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Once we have a good place chosen for placing our boxtrap, we then set it up in a way that it is stable and a welcome sight for the dog to enter! (See Part 1)
Now it’s time to bait the trap.
Baiting the trap is a strategy like playing a chess game. You are not just placing something stinky in the trap so they walk in! You want to use bait to guide them right down to how they trigger the trap. Checkmate! Be sure the environment is set up so the dogs are hungry (How much garbage and food is around and where is it?), create ways to bring them to the trap and then into the trap, and then guide them to place their foot where it triggers the trap the best.
The Hungry Environment
Be sure your surrounding environment is not competing with your baits.
When we were trapping dogs in the Caribbean, it was hard working around the resorts because of so much garbage and food scraps laying around. Fortunately we often worked with resort managers who locked up the garbage and who told their staff to clean the grounds. When working with island governments we had to ask them to improve their scheduled dumpster pick-ups.
Food in the surrounding area can also help you catch dogs. Hopefully you are setting traps along the dog travel routes. Or you can modify their travel routine by creating bait stations. Bait stations are simply spots where you leave food every day to attract the dogs and soon they may be adding your feeding stations to their daily routine. Once they are visiting alot, start reducing the food at the station and put bait in and around the nearby traps.
There are other ways of bringing the dogs to your traps. When I am capturing black and grizzly bears, I use tricks to bring them in from long distances. Sometimes we may tie a deer leg to a rope and drag it along a trail to the trap (be sure to walk quickly :o). I would not recommend dragging a cow leg through town, but you can bring dogs in from the beach that way or when working in other remote areas. I have also brought dogs from ½ mile away along abandoned roads using our famous Jug O’ Juice! We boil meat and spices, take out the chunks, then dribble bait from a plastic jug as we drive along the road.
Water, at times, can also be used to bring the dogs in the area of the traps.
So know what food is in your trapping area – is it helping or hurting?
Bringing Them In and Making the Catch
Bait is obviously used to bring the dog toward the trap and then into the trap. This is a case of building confidence and motivation. Remember, if your trap is five years old and smells like you’ve caught a hundred dogs and two badgers it will not help you! Clean your trap often. If your trap does not smell scary, then it is easier to build confidence and motivation.
NOTE: Understand that the type of bait and where we place the bait will depend on the layout of the land, the type of ground and vegetation, the attitude and number of dogs, and what your own preferences are. These descriptions are simply a generalized approach for beginners.
I like to use small fragrant tidbits so the dog cannot take food out of the trap and eat it outside. I put small scraps 5-6 feet in front of the door (or farther if we need to bring the dog in closer), then 6-12” in front of the door, 2-6” inside the door, 2-4” in front of the trigger pan, and some nice food under the trigger pan.
To make the catch, motivate the dog to step into the trap, onto the trigger pan (plate), and guide the dog to set it’s foot where it will best trigger the door to close.
On the Tru Catch Trap, the trigger pan is hanging from a chain connected to the left edge. The left half of the pan triggers better than the right half that has no chain. Does this make sense? (I will add photos. I want the dog to place its left foot up on the plate and put weight on it so I place the food under, or on top of, the back left quarter of the trigger pan.
The types of baits vary depending on what the dogs will like. Dogs in the Caribbean were not attracted to raw meat! We had to cook it with garlic and spices to bring them in. We have also used scent collected from bitches in heat. Collect their scent with tampons that are refrigerated until needed.
Do not put the bait too close to the back of the trap. The dog may try to push the trap or dig to get to it and trigger the door closed.
Do not put tin cans of food in the trap or material such as carpet. The captured dog can get injured from chewing or swallowing these things. People at times have added chew bones so when the dog is caught it might chew on the chew bones and reduce mouth injuries. Your choice.
Wire the trap open, first!
Always, assume the dogs are smart and leery. If you are right you will catch more dogs and not make mistakes. If you want very good success and if you have the time, especially if you want a specific dog, wire the trap open so the door cannot close or move at all. You must still visit every day to be sure the dog is not accidentally trapped. Use these visits to see if there is activity and add fresh bait. You can even rake the sand or dirt in front of the trap to see who is visiting the trap. Once the dog is commonly entering the trap to eat, take the wire off the trap and set the trap with a hair trigger.
Be sure to check the traps at least twice a day, depending on where you are working.
For directions on how to boxtrap dogs – visit our Free Training Library.