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Wild Dogs
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phyllis    Posted 10-15-2003 at 06:20:53       [Reply]  [No Email]
What can you do with wild dogs? Not stray wild dogs, but your own dogs? For over 4 years now, we have tried and tried and tried, in vain, to keep these dogs in the fenced yard. A large yard, maybe 1/8 or 1/4 acre. Countless strands of electric wire, bottom, middle and top - patched places all around- chicken wire to keep from digging - and on and on. The entire yard is torn up from digging, and what's left of the fence looks like a junk yard job. They still get out and run around barking and raising ruckuss with other dogs and doing who knows what. I'm surprised someone hasn't killed them yet. Just this morning, after getting out - starting before daylight - to get them back in 3 different times, I finally took a gun and shot it into the ground over and over. One ran off towards the woods immediately, and the other 2 that didn't, ran to the back of the fence and climbed over and took off to the woods after the first one. The maneuvering they did to climb over would've made Houdini proud.

Four years of this. 2 of them won't even let me brush them, put flea drops on them, bathe them or get burrs out of their coat or anything. I am so tired of this, and am worried that they're going to do damage to someone's property or possibly hurt someone. Don't get me wrong - I am an animal lover, and especially love dogs, but am at my wits end with these 3. I'm close to the point of getting rid of them if they are uncontrollable, and I don't say this lightly. Does anyone have any ideas on how to keep them IN and keep them alive? They are very good guard dogs, when they're here, and have never been vicious towards any of us, but they are wild. They were stray pups we took in, and had been away from people from their birth until maybe 2 months old when we got them, and already acted wild and afraid. Any ideas?


Redneck    Posted 10-15-2003 at 18:00:16       [Reply]  [No Email]
Is a shock collar an option?They work!What about the boundry collar? Works the same as a training collar but has a set radius,if they go out side it,BAM.Does not take them long to learn.Electric fences do not work.I have a friend who says his dog will dig,chew or whatever it takes to get thru the hot wire,yelping the whole time but still gettin out.


Frances    Posted 03-04-2004 at 21:16:07       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Dear Phyllis,

Don't give up on your dogs! I have a 11 year old Chow-Chow who was given to me when she was 2 yo because she was covered with sores. She had been chained in a backyard south of Albuquerque. People do that as a cheap sort of burglar alarm. Anyway, chained as she was, the neighborhood boys came and beat her with sticks. My sister gave these folks dog houses, waterbowls, etc. These things kept disappearing. Finally Animal Control took her away because they hadn't been feeding and watering her, and she was covered with sores.

My sister asked my help since I am the only person she knew with any sort of health care training. This dog would not let you get near it. It wouldn't eat. 30% of its body was covered in open, weeping sores.

The dog was hiding under a shed. I sat out there for several hours on 3 successive days, just talking to the dog. The dog just growled at me. It never barked. I also offered it chicken--tossing very small pieces under the shed. It wouldn't eat that at first, either. On the second day, Missy (the chow) ate the chicken. On the third day, Missy let me coax her out to eat the chicken. After a couple of days, she let me touch her.

She was tense, but I kept my voice soft, and always approached her slowly and at her level. I would sit on the ground or the floor 3 or 4 feet from her and not look at her directly. Then she would approach me for food. It took about a week, and she would let me put a leash on her. She was too sick to act up.

We went to the vet. I won't go into all the medical care, but it took 3 months to clear up her skin with about 1-1/2 hours of work every other day. It was a month before she took interest in being petted. Then she liked me and my husband but no one else.

Got some dog books from the library:

"Don't shoot the dog" by Karen Pryor.

Started positive reinforcement training. When she did something I didn't like, I just ignored it. You train one thing at a time, rewarding the dog when they do even a small part of what you want. It's great! I have rehabilitated 24 dogs in the last 10 years and found homes for them.

Missy, was the hardest, however, due to the abuse and her breed.

For dominant dogs, it really helps to hand feed them until they are accepting you as the leader. I did this with Missy. Let her eat her food one handful at a time out of my open palm. Once she did that easily, training was much easier.

