Capturing Dogs with Boxtraps, Part 1. How to Set the Trap

Capturing Street Dogs in Ladakh, India

For a detailed training video on on how to box trap dogs – visit our GWR Products page.

Sometimes the most efficient way to capture dogs is with a box trap.  In disaster response, the first dogs are caught by hand, but there gets a point when the fearful dogs cannot be approached.  Then box  traps will bring the dogs out of the rubble.  In animal control or dog rescue, people may need to capture specific dogs. Box traps can be placed along their travel route or favorite spots.  And in trap/neuter/release programs such as the work I did in India and Caribbean, box traps are an efficient way to gather many dogs.

But few people know how to successfully use box trap.  Attend to the details…..and here is one way to do it.

You can download a free handout on box trapping from Global Wildlife Resources by visiting our free Training Library.

Which type of boxtrap?

Without any doubt, my favorite trap is the Tru Catch 48F Folding Dog trap.  I have used them in Montana, New Orleans, the Caribbean and have even taken them to India (with great difficulty).    I like the Tru Catch 48F Folding Dog trap because it is very rugged, strong and lasts for years even with ocean salt..  It is compact so many traps can me moved together.   It is very versatile to use in many ways because both ends open so dogs can be shifted to a varikennel or to another trap.

The best source for purchasing the Tru Catch trap is to contact Wanda or her family at  Heart of the Earth Animal Equipment.

Setting the trap

1) Most important – choose a location that is cozy for the dog and hidden from the public.   Dogs have a denning instinct which can be used to our advantage.  And people and traps do not mix.  People will either steal the traps, release the dogs, or harm the dogs. Continue reading

Why Explore Types of Dominance with Dog Handling?

Thank you, Brad, and to everyone for the wonderful comments.  Wonderful exploration.  You all help me clarify several goals and hopes from this discussion.

First, I hope we will honor each person’s choice for how they wish to address this challenging concept of dominance.  Brad, your suggestions for other types of words such as respect and seniority are great.  Yes indeed use them!   (Can we practice as much compassion and respect for each other as we can towards our animals?)

Visit my website for more philosophy and discussion.

Continue reading

NEW FERAL DOG HANDLING COURSE IN MASSACHUSETTS, May 26-27

I am excited to announce that I will be teaching a two day humane feral dog handling course in Springfield, Massachusetts specifically for the animal control officer, shelter worker, and disaster responder.  This is the most extensive course in handling fearful dogs. This is an essential course for professionals addressing hoarding cases, responding to disasters, handling fearful dogs in shelters, assisting with trap/neuter/release programs, and rescuing dogs in general.

This course is a product of my experience handling over 2,000 feral dogs throughout the world including the Caribbean, India, tribal lands, and rescue operations after Hurricane Katrina.

O Connor dog course Announcement Here are details about the course.  The course is limited to 40 people. Visit our website Seminar Schedule for more information and for registering.   Either register on-line or by mail.  Feel free to contact me if you have any questions  at mjohnson (at) wildliferesources (dot) org.

Please note:  I will also be teaching this humane feral dog capture course in Seattle in June, 2010. The specific dates and locations are yet to be determined.

Mark

Physical Restraint for Dogs. Part 1 The Scruff

Around the world, feral or street dogs are often handled strictly with equipment such as snare poles or nets.  In India, I once trained some great young men who were dog catchers for a spay/neuter program who had never touched a dog!  They had only caught and transported street dogs with nets. They were great at it!  But they only recognized one kind of dog – in their eyes every dog was the same  and they never attempted to use softer methods for capturing the friendlier dogs.

The body structure and behavior of the dog allows us to physically restrain them with our hands.  This is unlike cats which require equipment, equipment, equipment!  Physical restraint is a valuable tool for the dog handler.  When we get confident to safely and humanely handle dogs with our hands, it gives us options to first try softer capture methods such as catching with a leash when it is safe to do so.  It also gives us versatility for what we can do when the dog is in hand.  Good physical restraint requires a calm dominance.   Even when the dog is struggling in your hands, be calm and give compassion.   Dog handlers should be confident in applying several types  in order to be versatile in successfully and humanely capturing dogs.  These types of restraint include: the scruff, lateral restraint, and hobbling.   Part 1 talks about the scruff.

The Scruff

(DO NOT HANDLE ANY DOG UNLESS YOU FEEL IT IS SAFE TO DO SO.)

Here is how to properly scruff a dog. To safely control the dog you must control the head.  Many people do not think much about how to do a proper scruff and can compromise the safety of the dog and the handler.  Also read my previous blog entry about the Energy of Conflict.

Proper Two-Handed Scruff

The full scruff is a two-handed hold on the dog’s head.   Each ear of the dog should be in the notch of your thumb and the thumbs are parallel on the top of the dogs head pointing forward.  Stretch your fingers of each hand toward the corner of the mouth (be careful not to get bit) and curl your fingers to gather up the skin of his cheeks.  It should make him grin.

Keep the ears deep in the notch against your thumb to get the most control.  Do not let your fingers point to his neck.  If you do, you will gather his neck skin which can choke him.  People have a habit of shaking the dogs head as if to get a better grip.  Do not do this. Not even once. You are sending a message to the dog that you are it’s opponent and wishing to create a fight.  Compassionate animal handling is not only the right thing to do, it makes our work safer and easier!

Physical restraint should not be just physical.  And physical restraint should not be the same as fighting the animal. It should be combined with heart-felt compassion.  Think of using it as a strategy to kindly move the animal into a position you need to do your work.  Maybe you need to examine a surgical wound after sterilizing it or giving it antibiotics, or moving it into another pen without a crate. Continue reading

Another need for the Y pole and humane handling

A recent news article came out about a dog hoarding case in Harney County Oregon with 50 suffering dogs.  http://www.komonews.com/younews/79844302.html The struggle for me is to see the frustrations and challenges with catching these dogs in order to give them a better life.  I have assisted with several hoarding cases with HSUS as well as rescuing dogs after Hurricane Katrina and appreciate the incredible challenges for the animal control officers.  Too often the people are struggling to protect themselves and do not know the strategies or the tools, and it becomes a frantic and brutal fight.

There are calm and humane approaches to gathering dogs such as those at Harney County.  The Y pole is a great tool if calmness and compassion is an inherent part of it.   The Y pole simply used as a physical stick, however, will not be effective.   I cannot afford to volunteer with these situations, but it motivates me to create more on my website and with a training video.  If you are interested in helping me create these valuable resources for the animal shelters and control officers please contact me.

Also, I value your comments about what Global Wildlife Resources can provide to meet your needs for handling feral dogs.  Please let us know.

I  sincerely wish for a safe, calm, and successful gathering for the animal welfare workers in Harney County.

To learn about the Y pole, how to use them, and how to make them visit our Free Training Library and Y Pole Page.

Mark

Wildlife Veterinarian

Global Wildlife Resources, Inc.