Kellie Cruz

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since Feb 26, 2018
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dog hunting homestead
How can I summarize my "self" in a short collection of words?
I'm 22 and still finding out who I am, but the strongest theme throughout my life has been a love of nature,passion for animals and the feeling I just didn't belong in the city with all these supermarkets full of prepackaged food and the knowledge that if 'z day' hit, we'd all be screwed. Zombies are real and they're only rotting on the inside....
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Recent posts by Kellie Cruz

R Manly wrote:Hey there,

I am so, so sorry about your dogs. I realize it's been a while since you posted this but it's floated back up. I felt the need to contribute due to seeing some myths about dogs in here that I wanted to correct.

I've been using the Koehler Method of Dog Training since 2010 to help reform problem dogs. So that's why I feel my opinion is worth something.

If a reader doesn't want to read my whole post, as least read this: animal aggression is NOT the same as human aggression. prey aggression is NOT the same as dog aggression. While any dog may have one or a combination or all of these types of behavior, they are NOT a slippery slope that inevitably leads to another! Your dog knows the difference between a possum and a human baby. A dog may attack livestock, dogs, and humans, or they may only have an issue with other dogs, or only an issue with people. It completely depends on the individual dog and their motivations. Particularly with prey chasing and killing, this is a natural, normal dog behavior! We (rightly) tend not to assume that a dog that enjoys chasing squirrels is next going to attack your toddler. That's not how it works. If you have a high drive dog that has not been taught that children are not to be interacted with as prey, that's another story. But your dog that normally has great manners with children and then kills a chicken is not going to suddenly decide they'd like to try human flesh.

As you've already gathered I'm sure, it all depends on the dog. Some people here have gotten a whole lot of mileage out of working with their dogs to change how they view livestock. Personally I wouldn't ever leave a non-livestock guardian alone with livestock, ever - unless they'd been raised with the livestock since puppyhood and had zero red flags at a mature age. I would count "alone" as being outside together without a human present, since goats and dogs are great at overcoming the challenges of most fencing. If you're not there to remind them what they ought not to do, I wouldn't rely on them to make the right choice. Instinct is a powerful motivator - THE most powerful motivator.

Here is an article called "The Misbehavior of Organisms". It's long, but recommended reading for anyone interested in training any animal. The point enclosed is that despite teaching various species of animals to reliably perform a behavior for reward, eventually each species would cease to do the trained behavior in favor of doing an instinctual behavior that got them no tangible reward. (a pig did "rooting" behavior, a raccoon did "washing" behavior, and a chicken pecked incessantly at a small moving object) It illustrates how instinctual behavior is more rewarding to the animal than anything we could ever reward them with.

Which is not to say that animals can't be taught to abandon those behaviors, but that it is never going to be something that is totally fixed with a positive reinforcement only approach. As I said before, there is nothing we as humans can give them that is more satisfying that killing a chicken or chasing prey or what have you. There has to be a negative consequence for the bad behavior, in addition to teaching the animal an alternate option to chasing/killing (like - being on a "stay" until they learn self control)

I would definitely recommend working with a professional trainer on this, it's not a simple fix.

I would say two huge factors in your scenario is that you were away, and that the goats were babies.

I trained a dog that was menacing people in their foster person's home. I never had a single problem with him and other people, because from day one he was made to understand that I was the leader and in charge of who got to do what. I rehomed him with someone that didn't fully understand the importance of that - she just saw him cuddling with strangers at the park and didn't listen to the rest, I suppose - and did not continue using his training, and he bit someone in her home. He got rehomed with someone with experience with assertive dogs like him, and she never had a single problem with him. It seems like your dogs had a rapport with you that they did not have with their farm sitter. I completely agree with a previous poster's recommendation of boarding them when you're away. Alternatively a very tall chain link enclosure that is sunk into the ground to prevent digging could be used as an place for them to romp with the pet sitter, any kind of k9 alcatraz that lets them get outside time without any access to approaching the goat fencing.

I came home one day to find all eight of our sheep and goats outside their pen with one missing. Turned out the neighbor dog had scared them so bad they trampled down the electric netting and chased one of the sheep deep into the woods (we found her alive and well, thank god). With less aggressive dogs, our horned doe had no qualms about showing them why they ought to leave the goats alone.

