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  1. #1
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    Default Making friends with a stray dog - New House PICS page 61!

    Some of you had some good suggestions when I posted about this on the last Off Topic days.

    My neighbor and I are still on a mission to try to make friends with a poor stray dog what was dumped in our neighborhood of gentlemen farms and large cattle/horse farms. She was dumped with another dog, the other dog was successfully trapped by animal control (and adopted) about 4 months ago, but this little girl (a 40+ pound shepard cross) was too smart for trapping.

    For the past two months, we have been feeding her, giving her treats and toys to play with, talking with her every chance we get, but we still can't get any closer than about 10 feet before she scampers off to her "safety zone".

    Two weeks ago, we tried putting tranqs in her food, and it failed. The first day all she got was woozy, but not enough for us to get close to her, and we didn't want to frighten her any worse than she is. Second and third try, the tranqs had the opposite effect, she was running around and barking for about an hour. I think we are giving up on that approach.

    Well, the past few days, she is now starting to come closer to the barn while I am feeding and doing chores, and I toss her a biscuit and talk to her.

    We hope to be able to catch her, and get her neutered and all her shots, and see if we can turn her into a farm dog. I don't think she would ever be happy as a house dog, but I think she will be a great farm dog, she never chases the horses or cats, I see her laying in the pasture all the time with the horses grazing near her.

    Anyone else have experience with "taming" a stray frightened dog?
    Last edited by MunchkinsMom; Aug. 2, 2009 at 09:53 PM. Reason: update to the title



  2. #2
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    I don't see anything wrong with just keeping on with what you're doing, it's going to take time is all. Be prepared for her to be good and pi$$ed off when you nab her to spay her, though. She'll probably regress a bit.



  3. #3
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    Can you lure her into the barn then shut her in?



  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by BumbleBee View Post
    Can you lure her into the barn then shut her in?
    Not in my barn, all my stalls have track style gossip doors on hinges with about a foot and a half gap at the bottom, and I don't have barn doors on the aisle at all.

    It might work in my neighbors barn, and she has been known to sleep in there at night, but she won't come into either of our barns if any humans are in there, at least not yet. And as soon as she hears any of us approaching the barn, she makes a run for safety.

    What we plan on doing if and when we do finally catch her, is keep her in my neighbors barn in an empty stall while she recovers from surgery, and try to really make friends with her then, spend lots of time just hanging out with her, etc.

    I have the gut feeling that she really wants to be part of our "pack", but she just can't get over whatever happened to her before she was dumped in our neighborhood, poor little thing. She really watches me interact with my horses, both in the barn and in the field (my three horses follow me around the pasture like giant dogs all the time).



  5. #5
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    Nov. 1, 2008
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    For WIW, I think you're doing an admirable thing, wish more people would take the time. I would carry on as you're doing and if all else fails then ask animal control to try trapping her again. You might be able to catch her more easily if she's more hungry after a couple of days. Sounds hard I know..

    I think, like most strays as opposed to ferals, she'll change once she's trapped and been through the ordeal of going to the vet for spaying. It's amazing how they just 'give up' and accept humans once they know they can't do much about it. They're so forgiving too and appreciate kindness. I think her confidence will boost from the human interaction and she might just become a house pet again after all I really hope you nab her soon, she sounds sweet!



  6. #6
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    Jun. 22, 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tango14 View Post
    For WIW, I think you're doing an admirable thing, wish more people would take the time. I would carry on as you're doing and if all else fails then ask animal control to try trapping her again. You might be able to catch her more easily if she's more hungry after a couple of days. Sounds hard I know..

    I think, like most strays as opposed to ferals, she'll change once she's trapped and been through the ordeal of going to the vet for spaying. It's amazing how they just 'give up' and accept humans once they know they can't do much about it. They're so forgiving too and appreciate kindness. I think her confidence will boost from the human interaction and she might just become a house pet again after all I really hope you nab her soon, she sounds sweet!
    Thanks! The traps were here for 3 months, and we didn't start feeding her until the 3rd month of failure with those. She was a very young puppy (maybe 3-4 months old) when she was dumped with the older dog. They hung out together for a month, then AC came out with the traps, and got the older dog, but this young one would not go into the trap, maybe she saw what happened to her friend. And we were putting some pretty enticing stuff into that trap, nothing doing!

