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Urgent!! need advice on training a guard dog!!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by flight301, Aug 7, 2011.

  1. flight301

    flight301 Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi, I'm new to this forum, I found it very helpful while researching dog training. I found some great info, but I need to have my question answered so I can print out the answers from experienced dog trainers/people who have successfully trained their dogs to be competent chicken guarders so I CAN PRINT IT OUT AND GIVE IT TO MY PARENTS. Here is the story- My family owns a small farm and we have about 150 chickens, and have been having CONSTANT predator problems, we have lost several chickens in 24 hrs some days. My Mom decided she wanted to adopt a puppy to train as a flock protector- preferably a breed that had the potential to be trained into a guard dog. We decided on a Rottweiler/shepard mix- 12 weeks old- which is coming this Friday. This is urgent, as we are getting the dog Friday and training starts immediately.

    My parents are TERRIBLE at training dogs, this is not the first time they have tried and failed to train a guard dog- the previous attempts I was too young to intervene/or not willing or capable/mature enough, now I want to be fully responsible for training the dog because I know I can do it- I have been researching like crazy, and rented tons of books from the library on training. But I would really like some advice/instruction from people on this forum with more expertise then I have. I want this dog to have a good start, to be trained so it will have a good life on the farm. The other dogs we owned were adopted out because my parents didn't train them properly and the dogs couldn't mesh with the farm/animals. I do not want this to happen again. I would say my parents are clueless about what it takes to truly train a dog, ESPECIALLY my step-dad, I would say he is so backwards in his ideas he will damage the dog beyond repair if he gets his way. This is why i'm urgently PLEAING for advice from experienced dog owners on this forum, so I can print out your advice and give it to my parents so they will let me train the dog. My Mom mostly agrees with me I think, but my Step-dad is arrogant about his own beliefs, which are not based on reality IMHO. I have told my parents OVER AND OVER again training the dog will take months before it can be around the chickens. MONTHS. I told them I want to do 90% of the training.


    We want to train the dog to be around the chickens from a young age, and to eventually spend a lot of time with the chickens monitoring predators/keeping them out. In the summer, we will keep the dog outside a lot of the time with the chickens. It will be a working dog. BUT this is where I also come in- I want the dog to be a working dog and also a good pet/family dog. I want it socialized, trained to be obedient, trained to be around people, etc. I understand Rottweilers/shepards can get aggressive and dangerous if they're not socialized properly. I want this dog to be my pet as well as a working dog!

    Here is the big problem- My idiot Step-father is convinced that the dog SHOULD NOT BE SOCIALIZED WITH PEOPLE, and that IT SHOULD NEVER LEAVE THE FARM. He thinks that by doing this the dog will want/learn to 'stay' on the farm, and will be a good guard dog- that he will 'understand' that the farm is suppose to be his territory to guard.... what!!!?? He has no basis for this assumption, he simply makes this up in his head. He thinks if the dog is socialized, and if the dog leaves the farm (to go hiking with me, to the park, etc) the dog will not be a good guard dog. I am literally crying right now, because my Step-father is so wrong, he has been insisting on this for several days now in spite of my research that has stated that IS THE WORST THING TO DO with a Rottweiler. I am hoping someone on this forum will write a brief/detailed/long counter-argument to my Step-father so I can give it to him in order to be able to train this dog properly. I would also be grateful if someone could describe the consequences of not socializing a dog properly, and why my step father is wrong in assuming this will result in a effective guard dog. PLEASE HELP ME! I do not want my step father to ruin this dog! We had a Great Pyrenese before this dog, and it was an untrained beast. A nice dog, but completely ruined by my Step-father.

    I will be eternally grateful if someone writes a counter argument to my step father, with rational reasoning based on experience/reality. I will also print out previous posts about training guard dogs.

