What dog to get???

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by momof2, Sep 24, 2004.

  1. momof2

    momof2 Well-Known Member

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    Hello. I don't have a farm but I am getting chickens soon and want a goat or two. I have small children and a cat and mix breed dog already. I have NO idea what kind of dog to get that will PROTECT! I want a dog that will guard chickens, livestock and children.

    Here is what is currently available at my local shelter that looked good to me:
    Austrailian Shepherd/ Australian Cattle dog / Blue Healer Mix
    Newfoundland / Black Lab Mix
    Golden Retriever / Bordercollie Mix
    Coonhound
    Newfoundland Mix (??)
    Border Collie
    Austrailian Shepherd / Collie Mix
    Great Pyreneese Mix (??)

    There are TONS of dogs available, I just don't know what to get. Everytime in the past that we have got a dog I always regret it. We only have the 1 now and he is good but useless. I want a GOOD dog!!! I want a protector!!!!! Any suggestions are greatly apprectiated.
     
  2. kabri

    kabri Almst livin the good life

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    Hi Momof2! Australian shepherds are the breed I've raised, trained, competed with, but most importantly lived with for a lot of years. I love the breed, but I'm the first to say that they are not for everyone. Many can be protective, excellent guard dogs, and some can take that to extreme. Ours have learned that people we escort onto our property are ok and they mostly ignore them. One would definately bite an intruder. On the other hand, I've known aussies that love everyone and have not 1 protective bone in their bodies! They need a job and excercise, maybe a bit more than other breeds except border collies. Aussies DO know how to relax and be couch potatoes too.

    The aussie/collie mix sounds like it will need a ton of grooming. Pure aussies need some as well, but once a week good brushing and nail clipping is usually sufficient. Aussies will tend to more herd your livestock than protect, but they will also challenge any intruder that comes near your place. I hope this is helpful to you!!!!!
     

  3. Torch

    Torch Well-Known Member

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    I don't think there is a finer dog than the German Shepard Dog. Loyal, protective and alert, but not to the point of being dangerous to friends and family.

    I've had two and they were both just like members of the family. I miss them both dearly.
     
  4. BCR

    BCR Well-Known Member

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    The first one on the list looks great, depending on health and age and appeal to you.

    I have mitts and enjoy the Aussie breeds. The Aussie shepherd/cattle dog mix I would choose in a heartbeat. They are a bit free-thinking but want to please you enough that they will listen if you put the training time in.

    Is this your first ever dog? Or your first farm dog? Do you have kids?

    My Aussies (both shepherd and cattle dog mixes) respond well and gently to kids.
     
  5. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Border Collie or Border Collie mix. I have two Border Collies and a Border Collie/Blue Heeler mix and I love them all. The BC/BH mix is a little hyper, but that's okay. She's just a pup still.

    They make great watch dogs and are protective. I have a chicken and they have never shown aggression toward her, but they keep everything else away from her (The pup will never forgive the neighbor's dog for killing our other chicken and our guineas). The new puppy is only seven-weeks-old, but she is already barking and running to the door if a car pulls up. I can tell she's going to be a good watch dog.

    I had an Aussie that was WAY to protective...of me. He sent my ex-husband to the ER with bites all up his leg and when it got to the point that he was getting between me and the kids (didn't want to let my son in the house one night...he was ten and had just returned from a Boy Scout outting) I knew it was time to get rid of him.

    My dad just lost a Blue Heeler (full-blooded) and that was the most annoying dog! He would nip at everyone's heels. He did a good job of keeping the chickens off the carport though.

    I don't have small children, but my dogs show no aggression to children when they are around. Border Collies are good natured, protective, but not aggressive dogs. They are playful and need exercise which makes them perfect for children who want to get out and run and play with a dog.

    You can't go wrong with a Border Collie or BC mix.
     
  6. BCR

    BCR Well-Known Member

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    The important thing is to give whatever dog you do get a job.

    Have you ever owned a dog? Consider reading the books by the Monks of New Skete. They raise German Shepherds and have a lot of good advice for new dog owners. The "Art of Raising A Puppy" book is worth its weight in gold. Read it now before you choose a new dog. For that matter, read the "How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend" book as well. They are worth owning. They have helped me, a 'new to dogs adult owner' in understanding and training my dogs. I have only had 4 dogs as an adult howver. Mayber someone else has better advice.
     
