So, out in Colorado, in the city of Den (population 1600), there is a huge problem. Before the war, a geneticist lab was trying to create police dogs that were stronger and superior to normal dogs. Ever since the war, the dogs have caused huge problems in the town. Local pets and the specially bred police dogs interbred, and now rule the streets, and the feral dogs will attack almost any prey they see, whether it be a cat, a horse, or a human. The dogs have the intelligence of a 6 year old human. Many of the people living in Den have started to leave, and the remaining citizens have to deal with the threats. So how could they address these problems?

  1. It is hard to trade with nearby settlements because of the dogs, as any caravans will be attacked. Trading is very important, so how could they fix this problem?

  2. The need to create houses that can’t be easily razed by dogs, so they need houses that are protected from the dogs.

  3. Food. They need to grow crops for food and trade (mostly potatoes and corn), but the dogs won’t let that happen. They eat up crops (genetically modified as they are), and kill the livestock.


Old Denver is mostly destroyed, and no buildings from the before times still stand.

As for available weapons: these are mostly bows and arrows. A few people have firearms, though.

  • $\begingroup$ how much stronger and define "superior" $\endgroup$
    – John
    May 25, 2018 at 17:34
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    $\begingroup$ This question is 100% on topic for this forum: post-apocalyptic scenarios are worldbuilding questions; methods of animal control are real-world questions per the Moderators. This question should never have been placed on hold. $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    May 26, 2018 at 1:02
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    $\begingroup$ I have edited some of your comment replies into your question. Please remember to update your question yourself, so that all available info is in there. $\endgroup$
    – user3106
    May 27, 2018 at 11:45

8 Answers 8


In Iraq a few summers ago we had a wild dog problem. They would chew through the water lines that ran from the collection tank through our camp. This was just an annoyance, initially, and we just resolved ourselves to putting up with it for the duration of the mission. Then a rabies epidemic broke out. Three dozen or so wild dogs with rabies is kind of a serious deal. Some guy from one of the Shiite Militias we were trying to assist was mauled by like 6 of 'em at once one night while trying to take a leak, guy almost died. So, we hunted them down and shot 'em all. Hunting packs of rabid feral dogs with a heavy machine gun is pretty exhilarating. I'm assuming your survivors have guns, yes?

Even if they don't, I say hunting mega-dogs becomes a new sport for your new society. Our anscestors wiped out the saber-toothed tigers and giant cave bears with pointy sticks and clubs, no reason your post-apocalyptic survivors can't pull off the same trick with some mangy mutts. No matter how strong or mean, if you poke a hole and get it leaking, it'll die.

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    $\begingroup$ I very much agree, humans are very good at killing and exterminating large mammals. They cannot breed as fast as we can kill. $\endgroup$
    – Andrey
    May 25, 2018 at 18:59
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    $\begingroup$ When you're done in Iraq come to the US, there's a wild boar problem. Smart animals and if you don't kill em the first time they get "educated". So dumb boar hunters are worse than no hunter at all. Thank God they can't hold an RPG. $\endgroup$ May 26, 2018 at 22:27
  • $\begingroup$ @Harper: Wouldn't giving the dumb boar hunters RPGs improve the situation, by making them more likely to kill the boars on the first shot? (Tongue firmly in cheek here! :-P) $\endgroup$
    – Vikki
    May 27, 2018 at 3:05
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    $\begingroup$ RPG's kinda suck. Theyre difficult to hit stuff with and dont throw enough shrapnel to be very useful for soft targets. I had one hit a wall like 6 feet in front of me and just got a concussion and some hearing loss. Theyre famous for being prolific (because theyre cheap) but theyre kind of a crappy weapon. $\endgroup$
    – TCAT117
    May 27, 2018 at 3:12
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    $\begingroup$ Hunting packs of cruel humans by contaminating their water is also exhilarating, no? $\endgroup$
    – Masked Man
    May 28, 2018 at 4:28

Dogs and wolves are territorial and pack animals. The reason the Ancestors domesticated them so long ago is that we are also territorial pack animals, and the lifestyles of the two species were somewhat complimentary.

