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What Info Should Be On Your Gun Dog's Collar Tag?

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October 17, 2011

What Info Should Be On Your Gun Dog's Collar Tag?

By Chad Love

I've previously blogged about the dangers of losing your dog. By now many of you and your dogs have been hunting for well over a month, and hopefully none of you have experienced it this season. A lost dog in the field (or anywhere) is one of the most panic-inducing things a hunter can experience. That’s why most of us have our dogs chipped, have flat tags riveted to their collars and why many of us run GPS collars like the Astro when we hunt.

But here’s an interesting question: What do you have stamped on your dog’s collar tag? I have to admit, I’ve always just included my name, city, state and home phone number and called it good, but as I was ordering new collars for my dogs recently I read an interesting article on Steve Snell’s gundogsupply website that detailed what Steve considered the most important information for a collar tag, which includes multiple phone numbers, your name and not the dog’s, followed by your city and state.

Good, practical advice, but what caught my eye was some of the additional info Steve suggested including on your dog’s tag(s).

From the gundogsupply.com website:

We also use a few other things on our tags to help get our dogs back. “Needs Daily Meds” is one of my favorites. It adds a certain amount of urgency to getting the dog back home. If folks know that your dog needs medicine and that it’s daily, they will be in more of a rush to locate you. “Reward if Found” is another good one. Just keep in mind if you put it on there, be ready to pay up when someone locates your dog. We have done this for years and the few times I have lost a dog, I could never get the person to take the reward. I did buy dinner one night for a couple of hunters that found my lost brittany named Maggie. Now you may be asking, “How do I get all this information on a 4 line tag?” Well, I can’t, so I double tag my collars.

That’s a great idea, and I must admit I had never thought about that before. Have any of you had anything similar put on your dog's tags in the hopes of getting him or her returned sooner?

Comments (11)

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from FishingnotCatching wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Just wondering, why did he say so specifically not the dogs name? Does he just feel that it is not necessary? I think that in between finding the dog and getting the dog to its rightful owner, it might be useful to know the dog's name ("Kennel up Buck" or anything of that matter). Again, JW

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from OutdoorEnvy wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

If they dog is a good hunter there will be a map with highlighted directions back home, phone numbers, addresses, flare gun, GPS tracking unit, etc.
If he doesn't hunt he won't have a caller or only one with his name on it. And he'll probably follow you back to your truck...

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from Steve Snell wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

JW - Good question. I don't recommend it for a couple of reasons. First is to save room on the tag. Space is at a premium and I want the most important info first.

Second is to lower the chances that someone that finds your dog won't return him to you. While it isn't real common, folks do steal dogs. No reason to make it any easier on them. If they know the dogs name, it helps.

Phone numbers are the most important thing. That's how 99% of the folks that find your dog are going to contact you. I like to list a minimum of 3 and the more the better.

If someone finds your dog and calls you, you can then tell them your dogs name.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dan Shamblin wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

I always include their chip # & providers contact info. I.e. homeagain.com, 888-homeagain, etc.

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from jcarlin wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

I don't think mobile numbers can be emphasized enough. A few years ago one of my dogs scooted in the middle of a backbacking trip. Looked around for hours but were 10 miles from the truck with our kids expecting to be picked up at the end of the day. We happened to run into the people that found her and had turned her over to a WCO at the trailhead. A lot of time and anguish could have been spared if a cell number was on her tag. Hours before we gave up looking (entirely on foot in the middle of nowhere) the officer had already called our home phone, which did no good as it was 200 miles away from us. New tags were issued that week. Have since had calls come in on the cell regarding one of my beagles while I was beating the bushes for them. Also, would have uselessly gone to the home phone otherwise.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jeff Bowers wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Our county has registration. Our dogs all have their rabies tag, and the county tag. And they are chipped.

We also take the county tag to 'Things Remembered', and have our phone number engraved on the back.

So there is 4 different IDs on our dogs. Beyond that, we can only hope they want to return them.

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from jamesti wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

i couldn't imagine losing my dog! good thing he hunts close!

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from Scampwalker wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Steve's advice is sound. Also, well before hunting season starts, I print out about a dozen color copies of a "lost" flyer for each of my dogs with the same information that goes on their collars. I also leave some room to fill in the area/date they were lost, along with a photo. I keep this with my dog gear at all times so they're ready for immediate posting if a dog gets away.

The sooner you can get that sort of information out at gas stations, cafes, co-ops, and elsewhere, the better. It's nearly impossible to quickly put that together out in the middle of nowhere, and timing is of the essence.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere39 wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

A great topic and timely.
My Brittany is double chipped for US and North American standards. His collar includes a chip notification tag. Collar also includes rabies tag, which has been used to track me down once, a local county lifetime license tag that could be used, a pet store tag with my last name and cell phone number. Finally, the collar itself has his name and my cell number embroidered in large letters/numbers. My Brittany hunts close enough, but has a sneaky habit of running foxes. He gets so excited, my voice seems to take a hundred yards or more to remind him to stop, then return.
My one concern, I was in the PA mountains for opening Grouse this weekend. Great Grouse territory, no cell phone service. I would be struck deciding to continue looking, or retreat to a mountain top for cell service. Fortunately, we did great on the grouse, and never tested the bounds of hunting distance.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 22 weeks ago

Like a dope I put my home phone number instead of my cell on my dogs' tags. I can always check my voicemail at home from anyplace but it would be more expedient to have finders communicating to me directly via my cell.

