Jump to content
BC Boards

My dog killed a goat - now what do I do???


Recommended Posts

I have 4 bc of my own. Recently I acquired 2 more: one female, one male. The female is a littermate of my 21 mo. old male "Max." The owner of the other two & I had talked on the phone about our dogs when they were just pups. In August she called to ask if I would could provide her dogs with a home, as her husband now is very ill. She knew I was aware of the needs of a bc, and didn't want to take them to a shelter. Our local shelter (50 miles away) is a kill shelter. I agreed to take the dogs after visiting with them, but prayed I wasn't making a mistake. The male is about 16 mos. old, female 21 mos. They had never been around anything but cats, no livestock.

Everyday the dogs go with me around our farm. They run 2-4 miles everyday, sometimes twice a day. (I'm on a 4 wheeler). They have their own seperate kennels, and a common playpen.

Yesturday, after returning from our morning run, my original 4 dogs go right into their kennels (they know it's breakfast time). Normally Ike (the new male) goes right into his, but this time he ran back out, across the gravel road, under the gate & chased after my goats. The new female ran with him. My great pyr (in a different paddock-with sheep) was going nuts barking. I got to the fence as fast as I could & saw the male had a young goat on the ground shaking it violently. I screamed at the dogs, got the gate open, ran into the field swinging a stick - by this time they'd stepped away from the goat, who was crying with blood on this back.

I got the dogs to their kennels, gave medicine to the goat & doctored it's wounds & again later at night, but this morning the poor thing was dead. I felt so sorry for the mama goat. I've lost goats to sickness, but not like this. I was so mad :mad:

I gave the dog the silent treatment today. Fed & watered him. He ran around in the playpen, but I didn't let him out like the other five. I don't know what to do with him. I've always heard, "If a dog ever gets the taste of blood, you can never break him from killing." Is that true, or just an old wives' tale????

I really like the female. She sticks close to me, little jealous of the other dogs - she doesn't like to share the attention. The male is kinda different, he acts too busy to be petted, not very personal at all. But when he's is his pen and I'm talking to any of them, he turns his head from side to side & seems very attentive to what I'm saying. I have yet to see him get in the bc crouch position. The female just did it this week. Could it be because they had never been around stock?? One time before, he grabbed hold of a grown goat's ear. I yelled at him, called the other dogs to me to go the pen & he followed. He just scatters the stock & tries to bite them. I've heard some bc are to strong for anything but cattle. Maybe "Ike" is one of those bc.

The previous owner wanted me to keep the two dogs together. I need to make some kind of decision. Please help . . .

Link to post
Share on other sites

I do not live on a farm, never have, hope to someday...however based on the statement, " If a dog gets the taste of blood you can never break him from killing" hummmm, dunno... I would ask the question to those who feed their dogs a raw diet. I know I have heard of dogs who eat fresh slaughtered farm animals, and farm dogs who actually eat the placenta of a horse or cow that has just given birth???? now that is fresh blood, fer shur! Do they tend to go after the smaller farm animals with the intention of killing more than the dogs fed a store bought dog food?

I wonder if it is the taste of blood, or the actual attacking and killing of another animal that may cause a repeat.

I know that dogs who bite people are more likely to be repeat biters & or escalate the biting (of course depending on circumstances, I'm talking in general).

I have heard what you said about tasting blood too, but I never really put any (excuse the pun), stock in it.

It will be interesting to hear what others who have had similar situations have to say.

Link to post
Share on other sites

PS... poor little goat, I am sooo sorry that happened

:rolleyes:

Link to post
Share on other sites
Originally posted by Sadie's law:

I've always heard, "If a dog ever gets the taste of blood, you can never break him from killing." Is that true, or just an old wives' tale????

It's pure B.S.

 

Any normal, healthy dog will chase (and kill or injure) stock if it gets the chance, and few dogs have as much prey drive as border collies. Unless/until Ike has a 100% reliable recall, he shouldn't be allowed to run loose around stock.

