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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Afore you go "that's so cruel!", hear me out, okay?

My dad and I are looking to get a dog to pose as an outdoor dog. The reason he will be an outdoor dog is because we have a pond in our backyard and we've been having a problem with herons and raccoons eating all the fish and other animals around the pond. It's our hope that we can find a dog to guard the pond, not the house.

I already have two small dogs, but they've been indoor dogs all their lives and would definitely detest being outdoor dogs; we tried acclimating my King Charles Cavalier to be more outdoors, but he hates it outside, even during the day. They also would probably not be able to handle vicious raccoons.

Now I've read a ton of stuff about how outdoor dogs aren't happy and whatnot, but I believe it can be done. So here's what I'm looking for advice on:

How to keep an outdoor dog happy (Apart from general spending tons of time with him; I'm planning on doing that anyway)
Breeds that may make good outdoor dogs (Right now we're just looking at mixed breeds and mutts)

Here's some of my criteria so far:
Must be a large dog (So he can scare off raccoons)
I can only get one dog (Yard is too small for two and Mom said only one)


Thanks!
--Shadow
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well, I've never had a problem with raccoons getting my outdoor cat, they just get the fish unless something scares them away, but I guess that really doesn't mean anything, haha. Thanks!
 

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I've seen farm dogs get MANGLED by raccoons....they're really mean buggers. Cats are usually smart enough not to fight with a ****, but dogs can get carried away with bravado. I'm truly not sure you could find/train a dog to do what you want. There are things other pond owners do to keep away the ***** and herons, maybe joining a pond forum would be helpful for you.
 

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If the wildlife is causing an issue with the pond, try the following before even considering getting a dog.

1 - buy some cheap netting materials and put it over the pond. You won't see it clearly, but the herons won't stick their heads in because the don't want to get tangled up. Plus, it helps preventing the racoons to "fish".

2 - Buy some yucky green stuff that is supposed to deter any wildlife, including raccoons.

3 - Buy a fake heron. Herons are territorial, so if they see one heron that's near a pond, they won't go near it. However, change the position of the fake heron every week so herons don't get smart.

My mom does the top three, and there's no herons, no raccoons. She lives right near the woods, so we get all type of animals. Not one fish died since last year. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
We've tried getting various products that discourage herons and raccoons, but it seems the only thing that's made them stay away is when my cavalier is outside. The raccoons around my area haven't been known to pick fights with any of my neighbor's outdoor dogs. I'm not saying that they never will attack a dog, I guess that's just making me feel like I don't have to worry about it. Not saying I don't, that's just my mindset right now...trying to work out of it, if that makes sense. ^^U

If you guys don't know anything that will help an outdoor dog, that's fine. Thanks for the advice!
 

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Well, there are proper ways to keep outdoor dogs, but since you said you wanted the dog for a specific purpose, I wasn't sure if you just wanted an outdoor pet dog or if you'd be disappointed and get rid of the dog if it didn't keep the predators away. What if the DOG starts killing the fish?....it's not unheard of.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Ah, no, I wouldn't have him just for the purpose and get rid of him if he didn't do the job! That's cruel...o_O Sorry if I gave that impression. ^^U And if the dog started killing the fish, I suppose I'd train him not to...might be tricky, but I think I could do it.

EDIT: Using a dog as an outdoor guard dog for the pond is one of the only reasons my parents are letting me get one. That's why I need good training tips for keeping him an outdoor dog. ^^U
 

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Well, first thing you'd need would be a good doghouse stuffed with straw. NOT blankets....only straw. You'd probably want to have a kennel, too, because you might have to confine the dog occasionally.

An outdoor-only dog allowed to run loose would NEED to be spayed/neutered, which is a big expense, but if you get it from the shelter that might already be done. Proper vaccinations, heartworm prevention, regular de-worming, etc. are all very important. You'd have to have some money put away in case he got hit by a car or mangled by a wild animal or whatever---vet care isn't cheap. Identification is important, but collars can get caught on things. A microchip would be an excellent idea, and maybe a breakaway collar to hold ID tags.

Training a free-roaming dog NOT to do something is very difficult, since you can't control the environment, and you can't be there all the time. Keep that in mind, in case he does eat the fish :) .
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Ah, that's extremely helpful! Thanks so much! 8D

If I may...Why straw instead of blankets? Is it more insulated or something?

Yeah, we're planning on getting the dog from a shelter, and neutering is a must! *nodnod* We're kind of negligent on vaccines and whatnot on my indoor dogs, but they're usually okay since they're not exposed to the elements. So vaccinations and heartworm stuff has got to become a priority, right?

Thanks so much for help! This is going to be really useful!
 