And, dogs that have issues with livestock are the most reasonable to rehome. Folks that live in the city likely won't ever have to deal with the fact that their dog is a baby goat killer. As long as you're completely honest about all of the dogs history, you're in the clear. I was able to rehab a confirmed cat assassin (this dog would HUNT cats - silently stalk until she was close enough to grab) after a lot of training. She got to the point where she could be in the same room as a cat and relaxed enough to greet people and get pets rather than fixating on the cat. She lived with me in a house with two cats without incident. BUT, that's because I watched her like a hawk and was training her every moment she was in sight of a cat. She was rehomed with a family without cats and they received training on how to handle her, and they understand the responsibility they have to keep up her training. So it's possible, but it depends on how much work you're willing to put into it.

Also have to put in a plug for pit bulls - they're all individuals. While they are certainly a more high drive dog that generally enjoys a good scrap, my friend's pit was raised on his farm with hogs and chickens. at 4 years old he occasionally enjoys scaring the chickens (he'll run at them until they scatter, and then he walks off, laughing to himself I assume) but has never hurt one. he did attack a pig once, but only that once. He clearly *wants* to go after the pigs but he knows he ought not to, and despite being unsupervised loose on the farm has never gone after even a piglet since his one incidence. Personally I wouldn't take the chance but his owner does and it's worked out for him.

Lovely post! And very true. I ALWAYS push positive reinforcement first, but with dogs showing ANY sign of unacceptable aggression its is NOT the only solution. The reward for compliance has to be greater then the rewarding aspect of the undesirable behavior and as you said, it is very difficult (sometimes seemingly impossible) to find something of higher value then instinct. I also agree that leadership is a huge aspect in a dogs "training". No amount of treats and pettings will take the place of good pack structure. That being said, I do not agree with a lot of the "dominance theory" that just seems more like to me a shortcut for actually learning/understanding dog psychology. Its easy to "rule" using fear based tactics.....and I personally think some trainers take this way too far (Millan). I see alot of great training tools being misused under the guise that you have to "show the dog who's boss". Watching his show I'm not sure how half of the 911 episides even aired seeing as the "fixed" dog shows more stress/learned helplessness behaviors then being relaxed and submissive as a well trained/comfortable dog should. Most people don't have the RELATIONSHIP with their dog in order to even think about applying a correction.....
That being said, I may not agree 100% everything in Koehler's playbook for PET training, he's pretty spot on (although outdated in some aspects) in working dogs. I highly reccomend you check out the website if you have an interest in training. One of the trainers they promote is Michael Ellis, and I LOVE his methods. Worth a sniff around if your interested
3 years ago

Don Eggleston wrote:I hope you haven't gotten rid of your dogs yet.  I have had remarkable success controlling my wild rescue dog with a "shock collar".  There are two settings, the first being just a vibration.  I have never had to shock my dog--vibrations alone stop her.  Any unwanted behavior can be extinguished in a few minutes.  They're only about $30 on Amazon.

Don Eggleston

E-collars are great but I just want to put this out there again in a shorter post.....If you do not know what you are ALOT of research first OR consult a pro. E-collars are not an easy tool and if your timing is off you can have the dog associate the stim with something else. Once this happens it is VERY hard to correct. Also, please look up how you should INTRODUCE the collar before you start using it in training. A good keyword is "collar-wise" for google. I also would not reccomend buying a cheap collar. Spend the $100, get something american made with multiple settings and will last you a lifetime. I reccomend the "Educator" brand.

Here is a GREAT reference site for training working dogs-

Please be careful guys and DO YOUR RESEARCH FIRST!!! Else you run the risk of worsening the problem or causing a new one....
3 years ago

Marco Banks wrote:What about using black soldier flies to consume all that poop?  A black soldier fly bin would then convert that poop to fish food or chicken food.  The problem becomes a solution.

In China, they've build massive black soldier fly processing facilities to deal with all the pig crap they generate at their huge pig farms.  Thus, they convert pig crap to chicken food.  

Here's another video about using BSF for biowaste processing, this one in Indonesia.

It's not a tremendously complex system, and if you had big enough BSV vats, you wouldn't have to go through all the steps of producing new larva like they do in that second video above --- just let a handful of full-grown worms get loose and they would come back and propagate new larva.

I read recently about a highway department on the East Coast of the United States (New Jersey?  Pennsylvania?) who are composting all their road-kill deer using BSF.  With a large bin and an active colony of several thousand BSF, they can take a full-grown deer down the bones in just a couple of days.  If you've got 600 dogs, you'd have a steady supply of poop, and thus a stable system to keep a continuous BSF colony alive.