So first off, the crossbred offspring of the hyper dogs and normal dogs will likely be much closer to the sorts of dogs we already associate with. Much of the problem with feral dogs (or even breeds viewed as aggressive, like pitbulls) is their upbringing, or lack thereof. So making an effort to find and adopt dogs (especially puppies) and raising them properly will have an immediate effect: people will have one or more four legged companions who will make every effort to protect their friends.

Breeding and training dogs is an age old art. The Ancestors seem to have done this 40,000 years ago, and looking at the range of modern breeds we have certainly advanced the art of breeding in the last 500 years. So we can raise our own packs of protective dogs, much like collies are bred to protect and herd sheep. There are already breeds developed for hunting wolves (Wolfhounds)

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Person, with Wolfhound for scale

While there are obviously many more things that the population can do, breeding their own dogs for service and protection is a 40,000 year old human tradition that already has an impressive track record.


Poison them.


Historically, poisoning was very successful in reducing wolf populations, particularly in the American West and Imperial Japan. Strychnine was the most frequently used compound. The poison would be typically mixed in lard or tallow, and spread on bits of meat, or placed within incisions on the bait. Though effective, the method had the disadvantage of greatly loosening the fur of the dead wolf, causing it to shed easily. Wolves killed by strychnine were typically skinned immediately after death, in order to avoid the fur absorbing too much of the poison.

Poisoning is a great way to kill scavenger / predators. Dogs eat meat they find. Then they die. You can leave the poison wherever the dogs are. You can put a note on it that says "don't eat this - it is poison for dogs" in case there are hungry people out there. Lots of different poisons could be used.

If you don't have poison you can use edible traps like the Inuit - hold a bent piece of metal or baleen in place with frozen fat. The wolf gobbles it down. The fat melts and the metal springs back into shape, perforating the stomach. Low tech and effective.

  • $\begingroup$ If your even lazier you could probably just put small sharp pieces of metal or glass into the food. This would also damage the wolfs stomach and probably lead to death. $\endgroup$
    – Shadowzee
    May 25, 2018 at 0:59
  • $\begingroup$ The frozen fat trick only works in winter, though. It still could be quite effective. $\endgroup$
    – Mark Olson
    May 25, 2018 at 1:10
  • $\begingroup$ You could broaden this to "traps". A combination of bear traps, poison traps could be brutal. $\endgroup$
    – nurdyguy
    May 25, 2018 at 14:10

the feral dogs while attack almost any prey they see, whether it be a cat, a horse, or a human

I am going to assume that...you don't know anything about horses. Or about wolves or dogs based on this comment. First--attacking EVERYTHING or almost everything they see is not a good survival strategy. It's the kind of thing that will get you killed. And leave you with no food in the end (killing everything when you can't eat it is a bad idea). When you said they attack every horse they see, I almost choked on my drink. You may as well have said they attack every car they see....which they might. (With the plastic cars it doesn't take a heck of a lot of force to rip a bumper off, but, this is provided that a car doesn't fight back (as in run them over).)

With horses, my gosh, do you have any idea how much force goes into a kick? How much they weigh?

Wolves go after the weak and the injured for a REASON. It's a survival strategy. Maybe your genetically superior dogs are made out of the best/worst science and act completely contrary to everything I know about dogs and wolves.

You don't say EXACTLY how strong and fit your genetically engineered dogs are as compared to regular dogs. But most of the time, a pack of wolves against a horse...wellll...it doesn't turn out well for the pack mainly. There will be a lot of injuries because of stupid attacks like these. I grew up around horses. Get enough dogs attacking, and yes they might go down, eventually. But your dogs--many will die, especially if it's a fit horse. Some horses get scared, but some, ooh boy, you going to have a lot of dead dogs.