 

Years back, when he was accidentally left outside unattended, one of the top working border collie sires on the West Coast got into a pen and killed a lamb. This dog didn't turn into a bloodthirsty, sheep-seeking missile. He never hurt another animal, as far as I know. He continued to run successfully in trials and help out at home --- and his owner/handler kept a more responsible eye on him.

 

Ike may turn out to be a good worker. (It's far too soon to tell, based on one or two times chasing stock.) A sixteen month old border collie that's never seen stock before will certainly go nuts around them at first, if he's got any instinct at all. Given the circumstances, Ike's scattering stock and biting is perfectly normal behavior.

 

It's awful about the young goat and the experience must have been terrible for you, but it doesn't mean Ike is a bad dog: it means he's a typical, high prey-drive border collie and possibly a dog with working potential. It was unfortunate he was able to get to the goats, but honestly, I can think of many good border collies that might have pulled a similar stunt if they'd been able to get at stock before they were trained.

 

The important thing now is to keep Ike on a line until his recall is 100% reliable (unless the goats are safe in a dog-proof pen). And if he were mine, I'd find a trainer and start Ike on sheep --- it's the best way to perfect his recall, and the scattering/biting you describe could very well turn out to be signs of working potential.

 

Good luck with Ike! I wish I lived close enough to see him --- he sounds interesting.

Link to post
Share on other sites
The male is kinda different, he acts too busy to be petted, not very personal at all. But when he's is his pen and I'm talking to any of them, he turns his head from side to side & seems very attentive to what I'm saying. I have yet to see him get in the bc crouch position.
To me, that is a working dog. One that is less interested in you, and more busy in what else there is to do. He is busy, but in your own words "very attentive" when you speak. He is probably a lot smarter than you give him credit for. I couldn't care less if a dog ever does the crouch. You haven't put him on stock yet.

You and the dog just have to learn to harness his energy. He needs to learn how to work, and certainly when. I personally do not know about the dog being "too aggressive" to work certain stock. I was told that about my Max. That he was too big of a head/face biter from working the cattle pens. But I have seen him herd the neighbor's chickens without stepping on a feather.

I think your dog just needs training and direction. They don't always come perfect, sometimes you have to work on it. :rolleyes:

Link to post
Share on other sites

First thing to do is to fix the gate. If a Border collie can get in, so can a coyote. Second thing is to keep the dog away from stock if you can't be there to work him. Sounds like you know that, but it might mean that he can't come on the runs until you have a rock solid recall on him.

 

I would try leaving him behind when you run the other dogs. Then when you get back, take him out and walk with him. Walking dogs is an entirely different exercise than exercising them on a 4-wheeler, and walking a dog individually is an entirely different exercise from walking him in a pack. Just walk him and work with him on basic manners. Put a long line on him if you feel you can't trust him around stock, but let it drag on the ground. Use it to snatch him up if he goes badly wrong, but otherwise just have some fun alone time with him every day for a while. Let him know what it is to walk in your good graces.

 

I can just about guarantee that everything else will get easier once he starts to understand what's expected of him.

 

BTW, the "taste of blood" thing is nonsense.

Link to post
Share on other sites

ps -- having expanded your pack from four to six may not seem like a big jump, but it really is. I've been told that in a lot of primative cultures, there were words for the concepts of the numbers from one to five, and then a word for "many."

 

For some reason, it's much harder to keep track of six dogs than even just five. At times in the recent past, I have managed as many as 18 dogs (a hell I hope never to repeat), and there were times when I didn't even realize that one of them was missing after a walk until I noticed the crate was empty. I'd have to retrace the route, check the manure pile, go to the house, etc., etc.

 

With five dogs (the number in my current pack) it's pretty immediately obvious if one is missing.

 

In addition to the "many" phenomenon that you're going through, the dogs are also figuring out who is who and what is what. The new dogs are learning new human rules and new dog rules. Everything is up in the air. I'd expect a little erratic behavior for a few weeks to a few months.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for your posts. I was really hoping no one suggested shooting the dog!