  7. momof2

    momof2 Well-Known Member

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    We have a large mutt now but we have never trained him. We only had him for the kids not for any purpose. He is only about a year old and really good dog just useless. I am not sure how he will be with the chickens.

    I will certainly look at those books. That is the kind of info. that I need.

    I am really surprized that NO ONE said the Great Pyreneese mix!!!! I thought that was supposed to be a GREAT "livestock" or "farm" dog???? Why did no one suggest that one?

    I am going to spend this weekend researching. Usually we end up with whatever comes our way and we find it a better home in a few months because I just can't stand it any more. How awful! I want a good dog and I want one that we will keep forever this time.
     
  8. BCR

    BCR Well-Known Member

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    Great Pyrenees are great dogs, for the right family. They can be escape artists and need a lot of exercise and/or high fences. They can be so protective that it can be a problem. They have a lot of fur to deal with. And they are large and therefore eat a lot. Large dogs also have shorter lifespans in general. So it is not always the ideal homestead dog.

    It might be, that for you, a dachsund is the answer. ;)
     
  9. CountryWannabe

    CountryWannabe Well-Known Member

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    I will caution you to ask about the history of these dogs - many dogs are at the pound for a reason.

    Most Border Collies are on the go 24/7. They do not do well unless they have a real job to use up all that energy. Also, many herding breeds will herd not only sheep and cattle, but your chickens and your children. Many use heel nips to herd (sheep and kids)

    Most of the breeds you list will need grooming a fair amount.

    Great Pyrenees are a nice dog, but they take their guarding seriously - sometimes too seriously. They also HATE to be fenced in. They like lots of room to roam. Sometimes neighbors are not thrilled about that.

    Most dogs are protective of what they consider part of their pack when it comes right on down to it. I don't really think it is particularly breed-dependent, more the dog's nature.

    If you didn't train the dog you have now (who, at only a year old is eminently trainable) do you plan on training the new dog - who is probably at least the same age and may come with some bad habits that need untraining? It is a rare dog indeed that is psychic enough to know exactly what you require of him.

    Mary
     
  10. DayBird

    DayBird Big Bird

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    I'm suggesting it. Do a search on this forum for great pyrenees and you'll see why. For us, our family and our needs, there isn't a better dog for us. Of all the dogs I've had growing up, none are as nice as Sam. He's never jumped on anyone like the Aussies did. Never killed any of his charges like the hounds did constantly.

    Pyrs eat very little. Just because he's big doesn't mean he eats alot. Aussies eat much more than pyrs. (Good food plays a big part in that, though.) Yes, he barks, but that's one of the reasons we got him. Yes, he sheds alot, but the wild birds love to make nests out of that and it's only really one good time in the spring when he blows his coat. He's never bitten anyone, mainly because noone is stupid enough to walk into our yard without our permission.

    There is noone with a brain in their head that would open our gate without me or my wife standing by. That's the biggest reason we got him. He's not a herding dog that would annoy the children all day. He's not a hunting dog that would kill the chickens. He's a guard dog, a livestock protector. He'd rather kill another coyote than take his next breath. I have no fear of our children playing in the yard. Between him keeping strangers away and the peahens eating the snakes, our yard is perfect for our kids. There's not a child that Sam doesn't love, not a strange adult that he doesn't hate. He's absolutely perfect.

    For those mixes at the pound, they're there for a reason and are rarely what they're supposed to be. If it doesn't have a double dewclaw, it's not a pure pyrenees. Mixes usually don't have a double dewclaw. They have unknown parentage and their disposition is very questionable. They're usually in poor health. Have a heartworm test before you take the dog home. They said our rat terrier tested negative but on her first checkup three days later, she had a very high titer and very sick and died shortly after. Just remember, they're there for a reason. It's great to adopt one if you don't have a specific job for them or a specific need to meet and you have limitless time for training and money to spend on healthcare.
     
  11. deb

    deb Well-Known Member

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    I would ask the shelter if they test their dogs for "prey drive". Usually a shelter will see if a cat walking by will distract the dog or make it start up a chase. Chickens are small, noisy and flighty so they are great to chase. Most dogs with a high prey drive would get a big kick out of chasing chickens and then if they catch a chicken - its even more fun pulling feathers out.

