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paul wheaton
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UPDATE!

It is now august 2016. At this time, bringing your dogs is okay. In fact, I have an idea for faciliating everybody's dogs for all time which I talk about here:

https://permies.com/t/57228/labs/dog-park-wheaton-labs

Of course, dogs that hurt chickens or any other animal must be removed immediately. And there will be a time when LGDs will come back, and at that time, I hope that people will be able to continue to bring their dogs because we have set something up for them.



 
Jocelyn Campbell
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For the exceptions that were coordinated, the dogs ended up being tied to posts or trees quite a bit (dogs are not allowed in the base camp house), sometimes in rather hot conditions, which is not exactly optimal.

Just clarifying further because as we develop working farm systems, regular household dogs are not a fit, and I imagine that might seem quite different to folks who have had their dogs welcomed into many homes in the past.
 
paul wheaton
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Another point: I don't like dogs that bark at me on my own property. And I don't like non-working dogs that bark at my guests.

 
Dale Hodgins
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I had a perfectly acceptable laborer quit working for me when I told him that he could no longer bring his pit bull to work. It wouldn't let the owner of the property out of his car and my guy thought that was not a big deal.

I like how succinct Paul's first statement about the status of dogs was. I'm not sure that much explanation is required. Too much explanation might indicate wiggle room, which I don't believe exists.
 
paul wheaton
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I am now hearing several people complain about finding lots of dog poop around the house. My first thought is "that's so much better than IN the house!" (HA!) My second thought is that the soil around the house is so poor, that a little dog poop will surely help. Some people want to go and shovel it up. I think it would be better to put a big gob of sawdust on the piles.

But, most importantly, I feel like I have bigger things to worry about than what to do with a few piles of dog poop. And again, if the dogs didn't come here then this stuff would be a non-issue.

Don't get me wrong, the people that came with the dogs, in every case, were excellent people.
 
paul wheaton
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We currently don't have cattle or dogs at basecamp. I feel if somebody came with a dog and the dog didn't do hostile things to people, that that would be fine.

At the same time, the local timber company has some land nearby where people can camp - and dogs there is peachy.

 
Justin Jones
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The dogs on the lab sure do bring a special joy to those of us who get to interact with them.
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paul wheaton
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At this moment, there are no dogs or animals at the lab or at basecamp. So dogs are not a big deal. Of course, if your dog is a scary dog, then you might want to keep your dog on nearby timber company land.
 
Lee Daniels
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I started a thread in the "dogs and cats" section requesting dog training info. Training a dog, or dogs, for ant village.

http://www.permies.com/t/47834/dogs-cats/Dog-handler-training


I too agree with Tim, remove the useless ones.

Please add any other info or qualities you think an Ant Village dog must - or can not - have. I'm thinking these dogs should be looked at like community members/assets rather than My or their dog... so usefulness and the non-killing of chickens and ducks are a must. I know my description sounds like "superdog" but that is what I want. I know it will take a few years, and I may go through a few. If I can't train it correctly, then I won't keep one. I will not own a problem dog.

I was thinking, get a pup now and train it not to kill my chickens at home. Teach it basic obedience, then take it to the Lab and see. Another suggestion was get set up at the Lab, then get a pup... a real working dog farm pup.

Realistically I can't be an Ant until next summer, but I can come over as a gapper, for a week or so each time, this summer, fall, and maybe winter.


- L. Daniels
 
paul wheaton
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We had three dogs here last week. Overall, it went okay, but I would like to figure out a way to optimize things a bit.

One thing is that while James was working on stuff, he left his dogs in wofati 0.8. They were good dogs in there. And then when a photographer came by the dogs said "we don't know you!" So the photographer did not get the pics of wofati 0.8 that we were hoping for. Bummer.

I guess most dog owners have a fenced in yard at home. So they can leave their dogs in the yard, go do stuff and the dogs are fine. Maybe we need a bunch of dog people to come visit and build a dog fence. An area for dogs to romp and play and people can go and do stuff knowing that their dog is in the dog play area.


 
elle sagenev
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People do seem awfully unrealistic about their dogs. I say that as a dog person. Hell, my dogs kill more chickens than anyone else. I had to electrify the dog run fence to stop the fence jumping and chicken killing. Still, I do love my dogs and I've known some highly trained animals who would be an asset anywhere. These have usually been great pyr. I say this knowing it's my great pyr who was jumping and killing. Anyway, a properly trained great pyr appears to be completely safe to have around animals and people. We go to this craft show on a working farm every year and they have a great pyr that will let anyone pet it while still being a working dog. I think it's a special dog that can differentiate between friend and foe. Or a special trainer. Since my dogs suck at that I guess it's probably a trainer that is the most important aspect.

