Anyone had experience with wild0ish dogs? OT

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kirsteng's picture
Joined: 10/19/02
Posts: 644
Anyone had experience with wild0ish dogs? OT

We were staying in a cabin in the country over the weekend. We found a dog that we all kind of fell in love with. She looks to be a shepherd-lab mutt mix, about 9 months old, but skinny as all heck and with an injured foot. She limps really badly and looks like she won't last out there alone for a whole lot longer. She doesn't come when called, is skittish around humans (probably born out there, it's a very wild area) but doesn't growl or act aggressive in any way. She let us get within about 6 feet of her when we brought her our leftovers etc, but was skittish and watchful, with her tail between her legs.

Even though DH is very allergic to dogs, we're considering bringing her home. We'd go to the vet and get a sedative, feed it to her in her food (she's starving, she'll eat anything), then put her in a crate once she's fallen asleep and take her to the vet to have her paw fixed. She'd live outside in our yard (she's been outside her whole life already, so it wouldn't be a problem), with a dog shed and blankets etc. The kids would have 'outside clothes' that they'd wear outside only and change when they came inside to avoid allergy problems. when we go back to Canada, the kids' grandparents have agreed to take her - they've always had dogs and love them. They have a huge yard in the country so she'd have a great life with them and the kids could see her whenever they want... (we couldn't keep her outside in Ottawa in the winter, so we couldn't keep her there ourselves).

Soooo..

I'm wondering though if anyone has had experience with taming a dog like this? Can we expect that with lots of love and attention that she will come around and be a good family pet? Or since she's been alone already so long (around people that come to stay but not WITH people, iykwim) will she never really trust us?

I'd appreciate any experience or insight you guys might have!

gardenbug's picture
Joined: 03/12/07
Posts: 2025

I always am on the side of caution, especially after Sarahsunshine's dog attacked her requiring loads of stitches and antibiotics. That was a rescue dog and very very good in most respects...BUT when she attempted to discipline him while home alone, he went for her.

Personally, I would suggest waiting until you are home again and can research a pet that you feel comfortable with around children. Our dog is a Bouvier des Flandres, and has "hair" rather than "fur", which means less problems with allergies. French poodles have the same coat. There may be other breeds.

We have a wild cat on our farm and although he is an indoor animal, he is quite fearful of strangers and children. There is nothing worse than a fearful dog though. I knew a Shepherd that was born fearful and never changed. What a problem that was! I wouldn't want to risk it. Besides, they say not to have a dog until your youngest is 5 years old.

Just my 2 cents...

fudd8963's picture
Joined: 12/27/07
Posts: 1630

I would have to agree with Marie. While I think it is GREAT that you want to help this dog out, I would be too nervous with kids around. If it were just DH and I, I would do it. But not with kids. I get nervous with the girls around other people's dogs as it is, and they are nice dogs and raised in loving families since day one.

Sorry, probably not what you wanted to hear. But I do think a lot of people who are willing to save animals!

AK2663's picture
Joined: 09/03/08
Posts: 710

I hate to admit it, but I agree with Marie and Tara...with kids I would be scared. When a dog feels closed in she may strike. It would make me nervous that since you can't get to touch her now, putting her in your backyard could be a baaaad idea. She will likely feel caged in ykwim?

I find it very admirable that you would be willing to take her in...maybe you could get her to the vet or to a no kill shelter and see what they can do with her and their opinion? Someone with training to know if she could ever come around to be a pet?

RebeccaA'07's picture
Joined: 11/19/07
Posts: 1628

I totally understand where your heart is, I would want to do the same thing...I have such a soft spot for dogs. But knowing how timid the dog is and no telling how long she has been in the wild, I think it's too risky with children. Most wild animals do not do well once they feel captured or locked up, so to speak.

And I 100% agree with Marie when she says, research the breed before getting a dog. It will make life so much easier if you know what type of dog you are getting your family. I've actually found the mutt dogs from the pound are typically better then any pure-bred that we've owned.

kirsteng's picture
Joined: 10/19/02
Posts: 644

Thanks for your insight, friends. Always well-thought out and unbiased advice - I love coming here with questions! Smile

Well we decided yesterday afternoon to give her a shot on a trial basis only, waiting to see if she would socialize after having her paw fixed up. Our thoughts were that if she wouldn't socialize after a few weeks of care and attention, we'd have her put down as it would be a much kinder end than being left alone and starving. We'd tell the kids that she escaped - no sense trying to explain the relative merits of death vs starvation at this tender age. Sad

So we went out there (an hour and a half away) armed with some sedative tablets from the vet, and easily fed her 3 of them in pieces of hot dog. 3 was supposed to be more than what she needed for her weight range (should have been enough for a 30 kg dog apparently, and she's pretty small and skinny).. but we waited an hour and 20 minutes and nothing. She kept getting up and moving away quickly when approached, never even got sleepy or dopey. It was so frustrating.. all the kids in the car.. wanting to get out but us not wanting to scare her, trying to keep grady quiet, it was getting dark... *(%$!!! We finally gave up as we knew we'd risk getting bitten if we could even catch her at all.

