Dog Training and Behavior

CharcoalDragon

Chirping
Jul 14, 2020
83
239
60
I agree. Sounds like you’re well versed on this topic, Which Is why I’m going to ask your input on something related. Our old girl is on her last legs. Not sure how long she has but she is wheelchair bound. Once I feel she is suffering, I will make the hard call, but for now she is happy and gets around just fine with help. She is a German Shepard. We had her before birds. She wasn’t always good with the birds and killed a few at first. I was so upset. But we took proper precautions from there and now she couldn’t catch one if she tried. Point being, once she crosses the rainbow bridge we’ll be in the market for a new furry family member. What do you suggest not only as a compatible dog with birds but as the best inherent flock guardian? I know any dog of any breed needs training but where’s a good place to start? We now have quite the flock of very rare, very valuable birds. They don’t free range unless we’re right there but in a perfect world, it would be amazing to have a dog that could “birdsit”. Of course, I know that would always be a gamble and probably not the best idea. But I’m a perfect world, what breed would you choose in that situation? Some people have said the heeler, aussie, Border collie family but I always thought those were more for cattle, goats, sheep, ect. I’ve actually seen competitions where these breeds get pretty aggressive with their nipping on large animals like cattle. I know it boils down to training and time but I was wondering if anyone has had success with dogs like this as flock guardians? I once read about a breed that was a very large (white dog I think) that typically doesn’t like to much human interaction but loves to stay with their flock. Does anyone know what this may be? We’re set up in a way where we could make a dog like this very happy. And what about a rescue? I’m not sure if I have the patience for a pup anymore. But with that, I fear inheriting someone else’s problems or them hurting or killing birds while learning. But I suppose if you don’t exercise caution that can happen with any dog at any time. I guess I’m just looking for the best idea for the best breed for the situation. And thoughts on a pup verses an older dog.
Sorry, I know this wasn't directed at me, but I think the dog you're talking about is the Maremma. One of the more famous ones help bring a colony of penguins back from the brink of being wiped out by foxes. I believe this breed needs to be raised with the animals it needs to care for though- so a puppy would be in your future.
 

KDOGG331

Spicy Mayo
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Jan 18, 2008
57,345
196,165
1,736
Massachusetts
I agree. Sounds like you’re well versed on this topic, Which Is why I’m going to ask your input on something related. Our old girl is on her last legs. Not sure how long she has but she is wheelchair bound. Once I feel she is suffering, I will make the hard call, but for now she is happy and gets around just fine with help. She is a German Shepard. We had her before birds. She wasn’t always good with the birds and killed a few at first. I was so upset. But we took proper precautions from there and now she couldn’t catch one if she tried. Point being, once she crosses the rainbow bridge we’ll be in the market for a new furry family member. What do you suggest not only as a compatible dog with birds but as the best inherent flock guardian? I know any dog of any breed needs training but where’s a good place to start? We now have quite the flock of very rare, very valuable birds. They don’t free range unless we’re right there but in a perfect world, it would be amazing to have a dog that could “birdsit”. Of course, I know that would always be a gamble and probably not the best idea. But I’m a perfect world, what breed would you choose in that situation? Some people have said the heeler, aussie, Border collie family but I always thought those were more for cattle, goats, sheep, ect. I’ve actually seen competitions where these breeds get pretty aggressive with their nipping on large animals like cattle. I know it boils down to training and time but I was wondering if anyone has had success with dogs like this as flock guardians? I once read about a breed that was a very large (white dog I think) that typically doesn’t like to much human interaction but loves to stay with their flock. Does anyone know what this may be? We’re set up in a way where we could make a dog like this very happy. And what about a rescue? I’m not sure if I have the patience for a pup anymore. But with that, I fear inheriting someone else’s problems or them hurting or killing birds while learning. But I suppose if you don’t exercise caution that can happen with any dog at any time. I guess I’m just looking for the best idea for the best breed for the situation. And thoughts on a pup verses an older dog.
A lot of breeds can watch the birds and be trained with them but there are also several breeds specifically designed to guard livestock which it seems might be best for your situation? The breed you described sounds like either a Great Pyrenees or a Maremma. We had a GP mix and he was great. There’s also Anatolian Shepherds which are also great dogs and actually Anatolian/Pyr crosses are a pretty common cross. There’s other types but those are probably the most common ones. Those types of dogs are called Livestock Guardian Dogs or LGDs. And they’re great although some say they’re more for bigger animals than poultry but ours bonded with the birds just fine and I know of others that did too. Though ours was an inside pet. I guess that’s kind of the key. You will have to decide if you want a pet/companion for you that can also be trained to watch the birds or at least alert you if something is out there which lots of dogs can do and ours did well or if you want one to live out with the birds full time and guard them. Both are great but very different type dogs. Or, if you’re up for it, you could even get two dogs. Maybe one LGD and then a rescue or something as your companion? Rescues can be great but some of them can have high prey drive and you won’t necessarily know right away.
 

