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Did I get lucky or are you people crazy? :)


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Is there a single one of you who actually owns chickens or other livestock, doesn't live in the city or suburbs and actually uses their dogs for something other than pets? This is not a rhetorical question, I honestly want to know.

 

HAHAHA!!!!

 

ETA: I think Darci's right. This guy seems like a troll.

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Laurae, i was looking for the "like" button! Oops. Lmao. No, new OP. We're all stupid. Dont mind us. We know nothing. Im sure your "breeder" ( cough) can advise you much better. Sounds as though you'll believe anything they say, but us? The history on this board says nothing of the experience this crew holds right?

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The funny thing is that the vast majority of the regulars on this board make their living raising livestock and depend on their dogs in order to do their living as well as own open trial dogs. You definitely came to the wrong forum if you honestly think people on this board all live in the burbs. Using your BC to guard your chickens is not doing the work the breed was made to do-a good number of those on these boards use their dogs on stock to the highest level and/or use them every day to make their living-sitting with chickens is not that. There may not be anything wrong with it, but trying to pretend like the people on these boards don't know working border collies is just silly and ignorant.

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Then why are you surprised that a BC is a good dog to keep around to protect chickens? Lots of farmers around here use them for this, that's how I was turned on to the idea. They also keep the flocks together because of their herding instict.

 

 

I am not surprised, just as I am not surprised that border collies are good at frisbee or dock diving-the breed can do many things well. But to make it sound like you know more because your dog 'works' (guarding chickens) is arrogant of you. Did you not see the first half of this board (the top part of the forum) is dedicated to working stockdog issues-trialing, training on stock, livestock questions, etc? You could not have come to a better place to learn about the working border collie. I am sorry you see nothing but negativity but you yourself have resorted to insults. As someone else stated, we only want what is best for your dog and give honest advice. Some take that the wrong way. I have learned a lot from the 'elders' on this board, if you want to learn you will-you just have to get past the idea that they are being up front and honest.

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(Tried to post earlier and the Internet nose-dived.)

 

Mike, I don't think you're going to get anywhere with the shock collar debate...BCs are notoriously sensitive to mishandling so even if you are being careful, you could imprint something on him that you'll have to pay for later. They can make extended leaps of logic that you might not think possible. For example, a past rescue dog came to us nipping a man's hand if he tried to pet him - because it was the man who put the shock collar on him. It took a while for the dog to realize that he was safe from that sort of thing and he became everyone's best friend. That is, until he got hit by a car because we couldn't train him out of the wheel fixation his previous owner had allowed him to develop. Every time I think about that dog, I can't help but think I failed him. So we'll retire that part of the discussion for now.

 

One more caution - keep him AWAY from the shooting range - he is darting after the targets to catch the bullets. He sees them hit and he wants to fetch them. One day he just might catch one. I witnessed a very close call myself with an unattended dog. It would have been heartbreaking. If nothing else, being around the shooting hurts his ears.

 

He's a beautiful boy. You are fortunate to have him as your companion. At seven months old, Leonard is developing a whole new personality so you will want to be very careful about the things you do with him. He sounds like he loves you very much and is very biddable, which is a good thing. Why not teach him to fetch the chickens into their coop at night and find something else for him to do during the day - get some guineas to put in with the chickens. They'll shriek to the heavens if anything goes missing.

 

Leaving a very young dog to watch something that inherently needs organizing is so tempting. You might discover one day that Leonard has decided to herd your chickens, gotten too excited and you will be missing some chickens. It is rarely a good idea to leave such a young BC alone in such a tempting position.

 

 

 

I've been around BCs all my life - as an adult, we had rescues. been raising 2 pups for the past 3 and a half years - the first pups I've had since I was a small child. I learned a great deal on these boards and from trainers and we've gotten on fairly well but I have quite a list of "I won't dos" and "I will dos" if I should ever be so fortunate as to get a chance to have a pup again. It is obvious that you love Leonard and are very proud of him and his abilities. Spend some quiet time with him and listen to what he has to tell you. These are wonderful dogs, wonderful companions and deserve the best that we can give them. That's all people here, in various ways, are trying to explain.

