Should We Catch the Dog?

It is such a pleasure getting comments and questions from my readers.  It helps me understand what issues and challenges people are facing when trying to catch feral dogs and owned animals who have decided to run free.  I often design my blog articles based on your questions and comments and am designing a future training website as well.

On the first day of this year, 2o14, Joyce M sent me an important question about catching a particular feral dog.  I have already responded to Joyce, but this question is so important that I have copied it as an article for the blog.  I would love have to have all of your comments and input about this as well.

Submitted on 2014/01/03 at 5:31 pm  from Joyce M.

“I live in a community where a group of people are banding together to capture a stray dog. Though their intentions are good my main thought is that of the animal. This dog has been on its own in the same area for going on 4 years. It does not trust humans in anyway. Everyone that has encountered this dog and had fed it has said that it will take the bowl and eat the food elsewhere. It has avoided all types of capture with its smarts and shows no interest to be with humans. My main concern is that after/ IF the dog is captured what will happen to its spirite? Will it go into defens mood and become violent? Is there a possibility of it being rehomed?”   

Dear Joyce,
Thank you for your question. It is such an important question that I will make this an article for my blog. You are so correct about looking after the welfare of the dog. If he/she has been living in the same area for 4 years then there may be many reasons to let the animal remain free. Once caught just think how much it will lose it’s sense of freedom and open space. And with it’s deep fear of people, life in captivity will likey be very stressful and traumatic.  And he/she could indeed become defense aggressive and unadoptable.

It would be healthy if the group of people with good intentions who wish to catch the dog would meet and discuss this important issue. There are many reasons why it might be important to catch the animal if it was injured or threatening people. And yes if he/she is adding feral puppies to the area it can be of concern, but even then a capture/neuter and release can be a very humane solution in the right locations and Capture/Neuter/Vaccinate/Release is considered the most humane method for managing feral dog around the world.

Another concern I have is how most people try to catch a dog. It is usually with high energy and often involves chasing the animal. If they use boxtraps, most people do not set it properly to attract and entice the dog and do not wire it open to build confidence. It sounds that with this very fearful dog, a box trap may not be successful which could result in many people chasing it around and becoming less sociable.

I agree with your most pointed question?  What will happen to its spirit when he/she is captured and confined even if kept by the most loving people. We humans do not always think about what is best for the animal even when we have good intentions, so the decision to capture this dog is worthy of more discussion among your neighbors and community.

I would love to hear comments from other readers to give Joyce some help with this difficult question.

Do you think they should catch this dog?


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2 Responses

  1. This would need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, IMO. Around here (rural Minnesota), free running dogs present a threat to livestock which, in turn, presents a significant risk to the dog of being killed by the stock owner. Dogs running free during deer hunting season also run a large risk of being shot.

    On the other hand, feral dogs can be tamed but it is a huge amount of work and not something most people are well equipped (either by skill or by containment resources) to do.

    • SmartDogs,
      Absolutely this has to be addressed on a case-by-case basis. Depradation on livestock and wildlife is indeed another consideration.

      As you know, each dog is different as well and not all can be tamed. In the U.S., it is difficult for most people to think of loose dogs as appropriate, just as in many countries around the world people cannot imagine taming a dog or walking it on a leash. Dr. Mark

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