Make Your “Lost Dog” Poster More Effective

30 Dec

Small type, too much info, bad picture. No one's going to look.

God forbid you ever lose your dog and have to post “Lost Dog” signs all over your neighborhood. But if you do, here are some tips for making them more effective, courtesy of Pure Gold Pet Trackers. Most people make three common mistakes on “Lost Dog” posters.

  1. Using small print that’s unreadable from a moving vehicle.
  2. Showing a poor quality picture (and/or showing it too small)
  3. Trying to fit too much information on the poster

Here’s how to make your poster/flyer more successful:

  • Use the rule “fewer words, bigger type”
  • When using a computer to make your posters, remember that 72-point type is not really readable from a car. Nor is it the largest type size available to you. In your program’s menu bar, just highlight the number 72 and type in a larger number. Over 100 points is usually best. 72 points should be one of your smaller font sizes on a poster.
  • Make the description accurate but not too detailed. It is better to get too many calls that you can eliminate with more discussion than too few because someone thought the dog they saw wasn’t the one you’re looking for
  • Don’t print any of your personal information. A reliable way to contact you, like a cell phone number, is plenty.
  • Make the posters colorful. Catch the eye, then show a photo and a phone number.
  • Make the animal visible – Some posters have a photo of a small, blurry animal in the middle of a crowd. or sitting on a plaid sofa, or in the middle of a lawn. Although any photo is better than none, remember drivers only have two seconds to really see the poster. Have a current picture of your dog as seen from the side available for emergency use. If you don’t have a clear one, use a photo editing program to silhouette the dog from the background. One pet tracker even advises clients to use a stock photo of a dog that looks like their dog if they don’t have a good image. If your dog is a fairly typical Beagle or Toy Poodle, it’s not going to make much difference if the dog in the picture isn’t your own dog, as long as it looks like your dog. Better to have a clear picture of a Yorkshire Terrier with a big phone number than a fuzzy picture of what might be a cat.

    Much better. Readable and memorable.

  • Always carry extra fliers with you when you are out and about looking for your pet. It can be a good “ice-breaker” when you introduce yourself to a homeowner, particularly if you  ask whether you can check around his/her property.
  • Once made, disseminate them!  Also, be sure to visit the local post offices with at least two copies…one for the bulletin board, and one to give to the postmaster so that the carriers can keep an eye out as well. After all, they cruise the area daily.
  • For dogs particularly, you probably want to cover a much bigger area than you may think. A small dog can cover a lot of ground in a hurry. A large dog looking to find his way home may cover many miles each day. Not necessarily in a straight line, it may be big loopy circles. So don’t think in terms of straight lines or roads that make sense to you. For example, a neighborhood that you drive many miles to get to may be right over the hill as the crow flies.
  • Recruit extra help if needed. The folks at your neighborhood churches will likely post fliers after services. Co-workers, neighborhood kids, anyone who says “what can I do to help” is fair game to disseminate fliers.

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2 responses to “Make Your “Lost Dog” Poster More Effective

  1. Irene V.

    December 30, 2011 at 10:08 am

    Excellent tips on how to post fliers. I didn’t know about the larger dogs travelling in loopy circles instead of straight lines. This is very good information. Thank you for sharing.

    I love Dog Blog!!


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