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Breeds of dogs that won't hurt livestock &/or how to train them  RSS feed

 
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I was reading this thread, Our Dogs Killed our Goats - Looking for Support, and it really got me worried and thinking. We currently have no dogs, and have a flock of 10-20 ducks and two cats. We also have a four year old son and a one year old daughter. Both my husband and I love dogs, and have always planned on getting one when our kids were older and we all had lots of time to devote to training it. So, in maybe 4-7 years.

I had not realized that certain breeds of dogs are more likely to attack livestock than others, or that once they'd eaten livestock, it would be hard/impossible to train them out of it. So, that would mean, right, that we should not get an adult rescue dog for our family?

Does anyone know what breeds of dogs are more inclined to eating livestock than others?

We would be getting a dog as a pet, as well as to deter the deer a little and to hopefully keep the bobcats/coyotes away, too--therefore we would not want a small dog. My husband LOVED training his childhood dog, and the dog knew at least 20 tricks and commands. So, the dog would be part of our family and very well trained. We are not looking for a livestock guardian dog. After reading this story (http://www.dailyleader.com/2016/12/14/son-saves-father-from-dog-attack-at-alderman-farms/). Something like that happening with my children is not something I want to worry about!

I would also love to know any tricks or tips you have for training a dog.

Thank you so much!
 
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I have a coonhound/bulldog mix who killed several chickens and guineas when she was a young puppy (<1 year old) but has, surprisingly, unlearned this behavior.

I think that a given "breed" of dog is no more or less likely to harm livestock than a given "breed" of human--they are all created equal just as we are.
 
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Aside from starting with a breed that is bred to protect, like all the livestock guardian dogs, I think a good approach may be to start with a puppy, that will grow up knowing you, your husband and the children along with any animals you have have. I think this may be the best approach and can train any dog to not harm other animals, even rescue puppies at the pound where the breed and lineage is unknown, and they may likely develop a protective instinct.

 
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Nicole Alderman wrote:
I had not realized that certain breeds of dogs are more likely to attack livestock than others, or that once they'd eaten livestock, it would be hard/impossible to train them out of it. So, that would mean, right, that we should not get an adult rescue dog for our family?



Nicole certain breeds of dogs do have much higher prey drive than others, and that makes them more likely to attack livestock.  It hasn't been my experience at all that once they have killed livestock it is impossible to train them not to.  It's a little like saying if the dog peed on the carpet once, you can never house train it.

James' post is right on.  LGD have been bred for decades, or in some cases, hundreds of years, to protect livestock.  They can also be really wonderful pets.  If you look at rescues in your area, you will probably find a LDG rescue.  If not, you will certainly find one at a shelter or be able to find a breeder.

I read that story you posted, and while it is truly horrible, keep in mind that for every story like this, literally millions of people have dogs that are kind, loyal, happy, protective members of the family.  Dogs suffer horrific abuse by people and still rarely attack or even snap at them.  Anatolian shepherds are known to be more aggressive than some of the other LGD, and many, many of them are living happy lives with people that love them with no bad issues.

As far as training, I can give you my experience.  I worked as a dog trainer for awhile and the number one thing I know about training a dog is spend lots of time with it.  Take the dog with you as much as you can, whatever you are doing.  Dogs are very, very smart and they can learn really quickly what you want or don't want.  You just have to spend enough time with them for them to be able to learn it.  Picture a child that you spend lots of quality time with versus a child that is neglected and no one ever spends time with.  Dogs are the same.

 
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Hi Nicole.

I agree with Todd. Yes, dogs, as with many animals, are just as much a product of their individual experiences as we are, but there are breed characteristics to take into account.

I would definitely start with as young a dog as you can. I wouldn't go the rescue route if you have young children and livestock, especially an adult rescue. There are just too many variables. You just won't know about a problem until it happens, unless you're very good with canine behaviour and very lucky to catch a warning sign.

My next dog will be a large one, and if I don't get a Newf, I am thinking about LGDs, specifically something with enough Great Pyrenees in it to benefit from the breed's tactical guardian abilities. Their tactics while guarding, like the Newf's water rescue tactics, change based on the number of dogs available to do the work.

If I can, I will find a farmer with the breed or with a working dog whose characteristics I like that will be having pups. To me, that's the best way to ensure healthy working characteristics in the mother; make sure she's a working LGD.

