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Working dog breeds

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by meggers32, Jan 17, 2009.

  1. meggers32

    meggers32 In the Brooder

    Jul 8, 2008
    Mt. Vernon, WA
    Hi there everyone,

    I have read the posts for the best breeds if you are interested in getting a dog for livestock protection, Great Pyrenees, Anatonlin, and Aussie. I am looking to get another dog to add to our animal family, but I want to make sure I get the right kind of breed for out situation. I don't have any livestock or sheep to herd and I also need a dog that instinctivelty knows to stay in their "workplace" and not wander off or chase things. I live at a Camp/Retreat center, where my husband is on staff, and we do not have any fencing anywhere. Our chickens can't free range, but I would still feel better if I have a working dog to watch over our chickens, rabbits and soon to be goats. I have a Border Collie/English Sheperd and she is great too, but doesn't seem to have the instincts to protect the animals, just eat them. She could be trying to "herd" them, given she is part Border Collie, but I doubt it. Any suggestions?

    Also, those of you who have land that is not fenced, do you tie up your dogs when you leave or do they just stay put. When we get in the car, my Border has followed us all the way down through the camp and close to the main road. She has to be tied up or she will follow us. When I tie her up, I do not feel comfortable leaving the chickens in the pen, we have had racoons come in and kill before. Suggestions?

  2. unionwirewoman

    unionwirewoman Songster

    Sep 14, 2007
    Kalispell , MT
    The only info I can give you is TRAINING . Any dog will wander off unless it's trained not to . Getting them as pups sure helps...but if you're good enough , and willing to spend the time training , most any dog will learn . [​IMG]
  3. chels23

    chels23 Songster

    Jan 10, 2008
    S.E Kansas
    I think that if you are looking for a livestock guardian dog it would be best to get a dog that is bred to do that. Probably one that has been working with livestock already. As for getting an Aussie to watch out for them I personally don't think that would work. Aussie's were bred to herd and have a high drive to chase. I have a Blue Heeler and while she does fine when I'm around she has killed a chicken when I wasn't. Of course every dog is different and I know that there are several people on here that have herding dogs and don't have any problems.
    As for how to keep them in the yard. A lot of people that live in the country don't tie their dogs. No matter what I think they will wander, but usually come back. Maybe if you give you dog something to keep it distracted that would help. If you wear your dog out before you leave by playing or something that might help to.
  4. burley

    burley In the Brooder

    Dec 12, 2008
    Oriential North Carolina
    unless you have thousands of aceres a fence is necessary for most protective species. Fences protect the dog as well as protect the outside world from the dog. Most Anatolian breeders will not concider selling a pup to people without a fence.
  5. Rosalind

    Rosalind Songster

    Mar 25, 2007
    I can tell you right now that a Pyrenees is probably NOT a good choice. Pyrs that are off-leash with no fences, generally run away and don't come back. There are exceptions, but they are exceedingly rare. My Pyr, who has never, NEVER been walked off the property, who has only ever been off the property by getting in the car and driving to the vet or to the state park, who has been consistently told, "no, stay in our yard (leash jerk)" for a year and a half still believes that his territory includes all the neighbors' property and the preservation land for a distance of about half a mile square. His territory is everything he can see, and he can see a lot. No amount of training convinces him otherwise. Pyrs are also very very intelligent and self-reliant, and quite able to hunt for themselves when they're feeling peckish. They won't necessarily come back when they are hungry, and their thick coat ensures that they're not going to get cold and want a nice warm house quickly, either. If mine had his druthers, he'd stay outdoors 24/7, bark the neighborhood crazy, and only bother me to trim burrs out of his fur.

    Pyrs are intelligent enough to recognize a situation where they must obey or be forced to obey, such that when you are in a fully fenced part of the yard, they will perform beautifully, worshipping your every command and looking angelic in exchange for biscuits. Then, confident that they know their stuff, you open the gate and let them out into the rest of the yard. You see them edging towards the neighbor's squirrel feeder and say, "(dog), COME!" and shake the treat bag. The dog looks at you, looks at the squirrel, visibly laughs at you, then runs over to tear up the neighbor's yard chasing squirrels.

    In comparison, my friend's Aussies are good about staying in their yard and coming when called. They obey instantly in any situation, yet are noticeably less socialized to people, and they recognize the limits of their territory without fail.
  6. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    My suggestion? All dogs, regardless of breed, have the potential to eat a chicken or two. If you can't train your present dog to not do this, its a real gamble if you will find a pup that will instinctively leave the chickens alone.....it happens, but there are no assurances.

