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Hello all! I need to start out by saying we (my family) doesn't have a dog and we don't know a lot about dogs.

We moved into a neighborhood of about 15 homes, all on about 3 acres each. Apparently, there has been a small stray dog (looks like mix of wired hair terrier and jack russell) in this neighborhood for about 2 years. We just moved here in January of this year. She is really sweet, and I guess the neighbors have just always put up with her.

WELL....about 3 or 4 weeks ago, there was another stray MALE dog hanging around her constantly. He was only here about a week. He almost got to her in our garage, but I stopped him. But, they were all over our neighborhood and so he very well could have gotten to her. I thought a neighbor down the street said they had her spayed a couple of years ago, so I wasn't too worried about it. When I called the neighbor to make sure, he said no, they did not. So, now I am really worried she is pregnant. I don't know if it is my imagination, but, her nipples look larger. She doesn't look fatter at all and doesn't look pregnant.

I called a vet today, and I am going to take the initiative and get her spayed on Saturday. She is, and always has been an outside dog. I'm thinking of keeping her as my own, but, she has always been an outside dog and I don't know how she would like being in a small fenced yard. We have one of those black iron fences around the back of our house since we have a swimming pool. The rest of our 3 acres is not fenced.

I guess, I don't know what I am asking, lots of things, really. Could she be housebroken, once she has been outsided all this time? I would be willing to try, so I can keep her healthy. But, I think she thinks she has it made with all the space to roam. However, I did find a lot of ticks on her, and when I called one of the neighbors, they had already put tick medicine on her. She is very lucky that all the neighbors let her have free roam. I think it is because she is a small dog and very friendly.

What should I do? Any one have this kind of situation?
 

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I've never been put into this kind of situation but I applaud you for taking the initiative and spaying this girl.

All I know is that changing her to be a house pet would be tricky, but doable, I imagine. It is good that she likes people, because that'll make it easier. One member on here (spotted nikes) had an experience with an outdoor turned indoor dog so I hope she chimes in on this thread. If you do decide to make her an indoor pet I suggest the guidance of a trainer as there may be some underlying behavioral issues that, even if they aren't serious, need to be addressed.
 

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You're doing a great thing having this dog spayed and inviting her into your family. I would ask your vet about trying a different flea and tick preventative (I prefer natural products such as those found at http://www.onlynaturalpet.com). I'll bet she is pregnant at this point as some dogs do not show early on. You'll want to keep her indoors after the surgery for observation and safe keeping and to keep her calm. From there she can definitely learn to love her new life if you give her time and treat her as you would a puppy.

Puppy proof a room for your new dog to stay in when you cannot watch her. Be sure to give her plenty of things to keep busy with in her room. If you do not have a such a room, provide her with a crate and take some time to introduce her to it in a positive way. Keep her on a daily schedule of eating a quality diet, going to out to potty often (always going with her and rewarding her for proper elimination), exercising both mentally and physically, training and playing. If she messes in the house interrupt, but do not scold her, and take her out to finish. Consider the mess a reminder to watch her more closely next time! Clean up messes immediately with a pet stain and odor eliminator. The following websites and sticky topics in the Training Forum can help guide you:

http://www.dogstardaily.com (Read the Training Textbook for sure!)
http://www.clickertraining.com (Lots of free info.!)

I also recommend you read "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Positive Training" by Pamela Dennison and "The Culture Clash" by Jean Donaldson.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I am not sure what I want to do as far as keeping her in our house. To be honest, I don't want her, but, in looking at the animal welfare place, I couldn't put her in there either. I am not sure if she would be adopted or not. It smelled so bad in there, and she would be locked up, and she is not used to that. I just really care what happens to her.

It has been raining here, non-stop, so I let her sleep in our garage last night. Surprisingly, she didn't pee or poop in there.

Male dog has been long gone for a couple of weeks or so. One person I talked to said, that males would travel miles away from home and then return after mating. We kind of live out in the country, so maybe he did.

Why do I have sleepless nights worrying about this dog that has been in this neighborhood for two years, and then we come along...LOL!
 

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If you give her food and affection, she'll be your dog..

I dunno about a spay with a pregnant dog though, could be an issue. She could also have heartworms as well.

She probably is pregnant if she was in heat, dogs come for miles around for that smell and it's usually about 100% chance.

House breaking might also be pretty easily done, she's already used to going outside so just letting her out a lot might be all you ever need to do to housetrain. Being in a confined house without an escape route might be stressful for her for a while though.

Or a doghouse in a fenced yard or access to the garage for shelter.

I applaud you for thinking about homeless dog and looking after her.
 

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I am not sure what I want to do as far as keeping her in our house. To be honest, I don't want her, but, in looking at the animal welfare place, I couldn't put her in there either.

Why do I have sleepless nights worrying about this dog that has been in this neighborhood for two years, and then we come along...LOL!
I think because you have already adopted her--you just don't know it yet. If she was in the garage all night and didn't have an accident, it is likely she would prefer to go outside. That is where she has always gone. That is not a definate though. Like the above said let her out a lot, and she will understand.

Why don't you try her on a leash in the house at times, and see how she is. Let her stay in the garage until you feel she is getting familiar with the house.

It is nice that you want to give her home, and I understand all the yes I do, No I don't back and forth. Sometimes for whatever reason a dog comes into our lives when we least expect it, and a little while later you can't imagine your life without her.

Give it a try slowly, and it will work out. It sounds like you have already begun the process.
 

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A lot depends on whether she was always a stray, or if she was once a pet and was lost/abandoned. If she is truly feral, she might be friendly with people (aggressive dogs get put down, fearful dogs never get spotted), but it's unlikely that she'll ever become truly domesticated. The critical period for socialization usually ends around week 16 - after that, she might recognize people as friendly, but not a true part of her family.