I also like the idea of imprinting the pups early on the animals they'll be protecting. It's ideal to me if, for instance, some years down the line, I have a pair of LGDs whose traits I want to keep around the farm and I decide to have a litter, and the litter is whelped in the barn next to the goats or sheep. In addition to following their parents and me around while I feed and care for their future charges, I think just having them as the background noise (and smell) of their early puppyhood would subconsciously move them in the right direction. Indirect early animal acclimatisation.

Now I wasn't there, but it seems to me that the article lays out exactly what the elder Alderman did wrong. Misreading the dog's body language is a huge misstep. Having done that, I don't know how he could have been expected to forsee what was about to happen, but I know a great work-around.

Don't treat working dogs as companion animals in the context of work. Does it seem rational to impinge on the personal space of, I don't know, an UFC fighter just after a tough fight, or to surprise that fighter when they might still be worked up and on edge?

Then this man, ostensibly the "pack leader," shows decidedly un-alpha dog behaviour by getting down on eye level with the dog. I don't know how the presence of the younger dog affected the dynamics, but when the leader doesn't lead, it usually leads to confusion.

We have to remember, in my opinion, that dogs are predators, and that they naturally rely on pack structure to make sense of the world around them. They are semi-sentient at least, but when you shock their system of organisation, they start behaving in less predictable ways. They only work with us when we play by the rules established over tens of thousands of years.

-CK
 
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I think the only breed of dog that cannot hurt livestock is one of the two I own, a pug, she can't hurt anything because of her stupidly overbred mouth and tiny size.

We also have a border collie/labrador mix. I had had her three years before we got any livestock (chickens,ducks, cows and horses she has met) To begin with chickens were very interesting but always being present when her and the chickens were free together and quick "no" when she got too close stopped that, the only time she is still bitey at them is if you pick one up and carry it, I think this is because we do that very rarely and normally when we do do it they are for slaughter and she gets the heads and feet. She has never had any interest in horses or cows, they are too big, although their leavings are delightful places to roll (in her opinion)

I don't think there is such a thing as a breed of dog that won't apart from those as in my opening sentence that physically cannot, however all dogs can be trained not to. I have not read the other thread, but I will say that if my dog suddenly decided to murder my livestock I would have her straight to the vet, sudden changes in behavior often have an underlying medical cause.
 
Chris Kott
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I think there are breed tendencies to take into account, Skandi. Those are as much a factor as brachycephaly leaving them unable to bite.

And I would definitely agree that a drastic change in behaviour is cause for a vet visit, though with some things it's kinder to go out behind the woodshed or to the back fields. Rabies comes to mind.

-CK
 
Todd Parr
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Skandi Rogers wrote:I think the only breed of dog that cannot hurt livestock is one of the two I own, a pug, she can't hurt anything because of her stupidly overbred mouth and tiny size.

We also have a border collie/labrador mix. I had had her three years before we got any livestock (chickens,ducks, cows and horses she has met) To begin with chickens were very interesting but always being present when her and the chickens were free together and quick "no" when she got too close stopped that, the only time she is still bitey at them is if you pick one up and carry it, I think this is because we do that very rarely and normally when we do do it they are for slaughter and she gets the heads and feet. She has never had any interest in horses or cows, they are too big, although their leavings are delightful places to roll (in her opinion)

I don't think there is such a thing as a breed of dog that won't apart from those as in my opening sentence that physically cannot, however all dogs can be trained not to. I have not read the other thread, but I will say that if my dog suddenly decided to murder my livestock I would have her straight to the vet, sudden changes in behavior often have an underlying medical cause.



It's awesome that you mentioned pugs because in all the years I have owned and trained dogs, including doing protection work, the only dog that has ever bitten me was a pug.  It bit my leg while I was teaching it to heel because it didn't like having to walk the direction I wanted to walk. It barely broke the skin, but not for lack of trying.
 
Nicole Alderman
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The thing that worries be about livestock guardians is that (from my understanding. Correct me if I'm wrong) they are trained- to view the livestock as their family, no us humans, and that's what causes problems like in the story I posted. If that training was modified to them being family to ALL of us, and not just the livestock, would they be safer?

We also don't have that much money, and I'm going to assume that feeding a very large breed like a livestock guardian dog would cost quite a bit of money...

What about breeds of dogs trained to be "shepherds," like Australian shepherds? Their tendency seems to be to herd everything, rather than attack it. I can imagine them stressing out ducks by herding them constantly, though...
 
