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My young dog won't see goats. He works sheep great, but my goats are with the sheep and he won't see them. I have to bring in 2 dogs, him for the sheep and another for goats, to keep them back while I feed. Anybody have any good suggestions to get him to see goats as livestock to work? I've tried working him on the goats only and while he tried, he kept looking wistfully down to the field where the sheep were. He will work them in a group out in the field, but I think its not so much him working them as the group just staying together. My other dogs are getting old and I really need this dog to be able to replace them in a year or two, it will be hard if he won't work the goats.

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I think maybe you'll just have to keep including practice time with goats-only, until he gives in. I've never had a dog that *didn't* prefer sheep over goats, and they'd even walk past a goat and leave it behind, while moving only the sheep.

 

Lots of dogs just don't like goats because they don't move well, they may turn and stare at a dog, and they're generally not as respectful. So if your boy is like mine have been, it just takes time and a lot of repetition - and some corrections when he tries to leave the goats behind. ;) Good luck!

 

~ Gloria

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Yeah, I have a dog like that. We took out a mixed group on a regular basis on walkabouts. She tried to leave the goats behind pretty much constantly at first. Each time she forgot one I would step through the sheep, block her and tell her to "look." She wasn't allowed to continue on unless everyone was accounted for. It wasn't long before she figured out that liking goats didn't matter; she had better work them if I asked her to. Ignoring her goats meant losing her sheep. Later on those lessons allowed to her essentially learn a look back commands within minutes.

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I will try just continuing what I've been doing then. Even if the wether goat rears up and comes down at him he will still pay it no attention. They don't intimidate him at all, he just looks right through them. Out in my field he will work them with the sheep as a group with no problem. The goats don't really try to separate themselves out there. It's when I go to feed and I need the dogs to hold them off that he ignores them. I think Gloria's idea of just working them exclusively is my best bet. Although I do know some of the dogs in this line don't like working non sheep either. Only time I've ever seen him take an interest at all is when the little doeling comes up to see what he's about. He will touch noses and lick her face. All while still holding the sheep off. Of course even my most experienced dogs have decided that little doe isn't worth the bother as they've tried every which way to keep her off the feed with the others. They have pushed with their noses and even nipped at her but she doesn't care so they've given up and they just leave her alone. She is very young though so I don't really want them being too rough on her yet. They will grip the older ones as necessary. But my experienced dogs are getting old and probably won't work much longer, then I'll be out of luck for the goats.

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Another thing to do is take a single goat out and make him work that. Working a single an important life lesson that comes in handy for a variety of situations, like getting a sick animal into a barn for treatment, retrieving an escapee or getting the ram separated from the flock. It also develops style quite nicely.

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I might try that. Only problem is I only have 3. One doe with her baby and 1 wether who thinks he can eat dogs for lunch. Through the fence that is. It would be nice putting him in his place as he drives me nuts. That exercise might be good for this dog too. Thanks!

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