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Old 11-14-2006, 11:41 PM   #1
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Unhappy What breed (or mix) would be best for us?

Of course we are hoping for the dream dog. We've had terrible luck with rescues - had two with few demands, just offereing a good home. Both ended up growlers/biters. One drew our blood twice, then chewed up two of our geese...so I guess we'll go the puppy route (sigh) that said, which breed would best suit our needs?

We have started a small farm on 5 acres and currently raise poultry and geese. The geese free-range when we can watch them. We'd like to add larger livestock (goats, etc), but this will come in time.

We simply want a dog that would guard the homestead while we're not home yet won't terrorize the livestock or the cat (too good a mouser to lose!). We tend to like the shepherd breeds as they are easilly trainable, not stubborn and tend to stay on their own property. The downside we fear is that their prey drive is too intense and they would chase chickens to death. BY contrast, a bonafide LGD would be great for the farm animals, but we've heard that they also tend to stray.

We actually don't expect the dog to be a livestock guardian, but it would be a real bonus if were alert and/or ambitious enough to scare off a racoon now and then, or bark like crazy if we humans were in iminent danger. Basically, we need a watch dog that's easy on the livestock but is not so aggressive that it will bite the neighbor kid who might happen by.

Is this too much to ask? If not, we're open to suggestions!

Thanks

LFRJ

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Old 11-15-2006, 08:26 AM   #2
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Boy with all the Border Collies out there I bet you could find one in a shelter. And they are bred for guarding livestock. I would think that they would not go after the fowl. And you could offer them a great home and a task that would keep them busy.
Stay away from any kind of retriever or terrier or your fowl will be either dead on the ground or brought to you in your dog's snout.
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Old 11-15-2006, 04:37 PM   #3
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A border collie would be tempted to herd your chickens and geese. Watching it try to herd geese will provide some entertainment and tick off the geese. Ours used to herd the geese to and from the pond, when I lived on the farm.
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Old 11-15-2006, 05:49 PM   #4
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Any breed would do if trained propally.
Border collies come to mind as well as Aussie but they are very high energy and need a job.
Make sure that your pup comes from a farm and is used to seeing livestock.
My father got his BC,in France from a farm.
Every time,a car would pull in the Farm,the BC would put away the ducks.
It was amazing to look at.
His BC was used as a sheep dog and was great.
Good-luck,in your search and keep us,posted.
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Old 11-16-2006, 01:47 AM   #5
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Bit of an update in our search... we have an opportunity to purchase an Australian Cattle dog, Male, 6 mos. - Red (I've heard some say color does indicate attributes of tempermant).

Any comments on this type of dog? If it sounds like it could be a good match, we could also use some advice about how best to discipline it around the poultry, and the cat.

Thanks

LF(RJ)

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Old 11-16-2006, 05:24 PM   #6
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I have an ACD x BC. They are both high energy breeds. Any working dog is bred to have a natural interest in livestock and can not be left alone unsupervised in the early stages. Any opportunity to chase is self-rewarding so be sure to keep the dog on a lead or long line to prevent this habbit developing. Often working dogs on a lifestyle block are a bad idea since it is unlikely that the dog will receive appropriate training and practice so will become a frustrated working dog without a job. It can be done but only if you are prepared to be extremely vigilant in order to prevent the dog being unsupervised around stock for at least the first year to eighteen months. Also, are you prepared to give your unemployed working bred dog a job to do? If you are willing to devote time to training, walking and perhaps agility or flyball or similar the ACD could still be a good choice. If they are underemployed they will find their own entertainment.

Life might be easier if you opt for a breed that shows little interest in livestock. My labx for example is pretty uninterested in sheep, chickens etc and doesn't have a particularly strong prey drive (except when it comes to balls and sticks). All dogs will need supervision around stock initially though, and if they ever get away with chasing the birds the situation is likely to escalate.

I am concerned that you don't expect a dog to wander. This suggests that you are planning to leave the dog loose on your land without adequate fencing while you are not at home. In my opinion this is a bad idea with any dog. My dogs don't leave our property while I am at home but I wouldn't consider it safe or sensible to leave them roaming when we go out.

I am also a little concerned that you have owned two growlers / biters previously. Of course this could be a horrible and unfortunate co-oincidence, and I do understand these were adult rescue dogs, but have you made sure the family are all aware of how to prevent these problems developing with a new puppy?

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Old 11-16-2006, 10:21 PM   #7
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Thanks, for your reply. Let's see if I can break this down a little.