    As for staying at home and not being tied: Petsafe makes a wonderful wireless, invisible fencing that allows for boundary expansion, relocation of boundary~with available electricity, and a re-entry feature in case your dog has somehow got outside the boundary~it will not shock him upon re-entry into the boundary.

    This unit costs around $269 and comes with one collar, and additional receiver will costs around $125. I've used it for my two dogs with great success for several years now. They have the ability to protect my flock but not the ability to leave the property, so its a perfect solution.
  7. Buster

    Buster Back to Work

    Quote:I am really going to look into that. That would be really useful around here.

  8. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    Buster, I have a GP mix that looooooves to travel and it works wonderful for her. My Lab/BC trained to the boundary in about 5 min. time...shocked once and never challenged it again. He was without batteries in his collar for 3 wks one time and he never once left the boundary. The GP? If the battery is out long enough, she will find out by sheer accident and will eventually wonder away~this happened to us one time in 3 years.

    I have had the in ground invisible fencing and always had to worry about where my dogs were! Endless trouble with it and found it to be inflexible~couldn't just up and move it where I need the dogs most. This unit, however, can be taken on trips to visit relatives or to go camping and you can even order a special plug in for your cigarette lighter for areas with no electricity. They have a total range of 180 feet diameter and can be adjusted down to 6 ft. in diameter. The 180 ft. will cover most of my 1+ acre.
  9. Buster

    Buster Back to Work

    Quote:That's really cool! My dog doesn't travel too much- just to the neighbor's who she's made good friends with- but it annoys me that she goes even that far. I will be able to keep her in the fenced back yard here soon when I get two gates put in and that should keep her home but the set up you are talking about would be wonderful when we go camping and things like that.
  10. PotterWatch

    PotterWatch My Patronus is a Chicken

    Apr 22, 2008
    I would recommend a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog. OUr swissy mix is a wonderful dog. He knows his place in the yard (though certainly any dog could run away). Our chickens and goats wander our yard freely and he is perfectly content with having them around (we trained him as a puppy with the chickens). We don't have a lot of predators, but he does his job keeping the few we do have out of our yard. He doesn't bark at every little thing (which I LOVE), but he will bark when necessary. We think it is a wonderful breed! Taken from the GSMD of America Club website:

    The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is a large and heavy boned dog with incredible physical strength. Historically, the Swissy was bred as a draft dog to pull heavy carts, as a herding dog to move dairy cattle, and as a watchdog and family companion. The Swiss farmer needed a strong, multi- purpose dog capable of contributing to daily life on the farm. The Swissy is a very alert, strong and athletic dog who can out power most breeds of dog. The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is confident in nature and should never be shy and though athletic and very physical, the Swissy is also known to be very gentle with young children.

    The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is a happy, jovial breed with an enthusiastic nature and strong affinity to people and children. They are strongly dependant on people and crave attention and physical contact. As youngsters, they can be quite boisterous and they do require steady and reliable training to develop manners and physical self-control. Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs should be very accepting of a non-threatening stranger. Whether that stranger is friendly or neutral, the Swissy should be happy and inviting on approach. The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog should be confident and comfortable in unfamiliar locations and be stable around strange noises and unfamiliar people. Swissys should be very accepting of other dogs and species.

    Activity level in the Swissy is very variable. Swissys are capable of being quite athletic, but typically, that activity is seen in bursts. Most Swissys are active for short periods of time followed by napping. However, the Swissy adapts very easily to many different lifestyles. Swissys want to be with their owners and want to participate, and with that desire to be with their people, the activity level of the Swissy most often matches the activity level of the family.

    The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is an incredible watchdog. They tend to notice everything in their surroundings and are very quick to sound alarm. They will inform you of anything different in their environment, barking at anything that seems out of order. Faced with a threat, they will stand their ground and put on a show that will intimidate those unfamiliar with the dog. However, Swissys are not guard dogs. A Greater Swiss Mountain Dog should be very bite-inhibited. He should be reluctant to bite, doing so only under the direst of circumstances.

    The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is a very dependant dog and one that needs a good leader to follow. A Greater Swiss Mountain Dog should welcome an authority figure. Given a qualified leader figure, the Swissy has a fairly submissive nature and is a willing worker happy to follow through with the tasks at hand. The Swissy does not do well in a home environment without a leader.

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