That said, even if she can never become a true indoor dog, you both might benefit from 'taming' her with an outdoor kennel and access to the garage. I remember reading about a Mexican resort that 'adopted' a pack of feral dogs; their reasoning was that if they removed the dogs, a new pack would quickly move in. By training the dogs, they could make sure they were healthy & didn't maul the guests while preventing other dogs from moving in on their territory. If I recall correctly, they didn't quite turn them into housepets, but they were able to manage them and establish a mutually beneficial relationship.

From what you've described, though, I would guess that she is an escaped pet rather than a true village dog. If she's already 'imprinted' with humans, you just need time and patience to bring her back into the fold.

Good luck - please let us know how it turns out, and post photos when you get a chance. We like photos. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks to everyone for responding! You are giving me much more insight. Maybe I have finally acquired a heart for dogs. I have always liked dogs and thought I would like owning one, but kept thinking...mess, commitment, etc.

You know, I always thought IF I did get a dog, it would be pure-bred and beautiful. And, here I am falling for this mutt-who definately isn't that cute-LOL! I am hoping that her coat would look more healthy by us giving her better food and get some weight on her. I don't think she is suppose to be a heavy dog anyway. I will TRY to post some pics of her later.

Sounds like I'm leaning towards keeping her, huh?

I am not sure how old she is. The neighbor down the street who had been taking care of her mostly before we moved in, said he thought she was about 2 years or so. By looking at her hair, it looks as if it has some gray in it, I thought she was older. But, I actually think she just has an ugly coat, little wiry, but short.

A little about her: She will not let you pick her up. She is very friendly, loves her tummy rubbed. If you say NO, when she jumps on you, she immediately gets down. If I even pick up a broom to sweep the garage out, she gets scared and runs back a little. She likes to be petted. Loves to get in our neighborhood (huge) pond and swim. Loves to chase rabbits, squirrels, etc.

She loves the outdoors, so that is my problem with bringing her inside. But, I know that is the only way to keep her healthy from fleas, ticks, drinking yucky water, etc.
 

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Thanks to everyone for responding! You are giving me much more insight. Maybe I have finally acquired a heart for dogs. I have always liked dogs and thought I would like owning one, but kept thinking...mess, commitment, etc.

You know, I always thought IF I did get a dog, it would be pure-bred and beautiful. And, here I am falling for this mutt-who definately isn't that cute-LOL! I am hoping that her coat would look more healthy by us giving her better food and get some weight on her. I don't think she is suppose to be a heavy dog anyway. I will TRY to post some pics of her later.

Sounds like I'm leaning towards keeping her, huh?

I am not sure how old she is. The neighbor down the street who had been taking care of her mostly before we moved in, said he thought she was about 2 years or so. By looking at her hair, it looks as if it has some gray in it, I thought she was older. But, I actually think she just has an ugly coat, little wiry, but short.

A little about her: She will not let you pick her up. She is very friendly, loves her tummy rubbed. If you say NO, when she jumps on you, she immediately gets down. If I even pick up a broom to sweep the garage out, she gets scared and runs back a little. She likes to be petted. Loves to get in our neighborhood (huge) pond and swim. Loves to chase rabbits, squirrels, etc.

She loves the outdoors, so that is my problem with bringing her inside. But, I know that is the only way to keep her healthy from fleas, ticks, drinking yucky water, etc.
Almost all my dogs have been mutts that kind of just happened to come along.

I have family that has dogs that are 100% outside dogs. They are all spayed/neutered and just hang out around the house and are fine. They play, get petted, fed and watered in bowls, they keep critters away from the house and get vet care when they need it.

But they live a good distance from any roads out in the country.

My sister rarely adopts puppies, she always has 2-3 dogs or more, and they are loose outside dogs as well. Basically adopted strays with minimal training that have a home and shelter and food. Right now she has two, one old stone deaf terrier mix and a freaky looking corgi mix and two cats.. they actually get to stay inside at night as the local wildlife might be bigger than they are, her 10 yr old lab rescue died last year of cancer.

They all get flea treatment, heart worm prevention and good care.

You can prevent fleas and heartworms on an outside dog just fine, and if your really out in the country and she has been ok for 2 years there you really don't have too much to worry about most likely. She'll probably stick right by the house once she knows she has food and shelter and love there and has no need to wander. And she'll probably be more than happy to be a good inside dog when it gets really cold out.

She surely needs a spay at the minumum, and a heartworm check etc. if you want to spend the money. Much better than turning her in which would probably mean she would be euthanized.
 

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Texrider, thanks for the encouragement for keeping her an outside dog. Everyday I wake up with a different feeling about her being inside or outside.

I really do think she would be happier outside. I will keep her up on shots and such.

She was gone for a whole day yesterday, I wondered where she was. I think she goes from our house to the neighbors-plays on both of us-LOL!
 

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I caught a stray that had been a stray for almost 3 years, and wouldn't let people near him. It took me 9 months to catch him. Once I got him home, he has NEVER had an accident in the house (I have a doggie door/walled in backyard). I sometimes think dogs that have been outdoor only dogs don't want to go to the bathroom inside, because they want grass/trees to pee/poop on.

Do get her spayed and vaccinated. Consider putting in a doggie door to the fenced yard.
 

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I am in the same exact situation except the stray isn't preg. she was dumped on my property bout 4 months ago she's fairly old or atlest looks it and has had a few litters in her day....... I am having her spayed next week or so just because the shelters around here won't take her and I don't want her but I don't want mutt puppies either so she'll be spayed and free to roam the property but will not be a inside dog ever and I don't consider her mine either but I guess if I feed her she is but I'm not gonna let her starve or have pups on my property......................
 
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