Kind of a moot point since my dogs are virtually never out of sight. If they showed up missing it would almost certainly be theft and any amount of information on the tags won't help get them back. Chips might help a bit for theft resolution but not much. Chips are as easily removed as inserted.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from 007 wrote 2 years 21 weeks ago

Great topic here but let's take it a step further. Why only hunting dogs? This should apply to any dog that's loose. The Rotteweiler/Golden Retriever mix that's at this moment laying on the back steps has my name and phone # on his collar. Too many times something happens that a yard or farm dog wanders off and has no identification. Case in point, neighbor's border collie was afraid of thunder and a severe storm scared her so badly that she completely fled the area, turning up several communities away. Just by chance word of mouth the owner found out about her a good many months later and got her back, along with a brand new litter of puppies. If she'd only had a collar with a little bit of info, imagine the savings in heartache.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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from Scampwalker wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Steve's advice is sound. Also, well before hunting season starts, I print out about a dozen color copies of a "lost" flyer for each of my dogs with the same information that goes on their collars. I also leave some room to fill in the area/date they were lost, along with a photo. I keep this with my dog gear at all times so they're ready for immediate posting if a dog gets away.

The sooner you can get that sort of information out at gas stations, cafes, co-ops, and elsewhere, the better. It's nearly impossible to quickly put that together out in the middle of nowhere, and timing is of the essence.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Steve Snell wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

JW - Good question. I don't recommend it for a couple of reasons. First is to save room on the tag. Space is at a premium and I want the most important info first.

Second is to lower the chances that someone that finds your dog won't return him to you. While it isn't real common, folks do steal dogs. No reason to make it any easier on them. If they know the dogs name, it helps.

Phone numbers are the most important thing. That's how 99% of the folks that find your dog are going to contact you. I like to list a minimum of 3 and the more the better.

If someone finds your dog and calls you, you can then tell them your dogs name.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jcarlin wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

I don't think mobile numbers can be emphasized enough. A few years ago one of my dogs scooted in the middle of a backbacking trip. Looked around for hours but were 10 miles from the truck with our kids expecting to be picked up at the end of the day. We happened to run into the people that found her and had turned her over to a WCO at the trailhead. A lot of time and anguish could have been spared if a cell number was on her tag. Hours before we gave up looking (entirely on foot in the middle of nowhere) the officer had already called our home phone, which did no good as it was 200 miles away from us. New tags were issued that week. Have since had calls come in on the cell regarding one of my beagles while I was beating the bushes for them. Also, would have uselessly gone to the home phone otherwise.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from FishingnotCatching wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Just wondering, why did he say so specifically not the dogs name? Does he just feel that it is not necessary? I think that in between finding the dog and getting the dog to its rightful owner, it might be useful to know the dog's name ("Kennel up Buck" or anything of that matter). Again, JW

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from OutdoorEnvy wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

If they dog is a good hunter there will be a map with highlighted directions back home, phone numbers, addresses, flare gun, GPS tracking unit, etc.
If he doesn't hunt he won't have a caller or only one with his name on it. And he'll probably follow you back to your truck...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dan Shamblin wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

I always include their chip # & providers contact info. I.e. homeagain.com, 888-homeagain, etc.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jeff Bowers wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Our county has registration. Our dogs all have their rabies tag, and the county tag. And they are chipped.

We also take the county tag to 'Things Remembered', and have our phone number engraved on the back.

So there is 4 different IDs on our dogs. Beyond that, we can only hope they want to return them.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

i couldn't imagine losing my dog! good thing he hunts close!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere39 wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

A great topic and timely.
My Brittany is double chipped for US and North American standards. His collar includes a chip notification tag. Collar also includes rabies tag, which has been used to track me down once, a local county lifetime license tag that could be used, a pet store tag with my last name and cell phone number. Finally, the collar itself has his name and my cell number embroidered in large letters/numbers. My Brittany hunts close enough, but has a sneaky habit of running foxes. He gets so excited, my voice seems to take a hundred yards or more to remind him to stop, then return.
My one concern, I was in the PA mountains for opening Grouse this weekend. Great Grouse territory, no cell phone service. I would be struck deciding to continue looking, or retreat to a mountain top for cell service. Fortunately, we did great on the grouse, and never tested the bounds of hunting distance.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 22 weeks ago

Like a dope I put my home phone number instead of my cell on my dogs' tags. I can always check my voicemail at home from anyplace but it would be more expedient to have finders communicating to me directly via my cell.

Kind of a moot point since my dogs are virtually never out of sight. If they showed up missing it would almost certainly be theft and any amount of information on the tags won't help get them back. Chips might help a bit for theft resolution but not much. Chips are as easily removed as inserted.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from 007 wrote 2 years 21 weeks ago

Great topic here but let's take it a step further. Why only hunting dogs? This should apply to any dog that's loose. The Rotteweiler/Golden Retriever mix that's at this moment laying on the back steps has my name and phone # on his collar. Too many times something happens that a yard or farm dog wanders off and has no identification. Case in point, neighbor's border collie was afraid of thunder and a severe storm scared her so badly that she completely fled the area, turning up several communities away. Just by chance word of mouth the owner found out about her a good many months later and got her back, along with a brand new litter of puppies. If she'd only had a collar with a little bit of info, imagine the savings in heartache.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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