Chris Kott
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Herding isn't the same skillset as guarding. I wouldn't count on a herder to protect the same way as a guardian would.

The feed requirements aren't as predictable as you might think. A Newfoundland dog (Newf, in the vernacular) eats about the same as a Golden Retriever, even though the Newf could be over twice as large. Metabolic rate is as much a factor as size.

Also, if you need a guardian dog, that suggests that there's predator pressure. Guardian dogs in many cases fend for themselves, including feeding themselves on potential predators (see, they stack functions too!).

And if you need a guardian, what about a donkey or llama? If you have two, they will self-identify and will only defend other llamas, but if they are the only one, they identify the other livestock as their herd and protect them. I have also heard of donkeys used as livestock guardians.

-CK
 
James Freyr
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It's my understanding that livestock guardian dogs bond with their people owners very well and are loyal to them. I have read that for some breeds, this bond can be very strong, and some dogs may show aggressive behavior towards strangers (read: company, UPS guy, etc.) showing up as the dogs are defending and protecting the people owners. I think this behavior can occur in most any dog though, and I think it's a matter of nurture over nature, in most cases.
 
Chris Kott
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I think that's accurate, James.

You get this idea a lot with, for instance, Dobermans. I definitely wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of an angry Dobe, believe you me, but the idea that they're vicious and uncontrollable and are unsafe around children is way overblown. They are a guard dog breed, which doesn't help the image, but they are definitely family-oriented dogs, in that they identify with their owner and the owner's family as Pack. Their job is to protect the Pack. So if one of the Pack, maybe one of the human puppies, starts playing with a human puppy that's NOT Pack, and that NOT Pack human puppy gets a bit rough, that Dobe's going to do their job and protect the Pack.

This is just illustrative, and by no means true in every case.

So that's where the idea that LGDs are problematic with family and children comes in. They're not, necessarily, and most LGDs that I have met ranged from indifferent to puppylike to my presence once their person greeted and introduced me.

One thing that is in conflict with this scenario sometimes is the idea that the working LGD is also a pet. It is not, at least not in the same way as a companion animal is. The more you treat it like and expect it to respond as a companion animal living in the house, the less capable it will be as a LGD. Why would it want to sleep out in the paddock with the sheep when it can sleep on your leather couch, or your bed? Why should it chase off offending humans around its flock of sheep? They are most likely just friends of the pack, because everybody is so friendly, and they give treats, and pats, and belly rubs...

We give animals mixed and incomplete messages, and they can't always contextualise. And expecting a single individual to be and do all things is just that much more confusing.

-CK
 
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Chris Kott wrote:Herding isn't the same skillset as guarding. I wouldn't count on a herder to protect the same way as a guardian would.



That's quite true.  Sometimes herders also get a little overenthusiastic, and start biting.  Nipping the livestock is a part of their herding technique, though some are much gentler than others.  Herding dogs generally need to be kept busy, as they are high energy.  We had neighbors with a herding dog, who to keep him busy, they got him a flock of geese.  Turns out the flock of geese were better protectors/guards than the herding dog, although not for certain predators.

Other things can happen, too. Sometimes a herder dog can work out in a way you don't expect.  My "goat milk lady" bought an expensive, trained border collie as a "protector" for her goats.  That's what the dog was touted for by it's trainers.  The several thousand dollar collie was't liked by the goats, and was beat up by a pregnant female goat and refused to go anywhere near the goats ever again.  Now a spendy pet, they decided to try her with their 1000 bird flock of free range chickens.  The Border Collie did wonderfully with these, and the predation issues disappeared.  They had been losing tons of chickens to hawks and foxes during the day. And the dog was happy, too.  She loved herding and guarding chickens.  In the end, I think they got the goats a llama.

I've had a bunch of different mixes of dogs.  The prey drive was the biggest "tell" as to whether they would attack a pet animal or not, without training.  And it varied considerably among all the mutts I've had, and interestingly it wasn't always connected to the combination of breeds.

The most voracious hunter, incredible prey drive dog I ever had is with my parents now, a St. Bernard/black lab mix.  A BEAST.  She has killed two small deer, an otter, countless rodents and birds, and once pinned a bobcat in our creek.  That was a very interesting night...  She also would go nuts over birds of any sort, totally berserk when they ran or flew by.  And once she got into a pond with a nest of ducklings and ate them all.  My mom realized what was happening too late, and arrive to see our big, black dog so happy, with a little duckling leg sticking out of her mouth.

