Could have been a disaster - large dog in backyard


10 Years
Mar 17, 2009
Jersey Shore
Yesterday morning I had just let the chickens out to free range in my suburban backyard which is "lightly" fenced. I heard the guys next door yelling for me and look out the window to see the other neighbors very large Bernese Mountain dog running around the backyard after my chickens. I go flying out to the rescue in my nightgown, joining the lady chasing her leashed dog who broke away when she was walking him.

The dog did a couple of laps around the yard then laid down when the owner caught up. Thank god it was just curious. He was very happy with himself -friendly dog. The chickens were hysterical - biggest thing they ever saw!

The lady apologized and thought the dog broke the fence to get in. That was not the case. We don't see loose dogs around here so I was not too worried about my fencing. I have a real fence (Wood 6 ft) on both sides but the back is a 4 ft. wire fence and the side to the front has a makeshift barrier to keep my chickens and little shi tzus IN not to keep anything out.
I learned my lesson - if it had been another dog I might of lost my chickens. I have to get the area secure before something does happen.

Sorry, I don't mean to laugh, but you painted a very funny picture.
As big as they are, and as scary as I'm sure that was, you're so lucky it was a Berner that broke in! They're of the same rootstock as today's LGD breeds...the ancient Molosser dogs.

I've never owned a Berner, but I looked into the breed traits to evaluate the potential of crossing one to our LGD.. They're apparently super domestic these days -- "familyized," if you will -- which, combined with their history of being guard dogs means they should pretty much have zero prey drive.

What a sight that must have been, though..

I fully expect that, from time to time once we start free ranging our chickens, our young LGD will bust the flock and play chase like the neighbor's Berner did. Ivan tries to play with the goats sometimes, which entails him getting in their way and pushing them around with his body to try to get a reaction. When that doesn't work, he'll put his big chompers over the back of their necks, then mouth around on'em until they finally get aggravated enough to run away. Invariably, he'll give chase long enough to figure out they're not going to turn and engage him, at which point he breaks off and stands there like "Hey! Why are you running away?!? Let's play!!!!!!!!!"

Don't ever let anybody tell you that livestock guardians are ALL business, ALL the time..

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