    THANK YOU SO MUCH! I'm anxiously awaiting replies, i'm very upset right now after the conversation I just had with my parents.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2011
  2. kareninthesun

    kareninthesun Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a friend that raises rots, and my oldest son raised shepherds, the first from fantastic papered parents in Germany. He raised and gave them to the sherriff dept and search and rescue. He also lived on a ranch. The dogs he kept were/are awsome watchdogs, following kartrina/ritas damage when the roads were closed, Power out, lots of people left, my son was gone (rescuing folk). Neighbors whom were not healthy enough for the terrible road trials took shelter at their home. When people tried to get onto their property, the dogs wouldn't let them. Now the dogs had the run of the ranch and community, but left livestock/chickens/ducks alone. Smart, they knew the difference between hanging with humans during hunting season. They have to be socialized. They are smart and learn the difference, but if they don't go into friendly situations outside their home with you, they aren't taught what and whom is acceptable. I have a german shepherd and lab, they LOVE going out and being introduced to other dogs whom are with their owners. They learn how to trust their instincts, older people, people in wheelchairs, young children they love. I took my dogs out with me on their leashes to get used to the chicks outside. I was pretty sure they'd be ok, but wanted to make sure they understood the dynamics clearly. I'd just do what I always do in the yard, calmly to enforce this as normal. Katie, the labs personality is more mothering, so she'd watch what I'd do with her doggy smile and do the same, including helping to round them up. They trust her, she lays in the sun and they try all sorts of games with her including climbing over her. Shepherds are more regal of character. Loyal and smart, very strong, the only thing m e fears is earthquakes and thunder if it is very loud. (we live in San Diego so this is odd and without logic in tracing the source to her) she needs serious socializing so she doesn't become pushy or intolerant of other humans/creatures. Both have a very strong instinct for knowing trouble. I had a sales guy come to the door once(they are command and hand trained) both refused to listen to me as this guy tried to talk his way in as an inspector. Short version: no verification, called to verify aver he left, bad guy caught after I sneaked a peek out the see window of his beat up car three houses down. Also the more you take them with you, the more it enforces to them that they are protecting you, part of their pack, the more likely they will desire to protect their (your) home/farm. Shepherds when they care for someone are huge crybabies. I love em!
     
  3. dainerra

    dainerra Chillin' With My Peeps

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    http://www.pedigreedatabase.com/articles.html?s=the-importance-of-socializing-your-dog

    Also
    , it is very important to for a dog to learn what it is "guarding" against. Are you looking for a dog to guard against predators? If so, you need a LGD such as a Great Pyrenees or a Komador (or any of the other breeds) German shepherds especially are not dogs that are meant to work alone. They are meant to work one on one with a person.

    Rottweilers have a similar beginning, originating as drover dogs.

    Both breeds require intensive socialization and a steady dependable trainer. They both need to be trained with a firm but just hand. They need to trust their owner and be kept busy. Otherwise, they will make their own job.

    edited to remove forum link
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 7, 2011
  4. flight301

    flight301 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you so much! I'm amassing a whole page to give to my parents from previous posts in the forum history. This is a great description and will surely help my cause!

    I would like to clarify further something about my Step-father's notion about not socializing the dog- he is convinced that the dog should not interact with people other then us.
    He thinks if the dog is socialized it will be TOO FRIENDLY, like it won't 'understand' that its suppose to be suspicious of potential 'thieves' (we've had people steal our sheep in the night) & intruders, like it will see them as 'fun people' to interact with and won't scare them off. By scare them off I mean act aggressively, bark, chase. God knows what my step-father wants the dog to do. You have already explained very well that a Rottweiler can do this naturally without being un-socialized, and I so appreciate that!

    I would also like to say he thinks the dog should not be taken off the farm because he seems to think the Dog will not want to stay on the farm (we had lots of problems with or Pyrenese running off, we lost her for 2 weeks one time), that it will not have the instinct to guard the farm if it is taken on short trips/etc.
     
  5. dainerra

    dainerra Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok, this was explained to me by the first German Shepherd Breeder I ever met re the importance of socializing.

    A GSD is a very big and dangerous dog. Do you have friends/family that come to visit? A mailman that stops by every day? A little girl selling Girl Scout Cookies? A utilities worker that reads your meter?
    Do you want your dog to attack and possibly injure any of those people? Will your insurance pay or will you lose your home?