Shooting your gun or yelling at your dogs will just get their nervous systems wound up to such a high pitch that they don't hear a thing you say. They think there's some big danger around because you are "barking" so loudly! So they bark and growl more--trying to scare off the danger, which is the normal thing for dogs to do.

I would really try hand feeding them. You need to do at least 5 minutes of training every day with each dog. MOre if you can.

After I got 4 dogs, I couldn't build a fence that keeps them in. I read in a Cornell Veterinary College bulletin to keep the dogs in the house when I was gone. The dogs stay cleaner, so the house stays cleaner. They are in their "den" so they are calm. IF they do bark, it doesn't bother the neighbors of people walking by.

I set aside one room, dog-proofed it, and put their beds and water bowl there. I also left lots of toys--Kong toys are great--you fill them with peanut butter and kibble, and it takes dogs hours to get everything out of the inside.

On work days, a neighbor comes over and lets them out in the yard for half and hour. I dog sit for her when she goes on vacation.

Another good book is

Positive Perspectives: Love Your Dog, Train Your Dog by Pat B. Miller Pat writes the dog training column for Whole Dog Journal. Her advice is practical, easy and works. Her book only costs about $14 on Amazon.com

The Karen Pryor book only costs about $9.00. If you can just get one, get Pat Miller's book. Karen Pryor's book give the background of positive training and how you can use it in your human relations.

It took about 3 years, but Missy the Chow dog began to love people. She lets strangers pet her. She almost never barks.

It took another 3 years to be able to cut her nails. Pat Miller's book will tell you how to do that. I started by leaving the nail clippers by her bowl. Then, gradually, I touched her on the back, rewarding her each time with a treat. For a couple of years, I only cut one nail at a time. Dogs that did not have their paws handled as puppies take a long time to get used to nail grooming. Now, I could cut all 4 paws at once, but that's pretty stressful, so I just do one paw at a time, with her dinner bowl in sight. As soon as nail clipping is done, she gets dinner.

Your dogs already like you, but you and they do not know how to communicate with each other. Positive training is based on what really works. Shock collars will make your dogs more wound up.

You see those killer whales that do all those tricks? That is done with positive training. You can't yell at, hit, or put a shock collar on a killer whale. But people manage to get them to do incredible things by using positive training.

Good luck. A dog trainer or a dog training class with a positive reinforcement trainer would really help.

The positive training class I took is one of the best investments of time and money I ever made. Suddenly, I started noticing positive things my family, friends and coworkers were doing, rather than the negative. Paying attention to the positive things caused people to do more of them. It really helped me in all areas of my life. I grew up in a family that only noticed the negative. My parents would say, "You'll know you're doing the right thing because we won't say anything." It took me quite a while to start noticing the positive in my dogs and rewarding it, and ignoring what I didn't like, but once I did, it was easy.

I hope this helps.

Frances




ret    Posted 10-16-2003 at 06:46:20       [Reply]  [No Email]
Guess our dogs are smarter than your friends. Put up a wire on our fence, hooked it to a Bumblebee unit and it took one jolt for one of the dogs, and two for the hard nosed one. The third dog who is a master of escape just took one. Dogs need something to do, ropes and things to chew on and play with. Shock collars for our dogs were a waste of money, they just shook them to one side and they didn't go off. If your dog won't come to you , something is really wrong somewhere. JMHO
REt


phyllis    Posted 10-15-2003 at 18:10:08       [Reply]  [No Email]
Yes, someone on another site suggested the shock collar. I may have to try that. We'd have to get pills from the vet to make the 2 drowsy enough to let us put the collar on, but we could do it. I'll check around on prices. Thanks!!


Redneck    Posted 10-16-2003 at 03:00:04       [Reply]  [No Email]
If yall have a trade day around that caters to the hunting crowd,it would be your best bet as for prices.


Ron,Ar    Posted 10-15-2003 at 16:46:40       [Reply]  [No Email]
Fawteen is right, my reply below about the voltage was intended as humerous but serious too. In my opinion you have already gone "above and beyond" to maintain these dogs as family pets. They just may become a huge liability soon.


