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Thanks for reading! need help please. My 2 year old black lab mix (with pitbull he looks like), Chapsworth, and I live on a ranch where there is a lot of space to roam as well as a unique variety of other animals (A donkey, a llama, several horses, several cats, and one other dog named "Bear" who happens to be his best friend). he is a rescue and is not neutered yet. I rescued him a little over 6 months ago, and since then we have become a team; inseparable, though when we first met and i tried to pet him, he nipped me and often acted very shy and nervous around humans. the only people whom he has bitten in the time ive had him have been myself (that first meeting), and another resident, my buddy/coworker/supervisor, Gary when he tried petting him while i wasnt around. since ive had him, he has always been aggressive towards other non-canine animals. He charged at a horse while the owner was grooming him outside of the stable while Chapsworth was off-leash, and the horse kicked him and he had a small gash under his eye for a few weeks-didnt require stitches. I thought he wouldve learned his lesson about attacking other animals, especially bigger animals, but he has not. whenever he sees the llama or the donkey or the horse (the horse, "Dance", is usually in the corral behind a gate, while the others roam the ranch freely), he instantly charges at them full speed, growling, and tries to attack them. usually they easily outrun him and he gives up after i shout his name angrily around 15-20 times and he eventually comes back. and he definitely tries to do the same even while on the leash, but lately he has also been getting into small fights with strange, visitors' dogs who are also off-leash. he has met several dogs whilst living here and doesnt usually have a problem; my neighbor who lives across the corral from me (same distance as being across the street) has a dog named bear whom instantly became Chapsworth's best friend upon meeting him( they wrestle and race and play together whenever either of them are off leash, even visiting each other if one is leashed in the yard). this week whilst a crew was filming something that required a shot with the llama, we were coming around the corner and Chapsworth took off after it. this was the first time the llama was on a leash and wasnt able to run away so he jumped and pulled away and couldve dislocated Gary's shoulder( Gary was holding the llama for the shot), but after a short series of charges and failed attempts to bite the llamas legs, he yielded to my angry shouts and came back to me. then today, while i was checking in with another resident inside her place, i heard screeming and yelping and went to discover he was fighting with a smaller visiting dog and this time had drew blood from the armpit. it wasnt bad, but it did break some skin(it was described to me later after putting him back at my place on the leash). any advice to get him to stop being aggressive to other animals? i would prefer he stays off the leash and roams freely as the previous "ranch dog" did without many issues, but if i have to i will keep him locked in my yard.
 

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He is a HUGE liability. If you let him roam free he's either going to get another animal killed, or himself killed. He may also cause one of the ranch animals to seriously harm or kill whomever is working with it.

I really suggest that you keep him on leash or locked away from the other animals. You can try to work with him but you are in for an uphill battle. There are two sites that you may be able to tailor the techniques on to work with your boy one is Care for Reactive Dogs and the other is Fearfuldogs.com . If he does get better I still would never leave him with the other animals unattended, the risk is just to great, but you may be able to achieve having him run loose when you are there to supervise him.

The other thing you can do is look into hiring a behaviorist. This thread has tips and links for finding a good one that uses positive reinforcement http://www.dogforum.com/training-behavior-stickies/finding-trainer-behavior-consultant-behaviorist-113946/
 

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Some dogs are just not good around other animals. Whether it be a strong prey drive or fear based. I would not leave him roaming free, someone is going to get hurt or killed.
 

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There are people who have had some success preventing animals from chasing livestock (frequently by aversive methods), BUT in most of those cases, the dogs aren't actively trying to bite the livestock, just chasing. And even in those cases, there can still be failure/persistent behavior, which is a much bigger deal when your dog is biting the target animal vs just chasing them, though the latter can certainly be dangerous and is enough for your dog to be shot in many areas if he gets onto someone else's property.

Horses, llamas, etc are all prey animals, and their behavior can incite any dog to give chase, which is something you can't prevent 100% unless your dog is physically restrained. Keep in mind that each scuffle your dog is involved in and each time he chases and tries to bite livestock, that is more "practice" of that behavior, and not only does each episode make future episodes more likely, it also makes it likely that they will escalate in severity.

You are very lucky that he wasn't more seriously injured by the horse kick, and that it deterred him sufficiently that he didn't injure the horse. If he is any sort of pit bull or bulldog mix, it is in his heritage to be willing to test his mettle against other dogs and larger animals, and getting beat up in just a bump in the road to them, or even cause to try to fight again in the future. For his sake, as well as the other animals' sake, it would be best to only allow them around them when on leash so you can prevent him from trying to engage in chasing/biting them. Outside of those times, he should be kept in a secure yard or house so he can't get in trouble.
 

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Honestly in my mind this dog should never be allowed off leash outside of a securely fenced area that he cannot duck under, dig under, jump over or through or otherwise escape. The way I see it he's shown he can't be trusted with strange people (having bitten you and your boss), is out for blood against strange dogs (having attacked visiting dogs), and clearly wants to chase/ maim animals large and small- all of which spells a huge liability and not very good things for the business at which he resides. I'm surprised your boss is being such a good sport about it, too- if this were my property I would have banned this dog the second he showed an inclination to go after restrained livestock- what would happen if he chased a horse while it was being ridden? It's good that he eventually comes back, but to me recalling after 15 or 25 attempts at chasing a large, dangerous animal (especially one that is restrained) is more him deciding he's done than actually listening to the command.

