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Introducing Dog to Goats

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
We rescued an emaciated stray from the side of the road a few days ago. She's definitely under a year, and looks to be an American Bulldog, Pitbull Terrier or a mix. She's very friendly with people and our Great Pyr. She learned not to chase the cats pretty quickly, and doesn't pay much attention to the chickens. However, she'll run towards the goat pen, bark at them repeatedly, and try to dig under the gate. We've been looking for someone who wants her, but no luck so far. I don't want to have to give away my two pygmy goats. So, is there a way I can teach her to stop this? Any help is appreciated.
post #2 of 4

If you consistently discouraging her from going after the goat doesn't work, try boundary collar that'll auto correct. You can cover the disk from outdoor elements.


I had to resort to such when my cat started pooping outside his litter box after my rescue dog kept cornering him at his litter box that used to be his safe place.


After the boundary disk, the dog stays clear away from the cat litter box.

post #3 of 4

training training training.  


you need to show how what to do and manage her in the meantime.    Each opportunity she gets to run at them (and i'm betting that they run bleating and bouncing away a lot of the time!) shows her how much fun it is to do it, reinforcing the behavior.


This method works great for whatever you want the dog to leave alone.    Not every dog will reach the level where they can be well-trusted but most can.   Even with a trusted dog, supervision is always the best tactic


You already know that he is excited with the chicks.   Find the closest distance that the dog first notices the birds in the brooder.  This might be in another room if he is one to constantly glance at the door.    Put your dog on leash and get some extra special treats that he only gets for this work - bacon, grilled chicken (no spices!), hot dog chunks, etc.     When the dog glances toward the birds, say his name and "leave it"    If he looks at you, give him a treat - if he doesn't, give a light pop on the leash (think tap on the shoulder).  When he looks at you reward him.  

You can also teach him "watch me" the same way.   You can practice this at random times though out the day.   If you have a couple extra minutes while you're watching TV or whatever, just say his name, pause, "watch me"   When he makes eye contact, then reward him.    You can also (if you get in the habit of keeping a small treat in your pockets) catch him looking towards you say "watch me" and then reward.  Or just praise him verbally.


Once the dog is reliably paying attention to you and the birds at a distance, move a little bit closer.   If he absolutely blows you off, you're too close.  Just back up a bit and begin again.   Eventually you will be right amongst the birds.    You can then start at a distance or with a long line (20' leash or so) and work from there.    I never ever leave my dogs/chickens loose unattended together.  

I don't even trust Rayden eastercontest1.jpg

I don't mean I constantly hover over the dogs when they are out with the birds, but I am in the area and aware of what they are doing.   Think of it as a small child.  Even though you've taught them not to play with matches, would you leave them alone in the house with matches scattered all over the floor?


The most important part of the training is to set the dog up to succeed.   Don't give him a chance to chase the birds.  Don't give him a chance to disobey.  


ETA:  The best thing about teaching "leave it" is that it works for everything.   Drop something on the floor and don't want the dogs to touch it?  "leave it"    See dog running toward a snake?  "leave it"     Lots of training and work, but it pays off!

post #4 of 4
I think Dainerra gave some excellent tips. It can take a lot of training and consistency (sometimes a year plus) and even then a dog might not be one hundred percent trustworthy. However, you will definitely see improvement.

I'm a big fan of teaching and alternate behavior. "Look" and "leave it" are great ones, though it can be difficult to find a treat or reward better than whatever has their attention. I try to use high value rewards when working on distractions or on new tricks and behaviors. My dog really likes hotdogs so I cut the up into small pieces. One of the dogs in my friend group really likes his toys, so my friend uses that as a reward. It really depends on the dog! Also remember that when treating the dog, it's not how many treats you give that make an impact, but the length of time over which you give the treats that makes a bigger impact. For example, a handful of treats is less rewards than a few treats given over a 30 second time span. I reserve those "jackpot" rewards for when she does an excellent job, whether that is coming immediately in the face of a distraction, or when she does what I want in the process of training a new trick. It's amazing how fast that helps things "click" for her. Eventually, I can start phasing out treats, but I like to reinforce things every now and then with the treats. It helps keep things fresh in her mind.

I'll explain what I taught my dog in the face of distraction. It may not work for you, but perhaps it will give you a direction to think about when training.

My dog really likes things that run, especially squirrels, deer, rabbits, and chipmunks. When I'm walking her on a leash or in the yard without a leash, I was constantly afraid she would take off. Leave it command was only working so well because the animal was a better reward even than hot dogs! So instead I started teaching her to sit down whenever she saw a squirrel, or even just to stop in her tracks. I also focused on "look". With TONS of repetition, she will now sit and look at the animal instead of her first instinct which was just to run after it. She will still get pretty intense, and I really don't care if she watches the animal, but I wanted her to stay put. I also like her to look at me, so sometimes I'll ask for that so she at least checks in. If she's unsure about something, now she looks to me and she knows the "ok" command. If it's a person (she can be fear aggressive of new people - not biting but she barks and becomes reactive), getting her to look at me gives me time to make her sit, heel, or lay down before the person approaches.

I definitely think the repetition has helped re-wire her brain a bit and she has come such an amazingly long way, but it has taken almost a year and a half. We are still working on socializing better with new people, but that will take time and I'm not sure I ever expect her to be 100% on that.
"If we long for our planet to be important, there is something we can do about it. We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers." ~Carl Sagan

"We have normality. I repeat, we have normality. Anything you still can't cope with is therefore your own problem." ~Douglas Adams
"If we long for our planet to be important, there is something we can do about it. We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers." ~Carl Sagan

"We have normality. I repeat, we have normality. Anything you still can't cope with is therefore your own problem." ~Douglas Adams
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