Fawteen    Posted 10-15-2003 at 16:06:10       [Reply]  [No Email]
Do yourself, and your neighbors, and local wildlife and livestock a favor, and have those dogs put down, before somebody does it for you and messes it up.


phyllis    Posted 10-15-2003 at 16:13:25       [Reply]  [No Email]
I hope it doesn't come to that - but I do understand what you're saying, and hubby has mentioned it before also. I just don't have the heart to.


Fawteen    Posted 10-15-2003 at 17:23:30       [Reply]  [No Email]
Sorry, I know I come off a bit harsh on the subject. I love dogs, always have, but I had to have two of mine put down for the same reason. Could NOT keep them home, and a life on a chain is no life for a dog.

I've been on the other side of the equation too, with a neighbor's dog molesting my livestock.

I hope you can come to a peaceful solution to your problem, but my experience with it has not been positive.


phyllis    Posted 10-15-2003 at 19:50:26       [Reply]  [No Email]
No, Fawteen, I understand. Husband thinks the same way, but has helped me try, for me. If it was just him, they'd been gone a long time ago, I think.


Ron,Ar    Posted 10-15-2003 at 15:43:49       [Reply]  [No Email]
It almost sounds like a lost cause to me. Neutering may work or at least help but...some vets nowdays don't like to do it if the dog is over three years old.
Maybe you don't have enough voltage on the electric fence? (120VAC)


phyllis    Posted 10-15-2003 at 16:15:30       [Reply]  [No Email]
We've had problems with the electric fence before. The charger we had before this last one, malfunctioned and killed one of the dogs. The one in the forefront of the pics. The one we have now, is smaller, and may not be strong enough, but we got gunshy after the other one killed the dog.


Dave Munson (mid Illinois    Posted 10-15-2003 at 13:16:45       [Reply]  [Send Email]
The neighbors dog was that way. Always wild and considered his terratory a few square miles. She (the owner) lived about a quarter mile as the crow flies and three or so miles by any road.

The dog would visit and play. Always here by dinner time. Seemed to travel around territory of about a mile in all directions. My dog Maggie never left the property and the other dog seemed to like to visit her. We nick-named the dog Romeo.

Turns out that dog's owner was a vegetarian. She kept the dog locked up in the pen with the mule. The dog would jump the 6' tall fence and take off. Probably did not like sleeping with the mule or outside.

A few years later her kids invited her to move to the city and take care of the babies. She moved away.

Our dog, Romeo, stayed. He is sleeping at my feet at this moment.


Dave Munson (mid Illinois    Posted 10-15-2003 at 13:27:36       [Reply]  [Send Email]
P.S. He don't roam around any more unless he is chasing a deer.


Phyllis    Posted 10-15-2003 at 13:50:36       [Reply]  [No Email]
Looks like Romeo found him a better home!


KellyGa    Posted 10-15-2003 at 07:22:03       [Reply]  [No Email]
If they aren't already, they need to be neutered or spayed. That slows them down. They are getting out becasue they are bored, smell more interesting things outside the fence, or see other interesting things outside the fence. The key is to make you and the yard more fun than whats distracting them. Dogs need a lot of time spent with them, or a job. Give them soccer balls to play with, toy ropes, tennis balls. A kick ball on a string on a post can be a wonderful thing. Good Luck!


screaminghollow    Posted 10-15-2003 at 06:39:15       [Reply]  [No Email]
sounds like a nearly lost cause. Some dogs are far more prone to "run" than others. Some actually need it to stay healthy and even an acre isn't enough for some. We have a brittany spaniel that need to run. While he'llstay on our 50 acres 95% of the time. He manages to upset the neighbors that other 5%, so now we keep him on a leash or in pasture, (7 acres)that is well fenced. Our beagle won't go more than 200 yds from the house unless accompanied by someone. She is a real homebody. My parents had some sort of german shorthair yrs back. That dog would do nothing but run, If he got out, you could start looking for him in the next county. If you called him and opened the car door, he'd jump in. He loved car rides more than running. My dad was extremely patient trying to train that dog not to run. He never was able to stop it. I think it was a breed thing.


phyllis    Posted 10-15-2003 at 06:49:23       [Reply]  [No Email]
Thanks screaminghollow, for the info. I hope they're not a lost cause, but it is looking pretty hopeless. When I shot the gun this morning, the idea was to scare them so they'd go under the house and stay put. That's what they usually do, if we have to use the gun for a snake, because they don't like the noise. Thanks again.


