Feeding a herding dog a raw food diet...


11 Years
Nov 23, 2008
In the middle of it all
My family just got an Aussie named Rawly. He's absolutely wonderful. 9 months old, and the only bit of trouble he's given us yet is trying to round up the cats.

We raise cows, goats and chickens, and I was wondering if we fed him a raw food diet, would this give predispose him to trying to kill and eat our animals?
No it will not. If you train your dog to know that the LIVE birds are off limits.

My BC hunts, yes hunts - rabbits, squirrels, mice, voles, rats - etc and eats what she catches. This - the hunting is part of her job and is encouraged daily.

She is wonderful with the chickens, lets them jump on her, walk under, they even try to steal what she is eating.

And yes, when I butcher chickens/ducks/geese, she is right there waiting -- she knows the feet and head plus insides will be hers if she can get them before the chickens
I just encouraged her with daily walks at first (around the property) and would get excited when she started chasing them. Once she caught one, there was lots and lots of praise. When I find a varmit hole, I call her over and ask "what's there?" if recent she will dig and try to catch it. Lots of praise for doing the right thing, as she is very sensitive and thrives on my pleasure.

She understands "leave it" and the first time she looked like she was interested in the chickens - I scolded her with a very stern unhappy voice and said - "MINE, leave it"!

She came to us as an adult - rescued from death row shelter in Elko, NV and brought to Reno. Her first Reno home rejected her cause she did not get along with their dogs and she ate their garage sheetrock up four feet all the way around, chewed shoes, rugs, furniture, and the seat from a forklift.

Here with us, she is perfect - like she was born to live here - gets along great with our dogs and has never chewed anything that was not a dog chew. She is outside with the chickens from sun up to sun down and trusted when I leave the property.

Here she is with a squirrel - ours are ground dwellers/burrowers.


Getting her picture taken with the squirrel is part of her reward (none with rabbits) so she will usually make sure we see she has a squirrel before eating


She "knows" the words: rabbit, squirrel, mouse and garden bugger (moles) and gets super excited and will start looking when you say the word.
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Allowing a dog to chase and especially to kill an animal will teach them to try to eat other things. Feeding raw meat even from whole carcasses will not. Humans have a hard enough time understand that the meat on their plate came from those cattle they see standing in the neighbors field and we can explain things verbally to each other. Dogs have to see it. My akita would not eat rabbit even after she chased and accidentally killed a few wild ones until one day she found a fox eating a rabbit and stole it from him. Now she knows if she kills a rabbit running around outside it can be food. She still has not been any trouble with our new domestic rabbits. In fact last night I was feeding/watering and checking the kits in the nest boxes with my 2 indoor cages wide open. She stuck her head in to sniff the rabbits and was really interested in seeing what was in the nest box but never did more than annoy the rabbits by licking them. For most dogs (shibas excluded) it's not too difficult to teach them what they are not allowed to touch if you are consistent and just offering already butchered animals is not going to show them they can get food from something on your property.
I was worried about this as well, we raise rabbits for our own meat and the leftovers go to the dogs. Whenever I am out taking care of the rabbits one of my dogs lays at the fence and gives me the "feed me" face. I think my dogs (2 labs and one treeing walker hound) understand that the rabbits are food but they do not try to get them unless I am butchering.
I feed all my dogs raw and they don't go after any of the farm animals including the Border Collie. He does herd the cats though, I guess he gathers them. Years ago, all farm dogs were fed raw, there wasn't any canned or kibble to buy. If the dogs killed the livestock, I don't think they would have lasted long.

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