CATCHING DOGS WITH A NET Part 1 of 4. Net Description and Added Tools

Part 1 of 4. Net Description and Added Tools

Photo by JBF India.

Photo by JBF India.

Nets can be a very humane and effective way of catching street dogs.  They are a versatile tool for animal control officers, disaster responders, those rescuing hoarding cases, and spay/neuter programs (ABC programs in India).  A net can also be a valuable tool for handling fearful dogs in animal shelters – yes for dogs too, not just cats!

Yet there is no information available on how to use a net successfully and humanely.  Here at the Feral Dog Blog I will provide you this rare and valuable information.  In addition to netting I am introducing and encouraging people to use a Y pole (when there are at least 2 people) and a towel.  Learn more later.

In this a four part blog article, I will describe:

Part 1

– Which nets and what specifications to look for.

– Tools to use with the nets such as the Y pole and towel to make the catch more professional and humane

Part 2

– How to catch a dog running along a wall or fence.

– What to Do but also how to Be so the dog is more likely to come by you

– How to practice before catching dogs.  And it’s fun too!

Part 3

– How to catch a resting or sleeping dog

– Other applications for netting street dogs

– Carrying a dog in the net

Part 4

– Netting dogs in the animal shelter? Yes!

Net Description

Salmon Net

Salmon Net

The nets we use for dogs are called salmon nets (i.e. large fishing nets) and in the United States the most popular nets are made by Beckman and Frabill. The nets for catching dogs should have a very large diameter hoop frame.  The large salmon nets have a circumference of about 112 inches (285 centimeters) and is about 36 inches (91cm) across.  The best shape for the hoop frame for catching dogs is one that is flat along the top edge such as the one in the photo.  A flat edge is better for catching dogs that are running along a wall.  And when setting the net over a sleeping dog a flat top edge will lay flat against the ground.  The handle for these salmon nets are about 4 feet long (1.2 meters) and the handles slide up and across the hoop frame to take up less space when not in use.

IMGP0949 resizedThe best netting I have found for dog nets is a heavy blue double ply netting material that is sold in India and most animal welfare groups working with AWBI will know where to buy this material. In the US, Frabill has a tangle-free thicker netting that is also good.

The netting should be 4-5 feet (1.2-1.5 m) deep so you can twist the net after you catch the dog. This twisting is important because it prevents the dog from escaping and makes a tight wrap around the dog to decrease his struggling.

Although most people use nets by themselves, they are more effective and humane when adding a Y pole (if you have a second person) and a towel.

The Y Pole - four foot handle is not shown.

The Y Pole – four foot handle is not shown.

The Y Pole

I hope you have heard about the Y Pole by now!  Read my article about the Y pole in HSUS Sheltering Magazine. I am introducing it to the animal welfare community and hope it becomes a common necessity among animal shelters.  Add them to your shelter – I will help you all along the way. (I digress.)  The Y pole is also a great tool to use with nets to reduce the time the dog struggles in the net after being caught.  The Y pole is placed on the twist of the net and not on the dog.  See Part 2 for more details.

The Towel

Towel Over Dog in Net.

Towel Over Dog in Net.

Stressed dogs are far more relaxed when they are covered with a towel.  After the dog is caught in the net, twist the net quickly and get the dog to relax.  Yes you may be in a hurry, but stop and relax and let the dog relax.  Put a towel over it’s head and let things settle.  Softly and compassionately touch and pet the dog if it does not make it more upset.  Most dogs want to know you are compassionate.  Keep the towel over the dog when you are carrying it in the net.   The towel is better for the dog – reducing stress and literally lowering his heart rate. It is better for you because the animal cannot follow your hands with his eyes so it reduces biting.  It is also better for your organization because a towel over the dog looks more compassionate – and is.

Coming soon. Part 2 of 4. Catching a Running Dog Along a Fence

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6 Responses

  1. Great work Mark, will you be posting to FIAPO or should I, thanks! Eileen

    On behalf of all whom we represent and strive for in India,

    Eileen Weintraub, Seattle, WA USA

  2. Mark you no doubt are doing a good work. It takes a lot of time and effort to come up with such innovations, specially when you have no financial or man power back up. I presume that you are doing all this out of love for the poor animals who cannot speak for themselves, keeping in view to neuter animals and make them be acceptable to people . Mark one of the problems I very badly face is the capture of she two dogs in open areas, where they around here, but I failed to catch them. Its a closed area of several acres with houses all around and a long stretch of hilly sandy land have a huge terrain to escape from being trapped, with also huge cactus growths to hide. I used to feed two bitches in the centre, with shrubs and cactus growth. I have even tried to dart them, but they keep a distance which is away from the suitable range of the dart gun. Recently the bitches gave birth to several pups. In a period of two months of being born half the pups died due to chilly weather. We had planned to trap the remaining pups, who were coming near, but kept a distance so we could not catch them by hand. A cage was supposed to be kept with their feed inside. But someone got them slaughtered brutally. For several days now we cannot spot the pups (who were less than 2 months old. All we could see were dead pups lying like ragged dolls, with injuries. Now we have located the two bitches with 2 pups. But the problem is that they stay very very far away from us and the pups are so frightened that they make a run for the cactus growth whenever we go there to place their food. Here we cannot use your net either. What is needed is a trap which can entangle their feet in a net or a mechanical trap. We can keep the area under watch and soon as a dog comes and gets trapped we can catch it and take it home and eventually get it neutered. In this way we can save the animals from further multiplying and eventually killed by some thoughtless souls.
    Thanks Mark for being so thoughtful.

    • Manek,

      Thank you for your kind words. As you know, it can be extremely difficult to catch dogs and some may never be caught. There are no reliable traps which trap their feet and there are no easy answers for catching the pups. Do you have a box trap? My recommendation, which is still a difficult thing, is to leave very small piles of food (one handful) at 2-3 locations near where a trap could be placed away from the public if that is possible, or at least hidden. Leave a little food there every day but make your presence very small – a short time and do not interact with the dogs AT ALL. If a dog is going to get comfortable with eating food it must have routine – same time every day and preferrably the same 1-2 people. Getting them to eat comfortable where you leave food is your first step.

      Then set the trap but not too close to one of the bait piles. Follow my directions in the TRAINING LIBRARY on my website and place the trap near a bush or building and cover it to look safe inside. Wire the trap open securely and make sure you check it every day. For a week leave some food 1 meter in front of the trap in addition to the other bait piles with your same routine. Over time remove the original bait piles with only the small pile of food in front of the trap and a small pile just inside the trap. Slowly build confidence for the dog to enter the trap to eat. Once it is comfortable, remove the wire and set the trap.

      If you can catch the pups, place them in a closed trap and place an open trap next to them to catch the mom. The pups must be in the shade and someone must see they are safe and have food and water.

      These are not great solutions, but they are ideas to discuss. Best wishes in your valuable and caring work.
      Dr. Mark

  3. Hello where can i get this net in pune to catch a stray dog!! I need it to catch starydogs sometimes when they are i jured & i wnat to take them to clinic

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