 

Liz

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Shock collar: You can beat a dog with a training lead, it doesn't make training leads evil. As I've said, I use the setting I use on Leonard on mysel all the time, and it doesn't hurt at all. One of my friends who tried it couldn't even feel it. I can't feel the pulse correction, I have to hold it down to feel the tinge. It's annoying, like a pesky vibration that you want to swat at. It certainly hurts less than a choke chain or even sharp tug from a training lead. Leonard responds to the collar perfectly.

 

I know we've been through the pro/anti shock collar discussion before, but I don't think I've ever commented personally on it. I've seen too many dogs that have had the collars used on them and it changes them. One dog, an Aussie had been sent to a "trainer" at the age of 6 mos and that "trainer" used a shock collar on the dog. That dog is now over 6 years old and her mind has never been right since she had the collar on. I get dogs in my groom shop all the time that have shock/barking collars on and I have a real hard time handling them because they don't respond right. They get jumpy and panic at the drop of a hat. Sure you can beat a dog with a leash or anything, but at least that dog knows where its coming from. And I'm certainly not condoning beating a dog with anything. My belief is that an electrical shock, no matter how mild, triggers an instinctive response in people and in other animals. If its strong enough it can kill. I don't understand why people take this shortcut when training their dogs. Instead, show the dog what you want and when he understands praise him for it.

 

I own chickens, guineas and sheep. I sold my goats. We had a fox come up and grab a guinea with all 6 dogs out running around. The dogs were on the other side of the fence, but still within 30 feet of the fox. I had to go through 2 gates and I don't run as fast as when I was young, but that fox couldn't run real fast with the guinea in his mouth. When I got within 20 feet he decided he'd lost and let the guinea go. I've had several taken by some kind of predatory bird, also with all the dogs loose. Border Collies aren't guardian dogs and as good as my dogs are with my poultry I would never leave them loose with them. If I need the birds put away my dogs are great, but to guard them I would not choose any of my Border Collies. They may sit and watch them all day, but they won't let the birds move or eat or drink water. Well except for my old guy, Seth who will eat chicken feed with the chickens now he's decided he's retired.

 

There is a lot of good information on these boards and there are still some really good, knowledgeable people who devote their time to helping new, and not so new people. They have years of experience with the breed and can offer some good advise. Please listen.

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I imagine that by now the OP has wandered off to that other forum where the people aren't annoyingly disagreeable. But in case anyone *else* is listening (reading) I'll note that I raise chickens (and sheep, but that's irrelevant to these comments) and I have a bunch of border collies. They aren't in the yard all the time, but they have been out in the yard with the chickens and I've still had hawks take the occasional chicken. Maybe there's a way to specifically teach a border collie to alert to a predator like a hawk, but unless your dog is watching the sky all the time, he's not going to be able to alert you to a hawk until after the fact.

 

And for every hawk you kill illegally, more will just come in. I guess you can just keep shooting them, but be careful where you announce that, because not everyone agrees that it's okay to just shoot hawks for doing what they do. I free range my chickens and I accept that by doing so, I am leaving them more vulnerable to predators. That said, even though the back of my property is a conservation forest and has a good hawk population, I can attribute very few losses to hawks.

 

When I was having trouble with nighttime predators (at my old place), I would bring the flock up at night to the area where the chickens roosted and the guard dog provided protection by proxy. That is, she was guarding the sheep, but because the sheep were in the same location as the chickens, they got protected too.

 

If anyone finds these comments insulting, I apologize. But I do believe the collective experience here counts for something, and it certainly is frustrating when advice freely offered (in some cases over many years) is blithely dismissed. The disrespect road travels in both directions.

 

ETA: I know there are people who keep a general farm guardian dog, usually something like an English shepherd that doesn't have a strong stock working instinct. Some of my working dogs will work poultry, and it can be very handy to have that option available to me, but I don't expect the dogs to be guardians to the poultry, except perhaps by their presence (that is not as active guards, but rather passively, if their very presence *might* deter something from entering the yard and going after the poultry.