See, these aren't purebred genetically superior dogs. They are a mix with ordinary dogs, and since I don't even know how good they are to start with, that's tough to measure.

BY the way, your people grow potatoes and grain and you are worried about the dogs eating them all...again, I can tell you don't know anything about dogs. Raw potatoes can kill them. It's not just a matter of most dogs not wanting potatoes, it's a matter of poison. If, as you say they are eating ALL of the crops, I think your problem might be solved right there and there will be lots of dead dogs. Of course, whenever they are not like regular dogs you can just say "genetically modified!" but seriously, maybe research dogs--what they eat/can eat and WHY.

AND they can't eat everything. Sorry, but they have a finite amount that can go in their belly.

It is hard to trade with nearby settlements because of the dogs, as any caravans will be attacked. Trading is very important, so how could they fix this problem?

First look at wolf and dog behavior, and what others have done to ward off these kinds of attacks in the past. There will be historical accounts. Now, I know these are "superdogs" but it would be behoove you to research actual dogs and wolves before you build them. Fire, noise, all that, can help, as can bullets, knives, swords, even putting special shoes on the horses... Before that even, they can try and hunt them out...

The need to create houses that can’t be easily raised by dogs, so they need houses that are protected from the dogs.

This has not been much of a problem in the past. Unless they have some DEFINED traits that make them different to dogs and wolves in an extra way, I am giving this a hard pass. Folks in Medieval times did not have this problem, so I don't see why it would be an issue here, unless these animals act so unlike feral dogs that they may as well be something else.

Food. They need to grow crops for food and trade, but the dogs won’t let that happen. They eat up crops, and kill the shit out of livestock.

How are they going to eat it all? If they are eating everything, just poison them.

What you're describing sounds more like...overbreeding super rats minus the people-eating. Just make them rat swarms or something.

A regular, healthy dog will eat about 2.5% of their body weight in food. So you're going to have to figure out how many of these dogs it will take, either in numbers or shitty higher metabolism. If they have to eat so much, that's a DEFECT. Maybe your scientists messed up.

If the community is growing enough crops, they just won't be able to eat it all.

What I'm doing in answering this question is getting you to really look at the mechanics of it all--how fast do they breed? how much do they weigh? what percentage of food do they need vs. body weight? How are they like wolves and dogs and how, exactly, do they differ? Because the behaviors described here are so unlike wolves and dogs as I know them that they might as well be something else entirely. And if that's the case, describing their limits and capabilities might be a good start towards answering the question.

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    $\begingroup$ The gray wolf will happily take on bison, moose etc. Feral dogs attacking horses is not much of a stretch. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gray_wolf#Hunting_and_feeding_behaviors Also, while fearlessness is a bad survival trait, it can and has been bred into dogs for various reasons, for example the Romans bred dogs for war that would not back down even when confronted by thousands of men with swords. I'm not clear on why the police would breed such a dog, but it is not impossible. $\endgroup$ May 25, 2018 at 12:30
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    $\begingroup$ @JamesHollis You can certainly breed and train traits like a dogged hostility... but while it may be useful when controlled by a handler, that isn't a good survival trait for living in the wild. Fear is useful - it keeps you alive. Fearless animals that won't back down just won't live long. They won't be a problem for long even without a concerted effort to eradicate them. With an effort to eradicate them these traits only make it that much easier to kill them all. $\endgroup$ May 25, 2018 at 13:26
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    $\begingroup$ Just some interesting reading: 'Super pack' of 400 wolves terrorise remote Russian town after killing 30 horses in just four days $\endgroup$
    – Alexander
    May 25, 2018 at 18:05
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    $\begingroup$ The only part I would disagree with is the idea of "purebred genetically superior dogs". Generally (some hunting & working dogs are exceptions), purebred dogs are bred to win dog shows, and as a consequence can have all sorts of genetic health problems - hip dysplasia in German Shepherds, breathing problems in bulldogs & other short-muzzled breeds, &c: scientificamerican.com/article/… $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    May 26, 2018 at 19:34
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    $\begingroup$ @JamesHollis, you know how grey wolves attack a healthy bison? The wolfpack cuts one bison out from the herd, then proceeds to chase it to exhaustion before going in for the kill. Takes an entire wolfpack per bison, and usually takes a day or two of pursuit before the target is tired enough to attack safely. The only reason wolves will do this is that an adult bison provides a lot of food. $\endgroup$
    – Mark
    May 27, 2018 at 0:10

