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Taming a feral dog?

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

  
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Sally- O'Malley

Silly Sally from- the Valley
 
 
Barked: Fri Mar 19, '10 12:55pm PST 
So here's what I've been up to lately:

I recently took in a foster dog, Sally. She was rescued as an unaltered stray, who had been living with a colony of feral dogs. She'd already had at least one litter of pups that had survived to adulthood, and was nursing another. When she was trapped, the current litter of pups went to rescues, and Sally eventually found her way to me. Her remaining (grown) offspring remained behind.

As far as Sally goes, she's perfect. She'd obviously been owned by someone at some point in her life, as she is extremely friendly (albeit a little shy).

Her eldest pups, on the other had, have NEVER had any human contact, and are pretty much feral.

I went with Sally's rescuers this past week to help trap the remaining dogs. No luck on my part, but they were able to capture most of them, including one of Sally's sons. They have a rescue lined up to take him, but he wont be moved until next week. I agreed to let them keep him in Mulder's unused kennel until it was time to transport him.

Sadly, he won't let anyone near him. The woman who actually did the capture/rescue has been coming over to feed & water him, as he trusts her somewhat. However, he cannot be touched by anyone, and wont even let anyone get close enough to get a leash around him. He growls and bares his teeth at me for just walking by the outside of the kennel, so I haven't even attempted to get close to him. I don't want to be the person who gives him a bite history.

Now, I know before coming to me he was boarding at a vet's office. They claim to have been able to walk him/handle him with no problem. I honestly find that hard to believe, considering how he's acting now. I suspect he was either drugged, or in such a complete state of shock that he couldn't even react.

Anyway, I only have this dog for a few more days. He gets transported on Monday, so there's not a whole lot I can do for him.

But is it possible to ever fully rehabilitate a completely feral dog? I mean, if they can train wild bears, I assume they can train a dog... but will he ever be completely trustworthy? To the point of being socially safe? I'm worried about him. I'm scared this rescue he's going to might not be able to handle his issues... and I don't want him to be discounted if there actually is some hope that he can be changed.

A picture of him
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Torie

If you can roll- in the dirt, do- it!
 
 
Barked: Fri Mar 19, '10 1:20pm PST 
There's quite a lot of info on this online. I saw a dog that was possibly feral rehabbed on Dogtown on Animal Planet. It seems like they had unlimited time and energy on him.

--des
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Mulder

Spooky Mulder
 
 
Barked: Fri Mar 19, '10 1:26pm PST 
I'm sorry, but I haven't found a "lot" of information anywhere. Everything I've seen deals with feral puppies.

This is a feral dog. At least 2 years of age, possibly older.

And the rescue he's going to is (as I understand it) a small-scale, shelter-type environment. I highly doubt they have unlimited ANYTHING.

Edited by author Fri Mar 19, '10 1:27pm PST

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Nipper

The 3 "B"s:- Books, Bond, Bed
 
 
Barked: Fri Mar 19, '10 1:35pm PST 
Since I don't think Chandler's owner has been online and seen your post yet, I'll go ahead and offer you the link she'd give you. I wish there were more available that you could pass along to the shelter that will be taking him in, but this should help. This is the protocol used with the dogs seized in Montana from the English Shepherd hording case. Most of the dogs were essentially feral and this is a detailed description of the protocol used with them. Hopefully it is of some use to you and the shelter.

Taming the Wild Beast: A protocol for gaining the trust of feral dogs, puppymill and laboratory stock, junkyard dogs, hoarding survivors, and other unhandled domestic dogs
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Mulder

Spooky Mulder
 
 
Barked: Fri Mar 19, '10 1:41pm PST 
Thank you very much Nipper!
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Nipper

The 3 "B"s:- Books, Bond, Bed
 
 
Barked: Fri Mar 19, '10 1:51pm PST 
You are most welcome! Oh, and just on an anecdotal note I have relatives who own an ex-feral. Nice boy and I've met him once (and may again when I go back to visit in a few months), so it definitely can be done. smile
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Chandler

Code name:- Farmcollie
 
 
Barked: Fri Mar 19, '10 2:48pm PST 
Ah...I see you got here first, Nipper. Thank you.
Mulder, NESR and the ONB volunteers had a lot of success with that protocol, according to what I have heard.
They were able to rehab most of the 240ish dogs using it,
although some of the worst shut down cases are still being worked with in foster homes.
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Mulder

Spooky Mulder
 
 
Barked: Mon Mar 22, '10 12:57pm PST 
Well, I'm afraid I have a bit of horrible news to report.

Samson (the feral dog) escaped the kennel last night. He was tucked away in his dog house when I went to sleep last night, but this morning.... he'd chewed through the bungee cord that was used to reinforce the door, and I guess was able to open the latch.

I feel so awful... today was supposed to be day he was transported to rescue cry

Edited by author Mon Mar 22, '10 12:57pm PST

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Chandler

Code name:- Farmcollie
 
 
Barked: Mon Mar 22, '10 12:58pm PST 
hughughug
Any hope that he'll stay within the area and get recaptured?
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Mulder

Spooky Mulder
 
 
Barked: Mon Mar 22, '10 1:03pm PST 
I have no clue... I really, REALLY hope so.
He's supposed to be road savvy, having lived between two his entire life... but this is an unfamiliar place, and I live very close to a busy highway.

I've been checking all up and down the neighborhood. There are a lot of wooded lots between houses here, so I've been searching all of those. Hopefully he's just held up under a porch somewhere near by... I plan on getting some fliers printed out if he doesn't turn up by tonight frown
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