    She really is a smart dog. When I first fed her, I put the dry dog food on a plastic supplement bucket lid, and after she ate, she took the lid with her, and the next night, brought it back for a refill . It was so cute. I gave her a few toys that my dogs don't play with, and she carries one of them all over the place with her.

    And in my neighborhood it is very common for folks to be out riding and we get to chatting over the fence, and often she will be laying about 20 feet away, and we all talk to her and to each other, which I think is helping her to try to overcome her fear of humans. We have at least 7 other families aware of the situation, all rooting for us, and taking the time to talk nicely to her.

    My neighbor named her "Angel" because she has been spending time near the recent gravesite of her dog, cat and horse (all lost within a month).



  7. #7
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    Feb. 21, 2008
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    I was actually thinking about you and this poor stray today while doing stalls (from your OT day thread). Thank you for caring enough about this poor doggie and I hope she can join your pack very soon. Good Luck!
    It's psychosomatic. You need a lobotomy. I'll get a saw.



  8. #8
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    Nov. 1, 2008
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    Ah man, she sounds so sweet. You really have been all out trying to get her then! Lucky she's in such a good area where folks are concerned about her. I'm sure she's eventually let you catch her though.. Good Luck!



  9. #9
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    Dec. 31, 2000
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    I've been feeding a stray Chow mix since April. It hangs around a neighborhood I drive thru on the way to the barn. Houses all have several acres. The dog has supposedly been out there for a couple of years. It used to run, if it saw people 100 feet away. up until about 2 months ago, it would stay about 20 feet away while I put his food down, wait for me to move away, then go eat. If I looked at him or called him, he'd run.

    Last week I bought some fried chicken. I put his regular food down, then threw some pieces to him. He ate those, so I threw pieces closer, talking all the while, crouched down, but not looking at him. Then I threw pieces on his food. He came to get those off his food. Then I held out a piece in my fingers. He started to come up, then backed off and got all silly, spinning in circles, like "I want it, but it's Soooo scary". He finally took food from my hand. I let him do this for a few days. I finally rubbed his cheek after he took th echicken and was licking my fingers. Then I scratched under his chest. Now he'll let me scratch his ears, chest and neck. I've also started sitting in the back of my car and encouraging him to get in the car. So far, he'll put the front feet in, but not the whole body. My plan is to try to get a collar on him next week w/ID tags so if he is picked up as a stray, they won't euth him. Then I'll start working w/a leash w/him. Eventually I'll take him home.

    As you can see, it can be a slow process. Fried Chicken or Rotissiere Chicken works great as a lure. You just need to go really slow. Also avoid looking at him when you are trying to get him to takke food from your hand. If you have a calm, friendly dog, take it with you and feed that dog some chicken, and pat it, then offer chicken to the other dog. My biggest breakthrough happened when a Lab that lives nearby, showed up the day after he first took chicken from me. He saw me patting the other dog and let me touch him. Make sure you back off at the first sign that they are getting uncomfortable. It's better for you to back off than to have them move away. Then immediately offer a piece of chicken as a reward for being touched.

    Good luck. Keep us updated.



  10. #10
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    Jun. 22, 2008
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    Thanks jetsmom for the great advice! When I do go out to feed her and bring her treats (stuff like dog biscuits, rawhide chews - which she loves), I don't walk directly towards her, and if she gets up to run, I stop, and I kiss to her and call softly, and if she stops and sits back down, I tell her what a brave good dog she is. Then when I get within about 10 feet, I say "look what I brought you" and "are you ready?" and then I toss it to her. But like you said, she won't pick it up until I am on my way back to the barn, but even that is progress, two weeks ago she wouldn't eat it until was back up in the house.

    Today my daughter (who is on winter break from school) is also on the case, she was on her trampoline and Angel was barking at her from the pasture. So my daughter went out and was talking to her, and she too got within the comfort zone. I told her she should take a chair and her iPod and a book and go sit out there for a while (of course she might have to fend off my nosey horses for a few minutes). LOL - guess I might have to send her out there with a bucket of KFC?



  11. #11
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    For some reason, Chicken and other warm, smelly meat (hot dogs, although too much will cause an upset stomach) is highly attractive to dogs. Try using that, and see if it helps. Do you have a calm friendly dog that you can take out there (leashed?), and have it sit while you crouch and pat your dog, and feed yours chicken while tossing some pieces to the stray?

