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Training to stick around the farm


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Let me preface this by saying that personally, I don't like the idea of leaving a dog loose outside for extended periods of unsupervised time, with the exception of LGDs and such.

 

I've been asked by a lot of different people lately about teaching dogs/pups to stick around the farm or acreage while unsupervised, day and night, and stay away from the road(s). Growing up, we had dogs that were left outside and roamed the farm, but I honestly can't remember how we taught them. What advice can anyone give me about this? What age do you start leaving dogs out? How do you teach them? Is it just a conditioning thing?

 

Thanks in advance!

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This probably won't be what you want to hear, but I personally think it's not trainable. If someone lives miles and miles from any road or neighbors, and IF the dog is of a stay-at-home personality ... maybe over time they'd learn to stick around.

 

But I've lost a dog to a highway due to a single instant of inattention, and I have NO faith whatsoever in a dog learning to stay on his own property, where roads and traffic are concerned. Some dogs are happy to stick on their own porch. I've seen them. But I think it's a personality trait they're born with. My current crop of dogs shadow my every step, but I know if I left them unattended and unfenced ... who knows where curiosity would lead them.

 

I'll wait for others to smack me with their old slippers and tell me it's entirely trainable, and go on to explain how they do it. But I am far too scary of losing a dog to accidents, or theft, or even coyote attack. If a dog isn't predisposed to be a homebody, I don't know that it's possible to train them to iron-clad safe behavior, if the chance of car accidents, neighbor mishaps or wild predators are a risk. Not if one values their dog.

 

Sorry to be a wet blanket ... :(

Respectfully submitted,

 

~ Gloria

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Yes, we had lots of yard dogs growing up in the country but not because we trained them. They were just that way or they died :( usually on the highway or sometimes in the drive as they chased any & every car that came or went.

 

Like Gloria said, my dogs are too valuable to me for me to risk it. My dad, he does cr*p like that all the time, he lets his dogs "go visit" the other dogs in the neighborhood every evening after dinner. So far the last 2 have come home okay....this is why my will specifically excludes him from getting my animals if something happens to me. B)

 

Sorry to not have any better info for you.

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This probably won't be what you want to hear, but I personally think it's not trainable. If someone lives miles and miles from any road or neighbors, and IF the dog is of a stay-at-home personality ... maybe over time they'd learn to stick around.

 

I agree. We actually live in the situation Gloria describes here.

We can let our dogs out, without supervision (that is in the season when there are no sheep near). It helps that our oldest dog, a 10 year old mix (alot of icelandic sheep dog, some bc , some whoknows) is a bit of a couch potato, I think he has a positive influence on Táta my young bc.

 

As for the "trainable" question, our "next door neighbours" live more than 10 km down the (country gravel) road, and their mutt visits us every time he gets loose...Lucky for him he is not a live stock botherer, or he would have "seized to be" by now

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I agree with what everyone posted, it's not something you can train. I have been amazed by our one dog that has never left the yard alone in the 11 years that we've had her. Even if the other dogs slip into the fields when I'm not looking, she stays put. My black lab is a particular pain about always knowing when I'm occupied with something.

My dogs are never loose unattended except for her. Cheyenne's just that one of a kind dog. She's also protective of the livestock. If she meets someone, she's fine with them, though not overly friendly. But if she hasn't met you and you try to go near my horses or the rabbits, good luck! She's great with kids too. She's the bluetick colored fluffy thing in my siggy :)

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I'll wait for others to smack me with their old slippers and tell me it's entirely trainable, and go on to explain how they do it. But I am far too scary of losing a dog to accidents, or theft, or even coyote attack. If a dog isn't predisposed to be a homebody, I don't know that it's possible to train them to iron-clad safe behavior, if the chance of car accidents, neighbor mishaps or wild predators are a risk. Not if one values their dog.