A large dog that displays aggression is problem enough, but I would be especially weary of having an obvious pit/bulldog looking mix that is displaying aggression (doesn't help that he's black- it seems like people are even more wary of darker colored pit mixes). People love to report aggressive pitbull looking dogs, and the law is not especially lenient of them or trusting of their owners- more likely than not a complaint will result is some kind of action against him. Also, I agree with the above, being mixed with pit or bulldog makes this kind of behavior even more worrying because they are not breeds that are likely to give up or back down- they'll try to give as good as they get even against large livestock and at risk of their life. Not an energy you want off leash and uncontrolled.

Definitely look for a behaviorist, and try to avoid the shininess of a shock collar or similar aversive; I know a lot of ranch/barn/farm/horse people like them because it feels like a solid way to teach not to chase things, but I've heard of enough situations where they backfire to know that they have plenty of drawbacks. This does not sound like a dog that should be trust to roam. Find a behaviorist, keep him behind a fence, work with him on leash, try to get him better around strange dogs and people, but don't ever expect him to be a good yard dog, he's proven he's not. Some dogs are limited; accept his quirks and do the best with what you have.
 

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the only people whom he has bitten in the time ive had him have been myself (that first meeting), and another resident, my buddy/coworker/supervisor, Gary when he tried petting him while i wasnt around. since ive had him, he has always been aggressive towards other non-canine animals. He charged at a horse while the owner was grooming him outside of the stable while Chapsworth was off-leash, and the horse kicked him and he had a small gash under his eye for a few weeks-didnt require stitches.
It really troubles me that you said the "only" people he's bitten. This seriously minimizes what has happened. You've had this dog for six months and he has bitten three people, including yourself. I don't know what your dog experience has been but it's not normal or safe to keep a dog that regularly bites people, whether it's out of fear or other emotions.

Chapsworth has a serious prey drive, and it sounds like fear aggression as well. I'm sorry to disappoint you but this is NOT a dog that can EVER be trusted off leash on a ranch that has livestock, as well as frequent human and canine visitors, and film crews that will be carrying odd, scary looking equipment. Personally I think he has the capacity to seriously injure and kill other animals or even people (directly or indirectly, like someone else suggested him spooking a horse with a rider). From your descriptions it also sounds like his reactivity to other animals is getting worse too. It's also not good that it takes 15-20 times for him to come to you, but coming to you at all at this point is a good sign. It can be reinforced and strengthened.

I think it is possible to help train him to control this reactivity, but he will always need to be contained and controlled by a leash or fence. In my opinion you can't trust a dog when you're not there if it involves something potentially dangerous like fear or prey drive. I am not saying you should rehome him, but it sounds like this dog is never going to be the sort of dog you want that can happily roam the ranch and live peacefully with the other animals. I don't think that a ranch with animals he is regularly going to terrorize, and visiting strangers who will frighten him sounds like the happiest home for him either. But I don't know if this is a long or short term situation for you. So right now if you want to keep this dog, you should consult a trainer or behaviorist and work on training on his reactivity issues as well as make sure to contain him in yards and with leashes.

Best of luck and please don't take any risks with Chapsworth.
 
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Unfortunately I think you're being a little unrealistic regarding wanting him to run freely. He's a dog and he needs to be contained in the house/yard, or by an overhead tether system.

You've very lucky that he hasn't gotten more seriously hurt, or even shot at/killed. It's completely legal in most areas for a farmer to lethally shoot a dog that is chasing their horses or livestock.

Here's a link with videos to help you work on his recall (coming when called) for when you're supervising:
http://www.dogforum.com/training-behavior-stickies/recall-9595/


Ultimately though, he should not be left to roam without supervision.
 

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Unfortunately I think you're being a little unrealistic regarding wanting him to run freely. He's a dog and he needs to be contained in the house/yard, or by an overhead tether system.

You've very lucky that he hasn't gotten more seriously hurt, or even shot at/killed. It's completely legal in most areas for a farmer to lethally shoot a dog that is chasing their horses or livestock.

Here's a link with videos to help you work on his recall (coming when called) for when you're supervising:
http://www.dogforum.com/training-behavior-stickies/recall-9595/


Ultimately though, he should not be left to roam without supervision.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
thanks everyone for your helpful, albeit disappointing, advice/suggestions. ive decided to keep him on a leash when hes with me, and keep him chained in the yard of my area when he is not, all the while employing techniques to deal with the separation anxiety he experiences. i think ill just have to seal the corral off whenever he and Bear play, and then back on the leash afterwards. The ranch dog who passed away a few months ago was a Caucasian Shepard who was free to roam the ranch, never got into trouble(except when gary first got him), and who would regularly patrol every road and areas of the ranch, barking in strategic places to ward off any nearby bears and mountain lions and other predators in the woods up until the night he died. i guess i was just hoping Chap would replace him, because he was a very good dog who provided a very important service to us. oh well, thanks again guys!!
 

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Well, Caucasian Shepherds are a LGD and it sounds like he was doing what he was bred for. In the same way the dog you have now is also following his breed traits. Pits and other bully breeds normally have a strong prey drive. If you want or need a good LGD maybe you should look into getting a dog bred for that kind of work.
 

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I've been working around horses all my life and the dogs I dread seeing the most while riding are pits/pit mixes. I've seen horses chased by many breeds(Aussies,GSDs,BCs...) but pits and mixes are the only ones that I've seen full on attack a horse. I've seen horses maimed and people hurt from this. A dog that is this bad with other animals is never ever going to be trusted around them, and you're going to end up really hurting someone if he's left loose. At my my barn, dogs are immediately banned from the barn if they even chase the horse in fun. A good farm dog has to be good with all animals.
 

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I'm going to agree OP. This is a dog that needs to be contained. Even if we just put a pin in the fact that he has attacked animals/people - you've had to call him 15 times before he comes. A dog that doesn't turn and come back to you when you call the first time, shouldn't be off-leash.
 
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