    A german shepherd needs to meet "normal" people to learn to discern what is a threat from the harmless visitors to your home. A good guideline is that the dog should meet 100 new people/places/things in it's first 100 days home. The more people that your dog knows, the more confident he will be. A dog that is unsocialized will not be protective, he will react out of fear. He will not protect your family or livestock, more likely he will run away if faced with a serious threat.

    ETA: be sure to check your homeowners policy before you bring this little guy home. German shepherds and rotties are 2 of the most often banned breeds in insurance policies.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2011
  6. flight301

    flight301 Out Of The Brooder

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    I have horrible news- originally the first thing we were going to do was enroll the puppy in obedience/training classes- MY STEPFATHER NOW THINKS AND IS SUGGESTING WE SHOULD NOT EVEN DO THIS! He thinks we should not let it around any people/dogs EVER. He wants to completely isolate it on the farm. I AM NOT KIDDING. This sounds like a sick attention joke buts its true! I am literally have a nervous breakdown and feeling horrible. I helped my parents arrange to adopt this dog, i filled out the applications, I facilitated this train wreck in the making. I had talked to my Mom and she expressed none of these sentiments to me at the time of the arrangements, she told me I could train it to my dog as well as the working farm dog they need for the chickens. I know I can convince my Mom that Dave (step-father- im tired of typing Step-F) is wrong by giving her logical information from people who understand dogs. Dave does not understand dogs at all, clearly not a rottie/shepard mix. I just talked to my Mom, I reacted very emotionally earlier when I first heard about my Step-father's ideas, and didn't get very far with her. We had a logical discussion, I told her my plan to give her the opinions of more experienced dog owners, and she is very open to this information. Essentially, she is the voice of reason (she can tell my step-father off and cancel his evil idiotic plans). I am about to punch Dave in the face. He is SO ARROGANT.

    I appreciate this advice, its on the print out! My Mom will be logical and appreciate and take these descriptions seriously thank god!
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2011
  7. dainerra

    dainerra Chillin' With My Peeps

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    obedience training is a great way to bond with your dog. Without classes, how does your step-father presume to make the dog do what he wants it to do?
    Basic common sense says that your step-father is an idiot.
     
  8. flight301

    flight301 Out Of The Brooder

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    I will add that being that I was the facilitator, I can cancel this adoption ASAP by Thursday if my Mom doesn't come to sense about this.
     
  9. henspa4fun

    henspa4fun New Egg

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    Not sure where you are located, but attempt to find an obedience school, even a pet store has classes. Invest in a little train the trainer and a good collar and leash appropriate for the dog. Puppy must be taught it is never acceptable to play with chickens (like chase)- it may be awe cute, but not when dog is 130 pounds and a terror. Agree on consistent commands, sit, down, off, stay, potty and no. Catch dog in act of doing good and command, praise and reward. Never, never, never strike the dog. Keep on leash when around live stock. Do some fun stuff. Make an obstacle course and practice, practice, practice heel, down, slow, fast, down, stay, come. This is not a task that should be taken on a whim, as the dog can quickly outgrow the training, you must be consistent and ever vigil. It will take a least a year to trust the animal around livestock. Be fair and reward freely. I have trained several dogs, one German Shepard that the army rejected would even gather the eggs from the coop and carry in a basket to the house.

    My first suggestion, when the puppy is introduced to the chix if too eager to bite the response is "leave it" and lead the puppy away with some other distraction like a ball or squeaky toy. Then lots of 'atta boys' . Attach the leash to your belt and have pup do the chores at your side. Avoid chasing the dog when it does run after the chickens, instead try calling dog's name slapping your knees and run the other way, pup will most likely chase after you. After all you have a pocket full of treats.

    Best of luck
     
  10. dainerra

    dainerra Chillin' With My Peeps

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    oh, be sure to show them the aggression section of the GSD forum. That is just a few of the problems that arise from an unsocialized dog.
     

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