 

Sorry to be a wet blanket ... :(

 

I don't think you're being a wet blanket at all! Nothing that I haven't said time and time again to my husband... this question mainly came up because of my in-laws' new ES pup, Buck. They want him to be an outside only farm dog, loose all the time 'so he can kill rats and raccoons and stuff'. Two relatives' farms are down the road not even a quarter mile, one with another dog and the other with cattle and hogs. Pretty enticing. Plus their beagle already wanders down to the creek on the other side of the gravel road on a daily basis... he's been doing that for years and I doubt neutering him will change that at this point. (No, neither the beagle or Buck are neutered-- plans are in place to neuter the beagle but I am pleading with them to neuter Buck.)

 

It's been a long time since they've lost a dog on the road, but they've lost from what I can tell at least 4 in the course of their marriage- it's also been a long time since they've had a puppy on the farm. I find myself trying to detach myself from Buck because I'm convinced he'll get killed on the road. DH says he wants to train him to trial so we can do something together... what is the point in training this dog to work sheep and get to the point of trialling if he's just going to get hit on the road or mauled by a coyote?? Hubby says "It's like you're planning on him getting hit by a car... it's not going to happen!"

 

So, if the beagle has already developed the habit of wandering, is there any hope of keeping Buck on the farm? He's only 17 weeks old and I think they've already started leaving him out at night a little bit, and sometimes during the day. Where's that dang head-banging emoticon?? <_<:rolleyes:

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Dear Doggers,

 

It's a tougher question than most sensible doggers would think. I live in low population (150 people in my zip code), slow roads, somewhat animal savvy rural countryside. Many of my neighbors figure they have two choices. Chain the dog up 24/7 or let it run loose. Most of the loose dogs aren't killed and, if you accept the limited choices, running loose is better.

 

BUT - very few places in North America have the combination I've noted. It only takes one fast highway.

 

English Shepherds are guarding/herding dog combos and are less likely than some breeds to wander. No, I wouldn't let them loose at night either but the dog will be less likely to wander than hounds or malamutes. Note that even livestock guardian dogs will wander if the neighbors feed them yummy treats.

 

Finally - can dogs be trained to stay off the road? Yes. Polly Matzinger trains her dogs to wait, off lead, at road and streetsides until she gives a command. Polly is, however, an exceptionally good trainer and I suspect these owners may not be.

 

Our house lies about two hundred feet below the county road separated from the farmstead but a permeable fencee the guard dogs get through all the time. Since I am clearly displeased when my Border Collies get onto the road, they tend to wander in other directions. I say "tend to" - a deer carcass on the road will overcome their reservations.

 

Donald McCaig

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I certainly don't mean to make light of a very serious topic, but a friend of mine said her mother used to take a rolled up newspaper into the street, smack the road a few times and say "Bad road!!" She swears none of her dogs ever went into the street.

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I know this isn't what you're looking for, but underground fence works well. I wouldn't use it for my working dogs, but we have a GSD with about a 3 acre area around the house, yard and some outbuildings where he can roam. He seems content and it keeps him out of trouble.

 

Glenn

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I live close to a busy highway and it always scares me. If I'm outside my dogs are too, if I'm inside they are inside or hanging out in the garage waiting for me. With all my dogs I started from when they were puppies teaching them the boundaries. They start out on a long line following me and the older dogs to do chores/yard work.

Even if one works on training their dog to respect boundaries it should never be assumed that they will always be perfect, they are dogs and all it takes is one time for them to wander by the road and get hit. I would never ever think about leaving my dogs out by themselves 24/7 there are just too many things that could happen and they are way too important to me.

Is there a way you can at least get them to tie Buck up at night? Maybe you could point out how dangerous a fight with a coon could be for Buck and the vet bills might be expensive if he would tangle with one?

Unfortunately all you can do is try and give them some sound advice and hope that they change the way they take care of their dogs. Good Luck.

 

Samantha

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I know this isn't what you're looking for, but underground fence works well. I wouldn't use it for my working dogs, but we have a GSD with about a 3 acre area around the house, yard and some outbuildings where he can roam. He seems content and it keeps him out of trouble.

 

Glenn

 

 

I agree. I have successfully used an underground fence to contain a dog and two cats on almost an acre for years. Great product.

