Ouestions About Herding Dogs

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by moopups, Jan 3, 2005.

  1. moopups

    moopups In Remembrance

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    Some horses will kill any dog that is in their pasture, especually an excited dog chaseing other critters. The dog does not belong in with the goats unless they are raised together. A herding dog is just that, a herder; dogs do not make good sheppards. Walk the dog around the permiter often so it will know where the boundrys are located. Let the goats out into a contained area seperate from their pasture, have the dog and yourself chase them back in, do this often sothe dog will get the idea. And for the dogs safety around horses do not allow it toenter the goat pasture, just chase the goats back until they reenter.
     
  2. Little Quacker in OR

    Little Quacker in OR Well-Known Member

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    :) I love herding dogs too. They are intelligent, focused and need lots of attention to exercise for their bodies and brains!

    I think it would be fun and a good idea for you to hop over to some of the good herding dog forums and ask questions there.

    The Australian Cattle Dog Club of America has a good site and many of the regional clubs do also...Here's a page of regional clubs:

    http://www.cattledog.com/clubs/usregional.html

    Herding dogs of any breed are not developed for staying with the pastured or free ranging stock as moopups has said. That is for breeds that are the shepherds like Maramas, Komondors etc. which are put with the stock when pups and raised right with them.

    Herders are of two types: Drovers like the ACD, The Australian Shepherd, the Rottweiler(yeah, they have them at herding trials too, right along with Pit bulls! LOL)and true herders like the Border Collie and Kelpie.

    None are ever left with the stock.... they are bred to work them at your direction. I think you need a good fence! LOL Easy to say with goats, yes? I think I read somewhere that if water can get thorough, so can a goat! LOL :p

    The goat forum may have some good ideas too, there are a lot of goat breeders that keep their goats in fences quite well around here. Of course that may depend upon the breed of goat, here they are mostly meat breeds and Nubians.

    Have fun..I am currently researching an interesting herding breed called the Australian Koolie. It is amazing to think of all of the breeds in the world that we just don't hear about or ever see. Pop it into your search engine and see what you come up with. ;) Interesting!

    LQ
     

  3. chickflick

    chickflick Well-Known Member

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    My goats and horses share the pasture, pond, and round bale, too! I think the dog you are looking for is a Great Pyrenese. This subject has been threaded to death on here in the past! :):) If you will do a search I think it should bring up the threads.

    If you are wanting a Herding dog.. they herd.... run the cattle, nip, etc.
    A GP does not herd.. they PROTECT. No training necessary. Minimal at best. Juts put them with the livestock that is to be protected and nature does the rest. As a pup you may loose a chicken or two to 'playing it to death', but that's it.
     
  4. Thumper/inOkla.

    Thumper/inOkla. Well-Known Member

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    I have ACD's well, to be correct American Blue Heelers, unless you now how to train them really well. I would expect then to kill goats, a good heeler is just too hard on small stock. Mine have been working goats, pigs and sheep off and on for the last 2 years and we have horses too and chickens all free rangeing together.

    My best dogs are loose 24/7 I have one female that I have not yet broke from running the horses so she is only out while supervised. She has by herself rolled and dragged goats more than three times her size, and she is only about 35 lbs give or take some. And when one dog gets out of control the others join in and the result can be dead stock.

    ACD's are on of the few breeds of dog developed to chase and bite, and that is what they are driven by instinct to do.

    while I have had no losses to coyotes etc, there is a risk that my dogs will kill something sooner or later.
     
  5. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I have had 2 brittanies, which are hunting dogs. The one bred to work is a far cry from the one bred to be a pet!

    The one that was bred to work was like a coiled spring. When he had nothing else to do, he hunted flies and mosquitos. Neutering him helped the coiled-spring part, but the urge to work was still very intense!

    Fortunatly, I decided that he could help me keep the rabbits out of the garden and the opossums out of the hen house. It took me several months before I trusted him with the chickens, but he DID eventually turn his hunting instincts to allowed prey!

    I am not saying to get the dog or not get the dog, I am just pointing out that there CAN be a BIGdifference in a dog that is bred to work.
     
  6. EasyDay

    EasyDay Gimme a YAAAAY!

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    Yep, noname, sounds to me like you want a livestock guardian dog (LGD), not a herder. Great Pyrenees will do the job very well, but are deemed as high maintenance with all that fur. My pick would be an Anatolian. There are several good breeds out there that will serve your needs.

    Whatever breed you decide on, make sure it was bred to do what you want it to do (livestock guardian vs. family pet). Do lots of research so you know exactly what you're getting into with any of the large breeds. I know this should apply to any size breed, but I see WAY too many large dogs ending up at the SPCA for "getting too big" or "can't afford to feed". What... did these owners think that cute puppy wasn't going to grow? *sheeesh*!!
     
  7. MARYDVM

    MARYDVM Well-Known Member

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    If the object is to keep stock contained, then you don't want a guarding dog, or a herding dog, you want a tending dog. The German Shepherd and other European "herders" were first developed as tenders - they acted as living fences, keeping sheep in designated grazing areas by constantly patrolling the borders. There are still a few practicing this almost lost art, but it requires intensive training, and correct temperament to acheive the finished result.