    Take the time to talk with the shelter staff and find out what they test for (prey drive, food aggression, etc.) and what they know about the dogs up for adoption. Be aware that blue heelers instinctively nip at the heels of cows and people and other dogs. So you may need to do your own test for that.

    Good luck
    -Deb
     
  12. BCR

    BCR Well-Known Member

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    Of course, you could get a giveaway puppy and could therefore have some say in its demeanor. Use the puppy test from the Monks in the books I mentioned. It has worked great for us.
     
  13. themckendry

    themckendry New Member

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    Hi, I've worked with dogs professionally so I hope I can help. First go ahead and adopt from the shelter. Yes, all the dogs are "there for a reason" but usually it has to do with the people rather than the dog. I volunteer at a shelter and -Swear to God- someone turned in a dog becaue it's color clashed with the new rug. Second, "Never overlook the dog whose mother never married." -Bill Tarrant, 20+year gun dog editor of Field and Stream. Any dog can be a great dog regardless of parentage. Your mutt may turn out to be the best dog you ever had. Third, give your dog more time. I should hope a year old dog isn't too protective, it's a puppy's job to love everyone because the "pack" protects all puppies. Now that he's "coming of age" he'll start to be more protective but he must be made to feel part of the "pack" Not just fed there. Your house can be his territory without your family being a "pack" together. The Monks of New Skete do have some great books but if I could give one book to every dog owner in the world it would be Dog Talk by John Ross and Barbera McKinney. Go get it and make it your bible :) Last, do things with your dog. There is no magic breed. Great dogs don't just happen. Talk to him, train him, keep him with you. GO take a training class. The $50 is worth it!! Good luck and feel free to PM me
     
  14. momof2

    momof2 Well-Known Member

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    This has been more helpful than you know. I really don't know anything about dogs and I live in an area where EVERYONE has a mutt. You know, 10 dogs running loose in everyones yard that serve no purpose except to eat and have puppies. Ours is actually a really good dog. I didn't know that puppies weren't expected to "do" anything. I will certainly be spending more time with him. Also, we don't make him a part of too many things because he annoys me and the kids to no end. He is just now, like this week, starting to NOT jump on you so much. He is really big and it hurts when he jumps on me, imagine the poor kids.

    Deb... that is a great idea about the "prey drive". I never would have thought about that. Thank you!

    Themckendry... you know, I have been searching for the "perfect breed" or "perfect dog". I really haven't wanted to put the time and energy in to have it though. I guess I need to start with what I have and train him. We only have 1 obedience school and it's 1 hour away and it's at night. I have 4 little children and no way to go at night (or daytime for that matter) without children. Do you think that I could train him without the classes?

    I will get those books. Thank you all!!!
     
  15. sidepasser

    sidepasser Well-Known Member

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    Look online as well for dog obedience classes or articles. There is the purina dog chow site and there are others as well that have references, etc. to how to have a well trained dog.

    We never let our dogs jump up on us, we stop the habit by pushing our knee into their chest when they first start jumping up. I use the word "down" and then make the dog sit (if it doesn't already know that word, you will have to teach it to "sit".)

    Once sitting, i then pet the dog and praise it. We have a pyr - he's the best livestock dog I have ever had, loves kids, hates other dogs and coyotes. But he is also well trained, and that took me a year of constantly reinforcing "sit", "come", "down", and "heel" on the leash. At 125 he is too big to be jumping on anyone. He knows the basic commands and that is all he needs to know plus his own trick of sitting down and extending his paw to everyone. He learned that one on his own. You shake the first paw, then he gives you the other paw. After that, he will walk away and lay down somewhere.

    Funny dogs, but the grooming is a very hard for me since Amos can't jump on his table anymore so I have to bend over to wash, clip, and so forth with him.

    Start with what you have - he'd probably make a good dog with some time invested in him.

    Sidepasser
     
  16. Corgitails

    Corgitails Well-Known Member

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    I don't think it matters so much which oen of these dogs you pick as how much training you are willing to do. If you've regretted every dog in the past, is there really a good reason to get another? Frankly, good solid, tall fences will do just as good of a job of protecting your livestock.

    I'm a serious dog person, who can't imagine living without dogs- and yes, dogs could do the jobs you want. But any dog is going to take training, especially to do the diverse jobs you are asking- and it doesn't necessarily sound like you've got a lot of time to do this.