But boy howdy have I trained my dogs to be kid friendly! lol
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paul wheaton
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I suppose "the dog park" could start off as something about the size of an average back yard. In time, maybe there could be four paddocks so that while one paddock is in use, the other three can be resting. Maybe during the rest, chickens could be run through to do bug control.

Instead of asking people to remove dog poop, we could provide sawdust and ask people to just put a lot of sawdust on the poop.

Maybe there could be a skiddable shelter made that is something of a dog house for many dogs. It could have water, kibble and the sawdust.

As the months and years pass, maybe the dog park area will become more and more elaborate to better and better facilitate dogs.
 
Lee Daniels
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paul wheaton wrote:I guess most dog owners have a fenced in yard at home. So they can leave their dogs in the yard, go do stuff and the dogs are fine. Maybe we need a bunch of dog people to come visit and build a dog fence. An area for dogs to romp and play and people can go and do stuff knowing that their dog is in the dog play area.



Is my idea of having Ant Village dogs that stay with me not a possibility then? The dogs would work (herd or guard) or hang out with me while I'm working. I dislike the idea of having them penned up while I'm working around the Lab. - if that is the final solution - I would agree to any zero tolerance policy concerning livestock killing or harassing.

- L. Daniels
 
paul wheaton
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Lee,

I dunno.

I think some ants will have dogs. LGDs need a lot of acres - so they will need more space.

Dogs have different personalities.

I have to say that I don't like dogs that bark at me. And I've also seen some dogs that were brought here be really hostile to other people. That's not good either.
 
Ann Torrence
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When we do our big fall event here, the invitation reads that children are welcome but your dogs are not. I can't deal with other people's dogs harassing my animals or fighting with other dogs or hurting someone on my property. I have a decent liability insurance, but that's not the claim I want to make. So I totally support not allowing dogs, or dogs by audition and acceptance only. For visitors to the lab, an ant might be able to make a little coin running a kennel/dog sitting service.

all that said, we just got a puppy! For one thing, we need the help moving animals around. As a novice puppy trainer, these are our goals/expectations for our herding dog.

Calm when not working (why we didn't get a border collie, Carson is a McNab)
Friendly to people - we expect a lot of visitors when the cider business is in full swing. (Carson is on a mission to meet 100 people before he is 12 weeks old. Especially children and men. Has learned about cologne, motorcycle leathers, and grabby grandmotherly types so far. He likes the coffee shop.)
Does not chase cats or stock except when working. (Wants to chase the cat and the chickens. The geese and goats are still intimidating.)
Bullet-proof recall (working on it, he's just 10 weeks. Cheese is a wonderful reward.)
Civilized to other dogs. (Is not allowed yet to go play with the badly trained dogs of some of my friends, slowly introducing him to the 2 or 3 well-trained dogs I know.)
Respects the fence and gates (Will use a shock collar if needed, as this is non-negotiable.)
Eliminates on cue and in the correct location (This is going shockingly fast, especially the cue.)

If Carson meets all those goals and does any work at all, he will be a pleasure to have on the homestead.
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Lee Daniels
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Lee Daniels wrote:....I'm thinking these dogs should be looked at like community members/assets rather than My or their dog...


Let me clarify, these would be my dogs. I would be responsible for feeding and care of the dogs. I would be responsible for the damages causes by my dogs. I mean community assets or tools more than members.

- L. Daniels





 
paul wheaton
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From my email:

Hi Paul,

I found the permies.com forum last week and have been reading the ants' main threads non-stop. I would love to come in early September and stay for at least a month or two and help the out in any way I can. My skills are limited but I am enthusiastic and hard-working and I love to learn. I have two dreams and the ants are living one of them!

I've read what you've written in the forums about dogs, but I didn't see this kind of thing addressed specifically so I wanted to run it by you before sending the money and starting to plan. My question is this: could I bring my bratty, little dog? She's fantastic with people, but she's a jerk to new dogs when leashed (leash aggression), which she always is when not in an enclosed space. She barks and lunges and generally behaves like an idiot. I remedy this with a few sprays of water from a spray bottle and that gets her in line. It's usually only a problem the first time or first couple of times she meets a particular dog. It looks pretty bad though, mostly because she's a pug and does that absurd pug screeching and bounces around on her leash like a big fish. She's only 20 pounds so I haven't had any problem keeping her from hurting other dogs, but the behavior is still there and, because it looks crazy when it happens, it might put some people off. If we were to come, it would just be a given that Clare the pug is probably going to lose her mind and behave like a fool briefly when she sees a new dog, but will get over it with the help of a little water.

