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Hi Dogforums,

I recently rescued a Border collie/German Shepherd mix (by recently I mean she came home yesterday) and I’m having a lot of concerns popping up about her.
I live on a 50 acre ranch with two other dogs, a Catahoula mix and a Dachshund. I also have 5 horses and the neighbors have cattle. I wanted a dog that I could teach a lot of commands and tricks, possibly do Frisbee and agility with, and take trail riding when we pull the horses out (usually two or three times a week). I lead a very active lifestyle and have wanted an active dog to add to the family for some time now, preferably a rescue or shelter dog. So when I saw that a family was rehoming their shelter dog I took immediate interest. I believe I went through all the right steps; I made sure the dog had a vet history. We met on neutral ground with my two dogs and everyone seemed to get along fine. The new girl was very happy go lucky, obviously had high energy, but was still a big lover when it came to all the new people she was meeting. Perfect! Or so I thought.

A bit about the new dog: Beretta is a year old female. Spayed. She was adopted from a local shelter by an older couple last January when she was about 4 months old. Sadly, they put her in their backyard and for the most part ignored her except to feed her. She never got walked, never came indoors. Occasionally their granddaughter would come over and play with her but that was her only socialization until now. The family realized that she was not getting the attention she needed and began the process of finding her a new home.

I understand that this dog has been ill-socialized, she is not vicious at all towards other dogs despite that, but she IS a huge bully. She antagonizes both of my other dogs and will not stop jumping on them but the entire time her tail is wagging and she's obviously playing. She also seems to have a strong prey drive and will take off after anything that appears to be running from her (aka: the horses. That’s a big no-no both for her safety and theirs). She has no leash skills at all and on both of our walks (last night and this morning) she repeatedly jumps into her collar and pulls despite my repeated correction. I attempted to take her to a quiet room this morning before our walk and do some basic training (just “sit” and “leave it”. I need her to at least know these two before I can really communicate with her on the leash). She already knew “sit” but she completely ignores me unless I have her on the leash and am physically pushing her butt down. That’s my biggest issue; She doesn’t care for me or any other people at this new home at all. Not even if I’m holding a meaty treat. I’ve trained my other two dogs without much issue. Both are very social, but one is food motivated and the other is toy motivated. I was able to adapt to both and both are very well behaved now. Beretta on the other hand seems to be motivated by nothing that I try. I have no idea what she wants.

Now, I train horses all the time. I understand how they think and how to apply it to their training. To a horse, the only thing they want in the whole world is for you to stop annoying them. If you turn that ‘annoyance’ into a cue for a behavior, then they will perform the behavior to make the annoyance stop (like pulling on a lead rope. They will walk with you so that they don’t feel the ‘annoying’ tug of the rope. It’s easier for them to just walk along with the rope). I know dogs are not horses, but I don't know how dogs think or work. I don't understand how to use what they want to train them when they don't want anything I can give.
So, is there anyone out there who can explain training dogs to me, a horse trainer, in a way that I would understand? What motivates my dog specifically? What can I do to help her settle in, listen to me, and become a good member of the family? How can I stop her from bullying the other dogs? Will I ever be able to trust her alone with them? I know she can be a loving dog because I saw it with her old family, how can I gain her trust and affection but show her that I am the undisputed boss?

Any advice would be welcomed. I would absolutely love if someone could lay out a training plan for me and a 'how-to' on what I need to do with Beretta. I am very structured and the more organized your advice is the more I will be able to understand and incorporate it.
Thank you!
 

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I train horses as well. I don't have much time and I'm sure others will be along to help. But here's the best way I can think to put it.

Basically, training a horse and training a dog is pretty much like night and day, at least they way that I am looking at it. The way I teach and discipline my horse, I would never even think of using on a dog. There's a big difference between a 1200lb animal and an 80lb one, and also a big difference in how a prey animal's mind works versus a predator's. And an animal that lives in your house and an animal that lives in the field.

If I wanted my dog to stay at my side when we walk, I would feed it treats whenever it stayed at my side. Soon enough the dog learns that good things happen when it walks by my side. Then you can add in cues for the behavior once they have a feel for it. If I want my horse to stay at my side when I walk, I tug him back into place when he starts getting ahead of me or put the chain on and he gets the message. (Imagine if you fed your horse treats whenever it walked nicely at your side? Can you say cookie monster? Lol.)

Basically...training dogs is about positive reinforcement, rewarding them whenever they do something that you want (even if it is just being calm and laying down by the couch, for example) and ignoring them/redirecting them when they are doing something you don't want. Where as with horses, like you said, they tend to avoid annoyances and in general are simpler to train on the ground.
 

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Congratulations on your new dog!

The only think I know about horses is that they're big and scary, so I can't make comparisons there. I would recommend finding a good positive reinforcement-based class to take with your new pup. It won't address all the issues you mentioned, but a good instructor can give you a solid foundation to help you work through issues on your own. I haven't read it, but have heard from a reliable source that Pat Miller's The Power of Positive Dog Training is good starting point.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
That all makes sense, my only issue is that she has no interest in treats in any form. How do I positively reinforce behavior wit out a reward?
 