Dogs will be taken care of like in medieval times people took care of wolves.

I assume this new breed of dogs is no worse than wild wolves. If we are dealing with direwolves who have nearly human-level intelligence, the situation would be different.

First of all, humans will have an upper hand over wolves. Even without firearms, good old fire and steel will keep the predators back most of the time. But of course if human population is low, the dogs will be roaming free and be more than a little nuisance. So, humans will have to hunt them down.

For hunting, traditional methods include bait, traps and fladry. Once humans got experienced in dog hunting, they can proceed with total eradication of them in the area.

Also, you don't need to worry that much about houses being vulnerable to dogs. Sturdy doors and window shutters will keep both the predators and bad people away. However, unattended structures like barns will still be in danger.


Shoot the dogs. As a bonus, this also helps to alleviate the food shortage.

Another possibility would be to capture a dog or two, and assuming that they have roughly the same personality and instinct as other dogs, train them to protect me. If all else fails, then a pointed stick works as a pretty effective foil to almost any wild animal.

Finally, to protect my house from dogs I would give it doors.

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    $\begingroup$ +1 "to protect my house from dogs I would give it doors." Yeah, not understanding the worries about making the house dog proof. $\endgroup$
    – kuhl
    May 25, 2018 at 16:04

Vegetarian dogs are not enough of a game changer

The one and only game changer here is the dogs eat potatoes. And all that does is place a time limit on the population to solve the problem.

We could make the pack very large (as in hundreds or thousands of dogs), but that's unbelievable as a lab wouldn't be breeding so many and it would take years to naturally breed that many — during which humanity would be pecking away at the pesky porros.

Farm plots can be guarded with moats. If the farms are so large (due to a large population) that this is impractical, then you have enough people for an army to hunt and kill the dogs.

Now... if the lab was in the middle of nowhere and the pack spent a decade migrating to a lovely spot with good food such that it really was very large...

Now we're talking! I'm not sure that it's believable that a dog pack could get that large, but I'm willing to suspend my disbelief for some fun.

But, then, a shallow pit with some potatoes in it and a rope-triggered vat of boiling oil would quickly thin out the herd.

(*sigh*), sorry, I can't find a way that makes this scenario as serious as you'd like.


If the dogs somehow have access to swathes of land that humans can't enter (radiation-/poison-immunity), and are thereby unextinctable by a non21st century tech society (no targeted diseases or drones) there might be an ongoing problem (no secure zone to multiply, and humans will exterminate them in a few years) .

If that is the case, and the dogs just keep coming, those people will have a problem. Fences that reliably keep dogs out are too high and well dug in to be economical for the kind of acrage the society will need for crops. For villages (just the living portion) they can be built and maintained, though. Depending on the manner of world-destruction, there should be plenty of great fence-material around: steel cables, steel mesh, aluminium cladding, steel posts, plastic palets, etc. There is a lot of material around that will require almost no upkeep, and is indestructible by dogs. Build some watchtowers and panic cages (with lances on tap) on the fields, and the danger should be minimal. Aluminium panic cages can even be carried by trading caravans - spend the night in those, and if the dogs attack in the day, get into them and start stabbing - the cost will soon outweigh the benfit for the dogs.

But again, if the dogs are a real scare and have no hideout, they're extinct before they can go 'woof'. Humans are just nasty that way.


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