 

 

 

J.

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So the breeder says the dogs are good for guarding chickens? Sounds a lot like the breeders who say that, "Yes, they make wonderful family pets!" or "Yes, they are good with children!" or "Yes, they are the world's smartest dogs and they practically train themselves!" Some people will say just about anything to make a buck or sell a product.

 

Border Collies are known to be used to gather and pen turkeys and other fowl. But to be considered "guardians"? That's not their nature but, being noise and movement sensitive, they can find chickens quite intriguing.

 

Folks were very open and welcoming, in spite of the "...or are you people crazy?" I wonder just how often people who join a group and ask for advice, but seem to have all the answers, know it all, and refute everything everyone tries to say to be helpful, wind up getting their shorts in a twist and leaving? Pretty often, I'd guess.

 

But maybe someone willing to read and listen and learn will have benefitted from this discussion, and thereby their dog(s) benefitted also.

 

PS - Sorry to have gotten snippy but some days it gets very hard to stay patient when good efforts (by others) get blown off by someone who's not willing to listen.

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... If I need the birds put away my dogs are great, but to guard them I would not choose any of my Border Collies. They may sit and watch them all day, but they won't let the birds move or eat or drink water. Well except for my old guy, Seth who will eat chicken feed with the chickens now he's decided he's retired.

 

 

Gotta smile at this one. Overreacting to pressure, Robin is intensely interested in having the sheep NOT return to the barn. He happily puts them in the furthest corner of the pasture, and having gotten them under control, lies down nice and easy. It looks all pretty and pastoral until you realize he's not lolling about but focused so hard on them they dare not drop their heads to graze. He is the predator. Left to his own devices he'd keep them stuck there away from shade and water until they - and he - collapsed of sun/heat stroke. It's been the devil's own task this fall to get him to flank around them and bring them back toward the barn - but with patience, we managed it.

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Dear Mike ~

 

Having read this thread and its startling turn, I'm wondering if you are a troll, or if you simply have not realized where you are. This is working border collie forum. Some people here keep their dogs as pets, some enjoy them in agility, some train for and run in sheepdog trials and a good number are working farmers or ranchers. (Yes, really.)

 

The one thing we are *all* agreed on is that electric collars have no place in training a border collie. Once in a great while, I've heard of one being used to stop a life-or-death behavior when every other means have failed. But to use one in any other manner is simply lazy training. There are countless, COUNTLESS other methods that don't involve shock collars. (And yes, I've seen them used and I've seen what the dogs become. Not good.)

 

Now, a couple points.

 

1.) I'm a gun owner, I carry and shoot and have done so for 30 years. NEVER will I allow a dog on a live firing range. Times in the past we've brought a dog to a shooting area, but they waited in the car. When the guns were put away, then the dogs came out and we took them for a hike.

 

-- You wear hearing protection while shooting, right? What makes you think that your dog, with no protection and hearing a bazillion times more sensitive than ours, will not suffer permanent hearing damage? And if he's biting bullet-riddled metal cans ... Seriously? You find humor in your dog cutting his mouth on shredded metal? You've never taken a dog to the vet for a mouth laceration have you? Mouth injuries are a booger to heal.

 

2.) Guarding chickens? What exactly is your dog guarding chickens from? If coyotes come in to get your hens, they will tear your dog to bits. Otherwise, I've never heard of a border collie being kept to chase weasels or racoons out of a chicken yard. Nor for that matter do they alert to hawks or owls. My border collies would rather hold my chickens in a corner and never let them move.

 

3.) "Playing" with equipment - good lord, tell me you're not serious! Augers, snow blowers, quad bikes - those are not toys! Would you let your 3 year old child play with an auger or play-attack a quad bike? Border collies are killed every year from "playing" with equipment, whether it's backhoes, quad bikes or whatever.