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That all makes sense, my only issue is that she has no interest in treats in any form. How do I positively reinforce behavior wit out a reward?
If you just brought her home yesterday, she may be too overwhelmed with all the changes in her life to be interested in food. Give her time to settle in and use management (e.g., leash, gates, etc) to prevent undesired behavior. Once she's more comfortable, you might find she has more interest in treats.

Other ideas for when you start training:
If you are free feeding, she may not find treats rewarding since food is always available.
Some dogs aren't super interested in store-bought treats, but love things like hot dogs, lunch meat, chicken, cheese, etc.
Once you get to know her, you'll likely find other things she'll work for: toys, pets, games, and life rewards like going outside or riding in the car. You can use those things as rewards in some situations.
 

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I think you are expecting a lot of a dog you just got yesterday. For one thing she has never been taught how to learn things. You have to take it a lot slower. Some dogs that have never been played with much really do not know how to play with people. I think if you give her some time to settle in, you will find she will react a lot differently.
 

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Very understandable. I just want to make sure I induct her to my home appropriately and give her the time she needs but also I dont want to spoil her or encourage her bad habits.
 

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I put my dogs on shut down when they arrive. In crate/pen away so they don't have to choose what to do. The daytime pen is where we hang out, they aren't isolated, just not able to chase or jump or steal or chew the house/occupants. I take them out every hour for a leashed potty break, of course they don't need to potty every hour but the praise and bit of food helps with the bonding between you. Once all the dogs are able to ignore one another on those potty walks take for real walks and start allowing newdog to just hang with the crowd. Watch out for serious stress. Bucky runs in arcs at the end of the leash and does weight pulling rather than just pulling when over stressed for instance. I turn around and walk back the same way I went out when that happens.

Bucky would eat cooked treats when he came but wouldn't touch his new raw diet for 24 hours. My first dog, Sassy, didn't eat when her bowl was put down for a good week when we got her. Strangely those two are the worst food obsessed dogs I've had!
 

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Ok, so i've gotten several good points about letting her settle in. What about her bully behavior since she's unsocialized? She just plays too rough with everyone, dog and human.
 

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I personally would supervise closely all play and interactions with your other dogs until you get to know her a little better. Everyone is driving home the point about her settling in because she NEEDS to in order for her personality to shine through and in order for her to figure out you and your other dogs. You don't want her to get hurt or her to hurt them accidentally. She is in a completely new setting, with horses and other dogs and new people, sights, and smells. She was unsocialized, living in a backyard for the important stages of her life where socialization is key. Listen to Kathyy... she's given excellent advice on how to integrate the dog. If you have a crate, that is a good place for her to take in her surroundings safely. When she gets used to everything, start teaching her how to play nicely. Reward nice playing with toys and treats, and step in and remove her from the fun when she gets too rough. She needs time to learn how to be a dog and how to interact with others, she never had that before.
 

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Just a bit of input, since I rode jumpers for 15 years and have had dogs my entire life. I also don't want you to take this negatively, your situation CAN be worked with, but I do want you to understand some of the limiting factors you are dealing with.

Firstly, about your new dog - as others have said, she doesn't know how to learn. She was locked in a back yard through many of her most formative months, and therefore cannot be treated like a "regular" year old dog. You need to treat her like you would a MUCH younger dog, because she is mentally very underdeveloped when it comes to human interactions and training. However, because she is a year old, training unwanted behaviors out of her may take longer than it would with a puppy.

About herding breeds and horses - many herding dogs will never be able to completely control their instinct to chase something that is running from them. They have a high prey drive that will not vanish with training. This is where I'll caution you - if you really want a herding breed that is going to be good with horses, you need to get them young and raise them WITH horses. I fear that attempting to train an unsocialized one-year-old GSD/BC mix to be around horses could result in injuries of all kinds - to the dog, to the horses, and to the people riding the horses when the dog is accidentally let out or cannot control her natural impulse to herd.

So, in the long run, I think you can expect her to settle down and play well with the other dogs, if you follow the advice of the responders before me. However, you should prepare yourself for the very real possibility that you will never be able to trust her with horses, especially during her adolescent and early adult phases. With repeated positive reinforcement over a period of time (probably years), you may be able to get her to lose interest in chasing the horses, especially as she ages. But because you're fighting her natural instincts and you didn't have the chance to train her as a puppy, it's most likely going to be an arduous process.
 

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I agree with the previous post.

With Hank (cattle dog x terrier) he was WAY rough with my other dogs for a long time. He had to be tethered to me for the first few weeks. Now, he is mostly good with them but cannot be loose with them when I'm not there. I still have to tell him to back off at times because he is so much more physical and wild than they are.

He also chases horses (or wants to). Our horses just set him off and his brain falls out. It's very true that this is a difficult area for many herding breeds. Obviously people use working dogs with horses but coming at it with an older dog that really loves to chase is difficult. Hank can now be calm on a leash near the horses. I don't think he'll ever be a dog that can trail ride loose around horses (let's ignore his prey drive issues right now).

She is very stressed likely from the move. It can take weeks to months for a new dog to settle in. I'd give her some time to adjust then start trying to train. There's some great youtube videos on dog training. Kikopup's channel is a good clicker training 101.
 
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