What do you think? I would really appreciate it if you let us give it a try. Obviously, if she were to start something and hurt another dog, I would cover any vet bills and willing leave of my own volition, but I've had her for almost 5 of her 9 years and she hasn't injured another dog in that time. She's also been in many no-leash situations at daycare and dog parks without any problems.

Thanks very much for the consideration!


First, any dogs here are currently okay.   Of course, the dogs must not harm anybody or any farm critters.   Also, I don't like it when visiting dogs bark at visitors, residents or (especially) me.

At the same time, I wish to build something that will make it so all dogs will always be welcome to come and visit.  I write about it more here:  https://permies.com/t/57228/labs/dog-park-wheaton-labs

I really like the idea that we schedule something once a year ...  "dog week" - where all the permies that travel with dogs can all come together and create things to improve things for dog lovers for future years.

At this moment, there are no dogs here.  So, at this moment, it sounds like your dog would be a peach.  Of course, things change every day ....

I hope this helps.


 
Heather Davies
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paul wheaton wrote:From my email:

Hi Paul,

I found the permies.com forum last week and have been reading the ants' main threads non-stop. I would love to come in early September and stay for at least a month or two and help the out in any way I can. My skills are limited but I am enthusiastic and hard-working and I love to learn. I have two dreams and the ants are living one of them!

I've read what you've written in the forums about dogs, but I didn't see this kind of thing addressed specifically so I wanted to run it by you before sending the money and starting to plan. My question is this: could I bring my bratty, little dog? She's fantastic with people, but...


First, any dogs here are currently okay.   Of course, the dogs must not harm anybody or any farm critters.   Also, I don't like it when visiting dogs bark at visitors, residents or (especially) me.

At the same time, I wish to build something that will make it so all dogs will always be welcome to come and visit.  I write about it more here:  https://permies.com/t/57228/labs/dog-park-wheaton-labs

I really like the idea that we schedule something once a year ...  "dog week" - where all the permies that travel with dogs can all come together and create things to improve things for dog lovers for future years.

At this moment, there are no dogs here.  So, at this moment, it sounds like your dog would be a peach.  Of course, things change every day ....

I hope this helps.




Yes, that helps a great deal, Paul. Thanks very much. I'll send my gapper fee shortly. If the dog park kicks off while I'm there, you can count me in.

As for barking, when it comes to people, she's a lover, not a barker.

Thanks again!

Heather
 
Leslie Lello
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I have been wanting to do your gapper program for over a year but I haven't thought seriously about doing it because I have a dog that I love dearly.

I am writing this because, as someone who only knows the terrain of wheaton labs from pictures, I'm not sure what to expect so I can can present my thoughts on an ideal situation as a dog owner without the constraint of preconceived notions about what is and is not available.

A good situation for me and my dog would be one where we live in a small cabin or tiny home where I could leave him during the day, but where I could check in on him during the day during breaks.

Obviously exercise is necessary for dogs and he loves hiking off leash, but I am always conscious that some people do not like dogs or are afraid of dogs so if he needed to be leashed the entire time we would both be ok with that for walks.  I think this is true for a lot of dogs except high energy working dogs.

My dog likes to run a bit and usually does this in our back yard or a dog park by retrieving a ball so a dog run would be good for that, but always with my supervision.

He likes dogs and people but is shy with people and backs away if they try to reach for him too fast. He usually goes in the small dog run because large dogs tend to chase and tackle him. This is why my supervision of my dog is necessary, because I have had other dog owners say I am overreacting when their dog is pouncing on mine which I am not and they don't know my dog and when he is unhappy which I can see immediately.

He stays with a dog sitter that watches up to 8 dogs at a time but she makes sure that they are all chill dogs that have compatible personalities.  I trust her to know how to facilitate this group in a healthy, safe way.

He does not chase animals... not even the squirrels or rabbits that come into our yard. I have trained that out of him because it is dangerous in suburbia as they have a tendency to randomly run into the street.  But I could see how this could be a problem on a farm. Maybe making the dog take a test of verbal commands as a rule of acceptance into the "pack" on your land.

Finally, I would definitely go for a week or so without my dog to check out the program, the land, living space, the vibe to make sure that it would work for everyone involved. It is much easier to tell how things will go once I am physically there then by only doing research on the Internet.  I feel like requiring the dog owner to see the life at Wheaton Labs would be a a good thing.