My husband and I wanted to raise ducks, but were understandably concerned.  So I watched three seasons of the Dog Whisperer, Cesar Milan, and we started implementing the techniques he teaches.  It helped a LOT.  He has specific techniques for introducing dogs to smaller animals, like cats or birds, too.  It's best to watch those episodes, as there is so much to learn.

Milan also explains that when you have a dog and are training them not to attack other animals, the dog who will not look at the prey/pet/livestock animal is actually the most dangerous, and the one to watch.  The "not looking" behavior seems to means they are looking away to sort of resist temptation, but in his experience, those dogs are the most likely to "snap" and attack the other animal.  I've had two dogs behave like this, and that explained their behavior a lot more. One did end up "snapping" and breaking into a rabbit cage.

How we implemented his techniques in our case - with Big Black Dog, she slept in the laundry room. She was incredibly well behaved indoors, respected us and our stuff, would not take food off the table even though she's an incredibly hungry beast - that's key #1.  Learning to not kill your other animals is a form of respecting your stuff.  So the dog has to demonstrate respect of you and your stuff first and foremost.

We got some ducklings.  The sound and smell was very exciting, so desensitization was step #2.  Each night, the ducklings (in their duckling box) were placed on a high shelf in the laundry room where Big Black slept.  Of course, there was a risk of her attacking them - but she had never damaged our stuff, or climbed on furniture in our house (once taught), so we were hoping step #1 would hold.  It did.

After that it was much easier.  Her excitement level went down. Eventually the ducks grew, and could run around freely in front of her.  The males even attacked her at times, which was hilarious to watch.    However, we always kept one eye on her, because she refused to look a them, as Cesar Milan mentions.  Our other dog would get excited by the ducks at times, but then one bit him and that seemed to solve it. VERY different personalities, energies, in those two dogs.

So that was one dog who had killed ducks, but then learned to live with them.  She still has not killed any more ducks, even wild ones at my parents' home where Big Black now lives.

I had another dog who killed adult chickens, and other small animals.  He was a golden lab/husky mix. Montana.  One day, a literal pack of dalmatians got onto my property, and killed a bunch of my free-ranging chickens before I could chase them off.  Unfortunately, Montana was outside and joined in the fun.  He got the taste for it. I had to lock  my chickens up then, because he got into predator mode around them.  He killed a couple more - oddly, not mine, they were chickens that got into my yard from a neighbor.  I had a big problem that year with other people's animals.

Many people had ideas for how to stop a dog from killing more chickens.  They all sounded bizarre - like tie the chicken around the dogs neck and such.  He would love a dead, smelly chicken to roll in, as he had proven his interest more than once in dead animals... so we didn't bother with that "solution".

Instead, we pondered what would be the absolute worst thing for him...  Montana slept under our bed.  He valued his bedtime to highly that he'd usually go to be before us.  And he also was a dog that respected everything in our house, including being a part of our "pack".  So, when he killed one more chicken, we decided to try shunning him.  He was left outside, in their daytime run (where our two dogs stayed while we were at work), the rest of the day and overnight.  Then we let him out in the day, but not into the house, and we ignored him.  And one more night outside.

He was CURED.  He totally understood what that was about.  It was amazing.  I think the close place he had in our household/family, combined with him being a smart dog, also a "close" dog, my little shadow - the sort that is always watching where you are and what you are doing, or right beside you.  Bonded.  He never touched a chicken again. The chickens became so bold they started eating his food.  I didn't realize this until one day Montana got my attention with such a sad, helpless and frustrated look and accompanying whine...as he had been chased away from his bowl by some hens.   I solved that as payment for his good behavior.

However, awhile later, Montana killed my iguana.  My boyfriend at the time had taken my iguana outside and left him tied, to get some sun.  He then let Montana out, and Montana immediately killed the lizard.  So with Montana, he apparently needed training for each thing I didn't want him to touch.  Sigh.  I was not a happy camper that day, as I wouldn't have taken that risk with my iguana!  But we learn...
 