I know six bc is probably too many for me, & I could handle one or two a lot better. Three of them (Sophie, Bear & Rebel) are pups out of Sadie, my first bc that past away in February. I can't bear to part with them. But I get mad at myself because I don't have enough time to spend with them all individually. My horses are very jealous. I need to spend more time with them too.

Not enough hours in the day. Harvest, kids & keeping a school bus schedule. I'm ready for summer break already!

I'll try walking Ike on a long lead today. We have to pick pumpkins. I think I'll take him to the patch with me.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't give up on him. I had a BC that had an overly strong herding instinct - and he actually ripped the throat out of one of my ewes. He got better with professional training - definitely beyond my handling. I never could work him, but at least he didn't kill sheep any more. The more times he gets away with being "bad", the worse it becomes, but I'm sure you know that. If nothing else, and at all possible, try sending him for training for a month or two. Simple obedience training - one-on-one time with him may help a lot. Young males always seem more gung-ho or something than the females. My male, now around 5, is reverting to being more silly, loving, wanting attention, begging for food - that sort of thing - none of which he had the time for when he was younger - beneath his dignity, I guess. I noticed the same thing in another one I had. If you have the time to work with him, keep trying - if not, you'll all be better off finding him a responsible home that knows his history and what to possibly expect. Good Luck.

Link to post
Share on other sites

PS - I hear you - Always something that needs done. I have days that I just start screaming names until I get to the one that needs yelled at - which of course is the one that isn't listening anyhow. I keep thinking each season is the "slower" season - but it never seems to happen. Maybe when it snows...

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am sorry to hear this. I lost 2 kittens to our Border Collie and while I was extremely upset at the time she didn't know that it was wrong to chase them. She was obviously a bit rough playing with them and they both died. She never hurt anything again, we never had any problems and she went from being a farm dog to a much loved pet. She was still a baby herself when it happened.

Link to post
Share on other sites

You may have to get rid of the goats if you want to keep them safe. It will be very difficult to brake the dogs of this behavior. Running triggers this action... maybe get a big, mean male goat. He won't run and would probably teach the BCs some important lessons in life.

 

My sister has (2) small goats. Her dog (a little yorkie) use to chase them all the time until one of the goats had enough one day. It turned around and charged the yorkie, giving a real good head-butt. The yorkie won't even look at the goats now.

 

Sorry to hear about your goat =o(. My mother's collie does the same thing to any ground hog it sees. It's a sad thing watching something die.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 12 years later...

I was dog sitting my daughters American Bullies when they got out of the fence and killed one of my goats. Is it safe to keep him around my grandchildren after the have killed a goat? My daughter loves them and is angry at me because I had them fenced in the front yard and not locked up in their kennels. She doesn’t know if now they can be trusted around my grandkids 

Link to post
Share on other sites

First of all, chasing and killing livestock is not strong herding instinct.  It's strong prey drive.  Herding is about controlling  livestock, not attacking it.  That's not to say that dogs can't have both strong prey drive and strong herding instinct, but they aren't the same thing, and many dogs that chase and scatter livestock have zero interest in actually "herding" them. 

Honestly, I think you should strongly consider rehoming the male.  It's not that a dog that kills a prey animal once is now an unmanageable ruthless killing machine. That's not true at all, although if you do rehome the male you need to be totally upfront with the new owner about his history.  You are finding yourself overwhelmed with the number of dogs you have, to the point that you feel you are being unfair to your other animals.  Taking your male on separate walks is a good idea, but now you've added another time-consuming chore to a day that you already feel isn't allowing you enough time with your other dogs and your horses.   He can probably be trained to be reliable around livestock with supervision, and confinement whenever he isn't directly supervised.  But it will take time, and perhaps help from a knowledgeable trainer, and you are already feeling pinched by the extra time commitment the two new dogs are causing.  Have a good heart to heart talk with yourself about what's best for all involved, including the new male bc, but also your other dogs and other animals.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Herding drive is, in fact, rooted in prey drive.   Dogs all have one sequence for hunting - heck, animals period - and that is basically (simplified) to find/track, stalk, chase, bite, kill, and consume.  Border Collies have had parts of that sequence strengthened and used to our advantage when trained : namely the eye/stalk - but make no mistake.  It is not inherently differently motivated than any other dog (or wolf) crouching down to stalk a sheep then chase it.  It's prey drive.  It started as that, and we used it. 