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Blankets absorb and hold moisture and are not good bedding material.

There are breeds of dogs that are used outdoors exclusively to guard livestock. They can be trained but they will stay with a herd and drive away predatoros such as coyotes. The Maremma is one such breed and the Great Pyrenees is another such breed.

Personally, if I were you, I would install an electric fence to deterr the raccoon. It sounds like you have a fenced yard now (if you are getting an outdoor dog, and plan to keep it outdoors, it has to be fenced). Add a hot wired to the top and the bottom and, if the fence is not metal, a gound wire near them as well, so that when Mr. Raccoon completes the circuit he finds he really has hold of something!

Raccoons are a tough kill. I had dogs who would kill them. The last one was a GSD that weghed in at 95 pounds. It was a hard job even for her.. but she was quick. Never got injured.

One thing raccoons will do is go in the water and lure the dog in.. and they climb on the dog's head and drown the dog. Something I was told by '**** Dog owners with Blue Ticks and Treeing Walkers.

Regardless, this will not be a less expensive venture than any other sort of dog ownership. As pointed out, you will still have to spay and neuter, vaccinate, worm, heartworm preventative, use a flea and tick preventative such as Frontline Plus and establish a relationship with a veterinarian. You might want to investigate Pet Health insurance for emergency vet care (they don't cover routine work such as vaccinations, annual exams etc.).

I am not sure of the problem where you live, but here Rabies has become endemic in the Raccoon population. Raccoons DO attack dogs. If the dog is bitten by a raccoon and if not previously vaccinated, he must be quarantined for 14 -21 days. If the dog exhibits suymptoms, he is PTS and the head is sent to a rabies lab. If the dog is bitten by a raccoon and has been vaccinated the usual procedure is to wash the wound with soap and water and get the dog to the vet for a booster vaccine. Again, quarantine and observe for 14-21 days. If the dog exhibits rabies, dog must be PTS and head sent to lab for testing (and yes, the vet does remove the dead dog's head and sentd it out intact).

Rabies is 100% deadly once symptoms exhibit in all mammals. This includes humans.

So, in the face of that information, are you SURE you want a dog for keeping the Raccoons out of the fish pond????
 

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That situation can be dangerous. Raccoons not only can transmit rabies and distemper to dogs, but there is a virus called Leptospirosis that is spread through the urine of woodland critters and can also be transmitted through stagnant water where those animals have been - like a pond.
Lepto causes acute kidney failure and is a virus that can be passed to humans. Not to mention raccoons can be aggressive and do a lot of damage to a dog.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
We mostly have problems with the herons rather than the raccoons. And a few of my neighbors have outdoor dogs that have never had a problem with raccoons.

No, I don't really want a dog just for keeping out herons and raccoons, I'd rather he just be a companion, but it's the reason my dad wants a dog and it's the only thing that will convince my mom to let us get one. She thinks he needs to do a job in order to live at our place.

You think our pond has stagnant water? If it did, the fish we have wouldn't be able to live in it and we wouldn't bother trying to protect it. No, we've got a running stream and care for it. We have a fenced yard, and of course we'd get rabies vaccines and vet care.

I've been reading a lot about raccoons and the dangers of them to dogs, but ninety percent of stories I've read have been on attacks on small dogs. I'm not saying that makes big dogs immune to attack, I just think that it's much less likely.

This information is very helpful, though! Thanks! =)
 

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I think I'd get a Livestock Guardian Dog. They love to live outside and naturally protect their land from intruders. There are specific LGD rescues. You may want to check that out. :)
 

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You are saying the pond is in your yard and the yard is fenced, Yes raccoons can kill a dog. There are dogs that can kill raccoons etc so the fun is in the picking. If I was that worried about dog I would pour concrete slab along side of pond and a portable kennel run with a top(don't want that bad racoon getting into kennel and abusing your dog) Then I would also get a motion sensor light aimed so that dog does not trigger it but visiting herons/racoons would. Ok we got the light that clicks on when visitors arrive then the dog barks when he sees visitors. Follow me so far, then dad runs out and peppers racoons with a pellet gun. Ok we got 200.00 for the concrete pad, 3 to 500.00 for kennel run, 30.00 for the motion sensor light plus install ?.00, 100.00 for a good pellet gun and 300.00 for night scope which may or may not be needed. total of 1500.00 give or take. Oh plus add to that the lost sleep when raccoon visits in middle of night.

Or just catch all the fish, invite the neighbors over and have a fish fry, no fish =s no raccoons or herons etc.

Ok I did not solve your problem but I hope it took mind off fish problems and gave you a little smile at the idiocy of my reply.:D
 
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