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I would suggest avoiding anything with terrier breeding, as they were originally bred as rat hunters and most still have a high prey drive. I would also recommend avoiding huskies and husky mixes, these are considered the cats of the dog world,  as in they are about as trainable as a cat.
Popular farm dogs other than guardian and herding dogs tend to be retrievers, such as labs and golden retrievers, these tend to be very trainable and gentle around children.
A key I have found to avoiding destructive dogs is to not let them get bored, take them for walks, teach tricks, let them play with children.
 
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What the quality of life with one's dog basically comes down to is effective obedience training. Good training accomplishes a few things: It teaches a dog self - control and inner discipline, has the dog listen to the taught commands the first time when told, both on-leash and off-leash, anywhere, anytime, and most importantly, opens up wide the line of communication and respect between owner and dog. Once that is established, one can teach a dog just about anything. I have been training dogs for over 40 years, professionally for the last 20. The best and most effective book by far that I have found to teach step by step how to effectively train one's dog is called The Koehler Method of Dog Training by William Koehler. He wrote a few training books, but that one would be the starting one which lays the basic obedience foundation. In it, he teaches how to have an off-leash reliable dog in about 10 weeks time (provided one does one's homework of about 30minutes/day). While I have made a few very minor teaks to the method, I have been following it and teaching it with incredible success. The man was a genius. Even though he is dead now, I still often find myself mentally giving him heartfelt thanks when working with a new dog in to train or observing a student's dog slowly metamorphose into a thinking, dignified animal that is also very obedient.
 
Todd Parr
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Annie Collins wrote:What the quality of life with one's dog basically comes down to is effective obedience training. Good training accomplishes a few things: It teaches a dog self - control and inner discipline, has the dog listen to the taught commands the first time when told, both on-leash and off-leash, anywhere, anytime, and most importantly, opens up wide the line of communication and respect between owner and dog. Once that is established, one can teach a dog just about anything. I have been training dogs for over 40 years, professionally for the last 20. The best and most effective book by far that I have found to teach step by step how to effectively train one's dog is called The Koehler Method of Dog Training by William Koehler. He wrote a few training books, but that one would be the starting one which lays the basic obedience foundation. In it, he teaches how to have an off-leash reliable dog in about 10 weeks time (provided one does one's homework of about 30minutes/day). While I have made a few very minor teaks to the method, I have been following it and teaching it with incredible success. The man was a genius. Even though he is dead now, I still often find myself mentally giving him heartfelt thanks when working with a new dog in to train or observing a student's dog slowly metamorphose into a thinking, dignified animal that is also very obedient.



When I started training dogs, I used a method similar to Koehler but less extreme.  I came to view his methods as cruel and delved into dog psychology  more deeply.  My view now is that there are better, faster, and certainly more humane ways to train dogs. Anyone that thinks it is okay to hang a dog near to death by a choke collar or to smash it across the face with a stick encased by a rubber hose needs to be in a prison cell for animal cruelty.  Both those "techniques" of training are in the book you named. And yes, im familiar with Koehlers justifications for his methods, as well as the movie star dogs he trained.  I also realize the stick in a hose was for the most extreme cases. That in no way excuses that behavior.  I have trained weight pulling champions and trained dogs to high levels of obedience without ever once hurting the dog, so I know there is a better way.
 
Annie Collins
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Todd Parr wrote:
When I started training dogs, I used a method similar to Koehler but less extreme.  I came to view his methods as cruel and delved into dog psychology  more deeply.  My view now is that there are better, faster, and certainly more humane ways to train dogs. Anyone that thinks it is okay to hang a dog near to death by a choke collar or to smash it across the face with a stick encased by a rubber hose needs to be in a prison cell for animal cruelty.  Both those "techniques" of training are in the book you named. And yes, im familiar with Koehlers justifications for his methods, as well as the movie star dogs he trained.  I also realize the stick in a hose was for the most extreme cases. That in no way excuses that behavior.  I have trained weight pulling champions and trained dogs to high levels of obedience without ever once hurting the dog, so I know there is a better way.