It's prey drive that we altered, that we put control on, but in the absence of human intervention and control  it's just plain old prey drive and no more or less likely to result in a dog killing.   It's only herding when done to help a human with stock, when asked, and stopping when told.   Otherwise, it's chasing prey.

(I know this is old as heck but I felt compelled to reply because border collies having prey drive is a thing that gets LOOOOTS of people in trouble.  "They herd so they must be good with animals/not have prey drive!"  ...no.  Absolutely that is not correct.)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Heh.  I didn't even look at the date on the thread.  My bad.

I'm pretty sure Capt. Jack and I are in agreement, although looking at the prey drive/herding relationship from different perspectives.

What I was taking exception to was the notion by the OP (back 13 yrs ago) thinking that grabbing and ripping a goats ear, or chasing and killing a goat were signs of the dogs herding instinct being "too strong", and response that any "normal healthy dog will chase and kill livestock if it gets the chance", or that any young border collie with any instinct at all will chase and "go nuts" when first exposed to livestock, and that the scattering and biting are signs of working potential.  Those are all aspects of prey drive.   The dog may also have herding instinct, but none of that is any more of a sign of working potential than the ever popular puppy who nips at heels and "herds" bicycles, the cat, cars, the baby, etc.   I am not at all disputing that herding instinct is derived from prey drive, or that successful working stock dogs have strong prey drive.  My only point is lots of dogs in lots of breeds have strong prey drive and will chase and attack and kill prey animals, including livestock, if given the opportunity.  The tendency to do that doesn't mean that the dog has any stock working instinct.   And while I've seen some young dogs that developed into fine sheepdogs "go nuts" on their first encounter with stock, I've also seen many who went right to work.  Certainly lacking skill and precision and finesse, but clearly not just chasing with intent to kill either.

Anyhoo, I skipped over seeing that this thread was resurrected by some poor woman who is wondering if bulldogs attacking a goat means the dog can't be trusted around her grandkids.  Well, this is a Border Collie Forum, not a bulldog forum, but I can see why the poster thought we might be able to offer advice.  I don't know much about bulldogs, but my first response is it depends at least somewhat on how old your grandkids are.  I wouldn't leave any young child unsupervised around any dog.  I'd also be extra cautious about having kids around multiple big muscular dogs.  Dogs in a "pack," even if it's only a pack of two,  can sometimes work themselves into a frenzy that would never happen with either dog alone.  But killing a goat does not translate into suddenly regarding humans as potential prey.  If the dog has been safe and reliable around kids in the past, killing a mouse or a chicken or a goat doesn't suddenly make the dog see humans as potential prey.

 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

It's so odd to one moment be reading about a young dog problem and then a moment later, that whole dogs life has passed. I hope he's old, healthy and happy somewhere, but being the bad dog of six doesn't sound like the best beginning to a story with a happy ending.

1 hour ago, Hooper2 said:

.....and response that any "normal healthy dog will chase and kill livestock if it gets the chance"

Yeah that bit worried me a bit actually. I don't own stock and obviously won't ever take any chances, but hate to think that he'd automatically kill given the opportunity.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

I have two border collie mcknab mixed dogs 7 months old. My neighbor claims they mangled 4 of his goats. I followed them this morning and they went in a goat pen but they just played with the pyranese and didn't seem to care about the goats at all. The neighbor tried to kill one of them yesterday but only

wounded lol her with a ,22 bullet to the face. I don't think they hurt the goats. Could a 7 month old dog hurt a goat? They both don't seem to care about them. I'm

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...