sound like she is excited] jumping and trying to get away from me to go and chase after the other dog.
Arden Moore: Doggy peek-a-boo.
Kat Albrecht: Hide and seek, it really is. The basis of that training is hide and seek. The dogs learn to… Initially it is all visual. Eventually, you transition through step by training program in the book. You transition as the dog learns until he just knows it. At the end the reward is that you can just play with the other dog, but you can also incorporate the treats or a toy.
I was driving down the road the other day and it was interesting. I saw a man walking a beautiful husky, walking down the road. Just going for a walk and his dog was pulling him but it wasn’t anything major. And probably about – as I am driving past him- about 50 yards behind is a man walking a pointer mix that is just dragging. This man is jerking his dog bad. You know, jerking and jerking and jerking because this dog is smelling the Husky and wanting to catch up to the Husky.
And it was like, that is what we look for in a dog that we want to train to track lost dogs. I want a dog that when it gets on the scent… and the training process can take up to a year or 18 months to properly train a dog to track the scent train of another dog. So it is a lot of work and investment of time. But if you properly train the dog you want you will get one that will lock onto that scent trail and will be driven to take you and follow the scent of the path that dog left.
Arden Moore: Do you have any particular dog that did go through a training that might surprise you by either their breed or their background that you could share with our listeners.
Kat Albrecht: You mean one that I would recommend? Or?
Arden Moore: No! No! Did you have one that you were pretty blown away by how they could be a good pet detective themselves.
Kat Albrecht: No, because I have seen it all. I have seen mixed breeds and pure breeds that have succeeded in this. And it doesn’t surprise me because I don’t look for and I don’t recommend that you look for a particular breed. I recommend that you look for the drive. It is all about the puppyhood experiences and genetics. You know puppyhood experiences that develop a trust and an interest in kitties and maybe a playful desire to play with other dogs.
I have seen a blood hound before that somebody brought out for me to evaluate it and it had absolutely no interest in the other dog, even when the other dog ran and his. You know I am sorry but just because it is a blood hound it is not suited for this work.
So I think you don’t want to do necessarily with a giant breed for this work or a little tiny tiny breed either. You want to get something that – and I discuss that in the book- you want to get something that…You want to consider the coat of the dog and whether the weather and temperature where you have got to be working the dog, you know, other factors.
I think this is a great job to give shelter dogs because in my experience we have pulled three dogs from the shelter that we have trained in this job and that are doing a fantastic job. That is one vision that Missing Pet Partnership has is to rescue dogs from shelters, train them to find lost pets, and then issue them to animal groups, pet detectives, and animal shelters that we partner with across the country; but that will come with funding and with time.
Arden Moore: Yeah, I just can’t see a Chinese Crested out there in the wilderness of Alaska looking for a lost cat. That probably is not going to work; but if they have a nice double coat like a Husky then that is probably a much better climate for your dog. So you make a good point on that.
Kat Albrecht: The point is to make practical decisions and don’t let your hear…because I know you want your dog to work out for this, but I am a big stickler on the right dog for the right job and being practical.
Arden Moore: Well I am so glad you cam Kat for not one but two shows. I think hopefully people are getting some good tips. They can certainly get more tips from your two books “The Lost Pet Chronicles” and “Dog Detectives: Train Your Dogs To Find Lost Pets.
Please zip over to the website pethunters.com She also has another website called petdetectivetraining.com
We are speaking with Kat Albrecht a retired canine officer who founded the Missing Pet Partnership group and she is doing what she can to help us find lost pets.
Before we say goodbye is there anything else that you would like to add Kat.
Kat Albrecht: Just that we are a nonprofit organization and we need support. We need funding. So if you like the idea of what we are doing and you want to see this develop in your community please consider making a donation to our organization so that we can continue to function and help more people and train more people and dogs.
Arden Moore: You’re right. We have ten million dogs and cats that go missing every year. If we can help out a group like yourself we can really cut down on that number. So I hope listeners will give serious consideration to her request. She is not wealthy, but what she does it priceless.
Well that is it for today. I want to again thank Kat Albrecht for being on the show and my producer for making the show possible.
If you would like to hear more about the show or to get a transcript on this show or any other show on our awesome Pet Life Radio network please go to www.petliferadio.com and click on the “Oh Behave” show. You won’t be disappointed.
If you have any questions, comments, or ideas for a show please email me at email@example.com
So until next time this is your flea free host Arden Moore delivering just two words for all you two, three, and four leggers out there. Oh behave!!
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