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Let me preface this by saying that personally, I don't like the idea of leaving a dog loose outside for extended periods of unsupervised time, with the exception of LGDs and such.

 

I've been asked by a lot of different people lately about teaching dogs/pups to stick around the farm or acreage while unsupervised, day and night, and stay away from the road(s). Growing up, we had dogs that were left outside and roamed the farm, but I honestly can't remember how we taught them. What advice can anyone give me about this? What age do you start leaving dogs out? How do you teach them? Is it just a conditioning thing?

 

Thanks in advance!

 

I tend to agree with Gloria that dogs will wander at will -- growing up, the farm dogs learned their "territory" by accompanying my grandfather and father on their rounds...this is "ours" - this is where "we" stay, but back then, "ours" was over 200 acres. DH boundary trained Ladybug by walking her around our property line when we first got her and she is by nature, a door stoop dog -- she I would ALMOST trust outside unaccompanied...but nothing is 100% and "ours" is 5 acres fronted by a busy road.

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With our Natty we started him as a 15 week pup on a lead learning the boundries. We kept him on lead for almost a month learning his boundries. Once off lead he had his vibrate/e-collar on. Any time he came over his boundry we gave him a "nick" at low stimulation. A couple of nicks and he now stays in his boundries. We do not leave him out for hours at a time or overnight, but there are times he is alone for 30 minutes or so and his desire is to stay close to home. Natty is pretty much bomb proof, cats, neighbors, mailmen etc are unable to entice him to cross his line...but once across he is right there for a pet and praise..So with him I believe he just wants to stay within his set boundries. Also now the only time we have his vibrate collar on is when the hay is up and he can't see us, so I don't believe he stays cause he's afraid of the nick. Our newest is having a harder time and I don't know if we will ever be able to trust her. Boundries mean nothing...Good Luck..Greg

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Even if one works on training their dog to respect boundaries it should never be assumed that they will always be perfect, they are dogs and all it takes is one time for them to wander by the road and get hit.

 

See, that's the thing. As good as a dog is, as mild-mannered as they may be, all it takes is one instant of "Oooh, squirrel!" or, "hey, that mashed bunny looks tasty," and that's it. You have a dead or crippled dog. A friend of mine lost a very promising border collie cow dog to an automobile accident. The dog survived, after hundred$ in vet bills ... but he was brain damaged. He lived out his days a loving pet and a great friend to the children, but you could just look at this dear little dog and see he wasn't firing on all cylinders. Heck, years ago, one of our dogs almost got hit by a friend who whipped his truck into our yard unexpectedly!

 

Unless one is lucky in location, circumstances and the temperament of the dog, a loose dog is a dog at risk.

 

Even if he does everything just right, in my neck of the woods, there's always the danger of being attacked by coyotes or mountain lions. Or, what if one day he's wandering his (unfenced) territory alone, and some stray dogs attack and maul him?

 

And just suppose he goes "ooh, squirrel" and breaks his boundaries, and then packs up with a couple other loose local dogs? Stray dogs packing up can excite some dangerous behaviors, particularly to livestock or other small animals.

 

Nope. Unless one lives in a remote area, or in a neighborhood as quiet as Mr. McCaig's, I simply don't see it. There are just too many ways for even a good dog to get hurt or killed.

 

~ Gloria

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We had border collie farm dogs growing up, they would always come home with porcupine quills in their lips. Really sad.

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There was a similar post a few months back. I think Border Collies are better than most breeds when it comes to knowing property boundaries but I would never leave Dexter unattended for any length of time. Curiousity will always cause most dogs to wander. My Golden Retrievers were totally untrainable and I never even had them off leash! when I tried they would bolt everytime.

 

I learned my lesson one day when I let Dexter out for a pee and went back inside for a minute. When I came back out he was already most of the way accross the field to the nieghbours barn, I don`t need my neighbours mistaking him for a Coyote. We have a large pack living a few miles from our property with some of the Coyotoes approaching the size of a medium size German Shepard! I really don`t want him to become a Coyote snack either.

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