    Here is an example:

    http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Ranch/5093/lore.html
     
  8. noname

    noname Well-Known Member

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    Obviously a lot I don't know LOL! Thanks for all the replies.

    My short term solution is going to be a pen of some sort - the pasture is too big for me to be able to replace all of the wire fencing anytime soon. I was just wondering if a dog might make it possible for them to roam around more without getting loose. I would also like to add a few sheep at some point. Looks like I'm going to have to think about replacing all that fencing.
     
  9. chickflick

    chickflick Well-Known Member

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    A properly bred GP has a coat that you DO NOT have to groom all the time. Once puppy hood is over, the coat should rarely need anything. My year old GP, Rick was wonderful. His breeder has a website and they are near Dallas. If I have time, I will post a link later.
     
  10. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I would agree with the German Shepherd, but only if you can find the old fashioned Rin Tin Tin type.

    I don't think a working dog is what you need. You could get a mixed breed dog with some Border Collie or Sheltie, but you don't want one with a strong drive as it will be very frustrated. Actually, a mild tempered terrier, like a Cairn may work for you. They can be trained to drive, which is what it sounds like you need, just to chase the goats back in before they really need to be herded. As Moopups wrote, you really just need a dog that you can train to chase the goats back into the pasture and then stop.

    I have sheep and donkeys. My border collie is not allowed to chase the donkeys, even though they are pastured together and I take the donkeys for walks while the dog is out. I guess I should add that he's the best trained dog I know. Training is key in this type of issue.

    A trainer that is really a "good" trainer could help you to train your dog to do what you need him to do. If you can learn from books, then use the book techniques to train your dog in basic obedience, then from there train him to do extra things. For theory and examples, get Don't Shoot the Dog by Karen Pryor.
     
  11. YuccaFlatsRanch

    YuccaFlatsRanch Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If you watch the way herding dogs work you can divide them into 2 general classes - Driving dogs (aussies, heelers, Kelpies) and Fetching dogs (Border Collies). Driving dogs work along with you and drive the stock where you want them to go. Fetching dogs (border collies) gather the stock and bring them back to you. Border Collies can be taught to drive - its a pain to teach a driving dog to fetch.

    So - if you have a large pasture and you want the dogs to go back into a pen, with driving dogs you walk across the pasture with the dog and then the 2 of you drive the stock where you want them to go. With a fetching dog you send the dog after the stock and hebrings the stock back to you or to wherever you have moved to (like the entrance of the pen).

    LGD dogs such as an Anatolian or Great Pyr could care less where the stock goes - they just go with them and keep them safe.

    Once a Border Collie or Aussie or..... starts working stock, you need to keep them separated from stock UNTIL you want them to work - otherwise they will continue to work the stock until one or another drops from exhaustion. My Border Collie ALWAYS is working something - stock, chickens, cats, a toad - they will herd anything and everything.
     
  12. sidepasser

    sidepasser Well-Known Member

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    Hi,

    "A properly bred GP has a coat that you DO NOT have to groom all the time. Once puppy hood is over, the coat should rarely need anything."

    I have a well bred GP from working stock (more than 5 generations of actual guarding sheep and goats) and he is not a "show dog". These dogs are referred to a "mat dogs" as they like to sleep out on the ground in all kinds of weather, normally if allowed, at the doorstep of the master's home, hence the name "mat dog".

    GPs do need grooming frequently to keep the coat from getting matted and causing sores. They are double coated dogs, with a wooly like undercoat and a hard top coat to shed rain and snow. Fleas and ticks just adore all that hair, as well as burrs, thistles, sticks and twigs and of course, leaves. All will get entangled in the fur and need to be removed or you will have a miserable mess of a dog. My dog prior to his arthritis, lived mainly with the goats and horses. He worked 24/7 with his herd, and I groomed him regularly to remove mats, and all the crap that he accumulated in that fur.

    Now he's retired to the barn area and I clip him short in the summer (not shave, just clip) as these dogs suffer from the GA. heat more when they get older. He has a creek and a swimming pool - during 90 degree plus weeks here, he can be found in one or the other at his discretion. To properly keep a GP coat is time consuming and a lot of work unless you have one that is very thin coated or doesn't live with the livestock year round. But then again, I groom my rat terrior who is short coated too as I think it helps keep me on top of any cuts or ticks she may have acquired while doing her job - chasing rats, squirrels, and other critters. I would hate for you to get a dog this big (Amos in his prime was 150 lbs) and then find out that under all that hair can be any number of problems if not tended to weekly.

