Video of boxtrapping a dog on You Tube

There are several posts on this blog describing how to capture dogs with box traps.   There are so many ways they can be used.  You can set up a box trap and leave it to catch a specific dog, you can set up a trap line of boxtraps, check the trap line  and gather dogs.   You can also drive the streets, find dogs who will accept hand outs, and when you find one, set up a trap nearby, bait it, and entice them into the trap with food.

To learn all of these ways for box trapping dogs get our new training DVD, “Humanely Box Trapping of Dogs”  for sale on our GWR Products page.

In our YouTube video we used this active method and enticed a dog into the box trap.  Even though he had never seen the trap, he was still very cautious.  Please send me your comments and questions.  Dr. Mark

8 Responses

  1. Hi Mark
    This is a nice little video. It is a good study in the dog making choices on his own, and how his body language shifts as he moves between more or less sureness in what he does.

    How would you categorize the time frame here – typical? unusually quick?

    This dog seems unsure and is wary/vigilant, but doesn’t appear to be a really fearful animal. I found the dog’s expression and posture in the cage (soft eyes, lots of blinking, sitting but not too tense or avoidant) very interesting.
    Again, lacking your experience, I wonder how typical or atypical this is?

    • Suzanne,
      Thank you for your questions. This can be a very typical amount of time for a dog to get caught, but it all depends on how hungry it is and how fearful it is. I recall one dog running for the trap to get the treat. I saw he was running with another dog so I shouted to my friends to chase the first dog away as I ran to the traps. They were very confused about why I would chase the dog away but they did indeed scare it away (with low energy). I suggested we set up another trap next to the first one. We did that and after the first dog was caught, the second one visited his buddy and got caught as well!

      Some dogs never step in. And some will simply urinate on the cage and walk away. :o)

      So this video is very typical. Where this method is used in India we tell people that if they do not want the dogs around and don’t like them, then offer the dogs food and be kind to them so the dog handlers can catch or trap them more easily. It promotes kindness and helps us catch dogs! Mark

  2. How large does the box trap need to be relative to the size of the dog?

    Will a feral step into a trap that is lower than his height at the shoulder? If so, does this slow the process down?

    Does it depend whether the dog is comfortable in the presence of people, with a very small flight zone, as this dog is, versus a very scared (and perhaps previously “captive”) dog that has a larger flight zone?

    I’ve had several people report that frightened “bolters” would not approach box traps. In one case, this was an English setter house dog (a show champion!) that was nevertheless utterly untrained — bolted out the gate and went native, giving birth to puppies “in the wild.”

    Her owner claimed that she would not approach even a known human closer than 100′, and would not approach a trap, nor would her puppies, who were ca. 10 weeks old when I got the call for help. Dogs were apparently getting food from a dumpster.

    (Owner wanted our human-finding SAR dogs to “track” her; could not explain how that would help to *catch* her. And was concerned because the puppies were so “well-bred” and she wanted them ready for the show ring by six months. Headdesk conversation.)

    All other cases have been formerly feral and/or abused dogs that were being tamed and escaped, wouldn’t even enter a large fenced area through a wide gate for food.

    So what are some strategies and concerns for box-trapping dogs that are familiar with the concept of “trap” and especially wary of being caught?

    • Thank you for the great questions!
      For successful trapping the boxtrap should be as cozy a place as possible. It is good to remember that dogs love to den and feral dogs will dig holes to do just that! But there is a limit since our boxtrap den is still intimidating.

      My belief is that dogs will not crawl into a tight boxtrap. The bigger the better. That is why I like the Tru Catch 48F Folding Dog Trap. They are going in to eat the food, not hide to give birth so they have a different mindset. There is no specific size since it depends on the dog’s personality and fear level….and hunger.

      Yes, it does indeed depend on the dog’s comfort level with people – not just with the presence of people, but with the human scent and appearance of the trap when they are gone. They are always in a dog’s world, so it also depends on what scent from other dogs is on the trap. Was there a dominant male marking the trap with his pee? Was there a female in heat previously caught in the trap? Wash your traps thoroughly and often.

      There are dogs who will never be caught with a boxtrap. No capture method will capture every dog. But there are many things you can do to increase your chance. Read my boxtrap blog posts. Do not put the trap out in an open field. Put it next to a building or bus and cover it. Do whatever you can to make it cozy. And for the skiddish dogs, wire the trap open for as long as it takes for the dog to eat in the trap. It could take weeks. But you still have to check the trap every day in case you accidentally catch something if the wire does not hold the door open.

      Time is always a valuable tool when it is possible to have time. When someone says “wouldn’t even enter a large fenced area through a wide gate for food” they are saying the dog will not do that NOW. The dog may never do it, but most dogs over time and with a safe environment with great food can be trained to trust enough to enter.

      Thank you for the great questions. Dr. Mark

  3. Hi Mark,

    I am an Animal Control Officer/Consultant based in Malaysia. I successfully use box traps to capture lots of strays here. Of course, I prefer using animal conditioning first by feeding them for a few days before using slip leashes. But the problem with this is if you’re dealing with a pack of dogs and you manage to leash one which probably never had a something around its neck before, you could end up with only capturing one animal instead of more because of struggling and yelping.

    That’s why I actually use a few box traps at one go – side by side! One goes in and if it doesn’t panic, another would follow because of curiosity and so on. I actually caught up to 4 dogs in a row using this method. Oh yes, before I forget, I use raw and cooked chicken for bait and use water from rinsing chickens as attractants. The stinkier the better!

    Adrian Johnson Lim
    Stray Animal Solutions, Malaysia.

    • Adrian,
      Thank you for describing your wonderful approach to catching dogs. It is great you are trying to use conditioning first when possible. Very nice idea for bait and attractant.

      What company and brand of boxtrap are you using? Where can you purchase them in Malaysia? Mark

  4. I have found that when catching an overly cautious dog (or cat) that must be removed but is simply to skittish to enter into a trap, it helps to take a little time. When this is the case I start feeding at the same time and place for a couple of days. Then I have it walk over something similar to the trap bottom to get to the food. I have also gone so far as to make a makeshift trap that has no door so the animal gets used to walking into something to eat. Once the animal is accustomed to walking comfortably into the makeshift trap and eating, I replace it with the trap. The schedule and “introduction”

    Like I said, it can take some time, but it never fails.

    • Joy, so many people are in a hurry to catch dogs. I love your thoughtful approach to “introducing” a dog to the trap. Time is a wonderful tool when working with dogs. In the boxtrapping articles in this blog I mention about wiring the trap open to for several days to get the dog used to eating in the trap. I have not though of using a damaged trap that had no door. That is a great idea!

      Your accomplishments remind me of a dog handler I met from Sikkihm, India. He was known for being able to net any dog (over time). As he netted dogs around Sikkihm and saw dogs who were very afraid, he would also toss them food. He would also move through towns without the “energy of conflict” which I write about. Since he is not a threat, over time, he makes friends with essentially any dog, as you do, so they can be caught in a good way.

      Thank you for your post! Dr. Mark

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