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hey yall, i have some questions about basic training around livestock- to get my lil guy to coexist with our animals, not as a guard animal. i've had a trainer out a couple times and she had some great pointers, such as building leadership with my dog [so he heels, leaves it better, etc] but i'm really looking for details about getting him to ignore the animals better. background is, he's a fixed low content malamute wolfdog, about 1 1/2 years old, very sweet, friendly, reasonably obedient and generally all around good dog. I've been conscious of his prey drive since he was a pup and tried to keep it low. his recall is good unless he's worked up and legging it after a cow. he grew up with chickens as a pup, but the farm i work at now has large animals- lots of cows, a horse, several llamas. the llamas are guard animals and have no problem killing coyotes- they chased the trainer and i out of the field last time we went out to train with them. generally he's very good with the chickens and ducks, he'll totally ignore them for the most part. the adult cows he likes to 'dive bomb' down the hill- runs at them full tilt, circles them, shows some play behavior [though i know play and prey are two points on the same spectrum]. when they're lying down he comes up to sniff and lick them- he loves cow poop, and god forbid he ever figures out where milk comes from. when i'm milking the cows, he has his station, where he performs admirable long down stays for his meals- i can leave for ten minutes and he'll be right where i left him, not touched the bowl of food, and not paying any attention to the cows. i've watched him from a distance, he just stares longingly out to the field, ha. the calves he tries to frolic with- he'll dig into their pen and seems to try and get them to chase him, or else try to lick the milk off their faces in the morning. it seems cute to some folks, but anything that approaches interacting with them makes me nervous. most times he breaks into their pen and just stands around eating calf poop. they usually ignore him. he has come a long, long way since we first got here six months ago, but one serious slip up could see me without a job or a place to stay, or a dead dog if the farmers shoot him or the llamas have their way. so what strategies are out there? long line with him in the field, but what's the theory? any help would be appreciated. thanks!
 

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I can't speak for your breed or your mix.. Livestock guardian breeds are supervised or contained for at least to 2 years old when they reach a better level of maturity. there is no playing, chasing, chewing, bitting towards the live stock. it's not allow to ever get started so it doesn't develop in the dogs to ever interact with the livestock in that way. supervision or containment when supervision isn't possible to help insure proper behavior from the dog around the livestock is enforced.

For my GSD's and Corso.. same thing strict supervision, containment. I first just contained them from the animals, then I brought them in, and some on leash to help with doing chores around them, giving them jobs to sit wait or lay down while I was doing them. because they were GSD's and do well having those sort of jobs being able to accomplish them. Were there some oops along the way (( Yes )) could the dogs recover from doing so and still learn to be proper around the livestock and trusted in maturity (( yes )) The prey driven and my LGD's have gone through phases they doing well with the animals,, then they want to play, chase and need to go back to strict supervision and
containment to get through those phases .. several times, in an out of phases the first two years and more if they needed to continue supervision. You just have to be mindful, leash them up when you see them miss behaving and put them up or keep them with you until your done.. don't let them learn bad behaviors....
 

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I am not sure what your dog looks like or how much land you are staying on now and how close the neighbors are but I would not under no circumstances allow your dog to be out of your sight. He might get mistaken for a coyote or a wolf.

PatriciafromCO offered some good points and I think so far you are doing the right things. I would make sure his recall is super sharp. Practice this with him with the most desirable treats he likes. I would also teach him the leave it command.
 
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