    Sidepasser
     
  13. littlelad

    littlelad given to fly

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    Hi noname,

    you might want to check out ENGLISH Shepherds (those are not Aussies), they seem to be just what you are looking for - great all around farm help without being limited to "only" herding, guarding, etc.. And not to intense on the stock too.

    http://www.englishshepherd.org/

    For lots of information about the type of dog you`re probably looking for also go to the AWFA homepage:

    http://www.geocities.com/farmcollie1/assn.html
    and
    http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Valley/5755/

    Hope this maybe of help to you.

    tschuess,
    littlelad
     
  14. Starlighthill

    Starlighthill Northern Michigan

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    Yes, the English Shepherd is a good all purpose farm dog. I can leave mine with the goats, sheep , pigs, poultry and he leaves them alone. I wouldn't leave a pup unattended with poultry... too much temptation. I don't let mine in with the horses, but a nearby farmer raises draft horses and his ES is loose with them and everything else on his farm. They will herd, but usually aren't driven like some of the herding breeds. They are good about putting animals back where they belong and letting you know if something is amiss. I swear by mine. When I do chores I don't have to close close the gates behind me til I'm done: Tucker won't let the animals out.
    The AWFA is a good place to start.
    Starlighthill
     
  15. vtfarma

    vtfarma Well-Known Member

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    We have acd's. One that works the pigs and one that works the cows. They both will nip/pinch at the animals to move them where they need to be. They both actually will go fetch our cows and bring them to us when we tell them to go get them. Uno is a pig dog through and through. He was originally too agressive but now, through patience, has learned to hold them, move them, bring em around. They know he is boss ... no questions asked. We love ours. They would not probably do what you want though they have put one of our escaping calves back in more than once. They understand where the fence is and which animal is supposed to be where.

    The other thing - you are part of their herd when you have one of these. They own you. They love you, they protect you and they have their own ideas about who should be around you. I have no doubt in my mind that if someone broke in here they would die a horrible death or leave a brown streak a mile long as they ran away.

    Goof fences may be a solid solution. It takes alot of work, a lot of repitition to train these little buggers.
     
  16. boren

    boren Well-Known Member

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    I guess this really isn't the answer you're looking for, but wouldn't fixing the fence be the real answer? I don't know what type of goats you have, and I suspect pygmies would be a nightmare. My full size saanen's can squeeze through a 6" crack it seems, so you need good fence and gates. That said we use 5 wire high tensile electric fence for the pasture and cattle panels for the pens and both work well. I have yet have an escape yet, knock on wood.
     
  17. idahocurs

    idahocurs Well-Known Member

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    YuccaFlats described how these dogs work best but a Kelpie is a gathering breed just like the BC but kelpies are more prone as a breed to grip (bite) stock than a BC but both breeds gather and are known to show "eye". As far as a dog that can be taught to be a "shepherd" I think you have your work cut out for you as it has been stated that there are herding dogs (driving and gatherers) and Protecting dogs known as LGD.
     
  18. havenberryfarm

    havenberryfarm Well-Known Member

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    I would agree that this is the type of dog you are asking about. I have a collie who guards my children and my goats. He loves our goats and gets all depressed when it is time for them to go to the barn. He will follow me along the fence whining to the doe while I lead her. Once we pass the edge of the fence he barks a warning to the neighbor's dog to stay away from his goats! I don't know if he was raised with goats or sheep since we got him from a shelter, but he has always had a strong desire to guard and protect and is definitely a working dog at heart. We kept the dogs and goats separate for a few weeks until they got used to each other through the fence. Then we supervised them until they were trustworthy. Now I can just watch them out the window and trust them to behave. Occasionally there is a minor problem. The collie growled at the doeling who was stealing grain from the doe so I brought him inside the house. I don't quite trust him enough to deal with that on his own yet. He monitors their behavior but he is always on the side of his favorite, the herd queen. He also keeps the chickens out of the goat yard. He thinks they are stealing grain. LOL. He doesn't know that the goats spilled it and won't eat it! Ha. anyway, I would recommend that you get an experienced farm collie, English shepard or European type GSD.
    Even if you do get the right breed, you will have to test them to see if they have an aptitude for the work you want them to do. For instance, my collie is great, but my border collie mix has no common sense at all when it comes to herding goats. She is fairly trustworthy, but she is not interested in working, only playing. My collie on the other hand is very serious and sees the herd as his responsibility (my kids too :) ). You need a dog from working stock who is very serious, not high strung, and protective with good common sense. He needs to be able to think for himself, not just take orders. A border collie is not really what you want. They are trained to take orders and view their work as "fun". They are very smart, but also hyper and high strung which can scare goats. They are also prone to chasing if they are not well-trained.
    My collie doesn't always deal with problems on his own, but he always alerts me if something is not "right". He tattles. He breaks up fights and will insert his own body between anyone he thinks is getting too rough and steer them in another direction. He is fantastic with my children and keeps the doeling from upsetting the doe and getting hurt. He is alert to the neighbor dogs, deer, hawks overhead, strangers, etc.
    Good luck. A good dog of any breed is hard to find and even harder to train.
     
  19. Valmai

    Valmai Well-Known Member

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    The cheaper option or while your deciding which breed, where to get it from and training it ... why dont you make some portable houses, put a collar & chain on the goats. Then you can take them out of the fenced area for a change of scenery & grass while you deal with the 'what dog' or more fencing question.
     
  20. Thumper/inOkla.

    Thumper/inOkla. Well-Known Member

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    many goats will twist themselves into knots and choke themselves to death within minutes of being tied, so be careful if you try this.