We adopted a five year old Australian Cattle Dog on Monday of last week. He bolted Tuesday of last week. We tried to catch him but he is one smart and athletic dog. A dog recovery non-profit saw our post on Facebook and got involved the next day. A super athletic friend of mine who helped in the chase gave us a 5% chance of catching him by running him down. I had taken to calling him Nelson Bolt because he loves freedom as much as Nelson Mandela and was as fast as Usain Bolt.
You might say that we should have been more careful and you would be right. His disposition the night we brought him home lulled us into a false sense of security. When brought into the house he pretty much glued himself onto family members every moment, especially my wife. He seemed like a lover not a runner and when he took off first chance he had it was a surprise.
We posted fliers within a mile that said call us with a location but don't chase him and don't feed him. We didn't need to post fliers over such a big area, he stayed in small five block area that was about a quarter block from our house. When it became apparent that standing around in a nonthreatening way with a hotdog wasn't going to lure him in the non-profit provided us with a dog trap.
The dog trap spent three days at the edge of his range with no hits besides three or four pissed off house cats.
The dog recovery people said to leave the trap in one place for three days before you move it. During this time most the calls of sightings were one damn block from our house! The trap was at the furthest point from this location that was part of his range (we had a pretty dope Google map of his sightings).
One of the days we got a text that he was heading down the street toward our house. My wife went outside to try and spot him. A random lady walked up just as the dog did, followed my wife's gaze and watched him calmly trotting.
"That's my dog," says the wife. The lady looked puzzled.
"He ran away on Tuesday." The lady gives my wife an more puzzled look.
"You can't catch him, watch," and let out a little whistle, causing the dogs head to jerk around and bound off into a back yard.
The dog knew every Ally and lose fence post in a backyard by this point. He probably knows the neighborhood as well as any creature on Earth.
Finally we moved the trap right next to the house with a chicken broth trail leading from a woodpile he was known to frequent to the cage. That night he struck. Little monster reached over the trigger plate, pulled the plate with the bait out of the cage and had himself a snack. He robbed the cage twice that night.
This was all good. He thought he knew a good place to find a quick and easy meal and it was going to be his downfall. Meanwhile we caught three more cats, one of which was my super dumb cat who got caught three times, much to his distress.
I drilled a holes in a piece of plexi glass and tied it the the front bottom front edge of the trip plate, it extended the trigger for about six more inches but it was invisible under the towel that we had hiding the mechanism. He could see where the trip plate was under the towel but the extension was tied lower than the plate and it was pretty much invisible.
About 9:30 at night I heard a sad sad howl and a few little yips. We had him. The cage with the dog was too heavy for me to move myself but you were supposed to move the cage to an enclosed space before opening. My closest buddy wasn't answering his phone and I didn't know what to do. Probably stupidly I cracked the door open with my body leaned into it, any 50 lb dog that can shift my 230 lbs has earned it.
I got a hand on his collar and he went nuts. It reminded me of catching a real big fish, thrashing in every direction. I worried that he might shake loose as I dragged him out the trap and hoped he wouldn't bite me. I got a second had on his collar and drug him to the front door. He was pinning himself to every bit of architecture in a final struggle for freedom. I basically gave him a big heave with both hands on his collar and launched him through the door, legs splayed in every direction with a spinning thud, claws scrambling on the wooden floors. He looked around stunned for a moment and than crept up to wife and glued himself to her side, just like the day we got him. He was once again a sweet mild dog that loved people.
The chase consumed seven days. The dog appeared a bit skinnier, super filthy but none the worse for ware. He does seem to be unsure of his situation and a bit nervous and I'll at ease most the time. We've had him back for two full days.
He trusts me less than any other person he's met so far, which I suppose is fair seeing as I caught him and than gave him a bit of rough handeling. All the same he's sat next to and put his hand in my lap.
He really likes meeting people and other dogs. He's great at walking on a leash and is a lustful walker. He seems to know no commands which kind of surprised me with how well behaved he is on a leash, he's better than most well trained dogs I've known.
I took him to the vet and and a few not too crowded public spaces. He's behaved really well. He's friendly with kids. he behaved well when given a bath, only twice attempting half hearted escapes and wow was that dog dirty.
I haven't had a dog in twenty years and all the dogs I've had we raised as puppies. I didn't think much about how different adopting an adult dog would be. Giving him as much attention as he wants and lots of sweet praise to let him know we're glad he's with us. They say it takes about three months for a dog to get fully comfortable in new home, I hope he does.