Our acerage is not entirely fenced, but all of the critters have seperate pens, including the dog. The main door to the house opens to "the short yard" which is 100 x 50' fenced area, ample for a single dog and near the house, the primary locale needing a watchful eye, so no...the dog would not be left to roam free when we were not home. On the other hand, its nice to have a dog that can accompany us off leash while we're doing chores or tending the garden, etc. Our first rescue was great that way. We really enjoyed having her tag along.

As for the rescues - the first was a known biter when we got her...though no one was certain if it was because the family introduced babies and toddlers at her ripe old age of 9 years which suddenly set up a pretty bad situation for all. After the first kid went to the ER, the dog went up for rescue. We were inspired because she had had so much obedience/agility training, herd tested, etc. Also, we have no kids, (just the two of us) so that eliminated that factor. She continued to bite though. No warning. If you accidentally stepped too close or needed to maneuver her, say in or out of the house, or take something dangerous away that she might have found to chew on, she would sink her teeth in prettty fast! She was quite jiggy in public too, so that limited her outings. Very nervous dog altogether. We had her for a year, despite her impulsive behaviour.

The second didn't stay long. During the transition period, we gave him lots of space. It was apparent that he wasn't happy here. One night when we walked too close by where he lay resting, he let out a long sustained low growl, which literally made us shiver! We'd been through enough already by then. There was no direct provication on our part. Maybe he awoke from a bad dream, maybe we didn't give it enough time...but he came with a 'money back guarantee! so I think that all parties were happier upon his return.


We've both had dogs over the years, I've had 2 Shelties, and RJ raised Huskies. Both of us have taken our dogs thru obedience and this would be a MUST in our book, for any dog we would adopt, especially a pup! Its great exercise for both dog and owner.

I think after our experiences, we are so shy now that we're the nervous ones! But we sure miss having a dog around! It's nice to have a good pair of eyes and ears around, and a barking dog is at least a deterrent out here in the country where the police are miles and miles away.

Hope that explains things a bit.

LF(RJ)

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Old 11-16-2006, 10:32 PM   #8
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Sorry, I probably assumed the worse from your initial post. The arrangement for securing the dog in a fenced area sounds perfect, and I think accompanying you off lead around the farm is a very reasonable goal - mine both love to do this and have no desire to run off

If you can keep up the mental stimulation for a working breed with taking part in obedience etc then an ACD may be perfect, especially as you are experienced dog owners.

I don't think you would have any problem with finding a dog that barks when strangers or wild animals approach, I think nearly all dogs will do this instinctively and I am sure an ACD would be happy to oblige in this respect.

I haven't noticed any difference in temperament between the red and blue ones. Other people have told me they found them a little stubborn to train but I have found my ACD x to be quite the opposite and he excells at obedience.

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Old 11-17-2006, 02:10 AM   #9
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Thanks Kaos, Goldenhovadog, Skunkstripe, Vagrays!

Despite having owned dogs, we'd still consider ourselves beginners. Afterall, this time around, we have a lot more critters that depend on the dog we select and how we train it.

It's too bad that the shelters don't let one take home a dog for a trial run...it would be nice to see how a dog reacts with the cat, or toward the livestock. We're researching breeds like crazy right now! Border collie vs. Heeler at the moment. Maybe there isn't too much difference.

One thing though, I've never had a male before and am dubious on that one. Always figured they had one thing on their minds, even IF they'd been neutered. Can they be as attentive and responsive as their female counterparts? I could use some reassurance/clarification on that notion.

Comments?

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Old 11-17-2006, 05:55 AM   #10
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My last 3 dogs have been males - and not one of them EVER humped anyone.

First one we got as a pup and was desexed at around 6 months - don't recall ever having a problem with him.

Second one (a blue heeler x coincidentally!) we got at around 2 years of age - as a semi-rescue. He was in tact when we got him and we still never had a problem with him humping ANYTHING - this may have had something to do with his lifestyle before us (he was tied to a length of rope and kicked regularly ).

My current dog is also male - was desexed at around 6 months - never humped anything and doesn't go around peeing on everything - in fact at 11 months old he still hasn't cocked his leg!!

The issue about attentiveness and responsiveness I believe comes down to the individual dog's personality - some dogs are going to take to training better than others and if you start off the right way - ie asserting your role as pack leader you shouldn't have a problem - male or female.

All my above males are very eager to please and they are all such sweethearts - all they really want is to make us happy and after my experiences with these 3 I don't see myself getting a female any time soon!!!

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