Reliable info on introducing dog to livestock and herding.

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Reliable info on introducing dog to livestock and herding.

This is a discussion on Reliable info on introducing dog to livestock and herding. within the Working Dogs forums, part of the Dog Shows and Performance category; Hey guys, long time no talk. Husband and I are in the works of looking/purchasing our "first" home. My dream has always been to have ...

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Old 02-13-2013, 10:16 AM
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Reliable info on introducing dog to livestock and herding.

Hey guys, long time no talk.

Husband and I are in the works of looking/purchasing our "first" home. My dream has always been to have a small hobby farm. We have started discussing the possibility of having roughly 10 goat does for milking/breeding purposes...but that's a different side all together.


Zoey will make an excellent herder, she has the instinct for it, her moma was a herder for 50-100 head of cattle. My main question is about the eventual introduction to livestock(goats,chickens) and the ways to go about training her to remain "calm" and focused. And how to proceed to train the commands that will lead to herding. Now I know with 10 head I probably won't really need her to herd but she needs a job, we are still roughly a year out from actuall moving so I have tons of time.

We had thought about doing somthing like treibball but I worry that that would be more harmful than good as balls don't have minds of their own...

Thoughts, comments?

Links and whatnot greatly appreciated....
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Old 02-14-2013, 10:56 AM
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I'm not sure of the area you are in or the one you are moving to, but they do offer herding classes for dogs. There are different types, but you can actually specify in what you want your dog to herd. Such as a flock, or perhaps sheep and goats. I know some use clicker training by request or the program is based on it.

I've been doing Treibball (or my own version of it) with my girl who we are now assuming is a BC/ Aussie mix. She started showing some herding tendencies at the park and we just brought her in to play. She really enjoys it actually. I think the part she enjoys the most is the interaction with working with me. And you can always make it a bit more interesting and move the balls around simulating the ball moving on its own and not her just moving it.

If I can find my Aussie magazine that I have I will get back to you with links. It's really interesting read. I know its an ACD but herding is herding right?
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Old 02-14-2013, 12:44 PM
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Can you herd goats with a dog? I know mine just chase dogs around until they can stomp the dog.

Any who, highly recommend finding someone to help you, it's not something that you can pick up from a book or internet.
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Old 02-21-2013, 05:13 PM
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I have no advice on herding as we do guarding not herding.

As for livestock introductions you do it slowly and on a leash. We take ours out every day when we do the chicken chores. They started on a leash and as they became used to each other we went to off leash. You'll just need to make sure that recall command is solid. If it's not solid a dog who wants to catch a chicken/goat/pig/etc is very hard to get to stop.

It was suggested to us that we kennel the pup in with the chickens during the day. This way they can see each other and he's exposed to their antics without being able to reach them. We haven't done this yet and have lost a chicken to his clutches.

My experiences with larger livestock and our LGD is that the flight or fight response is huge. The cows run, the dogs chase and thus the cows learn to fear the dogs even more. So again, it's just really important to make introductions on a leash until everyone is comfortable with each other.
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Old 02-21-2013, 11:24 PM
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i agree that the treiball thing might cause some confusion... i'd think she could learn that after she learns to herd though...

i know in my area, there are herding classes too, so you might look at your local kennel clubs and such
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Old 02-22-2013, 12:39 AM
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First thing is to have solid obedience on your dog. Recall, down, sit, wait, stay. Wait is to stop until the dog decides to do something. Stay is to wait until I come to the dog. Goats are much more delicate than cattle. She cannot heel the goats, she has to learn to stay a certain distance from them. You'll notice with the treiball, the dog has to touch the ball in order to control it. She cannot do that with the goats.

You'll want to put a harness on the dog and a leash that is at least ten feet long. She'll learn that the harness means she is going to do something with the goats (school). You might want to start with the dog on the opposite side of the fence from the goats. When she alerts on the goats put her on a sit. Praise. Walk. Walk to the end of the pen. Walk back again. If she gets agitated you were too close and/or weren't paying attention to her.

Does she know leave it? Is she solid with leave it? Because she is not allowed in the pen or pasture with the goats unless you go in there with her. You simply cannot have her loose until she understands that she is not allowed in there. You will also want to make "that'll do" very happy with lots of praise and move her away and into some type of game out of the pasture.

I trained my border collie, but I really wish I'd had someone to mentor me. Please find a trainer who has sheep or goats.

Another hint. With a long lead and harness, take dog into a goat area when the goats aren't there. Work Zooey on all of her obedience skills, especially down. As you know, dogs don't generalize, so you have to train her all over again in the pasture/pen.
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Old 02-22-2013, 10:34 AM
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Soild advice, leave it is soild with food, cat and cars.

Like I mentioned actual livestock won't come for at least a year...

But I am an obsessive planner so I want to e prepared. Her wait is solid. But her stay is not. She also has no long distance down at all... So think we will do a boot camp, solidify sit wait stay down at a short distance and then work on those at a log distance. I think I will skip the fake herding and work on thinks like downs on the go and downs when excited. Soccar ball will be perfect for this as it is the single highest value ball we have... If I can get her dowing whilst chasing that I will feel more confidant.

Ramble ramble. Ramble... ;D
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