The two methods you mentioned, picking a dog off of his/her front feet or giving a whack across the muzzle with a rubber covered long dowel rod, are only for an extreme case of a people-aggressive dog that is about to attack. They have nothing to do with the regular obedience training curriculum Koehler teaches which nowhere advocates hurting a dog, ever. It is such a shame that passages in Koehler's book get taken out of context and maligned because he decided to be honest enough to talk in his books about how to handle a people-aggressive dog. Many trainers won't deal with people-aggressive dogs; they don't know how and so don't want to get bitten or mauled. People-aggressive dogs typically either get medicated to the point of becoming zombie-like, which, if you ask me, is no quality of life, or simply get put down, which is the majority of cases of dogs with people aggression. Koehler, by briefly writing about how to deal with such a dog should one be about to be attacked, gave the tools to give such a dog a chance in life. If one knows of a way to deal with the aggression so one can move on to the obedience work, then that dog usually gets saved (provided they are with an owner that knows how to set consistent boundaries for a dog, in general). It is extremely rare, however, that either of the methods mentioned above are required and only about 1% of Koehler's book, if that much even, talks about the methods to use in such an extreme aggression scenario. They are not part of his training curriculum. Of the few hundred dogs I have trained or had in my training classes, there have only been two such extreme people-aggressive dogs. Everyone was trained using Koehler's basic obedience curriculum in which there is absolutely nothing that requires hurting the dog as you imply above, and which uses the simple tools of a couple of different length leashes, a properly fitted training collar, and lots of praise (all described in detail in his book). I would never advocate, use, or teach a training method that involves anything but fairness to a dog as well as respect for a dog's intelligence, and I would certainly not advocate any type of a training curriculum that involved pain. In all the years of training dogs and giving classes, I have found Koehler's obedience curriculum to be the only one that does all those things beautifully. The most rewarding and important part of his method to me, however, is that just by finishing the basic obedience curriculum, my dogs get to have the pleasure of going through life rarely wearing a leash, no matter if we are in the middle of a city or out in the country on a trail walk. They can be completely trusted to listen. I am always open and interested to learn about other methods that teach reliability to such a degree in such a short period of time, but so far I have not found any.
 
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Where I grew up in Wales, it was not uncommon for sheepdogs to turn rogue.  The solution was to shoot it.  I suspect that the instinct to herd is rather close to the instinct to hunt.

Here's a youtube video about welsh sheepdogs, their behaviour, training, genetics, breed characteristics (or lack thereof), and especially about Teg.



 
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Annie Collins wrote:
The two methods you mentioned, picking a dog off of his/her front feet or giving a whack across the muzzle with a rubber covered long dowel rod, are only for an extreme case of a people-aggressive dog that is about to attack. They have nothing to do with the regular obedience training curriculum Koehler teaches which nowhere advocates hurting a dog, ever. It is such a shame that passages in Koehler's book get taken out of context and maligned because he decided to be honest enough to talk in his books about how to handle a people-aggressive dog. Many trainers won't deal with people-aggressive dogs; they don't know how and so don't want to get bitten or mauled. People-aggressive dogs typically either get medicated to the point of becoming zombie-like, which, if you ask me, is no quality of life, or simply get put down, which is the majority of cases of dogs with people aggression. Koehler, by briefly writing about how to deal with such a dog should one be about to be attacked, gave the tools to give such a dog a chance in life. If one knows of a way to deal with the aggression so one can move on to the obedience work, then that dog usually gets saved (provided they are with an owner that knows how to set consistent boundaries for a dog, in general). It is extremely rare, however, that either of the methods mentioned above are required and only about 1% of Koehler's book, if that much even, talks about the methods to use in such an extreme aggression scenario. They are not part of his training curriculum. Of the few hundred dogs I have trained or had in my training classes, there have only been two such extreme people-aggressive dogs. Everyone was trained using Koehler's basic obedience curriculum in which there is absolutely nothing that requires hurting the dog as you imply above, and which uses the simple tools of a couple of different length leashes, a properly fitted training collar, and lots of praise (all described in detail in his book). I would never advocate, use, or teach a training method that involves anything but fairness to a dog as well as respect for a dog's intelligence, and I would certainly not advocate any type of a training curriculum that involved pain. In all the years of training dogs and giving classes, I have found Koehler's obedience curriculum to be the only one that does all those things beautifully. The most rewarding and important part of his method to me, however, is that just by finishing the basic obedience curriculum, my dogs get to have the pleasure of going through life rarely wearing a leash, no matter if we are in the middle of a city or out in the country on a trail walk. They can be completely trusted to listen. I am always open and interested to learn about other methods that teach reliability to such a degree in such a short period of time, but so far I have not found any.



