View Full Version : How to Tame a Fox (and build a dog).

08-09-2017, 06:35 AM
I've thought for quite a while that the first "dogs" may have been closer behaviourally to foxes than wolves.
Dr. Lee Dugatkin has written a book on the subject (interview here) :-


Early canid domestication, the Farm-Fox experiment :-

08-13-2017, 12:21 AM
I would love to have a pet fox. I see them pretty regularly in the very early morning hours when I am headed to work.

There is even at least one I see when I am walking to work from the train station, in a fairly urban setting.

08-13-2017, 01:37 AM
Foxes are beautiful! I once saved a baby who had his head stuck in my chain link fence. My little dogs were going crazy outside and I went to see what the ruckus was about. There he was in a very bad predicament but fortunately my dogs didn't hurt him. I got his head free and he took off like a shot! It was fun watching the adults dancing in the snow in our back yard. Now we live in the city and sure don't see the wildlife we used to.

08-13-2017, 07:00 AM
People have some strange attitudes to foxes, at least here in the UK either one extreme or the other. Can I say firstly that I don't approve of unnecessary cruelty to animals in the name of entertainment and I love wildlife.
Foxes have been regarded as vermin here for a long time, some still regard them in that way, which is maybe understandable if you are a sheep farmer losing lambs. Because of their attractive or cute appearance, others regard them as harmless which they aren't. I've lost a lot of chickens to foxes particularly in recent years. It used to be if you locked your chickens up at night, your chickens were fairly safe to roam, now because they are bolder or there are more of them competing for food, poultry are at risk day or night. They will kill them all if they can, I've lost 8 chickens in one attack because they think they are storing food. One of my cats has had to be stitched up twice from fox attacks, I know people who have seen foxes with dead cats.
Do I blame the fox - no it is a predator, doing what it has evolved to do and we through farming or livestock and pet keeping provide free food for them. They are still predators. :) John

08-13-2017, 02:19 PM
Sounds like a similar situation here in the US with coyotes. They are smart and cute but cunning predators with a population that has increased greatly.

08-14-2017, 01:57 AM
Sounds like a similar situation here in the US with coyotes. They are smart and cute but cunning predators with a population that has increased greatly.

Yep. Where I live coyotes regularly eat neighborhood cats who like to roam at night. I am even a little fearful for our two little dogs when I let them out to go pee before bedtime at night. We have a six foot privacy fence, but coyotes have breached those before.

I often see lost cat signs posted on telephone poles near where I live. Sometimes I am tempted to write, "Ask the coyotes", on the signs, but I never do.

08-18-2017, 06:05 PM
This experiment often features in documentaries but I have never seen one of the original papers before. Thank you John.

Around us in a Southampton (big city) suburb foxes are everywhere and killed a neighbour's chickens mid morning. They are pretty to look at to me, sitting on the road verges during the day. I was brought up in the countryside and I lost some of my kittens to them so I can only think of them as a pest. But a pet fox from the breeding programme seems a better way to have an exotic pet than a big cat, if one felt the need to be different.

08-18-2017, 06:40 PM
I rarely see them now , even though I live in a semi-rural place . They can find more food in towns and cities and become fearless in the process. For example I had a fox encounter in Edinburgh city centre a few years ago .We almost bumped into each other on a quiet street at night . It stopped what it was doing , calmly watched me as I walked by just three feet away, then went on its merry way , as if I was no big deal. Wonderful creatures.

08-19-2017, 11:20 PM
This video shows a coyote eating a cat in Hollywood, California, in broad daylight. Pretty amazing. So you can imagine my rural Virginia neighborhood at night.