Dog AnticsWell, due to my workload at work and the dog issues, not much has taken place this last week on the order of getting work accomplished on the bathroom project.
However, yesterday (Saturday) we were able to get the house more or less clean in a fairly thorough sense (with the exception of the basement which has become my workshop and hold for all the bathroom stuff which isn't yet in place. We also managed to get the yard no longer looking like a trailer park (we had a weird pen/barricade sort of thing set up to catch the dog (more about that later) which consisted of boards, pieces of sheet metal, garbage cans, etc. It just looked like hell, but it was a necessary evil.
So, while the bathroom is still in the same state (more or less), the remainder of the house and yard look much better, which is clearly a Good Thing.
To make a long story short, we got her home, she had no name yet (and therefore didn't know what to be called), and the collar we got her was a little too big for a 4.5 month old siberian husky. As soon as she got a whiff of nearby ground (which was the case when I put her little crate on the ground), when I opened the cage door to lead her out, she ran off.
Beth and I (moreso Beth) chased her around a bit, but she never went more than about a half-mile in any given direction from the yard. After giving up (and everyone involved getting quite filled with mud -- but the dog more so than either of us), we left out food and hoped she'd come back.
She stayed relatively close, but she was scared of us (new owners) and didn't know her name. A week passed of her coming in (generally around dark) to eat, and attempts to catch her failed. This is where the aforementioned 'pen/barricade' came into play. Beth, determined to have her dog nearby, set up this rigging of sorts with pretty much anything she could find to try and corral this dog. She finally did catch her one midday, which was a Good Thing.
However, after attaching her to the yard light pole (via a semi-lengthy chain), she quickly discovered that it wouldn't take long for her to get away again, this time without a collar.
Now, keep in mind that we live in a very rural area...and we've now got a dog we've paid for running around without a collar. Did I mention that this dog also looks (from a distance) like a small coyote or wolf?
Anyway, this called for a change in plans for capture.
She was now smart enough to understand the pen, so a different tactic would need to be implemented. She was also smart enough by now to run around the house and look for us in any of the downstairs windows. After a few days of scoping her out at night, she got even more clever and didn't come around until all the downstairs lights were off (for the night).
The thought of building a live trap for her or even going as far as tranquilization had come up.
I, on the other hand, decided it was time to use the pen to our benefit and try trapping her in the garage.
Now, some further explanation needs to be done here. When Beth caught the dog the first time, she used the pen to funnel her into the garage via the side door. So, while she was leary of the pen area, she was petrified of the garage.
The garage is not attatched to the house. There's about 20 feet between the house and the garage (enough for a vehicle to sit between them comfortably). The side door of the garage faces the house. There are several windows facing the garage.
So, we bought some rope.
The idea was to not put out much food at all for her, and to move her food into the garage (namely, the other side of the garage but clearly visible from the side door). This was accomplished the first night and treats were left out every few feet from the old location to the new.
The next morning, all food and treats were gone. She had taken the bait.
Instead of giving her more food through the day, however, we left the bowl empty and instead thawed out some cube steak in the house that day. The idea was that towards dusk we would go out and bait the trap. No regular dog food, but a real piece of uncooked meat...and again a few treats to line the path.
The treats actually play a significant role in this. You see, after being caught the first time, she would come into the pen area, take a treat, leave the pen, and eat it away from the 'danger zone.' In placing several treats in the area, we not only bought time, but also had the side effect of having George the cat on the watch. In the event we would not be right at the window, he (George) would most definitely be watching (he had at the time a fascination with this other creature living outside).
Now, for the rope. Since the dog was familiar with our activities downstairs, I took a rope and tied one end to the handle of the side door of the garage. I then left the [side] garage door open and parked outside (for both nights of this). The other end of the rope went through our bedroom window (upstairs) and was tied at a point with minimal slack to our bed.
So, the plan was that the dog would come into the pen, sequentially take treats and, presumably having smelled the meat in the garage, eventually make her way far enough into the garage where the door could close quickly and fully behind her, therefore trapping her in the garage.
Here again, to make a long story short, this worked like a charm.
After we caught her, we put her on a harness and while Beth prepared the 'cell' (we had her in the garage for the first few nights), I took her around and walked the perimeter with her. Much to my surprise, she was actually quite responsive to the action and, in the period of about 24-36 hours, has really come around. She knows who we are and gets excited when we come near (and actually she sometimes also approaches us). She still doesn't know her name, but that's in due time.
We've also started getting her used to being on the chain in the backyard when we're not available and for the bulk of her day. This has been going fairly well, which is also a good sign.
So, tonight's the first night we're going to leave her out all night on the chain. Based upon what I've seen so far, I don't think it'll be a problem.
This post was upgraded to the MZ Online Blog on 8/29/07