In the very initial lessons of the book, meaning the first days of the dogs training, one of the exercises is to put the dog on a 15 ft lead, show him a distraction that he is sure to chase, and the second he does, RUN in the other direction so that when he hits the end of the leash, and flips him completely around.  That is very much in keeping with the entire training methodology.  If you think that doesn't advocate "hurting a dog, ever", I urge you to try it yourself.  You don't even need another person to run the other way, although doing this without will lesson the impact.  Simply put a rope around your neck and tie the other end to a tree, and then run as fast as possible away from the tree.  Please post a followup as to whether it hurt.

In addition to that, hanging the dog is not used in the case of a "dog that is about to attack".  It is used if the dog tries to snap at you when you are first teaching it to heel.  Granted, no dog should try to bite you when you are teaching the heeling exercise, but like I said earlier, the only dog that ever bit me during training was a pug that snapped my leg while teaching him to heel.  According to Koehler, I was supposed to hang the dog until it could longer move.  He goes on to talk about the fact that the dog will fall on it's side and vomit if you did it correctly.  I handled it differently.  I corrected the dog and continued the heeling exercise.  It accomplished the same thing without terrifying the dog, and the incident was never repeated.  The technique of smashing the dog over the face is for the same problem.  It is used if the dog is too big for you to hang.  Again, these are for dogs that try to snap at you during the heeling exercise.  Obviously bad, but this is not for a dog that is about to attack as you suggest.  Here is a direct quote from the book:  "Naturally, to slow the motion of his target, he would have to use a left-handed, close-to-the-collar grip instead of the regular leash hold.  As well as he can with the awkward left-hand grip, the trainer works at the heel exercises until the dog shows the first sign of resentment.  At this moment (not after the situation has developed into a seething,biting, leash-climbing struggle) the trainer's left hand steers the dog's attempt to one side as a right-hand chopping stroke brings the hose across the muzzle between the eyes and the nose."  He goes on to talk about how bad it would be if you felt pity for the dog and didn't hit him hard enough.  So according to this book that would never advocate hurting an animal, I am supposed to smash his face with a rubber hose around a stick AT THE FIRST SIGN OF RESENTMENT.  I would also consider the heelong exercise to be very much a part of regular obediance training. Indeed, it is one of the first things taught.

This is a method of training that was used in the 1950s and 60s, and animal psychology has had some pretty interesting developments since.  Many, many trainers use clicker training and the like with great results, and without force.  I personally thought clicker training was just another silly fad when I first read about it.  Then I read some material about clicker training in use with other animals, both more intelligent, like dolphins, and much less intelligent, like chickens.  The material about chickens is fascinating.  A chicken simply can't be trained by force.  They are far to skittish.  They also react very, very quickly to stimuli, much quicker than a dog does, so rewards have to be done almost instantaneously for the connection to be made between the behaviour and the reward.  You can do that with a clicker.  If you are truly open to other methods, you may find the material interesting. 
 
Todd Parr
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Burra Maluca wrote: I suspect that the instinct to herd is rather close to the instinct to hunt.



Burra, that has been my experience as well.  Herding dogs are very prone to nipping children, due to the herding instinct.  They tend to be much more high-strung than I find enjoyable.
 
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I used to have a friend who got a herding dog as a pet. He didn't put any thought into it before hand and was basically succumbed by "cute puppy syndrome" and took one home. He lived alone and wanted a dog to keep him company. If memory serves be correct, the breed was a louisiana blue heeler. This dog was very high strung, tons of energy, and no animals to herd, living on one acre of land. I would go over to visit at least once a week, and every time I was there, if I moved or walked, the dog would nip my hands or legs, trying to herd me. This poor dog seemed to be missing half the time too, off in the corn/soybeans across the street, or in the woods, or who knows where.

I think it's a real disservice to a dog bred to work to be kept as a companion animal or pet.
 
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We don't have a dog at the moment and wouldn't get one now that we live in town.  On our forty though we had a dumped beagle mix that turned our to be so wonderful and smart. 

I was determined to teach her to 'stay' as any dogs we've had in the past have not been good about staying home.  I had a book out of the library (I don't remember the title or author) and it was very calm and focused and relatively easy to teach her that along with heeling and 'no'.  She was so willing and there was never any hitting or punishment in the training...just firm focused commands and perseverance.  We were able to walk out of the yard, tell her to stay, and she would look sad but stay put.

The downside ended up being that she would do these things for me and not my husband although she learned from him which snakes to tell us about.  She would 'surround' a copperhead and not give up until he removed it from the yard....and she would catch rats and mice and an occasional vole. my husband remembers that she would catch moles more than anything and he thinks it questionable whether the dog or the cat was killing the rats and mice...Dobby definitely didn't eat them and the cat would show off her kill much more than the dog and then eat 'most'.

