Training Dogs

Discussion in 'Guard Animals' started by TriWinkle, Dec 15, 2013.

  1. TriWinkle

    TriWinkle Fist City

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    What works for you?

    I was reading a thread on here earlier today...Someone's LGD did something that they shouldn't have...Big debate broke out...threads were locked (surprise surprise)...Pandemonium was the recipe of the day...

    Anyway, I saw several people saying, "train the dog!!", but not much info actually offered on methods of training...

    And so I'm thinking...it's not everyone who needs to know how to break a dog from killing chickens/livestock/etc...We probably have a good knowledge base on here for breaking pesky pets of such behavior...but it often seems to be lost in translation...

    Now beating a dog with a chicken it's just killed and then tying it around the dog's neck never made sense to me...First of all the dog don't care what you're beating it with...only that it's getting beaten...if it can even associate the punishment with the crime...and then tying the dead bird around the dogs neck...well dogs roll in dead/disgusting things all the time...so I'm not really thinking the "gross factor" is a deterrent here...But I'm more than willing to concede that I don't know it all...

    So you know how to stop them from killing birds?
    Eating livestock?
    Jumping fences?
    Any or all of the above?
    Share what you know...or at least what has worked for you.
     
  2. secuono

    secuono Well-Known Member

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    Tying dead things to my dog didn't work, she found a way to get it off and ate the rest.
    I found out that she actually played, literally played, with the chickens to death. Then I found out only the overly friendly or needy chickens got played with, since they kept coming back.
    I simply got rid of the 'stupid/friendly' birds until she was older and had no interest in licking on birds.
    So finding out the real reason they are killing is the first step. Fun, boredom, accident, etc.

    With sheep chasing, I hid and used an electric collar. Then I got my other dog to learn to semi-play with her and I also did a ton of playing with her. She was simply bored as all heck out there all alone, a growing puppy. It was blatantly obvious that's all she needed, someone to play with and help her burn all that energy.

    Haven't had any other issues with her. I lost a pig, she didn't want to eat it at all. I didn't want to cut it up for the dogs, tossed it over the fence and she got the thrill of scaring off critters until it decomposed. From a tiny puppy, I handed her the skinned animals. Later on, I started adding furred parts and eventually whole. She won't touch anything I don't toss to her, even if she finds it dead. If its one of the animals she knows, she leaves it alone.

    I did no 'real' training. She doesn't know how to walk on a lead, don't want anyone to simply walk her off....She doesn't know any basic commands. She follows me on her own. If I shake an open palm, she comes to me, but I didn't fully plan that, just happened to do that to get her attention to move this way or that. She's learned to help keep the pony away while I heard the sheep.

    She doesn't jump out 4ft fence, could be because her animals never leave the 5 acres, she's never been out there, I'm never out there and such. Who knows why she hasn't 'run away', just very glad about that. She's met the hot wire fence, so she respects that. Met it at 4mo, like my Doberpup. I expect them to always respect it now. Pony took longer to learn than they did...lol.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 16, 2013

  3. motdaugrnds

    motdaugrnds II Corinthians 5:7 Supporter

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    TriWinkle, I think a lot of it has to do with the breed of dog you have, how many dogs you have and how much time you can spend with it. It also has a great deal to do with the age of the dog. I doubt there is a single dog anywhere that does not mess around with birds; so keeping a close eye on a dog new to the place is a must in this respect.

    I have always watched and listened closely to the dog(s) in training as it pretty much tells me what it needs to learn. Example: I brought home a fullblood German Shepherd to discover she not only was an alpha thinking she should be boss of absolutely everything; but that she, also, had a prey drive. (Since I have free-ranging dairy goats and an assortment of fowl, she needed to be taught I was boss and she couldn't chase the goats and fowl.) The way I did this was to keep her in the house much of the time while still a baby where she had to learn I was boss. She ate when I gave her food. She peed when I let her outside and she stayed off the furniture. When I put her outdoors, I put a leash on her and attached the other end of that leash to my grown dog (a "mix" who had already learned to guard instead of chase). This leash was a deterrent to her prey drive! This GS learned so well that the goats/fowl were not to be chased or hurt that she would even stop mating rituals.

