Originally Posted by Chickerdoodle13
You can certainly work with a dog, but some dogs can just never be totally trusted. I agree that putting up some electric fencing around the goats is a good immediate solution. I do think you may have a long road ahead, but certainly not one that is impossible.
Please don't use Cesar Millan as a resource though. There are multitudes of research that has been published showing why his methods are dangerous and inappropriate. While they may "work" (and I use that word loosely) for some dogs, they mostly teach learned helplessness, which is not what you want in a well behaved dog that is enthusiastic to learn. I can post many, many articles for you if you are interested. I do know the veterinary behaviorists are slowly but surely moving away from dominance based training.
I would definitely consider consulting with a positive reinforcement trainer, one that is experienced with training farm dogs to avoid livestock or even one that trains herding. You don't have to stick with JUST pos reinforcement, but you do want to train in a way that gets the dog engaged with you. Using punishment only is a good way for a dog to start showing agression and unpredictable behavior to you, family, or other animals. (Not pointing fingers and saying this how you were planning to train, just giving a general warning!)
I'm sorry you had to deal with this though. Luckily it seems the goat was not seriously injured (though I know the injury probably looks horrible!) and I'm glad you were not injured either. If you have doubts about the dog and your future, I certainly don't think it is wrong to consider rehiring him to a family without livestock.
I've definitely heard the mixed reviews of dominance theory training. If he were pushy or entitled or overly concerned about sleeping spaces, or pack dynamic with our other dog or wasn't so good on leash, I might consider it, but even as I type he's on the line, sitting with great fervor. He keeps turning and sitting, hoping someone's seeing how good he's being. If I just sit hard enough maybe this is all a big misunderstanding... He's clueless. I made the mistake of thinking the fence running would be self limiting and gave him some slack since he's got the herding dog in him and to chase and bark is their thing. The neighbors herding dog has a greet charge where he comes barreling at you full speed trumpeting like a hound on a trail all the way and then sits at you. He's older and he's experienced with horses and sheep so he's grounded, has a good head on his shoulders. In mixed breeds we muck up their drives, get their wiring screwed up and then the predictable behavior you hope for doesn't always come through and the undesirable ones get louder. I'm competing with the voices in a dogs head and they speak a language I don't and I can't turn them off.
It was herding behavior gone mad. I think his frustration at being ignored by the goats may have played a part. All in all they were very confident of the fence line.
He would be a great buddy dog for a single guy, women love him, he loves women, and he would probably get more spoiling on than he gets as a farm member where we are pretty tight about extras. Someone who had the desire to keep him from rolling in anything and everything could make a house dog of him with some effort. He crates well, he just needs a home without livestock and a fence he can't see through. I've been easing my better half into the topic because it will be a big step, but right now I'm really feeling like this is something we need to take steps on. I'm not doing this again, and even with rigorous supervision, there is no guarantee that we wont come home to him having figured out how to get out of the crate (secure today, but really? One oversight from tragedy). I thought that fence was tight. Boy was I wrong. I also have a feral cat that lives in the barn and I would be DEVASTATED if something happened to her. I can buck up about a goat, but the cat would break my heart.
The goat... I don't want to jinx him. He's eating, he's been a doll baby to handle, super willing to be helped, I've been able to get right to cleaning and checking with no fuss. The ear seems to be running its course, it's almost a blessing it's mostly gone instead of a large open wound. We're also super lucky it's not summer. Otherwise flies would add a whole nother element to the situation. Thanks again for everyone putting up with my vent/rant. It's sort of morbid and my S/o has been hearing my running train of thought ever since and is pretty burned out on it. It helps to be able to put it to words though.