    On sheer-trainability, I'd look at the Aussie x Heeler and the BC x Golden, assuming that the BC X isn't TOO high in prey drive. But realize that it's unlikely that any of these dogs are going to come home and start guarding things right off the bat with no chasing, no nothing.

    I know this may sound like common sense, but sometimes.....


    Cait (who is resisting the urge to adopt the aussie x puppy that keeps wandering past her house without a leash or collar....)
     
  17. vegascowgirl

    vegascowgirl Try Me

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    I would go with the Aussie Shepard/collie mix myself. I have had Aussie's for many years now, and you can't find more of a loving and loyal breed. because they are so loving and loyal, they will protect the whole flock (you, the kids, the animals, and the territory) Collies are the same.
    I have had heelers as well, they are more of a one person dog. Not always great with kids, and tend to be a tad more aggressive towards other dogs, and people they don't care for . I realize you said that it was a mix breed, but with kids, and another dog, I would go with something that has two "loving" breeds rather than anything that might have an independant traight. Besides that, heelers are better when they have a specific job to do, where Aussies and collies can be multi taskers (so to speak). In other words, they like having specific jobs, but they are happy even if they have several different tasks.
     
  18. momof2

    momof2 Well-Known Member

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    Cait, thank your the info. I have never had a good dog (until now and he of course still needs training). It's not all common sense to me when I know really nothing about dogs, except that I want a good one for once. So, I really appreciate your detailed info. Like I said, I guess I was hoping for a dog to come home to me and be perfect :) I am actually glad that I posted because I will now work with my dog instead. I still want a pyreneese but I think that I will wait until I have 1 under control first and learn with this one. It's good to know that there isn't the "perfect" breed. I am always worried that I made a mistake and that I should have gotten a different breed - thus the reason for this post - I didn't want to get the "wrong" dog. I am already learning a lot.

    I love this board. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my petty question!! And thanks for saving me the stress of another dog that I would have regreted when he wasn't "perfect" :)
     
  19. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

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    I also think that of this list of dogs the Aussie/Collie is likely to be the best for your purposes. You would want to ask questions about it, and see how it is with small children and small animals, but it should be trainable and protective, without the high energy level of a BC or purebred Aussie.

    I didn't see anyone mention this about the Great Pyrenees: they bark all night long. That is probably one of the main reasons people get rid of them, that and the roaming. Neither of those things would be much of an issue on a large acreage, but I really don't recommend the LGD breeds for small acreages with close neighbors. Not unless you have the place fenced like Leavenworth, and electric bark collars on the dogs.

    I have a 3/4 English Shepherd, 1/4 Collie who is probably just the type of dog you are looking for: good with children, a good watchdog, and good with the other animals on the place. In fact, at times I've had him living with my goats like a LGD. He does bark some at night, but not as bad as a LGD. If you decide later to look for another dog, or just for information, you might look up the American Working Farmcollie Association website.

    Kathleen in Oregon
     
  20. soulsurvivor

    soulsurvivor Well-Known Member Supporter

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    while this is probably not the dog for you, I had to offer it as a choice, especially if you need a guard dog that's protective of you and your family and very gentle with children.
    http://www.nextdaypets.com/directory/breeds/1100268

    We've had a Weimaraner in our home for the past 27 years. Our current Baby came from a registered hunting stock that is raised on a farm.The first we had, BO, was from hunting stock and an outdoor dog. DH took him bird hunting all the time, walked daily with him, and took him to the river cause BO loved to catch fish. Second dog was Ivan, and he was from show dog stock, and very dominating, almost evil. He was not good with other people and we kept him inside and when outside had to use a choke collar and leash. But he was very intelligent. We didn't even bother to lock our doors. We had to do a daily intensive routine of commands/work with this dog. Our current Baby earns his name. Best natured dog ever. He loves the cat and the cat loves him. He loves being around cows and children and it's his thrill just to sit by me at the piano and sing his heart out. Baby is very intelligent and almost trained himself as it was so easy to train him. On our daily walks with him we use a light leash, but he's so good with hand commands, it really isn't needed. All of our dogs have been short haired and very easy to maintain. They really don't require a lot of food, but they do require a lot of human attention, so are good house dogs. And I'm just partial, but there is no cuter puppy than a Weimaraner.