My husband and I are just beginning our homesteading skills learning adventure. We rent a house in the woods with 2+ acres, and have 5 week old chickens. An acquaintance is trying to get rid of a 1 year old German Shepherd/Saint Bernard/mut and may have the dog put down because they don't like it.
Our schedules are such that I'm home during the day and my husband is home at night (he goes to bed at 9pm though) and we have opposite days off, so there will typically be someone at "home" to be with the dog. However, our garden (long story) is located a few miles away and I'll be spending a good amount of time there. There is a collie mix at that property (where the garden is).
Would it be a horrible idea to take in this kind of dog? My husband and I have both had dogs before, but I don't know about these breeds. We're going to meet the dog tonight.
In addition, my husband wants the dog to reside primarily outside to guard our chickens (who are currently free-roaming, but whom we intend to eventually fence in.) The dog will be either penned or on a line when no one is home.
Both of those breeds are guarding/livestock dogs so he could very well be appropriate for what you have in mind. Seeing as though the current owners don't like him and even consider him so disposable as to kill him, he probably hasn't received very much (or very good) training. I am a huge dog enthusiast (and trainer) so my first reaction is to urge you to take him (lest he be put down) but you should be aware that he could have some baggage and issues that would need to be dealt with before he could become a good companion.
The breeds generally make sweet working dogs but without knowing what if any socialization he had (and whether it was positive) it would be hard to say how he'll be. Have you met the dog?
Is it an option to take him and take him to a no kill shelter if he isn't suitable? Let me know if you need any advice regarding any problem behaviours or anything if you do take him!
Radka and her two border collie mixes
posted 8 years ago
We brought him home!!! We couldn't really say no! He grew up next to a farm, so when he saw our month old peeps free roaming in the yard, he didn't even bat an eye lash! Didn't care about them at all!!! He is really scared of, well, most things. He doesn't know how to play- he's one year old- so he just looks at you like you're crazy when you throw a bone or stick for him to fetch lol. He refused to come in the house (which is NOT a totally bad thing!), but ran right out of his collar when we put him on the line. He slept on the porch all night, and was there when my husband left for work at 5am, but when I got up at 8 he was gone!! I searched for maybe 30 minutes, and he came running up the road to greet me- SO happy and SO out of breath! No idea where he went.
Any tips you have would be wonderful. We do want him to be primarily out doors.
posted 8 years ago
Yay! Good for you. I'm sure he'll turn into a wonderful doggie for you guys.
As for the fear issues, if he hasn't been exposed to a lot of different things as a pup, he's bound to be quite cautious now. I would recommend not pushing him beyond his comfort zone - don't force him into situations that he'll find scary and can't get out of - you don't want his negative feelings about the 'scary thing' to increase. If there are things you need him comfortable around, expose him gradually and always allow him to end the interaction if he becomes uncomfortable - keep it positive.
Giving food to creatures is a very primal way of showing you care. You can take some of his daily food portion and carry it around in your pocket and give him treats throughout the day whenever you find him doing things you like (such as paying attention to you, sleeping on your porch, being calm around your chicks, anything you'd like him to keep doing!). He'll soon become very attached to you guys and training him will become much easier.
You mentioned he 'ran out of his collar' - is it too big? If you don't want him roaming, you might have to tie him up over night. If that's not possible, or until you get a new collar/whatever maybe get your husband to feed him his morning portion of food by tossing it in the grass for him to search out. It'll take a while and it's mentally stimulating/tiring so he'll be likely to eat and take a nap until you get up and about.
Anyways, I hope all goes well and hopefully my advice is useful. Let me know if there is anything else!
posted 8 years ago
Thank you very much for all the tips! I absolutely will take you up on your offer for more advice when the time comes! First day with pup went well. He is apparently very, very attached to me already. He still doesn't like going in the car, but unfortunately there were a few times today when he had to come with me. A friend recommended I take him with me as much as possible early on to show him that he belongs with me. I'm very lucky, he is such a loving dog!
He doesn't know how to play. We got him toys and a bone, but he doesn't seem interested in them, even after we show him how to play a little.
We're letting him sleep inside tonight, and he'll be in the house alone for 2.5 hours tomorrow between the time when I go to work and my husband gets home. I 'm a little nervous, but I'd be more afraid of him running loose so early on and getting lost or hit by a car.
posted 8 years ago
Hey one thing I thought I should mention; dogs will bond super quickly to someone showing them love and attention, especially if they were deprived of that early on however, you also want to teach him that it's ok if you're not around. One of my dogs was a rescue at 11 months old and he is a velcro dog with whom I had to deal with some pretty destructive separation anxiety. That's not to say you should show him any less love/kindness/attention but maybe here and there go somewhere where he can't access and then come right back. Maybe once he's into bones or stuffed kongs or something like that you can give him one, go to another room/inside or otherwise out of his reach just briefly and then come back and take it away again. The bone is his special treat >when you're gone<. You want him to associate you being gone with a pretty ok time. Ideally, don't let him get stressed when you do this - don't leave for too long and try to come back before he whines, or get anxious. Just normalize you coming and going cause right now he's probably thinking humans are actually awesome and he better be careful so he doesn't loose his awesome human.
posted 8 years ago
Yes, I did have to leave him home when I went to work. He was alright, though, only had to wait 2 hours for my husband to get home! However, at night when I get home he is all excited and wants to play. I get home at about 12:30am, and when I go to bed (even after playing with him) and whines and cries. The first night, he kept my husband up all night. In the morning when my husband leaves at 5am, pup thinks its time to play AGAIN and refuses to let me sleep! I almost slept on the couch last night just some everyone could get some sleep! He has fleas, so he's definitely not coming to bed with us until the flea meds do their job pretty adequately.
i once had a couple saint bernards (or my uncle did anyway) and one slobbered a lot and one didnt
the difference was that the one that didnt was my uncles first of the two and he had the time while raising her to massage her gums daily
if you dont you'll end up with one slobbery dog... YUK!
they are also big dogs so they need lots of space to run and play and TONS of attention to keep them tame and safe around children
i dont know much about a mix or german shepards really so cant help ya there, but thought id drop in and share
I've had German Shepherds, never a Saint B or a mix. I do love the big breeds and it sounds to me like a good match for you. I agree with the prior advice you've been given here as well. We just brought home our first dog at this address. We have six acres in central Texas with gardens, cats, and chickens. We were looking for a good dog that would do well with the chickens and cats. I've had a lot of negative experience with chicken-killer dogs in the past. Our last dog was a Siberian Husky, a really lovely dog but quite a roamer. Today we got a rescued Yellow Lab/Golden Retriever male mix, 3 years old. Seems really great, and the person we got him from had had him a couple of months along with cats and chickens with no problems.