 

No dog gets in trouble with vehicles or equipment - until the day they do. My hubby once moved our pickup maybe 20 feet and ran over our corgi mix, who until that day had NEVER gone near a moving vehicle. But that day, Scruffy followed his nose after a scent and walked right under the wheels. A thousand dollars worth of surgery, a LOT of pain and suffering, and a very long rehab later, the dog survived. Scruffy lived to a ripe old age ... but I'd give to anything to have spared him the weeks of suffering he endured as he healed up from his surgery and multiple injuries.

 

NEVER trust your 'training' to keep a dog out of harm's way. When it comes to loose dogs around equipment and machinery, a fraction of a second is all it takes, and you've got a dead or mangled dog.

 

 

Look, Mike, maybe you're a regular guy. Maybe everything you've said here it completely sincere. Maybe you really DON'T understand why we're freaking out over dogs chewing shredded metal cans, running around on shooting ranges or trying to play with augers. Maybe in your world, dogs should have total freedom and never be fenced or leashed, and if they do get killed doing something they shouldn't have ... oh, well, if he's stupid enough to go there, he's too stupid to live. I don't know.

 

However, Leonard looks like a beautiful young dog and I'd hate to think of him getting shot or his mouth ripped up or his skull crushed or run down by a moving vehicle, because you thought your 'training' would override every impulse or silly idea a dog might have. If he does, don't come here and tell us about it. We don't want to know.

 

But for heaven's sake, use good sense. Keep the dog off the firing line. Put him away when using power equipment. And if people are riding quad bikes around your place 10 times a day, and he wants to chase them, PUT HIM UP if you can't watch him. Build a danged fence. And don't use a border collie as a guardian dog. They're not bred to battle predators or chase off stray neighborhood dogs.

 

I wish you well, Mike. You and that pretty pup. But I'm not sure what world you live in. Certainly not the same world as the farmers, ranchers and stockmen that I know. And by the way, I don't live in the 'burbs, either.

 

~ Gloria

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Posted Today, 06:01 PM mike01, on 28 January 2013 - 05:25 PM, said:

You say you're farmers? You lock up your dogs everytime you use farm machinery? Really?

 

Just the ones i don't want run over and killed.

 

 

Bingo! And yes, Mike, Lana really is a farmer/rancher. As are several of the people in this discussion.

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I, too, live on a working farm and have had everything from small, personal to medium-sized, commercial free-range flocks over the years. It's actually because of this experience, not in spite of it that I am most curious about your choice. My experience with BCs is more limited than my poultry experience, but based on the experience I do have with the breed I really just can't imagine a BC ever being a good choice for a flock guardian.

 

The beginning of this thread seems to have disappeared for me so I can't refer back to it for Leonard's age, but if memory serves he is still rather young, yes? If so you may find as he matures he will become less and less suitable for that purpose, especially as he turns on.

 

FWIW, I would agree with what Julie has written about hawks above and I think it's important to keep in mind that raccoons will not necessarily go out of their way to avoid dogs. Many will, but not all. Just this morning my farm dogs had one in the front yard and my BC would have happily joined in had I not called him back inside with me while I went to get the gun. I'm not going to say BCs absolutely couldn't hold their own, but just based on my experience with mine I would never expect him to do the same job as the other dogs and would worry about him being injured if he were in the position of needing to hold a coon. There is risk in the job for any dog, but his instincts and working style are different so he's at a disadvantage. Just like I would not put one of the other dogs up against a surly cow with a calf; they don't have the same instincts which means they'd probably be more likely than a dog who was bred for stock work to end up injured.

 

As for the machinery, no I don't lock up all the dogs when I use machinery, but none of ours have ever showed interest in vehicles of any kind and I do contain or restrain any dogs who are young or small; those that could be at greater than normal risk around moving vehicles because they are harder to see, are more compulsive, and/or not as predicable. And I would do the same with a dog who was at greater than normal risk because of its previous actions. It seems Leonard fits three of those criteria: he's young, small, and has shown previously that he is likely to put himself in harm's way so I'd definitely not have him out around moving machinery here.