    Then I got a fullblood labradore who loved to hunt and kill/eat what it caught, being my fowl. (The dog I had used to train the GS with had died; and I could not watch this lab all the time.) I caught her chasing chickens and no amount of scolding did any good. Then I caught her chewing on a goose, David grabbed the goose and I grabbed a piece of a water hose. I held his collar and hit him on the hip with the water hose while David held the goose up close enough to him so it could (and did) peck him on the nose. That one time was all it took!

    Then I got a fullblood Karakachan. She had no prey drive yet she certainly did not hesitate to chomp down a baby guinea when she found it away from its mother. I did absolutely nothing about that because she was only a few months old. I simply started watching her more closely; and when I found her "eyeing" baby fowl, I called her name out and growled at her. That was enough. She's 8 months old now and, though I still watch her closely, I feel pretty certain my fowl (and goats) are safe with her...still I won't know for sure until she matures more.

    As for getting past fencing, I have not had a dog who tried to leave the property by going over a fence, only one dog that would try and go under. So I laid some logs on the ground at places vulnerable to a digging dog and tied those logs to the bottom of that fence. This stopped the digging!

    I think the most important aspect of training is to understand that specific dog enough to know what it needs to be happy and healthy. Then providing opportunities for that dog to get its needs met in ways that you approve of. This, of course, means the owner's time with that dog is a must. All that provides a type of bonding that permits the owner to correct any misbehaviors, often with just a few motions and/or words....maybe a physical act if that dog is still very young. (Example: I had to place my 3-4 month old Karakachan in a small holding pen she could not get out of once because she was chasing baby goats. I let her stay there for about 5-10 minutes is all; but that worked wonders.)

    The responsibility falls on the owner to choose a dog whose characteristics fit with what is needed and/or tolerated. Many owners get a dog to fill the owner's need without giving enough consideration as to what that dog will need.
     
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  4. CAjerseychick

    CAjerseychick Well-Known Member

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    YES what they said, x2 (sorry its been a long, long day and I am trying to unwind to get to sleep and start another)..
    Basically its another extension of your relationship bet you and your dog (how does your dog know to come to you, or not jump up on you, or not knock over your kids)... its just another twist on your relationship with your dog.... to not kill the stock.... plus time it takes for dog to get used to them (getting over the novelty aspect)...
     
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  5. TriWinkle

    TriWinkle Fist City

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    Just to clarify...None of my dogs are currently killing chickens...I figured to post this for those who may encounter this problem in the future...Carry on! :rock:
     
  6. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    In order to train your dog or puppy you have to be there with it. Stopping unwanted behavior and redirecting behavior is much easier than untraining behavior. Take chasing livestock- your dog never should have had enough freedom to chase the livestock. He needs a "leave it" or similar command, even just a "sit" to stop him. You could also put a long lead on him and work him on that while he learns not to chase. Some people put a puppy in a pen with chickens so the puppy will get pecked and learn not to chase or play with them. Plan it first, don't punish later.
     
  7. redgate

    redgate Well-Known Member

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    I know many are in disagreement, but I have trained some troubled dogs in the past. My favorite go-to for the issues you listed are a remote shock-collar. These often scare people, but used correctly, they can be excellent aids for training. What they can NOT do, however, is take the place of a vigilant owner. That being said, here is my technique for any of those unwanted behaviors, and the theories behind it:

    The problem with corrections of any kind to a dog is that they associate the correction with some part of the environment or the behavior. If they bark and you say "Quiet!" they may learn to be quiet--when you are around. The key is teach them that their action is causing the correction. Thus, in these circumstances listed above, they must not associate the correction with your presence AT ALL. For chickens, I put a collar and the dog and stood inside where I could see the area of the pasture I put the dog. I had a long-range remote, so it worked for me to be a couple hundred yards away. The INSTANT I caught them getting that "tunnel vision", over-focused look that they were about to chase, ZAP! The instant a paw stepped on the chicken coop ramp in consideration of entering the coop, ZAP! The instant a chicken ran past and the dog attempted to chase, ZAP! No warning beeps, no verbal warnings first, nothing, just ZAP! It took about 3 zaps during the course of each of about 3 days (maybe 8 zaps total) and mine never chased another chicken or even looked at them wrong! Dogs are incredibly fast learners, so proper use of the collar can work quickly and be permanently effective.