Maggie/TX    Posted 10-15-2003 at 09:11:37       [Reply]  [No Email]
Phyllis, do you have any idea what breed/mix of breeds they are? I'm just curious, as I've been researching a particular breed due to my next door neighbor having that breed. I found that the dog barks all the time because she is tied up and it's a breed that needs acres of space in which to run.

If your dogs are of a working breed, they won't be happy in 1/8 to 1/4 acre yard and without something to herd.

If you decide you can't handle them any more and want to get rid of them without killing them, try calling the Liberty Police Dept. and ask for a lady that is over animal control there. I forget what her name was, but I talked to her a few years ago when we were given a dog that did not fit in with us and we wanted to get rid of it. She said that if we couldn't find it a home, she would. The Dayton PD didn't have anybody that could help.

You also might try advertising in the Liberty Gazette (free to advertise for individuals) to get rid of one of the dogs. The others may settle down if there is less leadership to jump the fence and you can give more special attention to two dogs than to three. Then, if that doesn't work, pick the one you think might have the most hope of training and get rid of the other one.

That's all I can think of, short of Concertina wire on your fence! LOL! Good luck! :)


Here the boogers are.....    Posted 10-15-2003 at 10:06:21       [Reply]  [No Email]
Here's the dogs. The black lab doesn't do this. The dog in front in this first picture died a while back. They are at the fence going after the neighbor's dogs. See how demolished that part of the fence is? LOL. Well, it's that way all around the place now.



Maggie/TX    Posted 10-15-2003 at 09:25:08       [Reply]  [No Email]
Phyllis, I just realized I replyed to you based on an assumption on my part which may be wrong. (Assuming is never a good thing, but it's hard for me to remember that sometimes.) If I was wrong, please forgive me.

I assumed you were the same Phyllis with the friends who were in the bad accident not long ago and posted asking for prayers for them - Cindy and I forget her husband's name right now. Anyway, the reason I jumped the conclusion that you live near us is that I saw a listing in the church news letter that we get in the mail about a couple by the same names and the request was by a church member with your first name. My husband and daughter belong to that church and I always read the letter. If I was wrong, then please just ignore my site-specific advice above and mark it down to a "senior moment" on my part. :)


phyllis    Posted 10-15-2003 at 09:52:54       [Reply]  [No Email]
Yes, that's me. Cindy's home now, and Jack is supposed to be going home next week. I don't know about a Liberty Police Dept., though. Is the church called Highland Terrace?
Thanks for the information and suggestions. They're all back in the yard now. 2 of these dogs are brothers. One is neutered (if that's right for a male), and the other 2 are not. The 2 brothers' mother looks like a shepherd/collie mix, and their dad looks like a big black longhaired thick bodied mix of some kind. All of them have a black spot on their tongues, so there must be some chow somewhere. The third dog is related to these 2, but his dad is a black lab. So much for pedigrees, lol. The main leader male, has a face that resembles a Rottweiler, with the same black/tan markings, but he's got long hair and looks more like his dad than the other one. I'll find a pic, if I can, of them and put it up here in a while.

I'll try, once again, to fix the area I saw them climb out of this morning. I would never have believed they could've gotten out there, but I saw it with my own eyes. Electric wire and all.


Maggie/TX    Posted 10-15-2003 at 12:33:19       [Reply]  [No Email]
Phyllis, nope, the church is First Baptist of Dayton. Maybe it's just a coincedence of the names.

