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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Remember my "what would you do" thread about the pregnant stray dog that has been running around and hanging out in my barn? I have been feeding her and she's even let me pet her! She is a really sweet girl, just extremely timid. She looks to have a little pit bull in her, her head looks like a pit bull to me. Her body is really small to be a PB though, so I think she is a PB cross.
Anyway, I hadn't seen the stray dog for a few days, and thought she had left and gone somewhere else. I went up to the barn Tuesday morning, and in the quiet and stillness, I heard a puppy whimpering! I looked all around and couldn't find it. I didn't hear anything else for a couple more days, and yesterday I heard them again. Sounds like several puppies now! I also saw the female dog squeeze into a little hole under a pile of scrap wood in the barn. So I am pretty sure I know where the pups are, but I can't see them. What should I do now? I am afraid to touch them because she might move them or attack me. I have been leaving food near the hole that I saw her crawling under. Any advice?
I'm pretty sure that the daddy of these pups is a Border Collie. She was hanging out with a male border collie when I first started seeing her. I am very excited, I love puppies! I wish I could get to them so I could start taming them and the mother and vet them. And eventually, find the pups good homes.
I am going to try to get pictures of the mama dog, but I don't want to scare her and probably won't be seeing her much now that she has pups. She stays in the hole with them quite a bit. I want you guys to help me figure out what breed she is when I get pics. :D
 

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Is there anyway you can construct a makeshift kennel around where the pups are? you'd want to make sure thats where they are so she's not fenced away from them.
also most "pit bulls" you see are usually lab mixes.
 

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it is impossible to tell what the breed background is in a mixed stray. bull & mastiff crosses and breeds have so much similarity that a cross can look like a purebred and a poorly bred purebred can look like a mutt. i know a lady on another forum who was told by a breed judge from the canary islands that her NeoXPit bandog was the best example of a presa canario present at a presa specialty show.
my catahoulaXamerican bulldog was accused of being a pit, mastiff and a ridgeles rhodesian ridgeback. a boxerXlab or boxerXpointer can look amazingly like a pure pit. so the dog may not even have any pit in the background.
 

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I agree with putting up a makeshift kennel for her. Also when you feed her, make sure you are sitting right next to the kennel when she eats. If she doesn't come out and eat in a reasonable amount of time, take the food with you and try again a little later. This way she will know that you are GIVING her the food. Right now she may be thinking that she is stealing or scavenging the food that you abandoned. After she is used to that, try offering her some treats by hand. Next try sitting by the kennel with a book to see if she will come out just for companionship. Above all, be patient with her. She's been through a lot but it sounds like she is trying to trust you.
 

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bunnylover, what state do you live in? You can PM if for some reason you don't want to put it out in public. I only ask because we have kind of been looking for a puppy. We are in NJ.
 

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If for whatever reason you can't get to the puppies without scaring the mother away permanently, don't try to go for them until they are 3-4weeks old. At that age they start eating solids, so you could just foster them from then on. If she doesn't warm up to you by that time I would go ahead and take the pups away from her, they will learn to be afraid of people by watching her.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the advice. It would be really hard to put a kennel around it because of the way the woodpile juts out in several different places and the way it is stacked, I think it would would be difficult to build to make it so she couldn't get out. I had considered that. I also hate to "scare" her by trying to catch her, because it seems like she is just starting to trust me a little.
Thanks for the info about the dog breeds. It will be helpful when rehoming the pups if I don't have to use the dreaded "Pit Bull" word. That's not a very popular breed in my area! I think it depends on the individual dog, not the breed, but that's just me.
 

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Traditionally pit bulls were on the small side..it's Americans who have started to breed them to be bigger..some of them..I daresay most of them cross them with mastiff type of dogs to get the size. If it's over 50 lbs, then it has mastiff in there somewhere. I know of some pits that can be small as 25 lbs! If the dog is a staffordshire bull terrier (doubt it because that breed is quite rare) then the females don't get big...around 25-35 lbs. Males 35-40 lbs.
 

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The puppies will accept new things as part of the scenery until they are 16 weeks old, which means you don't have to catch them at 4 weeks old. Removing puppies from the litter/mom prior to proper weaning time can make them fearful, hard to housebreak, hard to train, and give them separation anxiety.

It won't be long before the puppies are exploring outside of the den, at which time you can talk to them, just stay far enough away that they don't spook. You may be able to borrow an outside kennel from your local animal shelter, humane society, or other rescue organization. You'll also need a dog house or something similar for the mom to den in and feel safe in. You will be able to lure the puppies with food into the pen or other holding area. You'll be able to lure mom with the puppies. At that time, you can make better friends with the mother. As long as the puppies are exposed to humans, they will be able to accept them as a normal part of the scenery. As long as the mother has immediate access to her puppies and has enough food and water, she should be able to settle down in her new environment, especially since you think she was somebody's pet at some time.

You should be able to offer her food through the fence and gain her confidence.

I think you are real nice to be so concerned about the little family.
 

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I wanted to add something; be very careful in trying to find or approach the puppies. Mom might think you are trying to hurt her puppies and might turn ugly about it. I agree, these next weeks are all about getting HER confidence. From there, the pups will come to realise you aren't a threat (hey, mom's not scared of the strange two legged dog). I can't wait to see pics (hint hint hint).
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
LOL Yeah I will try to get pictures. You must be patient though, I haven't even seen them yet myself! It is torture lol. I can hear them but I can't see them.
Thanks for the warning Beccachow. I am being very careful. They are getting louder! I am not sure how old they are, I first heard them last Tuesday. I'd say they are about a week old.
 

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Skykomish, I'm going to have to disagree with you. We once had a stray dog have puppies under the empty mobile home next door. They were maybe 4 weeks old when some people came to move the trailer. They came over and asked if I would take them. I moved them to my barn. Mom would run every time I came outside but the puppies were always happy and friendly and hadn't been around a human before I got them. Of course, I was the one with the food! I'm sure that helped, a lot.

Bunnylover, I wouldn't push her at this point. Let her choose the pace. Leave plenty of food and water for her. I would not attempt to box her in. She has decided your place is safe so that's something. They will come out soon and you'll have lots of time to play with them and love on them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Bunnylover, I wouldn't push her at this point. Let her choose the pace. Leave plenty of food and water for her. I would not attempt to box her in. She has decided your place is safe so that's something. They will come out soon and you'll have lots of time to play with them and love on them.
I get the feeling that being trapped is what she is afraid of. I am letting her go her own pace for now, but later on when the pups start exploring and coming out of their hole I am going to try my best to handle them so they aren't terrified of humans. Hopefully by then she'll trust me more.
 

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I would highly recommend handling the pups asap. This doesn't mean you need to go into the den but your idea of handling them when they start coming out is a good one. The more you socialize before 16 weeks...the more social the pups will be. Once they get to 16 weeks...give or take a week or two...you have pretty much lost that window of opportunity to socialize.

Is there a way that you can feed mom and then sit out there while she eats or just sit out there and read so she gets used to you being there? The more she sees you near the den the more likely she will allow you to work with the pups. Just be careful and watch closely for signs of aggression. A mom being protective is completely normal.

Good luck.

Willow101
 
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