    I would have used a similar technique for escaping our fence, if I'd had a good way to hide out, but I didn't. So, instead, I just watched. The moment they tried to get out, I yelled, ran over, and generally acted crazy. As soon as the dog stepped back and looked at me, I praised. If I was too late, and the dog managed to escape, I forced the dog back through the opening through which she escaped, and then scolded for being in that immediate area. I only had to do that 3 or 4 times with consistency, and she stopped. And our fence was far from dog proof! For a while, I also put some bricks and logs in the low spots to discourage the easiest escape routes. Had it continued, though, I would have found a way to use the shock collar and zap everytime they she looked at that area with a thought of escaping.

    Again, I did the same thing with chasing baby goats. The dog never associated me with the ZAP correction, but she associated the chasing behavior with the ZAP, which is exactly what you must have for it to be effective.

    To clarify, I did NOT spend a year or more with a shock collar on my dogs, Zapping them relentlessly. Rather, I gave them guidance when they first came on the property, watched continuously for signs for misbehavior, praised good behavior, and ONLY when an undesirable issue arose that appeared as though it could become more of a habit (like chasing goats or chickens multiple times with too much enjoyment), THEN steps were taken. I confined the dog to a different pen, where the stock could still be seen but not interacted with when I was able to watch. Whenever possible, though, I would put the collar on and put her back with the stock, go back inside (as far as they were concerned), and watch. Yes, this took a lot of time on my part. As the bad behavior ceased, the dogs were left alone for longer periods with the stock, gradually increasing my trust in them. However, by nipping it in the bud early, and doing it effectively, there was never a need to treat the dog harshly. I would much rather a small ZAP to the neck (I did my hand, so I know how severe the correction was) than the torture my stock might have gone through otherwise. It pays off.
     
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  8. CAjerseychick

    CAjerseychick Well-Known Member

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    I think it depends on the dog re: the ecollar-- my Berner boy is too soft in temprament for it, I would wonder if he would develop neurosis/ fear issues....

    That said, our giant schnauzer did go away to boot camp and one of the things her trainer used was ecollar and we were sent home with one to use, on vibration mode only to "remind her" on the recall (we lived at the time in a busy urban environment, where the unexpected could happen even in the off leash park- horses, hangliders landing, bike riders, joggers, picnics, loose children waving sticks etc- her recall needed to be Bomb proof)... Mind you the next 2 weeks after dog came home, was training Us to her. and trainer offers lifetime touchups for life of the dog (he is both schutzhund based, as well as involved in Canine companions for independence, and breeds dobermans, so I felt had a good understanding of working dogs, and a "fair" and balanced approached to training)...

    So I can see the uses for ecollar.
    Honestly child lost the charger and we never got around to replacing it, or I would have been tempted to try it for the chicken killing.

    I think we ended up doing something similar for the fence escapes as above per Redgate, and modified it for chicken killing-- and it worked for the schnauzer, she no longers gets out or kills things...

    I am just really glad we are even discussing training your dog -- I dont really care how you do it,
    just give TRAINING your dog a try!!!!!

    This is a great discussion...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 17, 2013
  9. aart

    aart HOW do they DO that?

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    I don't have livestock dogs, but have had dogs for 20 years. I think it's most important to remember that the dog owner needs as much training (sometimes more) as the dog itself, especially for first time dog owners. If something's going wrong during training, look at your own behaviors first.

    Recall is essential and the first thing to get solid. Bond the dog to you as the boss. You call, it comes - now - because it will get a treat and praise...then just praise. I used treats a lot at first, because food is a great motivator, but coupled it with praise and play eventually weaning off the food treats and making praise and play the 'treat'. Overusing food as praise can make it ineffective when you really need it.

    Keeping them out of trouble (don't put them in situations where it is easy for them to 'do bad') until the basic recall, sit, leave it and down commands are well established will make things go much smoother down the road. Keeping things positive (praise rather than correction) 90% of the time makes for a great start.

    Consistency and Clarity, from the very start. They only want to make you 'happy'... so be very clear as to what makes you happy or unhappy using tone of voice or specific words and be consistent with your use of tone and/or words. If you're not clear and consistent it leads to confusion for the dog, frustration for the owner and no one will be 'happy'.

    Be aware of your own 'mood'. Dogs are sensitive and react to your 'vibe'. I think a lot of dogs react more to this than any spoken command. If you are nervous, angry, or unsure of yourself, they will not feel confident and be unsure of what you want. I've caught myself many times sending the right voice command and a confusing emotional message with bad results, as soon as I corrected myself and adjusted my attitude, the dog responded as commanded. It's really quite amazing.