Our cat tried to teach her to catch lizards...seriously we watched many times. 

A beagle, though, is of course a country dog as there is no way to prevent them from howling and getting the whole neighborhood of dogs and coyotes singing along.  If you think babies keep you awake a lot try a beagle outside the window.....

She would chase rabbits and not deer for some reason even though we encouraged her and sometimes woke her up and pointed out the deer in the yard...she didn't like the guineas but didn't bother them. 


 
Todd Parr
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Judith Browning wrote:She was so willing and there was never any hitting or punishment in the training...just firm focused commands and perseverance. 



This has been my experience with most dogs I have trained.  Some were more challenging, but most dogs are mush easier to train than their owners.
 
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Todd Parr wrote: Many, many trainers use clicker training and the like with great results, and without force.



My laboratory co-worker and I tried to clicker-train our boss and it did indeed work to an acceptable degree.  We were not fond of him coming into the lab and disrupting the work-flow, so we each took turns walking him down to the water-cooler and giving him praise for being such a good leader....then would walk him back to his office.  After a while, we both noticed that his visits got shorter and shorter! 

My wife clicker-trained her LGDs....worked pretty well, but it seems to sink in better with age.  We lost a few chicks to them when each of the LGDs was young, but with training and time it just stops at some point.  Clicker training does take time and perseverance and there has been more than one LGD returned to it's origins because the person buying it assumed they could just drop the dog off at the edge of the property and it it would magically do its thing.  Even an adult one with training needs to be told what the boundaries are the (s)he is guarding.  Wife clicker trains her pigs as well....without the training, she would have probably been knocked over and trampled long ago.  Her 140 frame is not much match for a 700 - 800 lb pig....
 
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I'm not sure breed has a whole lot to do with it beyond the need for the human to understand what that breed may be predisposed to and to nip all unwanted behaviors in the bud from day 1.

I've successfully integrated several breeds into my farm with total (or nearly total) trust.  Heeler/shepherd cross, aussie/border collie cross, anatolian shepherd, pit/pointer cross, lab/pit cross, doberman, black lab, cane corso, and coon hound.   The Anatolian was by far the best, she was so sweet and docile, even wildlife trusted her.  Pheasants weren't afraid of her for heaven's sake! But woe betide any man walking the fenceline ;)  The doberman would get bullied by the chickens, who would take her meat away from her, it was quite comical.  My two shepherd crosses do great herding and catching birds and rabbits for me when they get loose or need to be caught or moved.  The pit/lab got attacked by one of my rabbits and became afraid of rabbits xD  The pit/pointer cross was a near-chicken-killer but I cured him by bringing him into the chicken run, having him lay down on his side and relax.  We stayed in there for close to an hour.  Once he started sighing and relaxing and snoozing I spread chicken feed on his body and he let the hens pluck it right off his body.  He never batted an eye at them after that.  The coonhound never bothered much with livestock, one good shout and she minded very well.  She preferred wild game.  The stories go on!

The worst experiences I've had have been with dogs under 30lbs. None of them were mine though, and they had absolutely no boundaries with anything.   I don't blame the dog for that.
The only dog I've tried working with that I can't seem to get through to is a current issue, the neighbor's massive mutt that (in my strong opinion) is part wolf.  He's a fabulous dog but a hardened killer.  He was found living wild and half starved at 6 months old and will eat anything.  No doubt he's killed many deer in his life so far.  I've been trying to teach him my goats aren't food but I definitely do not trust him at all...  I'm not sure he's a dog that would learn, he's so strong headed and has an extremely intense prey drive.
 
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I'll add that it's been my experience that most dogs kill, or start killing, out of BOREDOM.  Before working with any dog around livestock initially I make sure they're had a good, exhausting run.  Bored dogs chase small fluffy things that make noise and flop around, it's just fun!  For eight years it's been my policy that my dogs never go more than 3 days without a good run, I strive for daily, but hey, sometimes a week does pass by.  They start acting out; barking in excess, digging, wandering, and they remind me that they have a NEED.  They need exercise and exploration.  When I keep their needs satisfied they maintain strict respect for the rules and boundaries I lay down.  Every situation is unique, this is just my experience.
 
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