    Please update your progress, as I am interested in how things turn out. Good luck.



  12. #12
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    Yep, bring the really good snacks... like KFC or whatever and encourage her to come closer and closer to get them. I have a dog that was like yours ten years ago... once he finally allowed himself to be caught and came home he became a total house dog... he's currently sleeping under the covers with my SO.



  13. #13
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    Hate to advertise KFC but that's what I use when trapping feral cats. They seem to be more attracted to it than raw chicken Oh and the other thing that works quite well is pretending you are not interested in them at all. Sitting nearby reading and ignoring them makes them feel unthreatened and I've made quite a few breakthroughs like that.



  14. #14
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    Excellent advice from JetsMom and Tango14.

    Ignore her. Park yourself in a chair with a minefield of super-tasty (little bits of hotdog, rotisserie chicken or KFC, etc.) treats, and let the dog make the decision to approach you (working her way from treat to treat, getting closer and closer). Don't look at her, don't react. Let it be her choice. You might have to do this for weeks, but it's pretty effective.

    I would hesitate to try to close her into the barn, as she could be freaked enough to bite, and it might set you back in the trust dept.

    Good luck and please keep us posted. I wish more people cared as much as you to help strays.



  15. #15
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    I cannot wait to hear how this turns out!

    Great Christmas Story...
    I have too many ponies but love 'em all!

    http://foxview-farm.blogspot.com/



  16. #16
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    Don't tranquilize her. Unless you know what you're doing you could harm or kill her by mistake.

    You just need to be patient. Continue to feed her and don't bother trying to force yourself on her. Toss food to her so she sees you as the provider and just sit still when she eats. Don't even try to go to her. Let her come to you.

    She will eventually because she'll see that it's safe and you're the leader and provider.



  17. #17
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    Oh, jetsmom and MunchkinsMom, your stories are really warming my heart on this frigid day!

    I have to say, all of my critters go nuts for KFC.



  18. #18
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    Something I learned when I had the barn never been held cats (ones people would dump) neutered make shore were you lock them in you have it so when you go in the place you come from is locked too. They can get smart fast and will hear you comeing and get ready to run out when you come in. So if both places are locked they can not get out.

    I would just keep doing what you are doing. She will come around in time.
    AilleXWest
    www.gypsystoychest.com Adult Toys and Home partys



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paddys Mom View Post
    Oh, jetsmom and MunchkinsMom, your stories are really warming my heart on this frigid day!

    I have to say, all of my critters go nuts for KFC.
    I go nuts for KFC also, but maybe that is because we don't have one around, so it is a rare treat.

    I would keep the traps up, just in case you get lucky.

    Once we had a little greyhound looking female around and we made a hiding hole out of hay bales and baited it.
    Once she was comfortable going in there for the food spread along the ground, we added a bigger trap in there, that was not set for several days.
    Once she was eating out of that place and in the trap, we set it and there she was the next day.

    You may try that.



  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas_1 View Post
    Don't tranquilize her. Unless you know what you're doing you could harm or kill her by mistake.

    You just need to be patient. Continue to feed her and don't bother trying to force yourself on her. Toss food to her so she sees you as the provider and just sit still when she eats. Don't even try to go to her. Let her come to you.

    She will eventually because she'll see that it's safe and you're the leader and provider.
    Oh, thanks for the concern, the 3 tranq attempts were with veterinary supervision/Rx, we didn't use just any old thing. And this vet is awesome, she saved a dog a few years ago that someone had dumped as a puppy in a dumpster, and due to the injuries, gangrene, etc, she lost the use of her front legs, and she and her husband built a special cart for her to get around. Most of us in the neighborhood use her for our small animals, and she is terrific, and would never suggest that we do anything that might harm the animal or get us hurt. She also loaned us a muzzle, and I have a huge airline style dog crate that we can use to transport her to the vets office if we can trap her. I have not talked with my neighbor in a few days to see if they are giving up on the tranq idea. I'm all for taking however long it takes to get her to just trust us.

    Speaking of which, she is out sunning herself on the fenceline, waiting for me to bring lunch to the horses and her. She didn't get breakfast because she didn't come around at breakfast time. I try to only put out food when she can see that I am the one to put it out, so she can association that human=food.



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