DH and I are now changing our minds on the issue, having watched her closely for that hour and a half. I'm leaning more the way you guys all are now. This time she'd been given some food by departing campers we think, so wasn't as desperate for food.. so she was nowhere near as 'friendly' seeming as she was last time. She was more wild looking, more timid etc. I'm not so sure she'd come around at all, having seen her this time.. and like you all said, there's a HUGE safety issue if she didn't. So it's very disappointing, for the kids as well as us, but I think it's probably the best decision to leave her there. We called back the vet and she said that's all she is able to give without being able to give an injection, and even if we try doubling the dose we gave her, she can't guarantee it will work. Doesn't sound like great odds of success to me, not to mention the 3 hour return trip.

So thanks again for your input, for now at least we will remain the proud owners/handlers of 3 children and 1 hamster named Miss Olivia Golden Squeak. Wink

Suzie-0225's picture
Joined: 07/30/08
Posts: 206

IM going to be honest, I have seen very few of these "types" of dog come around to a point they are a safe family pet. I have seen feral/wild puppies & cats rehad enough that they live happily in a home enviroment. Sadly though most don't / can't..

For one thing (personally) I would NEVER trust her around my children. If she truely has soley relied on herself and been "wild", thats all she knows. It would be no different in trying to bring in an adult coyote, wolf, ect... Its not her fault, but she knows no other. Unlike dogs brought in from the wild in disney movies, in real life these animals are usually scared out of their mind which leads to fear biteing, increased anxiety problems, etc.. (that said Im sure their are dogs out there that would be the total oppossite as I described)..

I have taken in numbers of fosters over the years, I have also turned several away b/c I felt they were not safe in a child home enviroment. And sadly I have seen several put to sleep b/c their aggression issues were beyond "fixable"..

Like mentioned above I know were your heart is and you want to scoop her up and take her home and make her world so much better. But think of how she would really feel. Trapped in a yard which she will not understand. The new sites and smells of a new place. Its best to find a rescue or shelter near by and venture in that way to adding a pet to your home. Personally I think its actually best for her and you if she stays were she is, as sad as it is.. But that being said its just my opinion and you need to do what is best for you and your family! I think its amazing you want to help her and I could totally be wrong.. Hugs

AK2663's picture
Joined: 09/03/08
Posts: 710

I'm sorry it didn't work out like u were hoping!

Joined: 06/10/07
Posts: 1692

Not going to add my thoughts since I already saw your update. I do however want to say that I love your hamsters name. Wink

By the way, when will you be heading back to Canada? (sorry if I should already know this)

fudd8963's picture
Joined: 12/27/07
Posts: 1630

I am sorry that she wasn't the same dog you saw the first time. I hope that people continue to feed her so that she doesn't go hungry. What a huge heart you have to want to save her!

kirsteng's picture
Joined: 10/19/02
Posts: 644

Awww, thanks guys! :bighug:

Julie, we'll be here 2 more years, returning to Canada July or August of 2013.

Joined: 01/11/05
Posts: 326

You know, there is probably a domesticated dog in shelter somewhere that would love a good home!

sarahsunshine's picture
Joined: 11/29/06
Posts: 1462

I’m sorry things didn’t turn out how you hoped!

I do want to add that I did adopt a medium sized (55lb) dog with an infected paw that was found near an Indian reserve in northern Ontario. He could hardly put his foot down and was about 1 year old when he was found, with a huge scar around his waist. Our neighbours are the ones that found him, and we took him in after he plaid so nicely with our dog at the dog park near our house. At the time, it wasn’t a problem. I lived with my boyfriend (not DH), and we were able to pay tons of attention to him in terms of training and socializing him. He was a very friendly and submissive dog (to everyone and everything), so that meant that there was no worry about him being aggressive with anyone. He was a wonderful dog, LOVED lying on the couch, and would go up to nudge anyone for extra pats – to make up for what he missed his first couple years, I suppose. I contemplated getting him certification as a therapy dog to take to hospitals and such, but never got around to it. Then my BF and I split and Miles went with him, and Indy stayed with me. I wonder periodically how he’s doing, but know that he has a great home wherever he is.

I wanted to add this because there are so many stories of it not turning out well.

The biggest thing to consider, though, is the amount of time you have to work through any issues that the dog may have (Miles had plenty to deal with), and how much control you have over the entire situation. At the time I had Miles, I had no kids and one other very confident and obedient dog, so it was very easy to spend a lot of time working with him on a daily basis, and I could be extremely consistent. These days, I know there isn’t time to do that, and the variation in behaviour between me, DH, DSS, and the kids would make it very difficult to “tame” a wild dog.

And yes, I agree that there is probably a great dog at a pound nearby. Indy came from the local pound and she is the best dog I could dream of!

Joined: 06/10/07
Posts: 1692

"kirsteng" wrote:

Julie, we'll be here 2 more years, returning to Canada July or August of 2013.

Has the time gone by fast so far?

kirsteng's picture
Joined: 10/19/02
Posts: 644

"Readyforbaby1" wrote:

Has the time gone by fast so far?

Actually the first year has gone by really fast! We've had quite a few trips/explorations along the way, so that's helped to break things up. I think if we'd been stuck in the city the entire time it would have DRAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGEEEEEEEED! Wink

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