Need help for training my dog not to attack livestock! Urgent!
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Thread: Need help for training my dog not to attack livestock! Urgent!

  1. #1
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    Unhappy Need help for training my dog not to attack livestock! Urgent!

    Well, today for the first time, Starbell actually bit one of our goats. She has chased them in the past when she got loose, but I always managed to catch her before serious harm was done. Today she bit Lola, my favorite goats, neck. Lola will recover, but I think Starbell would have killed her had I not been there. Now, we live in the country and we have livestock, our neighbors have livestock, etc. I love Starbell with all my heart, but the problem is no one else does. My parents say if she ever actually and truely harms one of our goats, my horse, our neighbors cows, etc. she will have to go. Which can't happen!! I adopted her from our local animal services two months ago. I have been doing LOTS of training with her, thinking that if I trained her to obey, everything would be OK, because she would listen to me, and not chase the goats if I was around. Doesn't work. She goes psyco predator around all other animals except dogs, which she is fine with. I am really desperate on how to get her not to attack other animals. We can build a dog proof pen for our animals, but we can't tell our neighbors to(and Starbell goes for whatever she sees). Starbell is a Catahoula/Pit Bull mix, not the greatest combination around other animals I know. But I can't find her another home when I love her so much already! I know there's no "magic" training techniues, but isn't there something I could do, or some sort of training I can start that would teach her not to attack livestock? I wanted to do agility with her in our 4-H club too, but if she is forever after the cows and chickens at the show grounds, that is a big no-no to. I'm sorry, I know I'm not making much sense, I am just feeling really desperate, since there is nothing I can really do if my parents don't agree(I'm only 15) Also, we are very limited on money right now, so we can't pay to have a professional training work with her... Does anyone have suggestions for what I can do?
    Starbell: 40lbs of energy, love, and lots of play and prey drive, wrapped up in a hardheaded wrap of white fur and brown patches, topped of with a pair of beautiful blue eyes.

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    Senior Member briteday's Avatar
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    Re: Need help for training my dog not to attack livestock! Urgent!

    you have chosen a dog that is both a hunting dog (catahoula, chases game animals) and a protection dog (pit bulls were originally used by ranchers to protect them if a bull charged towards them). That being said, your choice of dogs may not have been the wisest one since you live with livestock.

    Basically your dog needs proper obedience training, consistency, and plenty of exercise and appropriate work to do. Otherwise, as you have already discovered, she becomes self employed and the results are not a good outcome.

    Keep the dog in a dog proofed area or on a leash. Although it sounds like you are living in a rural area where one would normally let your dogs run loose, your dog needs to earn this privilege through training with you, every day put it in your schedule to work her on basic obedience. If you can get to 4H dog meetings they are a great place to learn obedience with your dog. My daughter did a lot of 4H obedience, then showing her dog in conformation fun matches, and after a bit more obedience they worked in agility together. It would be a good outlet for both of you.

    Goats and sheep, in particular, have small hearts and lungs for their size. Therefore they can easily be "run down" by a predator because they tire easily from lack of oxygen to keep running away.

    We had an aussie shepherd that we had to fence out of the livestock corral and fully train before she was allowed near the livestock. And we could never trust her enough to leave her alone outside without supervision. A person always had to be out with her if she was near the corral. As a young dog she ran down one of our sheep and chewed on the sheep's ears and nose.

    But in the long run you may end up putting your dog in a dog run when outside or keeping her on a leash until she has proven herself.
    Being smart is learning from your own mistakes. Being wise is learning from others' mistakes.
    Cally- 14 yo papillon, Moose the puppy, McKenna 8 yo pomeranian grand-dog, and chickens

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    Re: Need help for training my dog not to attack livestock! Urgent!

    Why not just keep her on a leash anytime she's outside? Many a city dog spends a very fulfilling life like this. Other than that i would work daily on obedience with emphasis on leave it, recall, and down. I wouldn't suggest using any punishment based avoidance methods without the help of an experianced trainer.

    And pitbulls were never originally bred for nor menat to be protection dogs. They were bred to fight other dogs.

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    Senior Member Durbkat's Avatar
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    Re: Need help for training my dog not to attack livestock! Urgent!

    I would fence ever how much you can fence of your property around the house so that way your dog can't get to the live stock.


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    Senior Member TooneyDogs's Avatar
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    Re: Need help for training my dog not to attack livestock! Urgent!

    You're not going to like this....I don't like it...but, the only short term, reliable way you're going to be able to train in this situation is with an electronic collar and you'll need professional help to accomplish that. Do not attempt this is on own...the side effects from improper use can be disastrous. Long term you can certainly train the drop/stand still command but, that may take years. As money is tight, it looks like the only real option is on leash or confinement.

  7. #6
    Senior Member Rough_Collies2008's Avatar
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    Re: Need help for training my dog not to attack livestock! Urgent!

    I agree about the leash or fenced area for the dog. Definitely don't let her loose around your animals right now.

    I actually think you should start with the leash. Teach her manners on how to behave around livestock while you have her completely under your control.

    I had a slightly diffferent problem with one of my dogs(he never bit the horses or acted like he would).

    Riley, my 7 month old collie pup, used to love barking at the horses. To him, it was fun, he didn’t nip the horses or go near them...he just chased the fence line. He would care less about the horses until they started running and bucking...then he got real excited. After seeing his behavior, I decided…we need to work on that.

    So, I put him on the leash, and put the horses out to pasture. While the horses ran around for the first few minutes (I call it their 'let loose' time), I worked on obedience with him. I made him sit, 'watch me', heel, sit, 'watch me' etc. Right outside the fence where the horses were. Every once in awhile, he wouldn’t pay attention and would try and bark at the horses(who were acting pretty obnoxious since it was their first time out to pasture for awhile)...however, I would just work on getting his mind back on me. Made him walk a few strides, sit etc. All while the horses were kicking their heels up.