Noellereagan

Songster
Jun 20, 2018
832
1,871
232
Big Bend, Wisconsin
A lot of breeds can watch the birds and be trained with them but there are also several breeds specifically designed to guard livestock which it seems might be best for your situation? The breed you described sounds like either a Great Pyrenees or a Maremma. We had a GP mix and he was great. There’s also Anatolian Shepherds which are also great dogs and actually Anatolian/Pyr crosses are a pretty common cross. There’s other types but those are probably the most common ones. Those types of dogs are called Livestock Guardian Dogs or LGDs. And they’re great although some say they’re more for bigger animals than poultry but ours bonded with the birds just fine and I know of others that did too. Though ours was an inside pet. I guess that’s kind of the key. You will have to decide if you want a pet/companion for you that can also be trained to watch the birds or at least alert you if something is out there which lots of dogs can do and ours did well or if you want one to live out with the birds full time and guard them. Both are great but very different type dogs. Or, if you’re up for it, you could even get two dogs. Maybe one LGD and then a rescue or something as your companion? Rescues can be great but some of them can have high prey drive and you won’t necessarily know right away.
That’s what I was worried about with the rescues. I don’t know if I’m willing to take the chance as much as I would like an older dog.
I’m def looking for a pet and house companion that can help with the birds during the day. At nighttime the birds are in 100% predator proof facilities so that’s not a concern at all. Just during the day when we come and go.
 

Noellereagan

Songster
Jun 20, 2018
832
1,871
232
Big Bend, Wisconsin
Sorry, I know this wasn't directed at me, but I think the dog you're talking about is the Maremma. One of the more famous ones help bring a colony of penguins back from the brink of being wiped out by foxes. I believe this breed needs to be raised with the animals it needs to care for though- so a puppy would be in your future.
Awe. How sweet! I think you’re right. Thank you so much. That was my thoughts on a pup too!
 

KDOGG331

Spicy Mayo
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Jan 18, 2008
57,345
196,165
1,736
Massachusetts
That’s what I was worried about with the rescues. I don’t know if I’m willing to take the chance as much as I would like an older dog.
I’m def looking for a pet and house companion that can help with the birds during the day. At nighttime the birds are in 100% predator proof facilities so that’s not a concern at all. Just during the day when we come and go.
Well older dogs do have an advantage in that their personality is already set so you know it whereas with a pup you wouldn’t necessarily know how they’d turn out even from a reputable breeder. But I think you’d be better off with a different breed like maybe another one of the shepherd breeds or perhaps an LGD mix rather than a pure LGD from your description. We had a Lab/Pyrenees mix and he was a great dog and my brother has a couple Pyrenees mixes and they’re also great though they’re also mixed with several other breeds and varying amounts of Pyr so different personalities but yeah. Most dogs can be trained to leave the birds alone, though I’m not sure about when you’re not there. I’ve heard it can be done. Have you considered an English Shepherd? They’re not as common but might be a bit more chill than an Aussie and more of a farm type dog so may fit your description better. Or even a Scotch Collie/OTSC.
 

CharcoalDragon

Chirping
Jul 14, 2020
83
239
60
This is PERFECT thank you! And moving to the fun rides after getting her acclimated to the car will work really nicely.

Yeah... when we got her she was terrified of every single thing. Within a week she trusted us but any time something changed she’d bolt to her crate and huddle.

now we’ve had her for a year, she’s about 18 months old. She’s almost *too* confident. The trainer said she was incredibly smart (I was like oh NOOOOO 😂) and she’s fairly food driven, but only if she’s not nervous. As soon as she’s even a little nervous she doesn’t want food, toys, pets, nothing. She just shuts down. We have to lift her into the car if forced to go somewhere, and she’ll huddle and shake the whole time.

thank you so much, all. I was stuck and this helped so mich
Sorry- I don't think I specifically said how to counter-condition. Let me know if you need help figuring out your timing to mark/click so that you're rewarding the right thing. PM or post here, whichever.

Smart is SO GOOD. I love working with smart. Sounds like she needs some confidence built- try the "Look At That!" game (also known as the "Engage-Disengage" game) to help her learn that if she's ever scared of something, she can look at you and it will all be okay. (We use it with our dog for both 'scary things' and 'over-the-top exciting things').
Even just teaching fun tricks will build her confidence- one of my favorites is "chin!", where my pup will rest her snout in my palm.

If she's not taking food, she's over-threshold, this should make it pretty easy for you to find out the exact distance from 'the scary thing' that you should be working with her. If she's not taking treats or playing with you, get farther away from the trigger. You can also increase the value of your treats- try cut up hot dogs or deli meat for a stronger reaction/association. If the treat is too high value, you'll be able to tell. :)
 

Swiss

Chirping
Jun 9, 2020
89
575
93
SW Michigan
Sorry for the massive novel and the other novels. :oops: need to work on that but here are some pictures of the pups to make up for it hahah Libby looks so old lately 😂🤣 she’s not. She’s gonna be 3 in I think November or December. Franklin just turned 2 in June and Ike is the baby at I think 9 months? Or 8? I’m not really sure. Don’t know how old he was when they got him but they got him in February.

Libby is the big black horsey, Frank is the super fluffy cloud/marshmallow of happiness and love (seriously happiest dog ever 😂🤣), and Ikey is the little black floof/black bear looking one 😂😂
They are absolutely GORGEOUS!!! It would be extremely hard not to reward their boisterous greetings with the same level of boisterousness (boisterosity? :lol:)!
 

KDOGG331

Spicy Mayo
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Jan 18, 2008
57,345
196,165
1,736
Massachusetts
They are absolutely GORGEOUS!!! It would be extremely hard not to reward their boisterous greetings with the same level of boisterousness (boisterosity? :lol:)!
Thanks! We all think so too. :D and right!? I love them so much and am just as excited to see them as they are to see me so it’s hard sometimes LOL I just wanna love on and snuggle them all :lau
 

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