    That's my two cents on dog training. These are the things that have worked for me....and things that I have observed in dogs(owners) that are not 'well trained'.
     
  10. TriWinkle

    TriWinkle Fist City

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    Excellent post, but in the interest of educating/helping the rest of us, you must now post a video of yourself demonstrating the proper method of growling at pups. :D
     
  11. Otter

    Otter Well-Known Member Supporter

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    LOL, I growl at them too. Picture a little dark haired woman imitating an angry momma dog lunge and growl.
    It's a funny picture to you, but pups fall over from 5 feet away. Try it sometime. :D

    No matter what correction you use, the most important part is timing. You are God and you punish impure thoughts. If a dog is looking at a chicken, then she is thinking about a chicken, and if her ears prick or her head drops or her tail shoots up or down she is thinking about chasing that chicken and the best time to correct is then - before she has taken a single step.

    The next best time is before she'd finished that first step, and every moment after just gets less and less effective.

    The best time to praise however, is after they've done the whole thing. For sit, don't praise as they're sitting, praise after their bottom is firmly down. Unless you are obedience trialing and need a stylized Come, praise for that only after you've touched their collar.
    Timing is everything.
     
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  12. motdaugrnds

    motdaugrnds II Corinthians 5:7 Supporter

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    ROFL Ok I'm gonna get you all a video of my workable growl!!! I actually used it this afternoon during a thunderstorm. I had the back door open and Valentina, my 8 month old Karakachan who is in her adolescents came right inside knowing she was not suppose to be in the house. I saw her, got up, looked her right in the eye and gave her one of my ferocious growls. ROFL Then I took one step toward her while still growling and she turned around and slid on the floor as she hurried outside. I followed her out and she was on the porch looking at me and wagging her tail...(My imagination takes over here as I'm not sure she is happy to see me or "thumbing her 'tail' at me".) ROFL She is as large as Cujo now and is not at all intimidated by my growl; but definately knows I mean business.

    Otter, you're right on with the timing issue as that is probably one of the most important parts in training any animal. To use it the owner must know the animal being trained!
     
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  13. Mme_Pickles

    Mme_Pickles Well-Known Member

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    Biggest tip, and most important in my mind, is to always treat the dog (no matter its purpose, be it working or pet) as a dog. Never treat it as you would a human. Well, maybe speaking to it with human words but always remember that it is a dog. It will love you even more for that because the rules, expectations, etc are all clear. Dogs are simple. They need a hierarchy, a totem pole of power. You should be at the top. If you are not willing to be Alpha, your dog will attempt to stand in that place. If you then "discipline" the dog for something, that is a challenge issued by you. If you have allowed the dog to be Alpha for any length of time, you will have to work to keep that position.
    It starts with gaining Alpha status, leader of your pack. Treat your dog as a dog. He/she will thank you for it!
    A name for training info is Adam Katz. He uses knowledge of dog behavior and the prong collar. Another tool that folks sometimes freak out about. But I will say, my shepherd mix LOVES his prong collar! He gets very excited when I bring that out. It means we are going somewhere! ;)
     
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  14. Pinehollow

    Pinehollow Well-Known Member

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    Offering training advice can be difficult because you have to be able to respond to the given situation...What may have worked for one dog, may not for another, and then the handler's own behavior, delivery method may not be the same or correctly done. So what could be good advise, may be bad advise for the other person and dog.

    No matter what, timing is everything if you need to correct a dog. Catching a dog afterward is hardly affective since dogs live in the moment. You have to catch them in the act or just prior to it, when the dog is thinking about the behavior. I've never worked with livestock dogs, but I have several yrs experience with OB and protection training. Lots of the training involved training people how to manage their dogs vs actual dog training.

    Keeping a young dog active is good advise.
     
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  15. JasoninMN

    JasoninMN Well-Known Member Supporter

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    This! One this I notice when training advise is given it's always focused on correction. If your training right and in a way the dog understands corrections are rarely needed. Try focusing on what the dogs doing right instead on continually making corrections all the time.
     
  16. motdaugrnds

    motdaugrnds II Corinthians 5:7 Supporter

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    Jason, you have my secret method to training! :) By focusing on the positive, that pup learns how wonderful it is as well as how great it is to be accepted in its new home. This makes it much easire to correct that happy pup later if need be.
     
  17. CAjerseychick

    CAjerseychick Well-Known Member

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  18. boerboy

    boerboy Beginner Part-time Farmer

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