Working herding dogs

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by chris19, Mar 11, 2017.

  1. chris19

    chris19 Just Hatched

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    I was wondering if anyone knew any good dog breeds that herd chickens, but can also have the strength to fight off a predator. I'm located close to lodi California but will travel to Sacramento if anyone has any puppies or a dog they want to rehome that herds contact me please! I have a shepherd mix but he's bad at herding and is not interested in it. THANKS!
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Herding breeds and livestock protection dogs are two completely different types of dogs and aren't usually interchangeable.
     
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  3. dainerra

    dainerra Chillin' With My Peeps

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    you could train most herding breeds to herd in your chickens. Even many non-herding breeds can learn to do it. Ducks are a common "intro to herding" animal used to train young dogs.

    However, while many dogs will naturally scare off predators, most are not bred with the temperament to put up a fight. You would need a more traditional LGD breed for that and they don't always do well on small hobby farms with only chickens.

    Have you taken your current dog to herding classes? While such instincts are easily lost when you don't use selective breeding, almost any active dog with prey drive can be taught the simple act of rounding up chickens with human direction, regardless of breed. If you are wanting a dog to round them up without human direction, it's likely to be a recipe for disaster. Herding is very much a human construct - directed prey drive. You control the dog's desire to chase the running animals. Without that human control stepping in, dogs easily slip into pure "chase" mode, especially with small flightly animals like poultry. Add in how easily a chicken can be killed by simply being stepped on by a dog (even more one big enough to fight off predators). Also, that desire to chase and make the animals run and scream is a self-rewarding behavior. The dog gets caught up in the game more than the job you actually intended.
     
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  4. chris19

    chris19 Just Hatched

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    He's not interested in herding and i don't think he's brave enough to fight off a preditor :(
     
  5. dainerra

    dainerra Chillin' With My Peeps

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    a dog big enough with the temperament to fight off a predator isn't likely to be a dog with good temperament and instincts for herding. Actually, quite the opposite. Dogs bred to protect livestock are bred to be independent and, as a result, often don't have the desire to work with humans needed for herding.

    Herding, while playing on natural instinct, is still something that you teach a dog. You have to train them as well as reward them to make them WANT the job. It's not simply a "this dog likes to herd" In many cases, those dogs who do like that are not good candidates for actual herding work. That's why I wanted to know if you've actually taken him to herding classes. Unless you have a lot of experience working with different herding dogs, it's not something that you can do at home on your own.
     
  6. dekel18042

    dekel18042 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Look up "English Shepherd" While, like any dog, they need training, they have all the right instincts for the job. They can both herd, guard and protect. The English Shepherd standard says one on one they should be able to take down a coyote. If you live where there are big predators you may need a pair. Yet they can be very gentle with day old chicks and even let the chickens peck at a bone they are gnawing.
    LGD usually only guard, don't herd and a herding dog may not always protect but the English Shepherd is an all around farm dog with many uses. Once they know a job they can be trusted to do it on their own.
    None of our poultry was ever taken or harmed on his watch. This was a picture of Josh taken when he was fifteen and still on the job. He died last fall right before his 16th birthday.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2017
  7. chris19

    chris19 Just Hatched

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    Thanks!now i just need to find a breeder who breeds working line dogs of that breed. Do you know any breeders? I'm sorry for your loss :( i bet he was a fantasic dog :)
     
  8. chris19

    chris19 Just Hatched

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    I'm gonna get both a herding dog and a LGD i just need help finding a herding dog. My current dog will be a personal protection dog.
     
  9. dekel18042

    dekel18042 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    ES are fairly rare but can be shipped. Josh came from Stony Creek English Shepherds in Michigan. I know there are California breeders and if you look up English Shepherd Rescue there are breeders who run that and can probably refer you to a breeder much closer to you.
    These are the dogs I grew up with and they are fantastic and versatile.
    You can also make contacts on the English Shepherd lists, EnglishShepherd@yahoogroups.com
    These dogs (Thankfully) are not AKC registered and most are bred for work. They can be registered with UKC and the National English Shepherd Registery (NESR) and there is another legitimate breed organization
    I believe Centorchid (Spelling on this may be slightly off but perhaps someone else can help out.) who is on this list has some so perhaps he can tell you where he got his. On this list you can look up English Shepherd as Poultry Guardian.
    I know on the ES list one at least attacked a puma while others dispatch badgers, a pretty formidable foe.
     
  10. chris19

    chris19 Just Hatched

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    Thanks so much!! Thank goodness they aren't akc registered and are still used as working dogs. I'll cantact the person if i can't find any other breeder. Thanks!
     

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