PLANNED POULTRY GUARDING DOG

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centrarchid

Free Ranging
Sep 19, 2009
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Holts Summit, Missouri
Scoob has had a busy night so far. Neighbors peacock was crowing up a storm until something riled Scoob up causing him to go where peacock was previously making his love call. Peafowl are in secure location but something still tries to get at them and Scoob can certainly hear commotion. After investigating that, Scoob made rounds and caught scent of a large opossum in field near cock yard in completely different direction. It was far enough out that I am not certain opossum had plans for my birds but Scoob treed it in pasture for a good 20 minutes before I got there. As I approached he proceeded to kill it which he can now do very effectively. There is a learning curve associated with dispatching cornered predators.

During daylight, Scoob simply needs to be vigilant; during night, he has to really get out there. This would explain the sleepiness of early morning, Scoob is working hard at night.
 

centrarchid

Free Ranging
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Holts Summit, Missouri
At least two red foxes appear to be working my property. One comes out of east and does go after chickens, mine and neighbors to northeast although it has been largely thwarted by Scoob. The other comes out of southwest and hunts voles, often in plan sight of pens in cockyard (150 feet from pens tops) but appears to show no interest in the chickens. Scoob does not seem to play favorites with foxes regardless of what they are chasing, both are fair game for him. Just now I saw Scoob detect second fox from near house before fox was aware it was being watched and he displayed a bit of smarts. Scoob did not run directly at fox growling as usual. He took an indirect route involving an 800 foot long sprint (direct route would have been about 400 feet) that kept Scoob below ridgeline out of fox's line of sight. Scoob route was in an arc that brought him close to fox from down wind. Scoob got to within 20 feet of fox before fox knew something was up and saw Scoob bearing down on it. Fox bolted to fence and went through it and ran down fence row away from property. If like other fox, it runs down fence row and crosses it if Scoob gets close nullifying Scoobs greater speed since Scoob has to pick crossing points through fence. In this case Scoob did not take chase beyond fence. Scoob then went back to where fox was hunting voles and thoroughly tracked area.

I wish my video camera would power up faster to film sequence. Boot up is too slow.
 
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Aeropennchick

Songster
Mar 20, 2012
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I am so impressed by your dog! We only have a small flock but our black lab seems to already think she is their guardian. Some bird dogs, right? Our three dogs usually sleep in the house at night, but we are considering buying her a dog house near the chicken coop so she can chase off foxes and such. Maybe I'll start my own chronicle, even if some people are haters about it



Now my coon hound, on the other hand, has been wearing her remote training collar an AWFUL lot lately. She's smart as a whip though, I'm sure she'll get it...she's just stubborn
 

centrarchid

Free Ranging
Sep 19, 2009
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Holts Summit, Missouri
I am so impressed by your dog! We only have a small flock but our black lab seems to already think she is their guardian. Some bird dogs, right? Our three dogs usually sleep in the house at night, but we are considering buying her a dog house near the chicken coop so she can chase off foxes and such. Maybe I'll start my own chronicle, even if some people are haters about it



Now my coon hound, on the other hand, has been wearing her remote training collar an AWFUL lot lately. She's smart as a whip though, I'm sure she'll get it...she's just stubborn

Be considerate of mosquitos when dog spending night near poultry. In my location it is like being in arctic, blood sucking with birds enough to keep combs pale.
 
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centrarchid

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It is time to get second dog. Scoob has worked out well but needs backup when taking on another dog of his size or larger. Soon fence will be put up to keep out the largest dogs but help will still be needed during winter when coyotes get more ballsy. Next year the free-ranging area will be expanded to about 6 acres and pens will be moved into woods when it is hot making difficult for a single dog to keep marked. Second dog may also make actually catching Mr. Fox possible, especially if second dog is at least as fast as Scoob. Looks like second dog will also be a German Short-haired pointer but will be female. Preference is that it be acquired as young pup and to rear it in part with some juvenile chickens as done with Scoob about 18 months ago. The new dog will not be effective until next spring and will not be matured as with Scoob until nearly 2 years old. Breeder that second is to be acquired from has many that tend to be more dog aggressive and based upon what I have come to know of breed, that indicates a real scrapper; hopefully with Scoobs deep bark that is easy to hear from far away.

Scoob getting noisy on weigh day.



Most recent oppossum brought in from pasture pen area. This little sucker is small enough to get through pen wire yet big enough to bite and potentially cause loss of even adult chickens. Also eats eggs.





This raccoon taken this morning eats lots of eggs would eventually have become a predator on anything past brooder stage.

 
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centrarchid

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Training Can Be Important with Respect to Dog's Livestock Guarding Performance

The standard LGD breeds are subjected to minimal training with bonding to flock being the first and foremost concern and ideally with limited interaction with humans other than what is required to prevent dog from regarding flock master as a threat. With a non-typical breed like I am using training plays a role beyond imprinting. Scoob's default reaction to species that are not chickens, people or domestic cats has been to attack / chase. With most species I have been activily encouraging Scoob's efforts with praise but not promoted interest in deer and whild turkeys while actively discouraged interest in ducks and geese. Scoob puts lots of effort into going after what he has been encouraged to go after. With respect to deer and wild turkey, Scoob is clearly aware of their activities even from a distance of 1/4 mile but he seems only interested in tracking them except when deer get up close to house. Scoob and at least one doe have come to blows resulting in some sort of mutual respect. Does do not seem to consider Scoob a major threat to thier fawns and will tolerate Scoob within 50 feet while grazing.

At night in particular when chickens on roost, Scoob stays in house about half of time but periodically goes out to check pens. Sometimes wind brings in scent of predators and Scoob goes out to investigate. Otherwise sound seems to be a critical signal causing Scoob to patrol. House is centrally located with respect to night-time quarters for chickens so that is logical core area when not actually patrolling.

Training that is not likely typical of standard LGD's is Scoob being able to recruit me and my being able to direct Scoob's patrol pattern. Scoob has become very good at coming into house to get me to go out and help when something like a raccoon or oppossum is in a location he can not readily get to (i.e. tree, neighbors henhouse, live-trap). When Scoob is dealing with a hot scent that he can not line out, I can quickly scan pasture and trees with flashlite and Scoob will follow lite beam. This works even when I stand in driveway and shine locations that are 400 feet away. Training appears to be two-way so getting to this point of competence has required interaction and experience.
 
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Contrary

In the Brooder
Feb 17, 2012
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At night in particular when chickens on roost, Scoob stays in house about half of time but periodically goes out to check pens.
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Scoob has become very good at coming into house to get me to go out and help when something like a raccoon or oppossum is in a location he can not readily get to (i.e. tree, neighbors henhouse, live-trap).
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I'm sorry, but I can't keep myself from laughing. I don't know what good a livestock guardian dog is if it is in the house about half the time at night. Furthermore, I never heard of a livestock guardian dog abandoning its charges and looking for help when a predator has been sighted. Does the dog go to the neighbor's house if you aren't around?
 

dainerra

Crowing
Jun 4, 2011
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Contrary, Scoob's behavior actually makes perfect sense if you think about it. He is a bird dog - therefore a breed that is meant to work in close relationship with humans. A traditional LGD breed is selected to have zero (or next to zero) reliance on humans. So, they have worked out a method that uses Scoob's natural instincts to their advantage. Really a great job of training if you ask me.
 
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