Best of luck.

This is SUCH an amazing idea!! BEAUTIFUL and NATURAL! We learn something new everyday! Thanks for sharing, Marco!!!
3 years ago
Lots of posts on this topic and i'll admit I havn't read them all! But I wanted to offer some insight from a dog trainers POV. First off, and this always sounds harsh....Its NEVER the dogs fault. Its yours. Obviously you didn't know this would happen and it was a 100% mistake...To stop in in the future (as I'm sure many posts state) you're going to need a fence. A good one. GSDs are incredibly smart and Staffies are incredibly determined. I would suggest taking measures to make sure they cannot dig under the fence (underground wire fence?). Second step if these were my dogs is to figure out which is the aggressor and which is the follower and SEPERATE them during the following training. You need to teach the aggressor first that the livestock are YOURS and not to be touched/looked at at ALL. You should obviously not be letting these dogs near livestock in the future, but mistakes happen and to avoid another death you need to teach the dogs to avoid the livestock. Depending on your dogs this can be (and should be) done 2 ways. First way is the "nice" way. Positive reinforcement. The tricky part is you are not (as weird as this seems) rewarding for the dog tolerating or being positive toward your livestock. You are rewarding for him taking his attention off the livestock and on to you. You want to use "markers" to mark the behavior, if you don't know what this is, look up "clicker training" to read the basics. Clickers are great because they are consistent but you don't always have a clicker, do you? Work on using the word "Yes" in the same way as the click and be CONSISTENT. Its not about the word its about the consistency of the sound. (This is called Classical Conditioning and is basically based off of Pavlovs Dog experiment if your interested). A session would consist of you taking the dog out NEAR the livestock and find the distance in which he knows they are there, but is still able to be redirected to you with either food or a toy. The session consists of you asking for your dogs attention when he observes the livestock and then marking and rewarding his obedience. Do this as often as possible, slowly closing the distance (all animals should be either on leash or fenced off during this) until you can get focus from the dog while he is VERY close to the livestock. Do this for both dogs in SEPERATE sessions. The "follower" will be the easy dog and may be fine with just this step before he looses interest (or never had interest at all). To be safe I would still move on to the next step, though it shouldnt be hard for that dog. (If both dogs are the aggressors and both are intensely interested in the livestock, do both steps for both of them. And keep in mind they will feed off eachother just as a "follower" dog will do whatever the aggressor is doing.) Next step is "proofing". For this stage we use an e-collar. I've already amassed a wall of text and e-collars are very complex and misunderstood tool in dog training, so you may want to do some intense research or hire a professional. But the idea is you find the dogs "working level" on the collar, which is the lowest level of stim he physically responds to. Now before I get a slew of hate-comments, ecollars have drastically changed with the years and offer a HUGE range of stimulation. A good collar should go from 1-100, with 1 being barely or not even felt on human skin. Once you find the dogs working level, the proccess is the same as positive reinforcement training we were doing before, only now we are using escape avoidance to clarify to the dog that he is not allowed to interact with the livestock in ANY way. (Your dog should be taught what escape avoidance is and how to "shut pressure off" before the e-collar is introduced. This is easy, a common one is "leash pressure sensitivity" exercises, you can look that up. There are also many steps to setting up e-collar work like making sure the dog does not become "collar wise" Do your research or hire a professional) Now for the actual session. The concept is simple. We use "continuous stimulation" on a level right above the dogs working level while the dog is paying mind to the livestock and only shut it off when the dog diverts his attention away, onto something else. This requires precise timing to avoid your dog making "suspicious associations" which is when you mess up and your dog associates the stim with something else. But if done correctly, the stim is not horribly painful, its uncomfortable and the dog learns he can turn it off at any time by complying. In this case, dont look at the livestock!!! Both dogs should be trained and proofed in this way in case of an escape/future mistake. Sorry if this was a bit long and if you are not familar with dog training I am NOT recommending you do the e-collar training yourself. I just wanted to make it known this behavior IS correctable and proper measures can be taken to lower the risks of another death by the dogs. Obviously this is only if proper precautions are taken and the dogs are not allowed unsupervised near the animals. There must be consistent as well. You cant do this training then just let the dog oogle livestock a month later haha

I realize everyones set-up is different and my suggestions my not work for you. But maybe they might work for/inspire someone else!!
3 years ago
Hi there Bill! Sent you a PM!
3 years ago