Getting a new dog: adult vs adolescent vs puppy?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by gladahmae, Jan 23, 2013.

  1. gladahmae

    gladahmae Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 17, 2012
    Benzie, MI
    We're looking into getting another dog in the early spring. Most likely it will be from a rescue/shelter or if the right dog pops up on CL. If we don't find anything we're interested in, we may persue the breeder route, but I'd rather adopt.

    Another forum I am on highly recommended that I find an adult dog through a rescue since we have 3 children (7, 5, and 1) but we had a very nightmare-ish experience with adopting an adult dog a few months ago (had almost our entire flock taken out) and decided that it was in his best interest to find a new home where we didn't have to watch him (and I mean WATCH him) every time we put him out to pee. (There were a host of other issues, lest you think that one event prompted our re-homing.) He was a fabulous house/family dog, but not at all good outdoors, with chickens, or when left alone.

    However, after doing quite a bit of reading on here, it seems that while adopting the *right* adult dog may work, it can be quite risky for the chickens. So, that turns me then to an adolescent dog.....something that may already be housebroken, know a few commands, etc. Still concerned about socialization. And that takes me to a puppy.

    I would very much appreciate some input from other flock-owners who have experience with this. We're what I would call "advanced novice" dog owners. DH has had dogs his whole life, I have not. We currently have a 9yo labrador who is interested in the birds, but is easily re-directed and seems more interested in charging the fence to watch them scatter than actually *getting* the birds. We have 10 acres, and a large-ish fenced back yard, so we have a decent amount of space to work with.

    For reference, our short-list of breeds that we're interested in include: another labrador, some sort of pit mix, pointer mix, or gsd mix, gsp mix, maybe a setter, weimaraner, or brittany, and I'm looking into english shepherds, but they have soooo much hair. The problem I see with that list, is that they are mostly all bird-hunting dogs. [​IMG] I'm also afraid of having a dog that's "too smart" that would become bored and in turn destructive. That took BCs and aussies out of the mix for me. GPs are too big. And hairy.
  2. my sunwolf

    my sunwolf Chillin' With My Peeps

    Don't get a dog with a high prey drive, that's a good instinct you have about avoiding bird dogs. Different people have had different experiences with all sorts of breeds. In my experience, it's best to either adopt an adult dog at around 2-4 years old and do a moderate amount of training, or get a puppy and do rigorous training for 1-3 years. Adult dogs get lazy and are less likely to follow their prey drives to go after chickens, as long as they have had a few weeks of good training. Puppies, on the other hand, don't have as good impulse control and can get carried away very quickly, so they must be watched until they outgrow this stage of their lives (whenever that may be). Stick with breeds that are couch potatoes and stick with individuals who live to please people, dogs who actually feel guilt when they do something wrong. There are plenty of individuals that could give a rat's a** about you and the pack (your family). That said, make sure to establish boundaries and restrictions as soon as the dog sets eyes on you. Start training immediately. I like the training method that establishes all humans as pack leaders and the dog as at the bottom of the pack, but other people have other methods that they find helpful. Good luck.
  3. SD Bird Lady

    SD Bird Lady Chillin' With My Peeps

    Will the dog be primarily housed indoors? Are you counting on the dog to protect the flock or simply be able to leave them alone? With small children I would only get an adult dog that was already in a home with children and proved itself.... otherwise puppies who grow up with children almost always bond with them very well.
  4. UndergroundQuailRoad

    UndergroundQuailRoad Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 21, 2010
    I would concur with the sentiments regarding the adoption of a senior dog and staying away from bird dogs. If the dog is just a pet, then their lower energy level is a plus, and they generally come with more predictable behavior, as they are less likely to press boundaries.

    In addition to shelters, if you are looking breed specific, many local breeders clubs have their own rescue systems to keep their specific breeds in good homes. They will tend to do a home evaluation and make sure that you and the dog are a good match. Further, I would not take a dog from anyone that will not take the dog back if it does not fit in your home, particularly if money is involved.
  5. gladahmae

    gladahmae Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 17, 2012
    Benzie, MI
    I already have a senior couch-potato dog though, and would like something that will actually PLAY with the kids. Our lab is DH's dog, and I would jokingly say that he tolerates us because he has to to be around DH.

    Indoor dog for sure.

    And this is not meant to sound snippy or pithy in any way, but please point out some breeds that are med-large in size that *don't* have a high prey drive?
  6. silis

    silis Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 9, 2012
    I would get a puppy because You get to train it and if you have kids it will get used to them, but if you get a shelter dog you don't know how much it can tolerate and it might bite. Good luck[​IMG]
  7. my sunwolf

    my sunwolf Chillin' With My Peeps

    I've found that dobermans and crosses actually tend to have high prey drives and high intelligence, but their love for people tends to override the drive, as long as you do the training that tells the dog you don't want it even looking at a chicken (and as long as it's out of its puppy years; puppies can never be left alone with chickens even for a minute). I would not deal with cattle dogs or aussies. Labs have the same affection for people and mild stupidity that tends to make them good dogs that want to please you. Livestock guardian dogs are also a good choice, though as you said they are huge and have a lot of hair, so inside they can be problematic. I would not get a Weimaraner. The other breeds you have listed I'm not too familiar with, but I think you'd have good luck with rottweiler and pit crosses as they tend to get very attached to people.

    As another poster said, be careful bringing an adult dog of any kind into a house with small children (like you have)--first make sure that they've been tested as okay with kids.
  8. SD Bird Lady

    SD Bird Lady Chillin' With My Peeps

    I aree with the pit or rottweiler(sp) mixes for their loyalty qualities; however, check with your home owners policy as some have certain breeds they do not tolerate. Our current dog is corgi and although he is supposed to be a herding dog he has no desire, he does shed but is small enough to tolerate indoor living quite well but is sturdy enough to be an outdoor dog. He killed one chicken when we first got the chickens but he was already 6yo. and they were young. Now that they are large he is content to eat poo and sniff their behinds. One thing with labs in particular that I have found is they have an extended puppyhood if you will....they seem to skip the teenage years and go from jovial puppies to old men at about 5 or 6 that is too many puppy years for me.

    I have read many places and tend to agree that if you get a puppy introduce him to the big scary chickens right away and it should not take many corrections for him to learn. If he is small the chickens may do the correcting for you...ours do, Corgi is the low man on the totem pole haha

    As you can tell I am partial to the Corgi and would reccommend against an aussie or BC as you already have found. In the end individuals are all individual so time will tell.
  9. my sunwolf

    my sunwolf Chillin' With My Peeps

    Our current dog is the only dog in the household and a corgi/jack russel/unknown cross. We did training for 1 DAY with him and he has never touched a chicken since. I continue to do chick training with him, but he's never chased or gone after them. He is much too concerned about hurting my feelings to attack the chooks. So I am biased, but I want to put in kind words for Corgis as well [​IMG]
  10. chooniecat

    chooniecat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 2, 2009
    central ohio
    If you're patient and extremely involved in looking(shelter/rescue) there WILL come an older pup/dog that HAS been fowl tested. Or at least tested with smaller creatures and GENERALLY you can tell the mentality of the k-9. Even if a dog shows interest more often than not they CAN/generally DO learn quick(like previous corgi adopter mentioned). Even pups can turn out to have too high of a prey drive and just being deligent in your questioning of foster/rescue group will help you. My dogs were gotten as youngsters from rescues but I would NEVER purchase from someone breeding mutts for the heck of it. I won't pay them to be negligent. The pups are precious but owners have to learn. Good luck!!!!

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