The dog with the black Lab daddy just may be a keeper. Labs can be trained very easily and well and make great pets and are very loyal. Also a shepherd/collie mix sounds like a good one. I'd try to find a new home for this ringleader who has Rottweiler in him and then see if there is any improvement. Rottweilers can be great dogs, but only if they are trained very well when they are young. If not trained, they can be as dangerous as a Pit Bull. If you have to weed out a second dog, I'd get rid of which ever one seems to have the most Chow in him. Chows have a "Do" button, but no "Undo" button. LOL! Good luck! :)


phyllis    Posted 10-15-2003 at 14:17:41       [Reply]  [No Email]
It could be the same people - maybe the prayer request got passed around. I think a lot of people know Cindy and Jack, so it's possible.

Yeah, the 1/2 lab is not as wild as the other 2, but he sure does like to escape with them. He does let me do things to him, like flea stuff/brush, etc. I found him in our driveway, in the drainpipe when he was a baby. His mom is one of the stray dogs we feed.


Linda in UT    Posted 10-15-2003 at 12:28:51       [Reply]  [No Email]
Phyllis, it looks like your fence is chain link. If so, it is about the easiest fence there is to climb for a dog. I know that's not what you wanted to hear, right? Chain link and chicken wire are easily climbed by dogs who like to climb fences.

Neutering is a very, very good idea. I can't imagine trying to keep an intact male home after he's found he can leave at will.

We keep our three dogs in 10' x 10' commercial kennels when we're not with them. We laid down chain link fencing on the ground to discourage future digging, then erected the kennels around that spot. We use wood chips (free around here) to cover the chain link. The kennels are constructed of heavy wire panels with about 2" x 4" openings in the wire, 6 feet high. They even sell a panel that will clamp over the top if you need the extra security. I would not buy a chain link kennel because of the potential climbing factor. We also use a clip to secure doors to the kennels closed, as a jumping dog can jar a door open if it isn't secured.

This has worked for us. I would recommend the kennels, then only let them out to run in the yard when you can supervise them. You might also consider constructing a smaller yard for the dogs, with fencing they can't climb and either cement footers or wire buried about 18 inches deep.

Once the dogs are all neutered, they may settle down and stay home more, but only if you have a secure area to keep them in, instead of one they've learned to escape from over the years. You can patch and patch your current fence setup, but I think you really need to start fresh with secure fencing. Good luck to you. I know this can be a very frustrating situation for you and for the neighbors.

If there is someone in your family who is interested enough to follow through, I would also take one dog at a time to obedience school. Concentrate on that one dog, giving it love and affection and guidance until it has bonded with you instead of its doggie pack, then start with the next dog. Kenneling them separately while doing this will make a huge difference, too. Take one dog at a time out and work with it - don't try and take all of them out at once.


phyllis    Posted 10-15-2003 at 14:06:15       [Reply]  [No Email]
Hi, and thanks for the comments. The fence is mostly field wire, at least originally, lol. There may be some patched places that do have chain link, and/or chicken wire, I'm not sure. If it's in the photo, then probably. It's topped in some places with 2 or 3 strands of barbed wire also. And, one whole side is reinforced with chicken wire to prevent digging, but that didn't stop them from making a tunnel and going under anyway. They just had to dig a little longer and harder. This morning, I was just ready to turn them out - I was so frustrated. Now, they're out there sleeping like angels...

In order to get them to obedience school, or to the vet or anywhere, at least the 2 brothers, I'd have to go to the vet and get some sleepy pills to sneak to them in their food. The dog that looks Rottweiler colored never got neutered because we couldn't catch him to get him in the truck. We did manage to catch the one, but he still acts like he's a he-man.

The thing is, they really do get a lot of attention. I'm here all day long and treat all our animals like babies. They LOVE to be petted, and they get a lot of it. But, if you bring out a brush, or any flea stuff, you can forget it. They tear out like a pack of coyotes. They have toys all over the place. Rambo, (the Rottweiler-colored one), is very jealous of me, and sometimes won't let the other dogs even get close enough so I can pet them. Maybe they're spoiled too much?

Oh well, tomorrow is another day. We'll see if the latest spot can be patched good enough....


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