    Our first real 'test' of how well he has improved was a few days ago. I took him to my barn(on leash the entire time), and sat outside the arena where people were riding. Initially, when a horse was first asked into the canter, he would look like he was getting ready to bark, but I would say, "Riley watch me," he did, and everything was fine.

    He sat like a gem the entire hour other horses were being ridden. Not one bark out of him. He just had to learn how to behave around the horses, in a safe, controlled way.

    I would work with your dogs listening skills to you.
    Last edited by Rough_Collies2008; 03-03-2008 at 09:28 PM.

    "Life is not a matter of milestones...but of MOMENTS."

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    Re: Need help for training my dog not to attack livestock! Urgent!

    Thanks for the advice everyone! I usually do keep Starbell on a leash, the problem is she is a professional at slipping through the door when we are bringing groceries in, etc. She also knows how to slip out of her collar is I'm not paying attention(Yes, she is an extremely smart dog, that is why I still have hope for her) Thats how she bit Lola. Rough_Collies, I'll try doing that, maybe have someone lead the goats around while I work with her on leash. Fencing isn't going to happen at the moment *sigh* mom and dad are on tight funds(whatever happend to people paying kids to mow lawns or excercise animals??) I guess its like I thought. Training, training, training.
    Starbell: 40lbs of energy, love, and lots of play and prey drive, wrapped up in a hardheaded wrap of white fur and brown patches, topped of with a pair of beautiful blue eyes.

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    Re: Need help for training my dog not to attack livestock! Urgent!

    Have someone lead the goats around is like showing off the candy at this point. I would keep her leashed up whenever you leave- yes- even to get groceries since that is starting to be a problem. The mix itself is not bad, but it seems like she collected all the undesirable traits from both breeds. As for slipping out of the collar- try to hook up a regular collar and training collar both- as she tries to slip out of the regular collar, the trainingcollar tightens and keeps her from slipping out- breaks that habit pretty quick. We have lifestock and I hate to say it, but some dogs are just not suited for it. We teach our horses to face the dogs and "tag" instead of "turn and run", but if a dog gets serious about chasing- our horses kick. Sometimes when you love a dog but dont have the right suroundings its better to find a home that would be more suitable for them, but at the very least I would continue working with her- the more training, the better the chances for a good home. If you decide to fence a area in, make sure to line the fence all around with cattle panel so she cant dig under and connect the panel with the fence or it will become a game of how often and how she can get out "just because" . We have one neighbor down the road who thought it was funny how his dog chased our horses- on our property- until our thoroughbred killed the dog with a well aimed kick. It was sad, but the owner did not take responsibility and him thinking how cool his dog was didnt help. Needless to say he is not happy with us

  10. #9
    Senior Member wvasko's Avatar
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    Re: Need help for training my dog not to attack livestock! Urgent!

    This may not help at all, just throwing it in. Used to slow bird dogs down. you need 2 hard rubber balls, piece of rope, a buckle collar. Drill a hole through the rubber balls, string rope through 1st ball tie knot on end so it can't slide back then run rope through the collar ring then string rope through other rubber ball and tie knot etc. Then put collar on dog. You want the 2 balls adjusted so they will actually hit/bounce off of dog's knees or a tad higher when he walks/runs etc. Now in a perfect world it gives the goats a better chance of escape, distracting the dog as he runs etc. Of course the dog may just chew through the ropes and doesn't help at all. This is to be used only under supervision in case dog gets tangled up in something. Small blocks of wood can be used instead of rubber balls but it's easier to get tangled in stuff.
    Dinosaur Dog Trainer


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    Re: Need help for training my dog not to attack livestock! Urgent!

    Having had livestock and having had the neighbor's dogs chase them and, after repeated episodes, talks to the neighbor etc, having had to catch the dog with a rifle to stop it, you are correct. The situation is serious.

    My livestock were how I put food on my table, paid the mortgage and fed the dogs, cats and everything else. Having a neighbor's dog run them down and hurt them (dairy heifers and calves) was not acceptable. I would have just caught the dog and taken it to the shelter but there was no catching the dog.

    I also had dogs. I never allowed the chasing to start EXCEPT with dogs trained to do this. Those dogs I taught the word "ENOUGH!" and they would come off of ANY livestock they were working. This worked similar to "That'll Do" with sheep dogs.

    A leash or rope is paramount for NOW.

    I agree with Tooney that the E collar would be a solution and I am NOT an e collar person at all. I would try WV's knee knocking blocks or balls first. The "watch me" thing may also work IF YOU DEVOTE TIME AND CONSISTANCY to it.

    In the end, you may find the situation impossible to manage and the dog may need professional training intervention or to be rehomed to a non livestock environment.

    Fencing is great, if you can afford it and can maintain it.
    Last edited by Elana55; 03-04-2008 at 08:47 AM.

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    Senior Member Kyllobernese's Avatar
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    Re: Need help for training my dog not to attack livestock! Urgent!

    My sister has a redbone hound. They are the type of breed when they get wind of something, they are off. She got a remote collar for him. The first time she had it on him and he refused to come back off a track, she gave him a Beep and a shock from the lowest setting. He immediately stopped and came back when called. She only used the Beep setting one more time and now he goes out for walks with us without the collar and only travels a certain distance in front of us, then circles back. All she has to do is call his name if she sees him getting interested and he immediately comes back. Now he may be more sensitive than some other dogs but it was a case of trying this or he could not be loose and go for walks with us which he loves to do.

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