What is really UNAPPEALING about how you have presented the dog situation is that it seems like some nut with a gun could shoot my dog if my dog (my best friend, by the way) gets too close to the chicken coop, even if he is just peeing or whatever.  Again, he doesn't chase animals and he's been around chickens and wild turkeys.  Generally, he's afraid of other animals except for dogs. Even cats. (And I'm using the term "nut" at this point because I don't know who this person is and my opinion will probably change if/when I meet him, just like you probably see the potential of a dog being vicious animal killers until you meet it).

The fact that he could get shot for straying terrifies me and makes me want to wait a decade until I do not have a dog to even think about visiting Wheaton Labs.  Sorry, but that's my honest opinion. This saddens me because I feel like you guys are on the cutting edge of permaculture and that the need for this technology in the world is so important to learn and use and share.  And you guys lose out, too, because I actually am a good worker who would be very content to peel bark off trees or build fences and make tools (as described in your podcast) and I already have my PDC, so I understand what you are doing to a certain extent.  And I'm sure there are other people like me that would love to be part of your community but are held back by the dog issue. 

Anyway, I hope this helps in helping you to create a comfortable and safe space for dogs, their owners and all other inhabitants on your land.

 
Dale Hodgins
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I wonder if anyone has considered the idea of posting a bond for the pet's behavior. Suppose you charge a few hundred, or $1,000 if the pet is observed running cattle, or attacking chickens. This should more than compensate, for the occasional loss. There might be an insurance company willing to handle something like this. Otherwise, get the pet owner to put it up in cash. I would have to be really sure that my pet wasn't going to do anything, before I would put up $1,000. Sounds like a good way of weeding out those who are simply speculating on what their pet might do in any given circumstance.

Dogs allowed to run free, can be perfectly behaved until they meet up with fellow members of their species. Stray dogs often form a pack, even if those strays were raised in a city apartment. Once they have formed a large enough group, their behavior may revert to that of their wild ancestors. A nice little lap dog, may suddenly feel the need to hunt.

This can happen, even with dogs that don't know they are hunting. My Labrador Retriever, joined with some other dogs in pursuing a rabbit. She helped to herd it towards the other dogs. When a Rottweiler grabbed it and tore it to pieces, she ran back toward me with her tail between your legs. I'm sure she thought they were playing a chase game, just as she had done with other dogs. She had personally cornered several rabbits and squirrels, in the city. Then she backed off and let them run away. Just a game. For 14 years, she gave chase to every deer, that she encountered. There was never a chance of catching one. It was all about the fun of pursuit.
 
paul wheaton
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I updated the first post a little bit.


I feel like I am a great dog person and a great cat person. 

At the same time, some people have brought dogs here where I was VERY uncomfortable with the dog. 

toby hemenway had a dog that stared at me constantly like it was waiting for the perfect moment to rip out my throat. 

There have been dogs here that barked at me and I explain to the dogs "don't bark at me, I own this place! I could kick you out!" but the dogs keep barking at me.   I don't want dogs to bark at me and I don't want to talk to people about leaving because their dog is rude to me. 

I don't want dogs to bark at my other guests.   I especially don't like it when dogs do that super hostile psychotic barking that says "if it weren't for this leash, i would rip your throat out." 

I like the idea of constructing the doggie-back-yard.  The thing where there are some backyard-sized paddocks.   Something where dog people can put their dog for the day with plenty of shade, kibble, water, etc.  Just like they might leave their dog in a backyard in town.  That way if a dog does anything that makes me uncomfortable, the dog can go hang out in "the back yard".   And if we have an event and five different people bring five different dogs, maybe we can have five different "backyards"?

I have to point out that josiah brought a beagle here and it disappeared.   Our guess is that in the middle of the night it spotted a mountain lion and ran after it.   The end.

At this time, nobody is going to shoot a dog here.  However, like nearly every county in the US, there is a leash law.   If your dog goes off property, there is a chance that somebody will shoot it. 

So, the moral of the story is make your dog safe from mountain lions and keep your dog on property.



 
Edy Ki
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This thread has some people's comments about their dogs and how they would not be troubling.  I do sympathize with this and it might seem to an individual since their dog is not problematic that it should be allowed.  However, I'd like to point out that people with problematic dogs usually don't understand the problems or see it differently.  Therefore in a group or community setting it is actually inconsiderate to ask for an exception to be made... because it creates too much trouble for the organizers sorting out all the exceptions and having these prolonged discussions and considering your dogs one by one...sorry because I understand the bond and the need to keep your loved one (dog) in optimum condition which means allowed to be with you.  But I believe you should just take this at face value and accept the stricture.  The dogs are a side element in this endeavor... work till you find a good foster home for your loved one during your absence.
 
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