Should you offer a reward for your lost dog?
We advise owners of lost pets not to offer a reward - especially if your pet is shy! We know you love your dog, and would do anything for him, but offering a reward encourages people to call or chase your dog if they see him. Being called or chased is one of the biggest threats to a lost pet. This may cause him to run into traffic where he can be injured or killed, or to run farther from home. You want him remain in the area he's familiar with, and where you will be searching for him. Offering a reward is likely to prolong your search and possibly put him in danger.
From our experience, even a friendly dog may become frightened and run when called, whistled at, or chased. It's not uncommon for a dog to run from their owner. Read here about what happens when a dog is chased, and what you should do to get him to come to you.
Someone who sees your dog may choose not to contact you because they want to be the one to catch him, so they can claim the reward. If they report a sighting to you, you'll go there to catch him, and they'll be out of luck. They will look out for their best interest, not yours, or your dog's.
Some owners offer a reward and include instructions to not chase their dog if seen. If you saw a hundred dollar bill blowing down the sidewalk, would you chase it, even if you were told not to? It's likely you would. Sometimes the reward amounts are quite large. This brings out scammers and unsavory people who will try to take advantage of you. They may claim to have your dog to attempt to extort money from you, or worse.
Offering a reward also makes it harder for the next family, who may not have the funds to get their dog back because people begin to expect money for helping.
We understand whether or not to offer a reward is a very personal decision, and only you can decide what you feel is best for your dog, but we strongly believe it's not in the dog's best interest to do so. Most people will do the right thing and return your dog to you without monetary incentive.