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The dairy farmer who got a littermate to my Twist ran over not one, but two (one the littermate to mine) because he got in a hurry and didn't put the dogs out of harm's way and backed over them with a tractor (on two separate occasions). In both cases, the dogs were not at all lucky and died. That farmer really loved his dogs and was completely devastated, but of course his devastation didn't bring the dogs back. I can't even begin to imagine how I'd feel if I accidentally caused the death or serious injury of one of mine.

 

Regarding spoiling their fun, I used to work near the beach and I'd take the dogs to work and take them to the beach on my lunch hour. One of my dogs loves to chase and bite the waves breaking on the beach. LOVES it. And yet, I can't allow her to do it more than a few times, because dog can die of salt toxicity and every time she's biting at waves, she's ingesting salt water. If I'm not vigilant about it, she will end up with horrible diarrhea and vomiting (not fun, and also evidence that swallowing salt water isn't healthy). So I would still take her to the beach, but I'd have to be proactive about letting her do something she loves--bite at the breakers--because it's just not safe for her. Unfortunately we can't explain our reasons to them, but I just wanted to provide an illustration of why we sometimes have to intervene and not allow them to do things that obviously bring them pleasure. If I wanted my dog to have fun with thrown snow, then I think I'd make a game of snowball fetch or something, so there's no confusion about flying snow from a shovel vs. a snow blower.

 

As Gloria pointed out, noisy machinery can also ruin hearing.

 

ETA: It just occurred to me that it sounds as if Leonard is doing many things during the day, not just guarding this chickens. Or am I misunderstanding something. If he's picking up cans on the firing range, or chasing snow off the end of the shovel, etc., then he's not guarding the poultry during that time. Most guardian dogs are dedicated to guarding only. My LGDs stay in the fields with the flocks (and whoever told you that they don't make good pets isn't entirely correct; if you make a pet out of them, they may decide they'd rather hang around the house then hang out in the pasture, but I've been on LGD forums where a lot of folks keep them in the yard specifically for the protection of poultry, where they are semi-pets but have an exclusive job to do during the day when the poultry is out). If Leonard were going to be an effective poultry guardian, he would need to be with the poultry at all times while they are out. Otherwise the predators could just come take what they want while he's down at the firing range, or wherever.

 

J.

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Dogs who wear shock collars can learn very quickly when they have the collar on and when its not on, same as with a leash. You might have to leave the collar on all the time to keep the results you get. Its more about training him what you do want "stay on the porch when the quad starts moving" vs punishing him for what you don't want.

 

I have 20+ years of training experience with multiple breeds, and I have seen huge fallout from using shock collars on multiple dogs. Yes, there are a few instances when they can be helpful but I would never consider them on such a young dog. Consider reading the article I posted earlier. I still feel strongly that using it on a 7 month old puppy is a bad idea.

 

Consider this thought: if you only need to have it at "tingle" to get results, then you could get equally good results with other methods. Really! Hes clearly a super bright puppy.

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What?? Where did I say I would shoot a hawk?? Shooting a hawk is a federal offense.

 

 

Here's what you said:

Daytime predators consist mostly of hawks (which will see a dog and not attack because they can't carry off a chicken and would have to eat it on the ground), rarely racoons (which won't mess with dogs) and even more rarely foxes (also won't mess with dogs). BCs are territorial (Leonard certainly is) and bark at things they don't like, thereby alerting the shotgun wielding human.

 

Maybe you meant the shotgun wielding human would be shooting only raccoons or foxes, but since you stated that hawks are the main daytime predators and Leonard's job is to alert the gun-wielding human, perhaps you can understand why I took that to mean you'd be shooting hawks. I've lived in rural areas (farms) most of my life and know from experience that many people think nothing of the fact that hawks are federally protected.

 

J.

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And what do you do when the dog figures out the difference between being on a lead and not being on a lead and gets fixated on something and ignores you when you say “come here”?

 

A 100% reliable recall is the holy grail of dog safety.

 

 

Yep, and if you look at another thread on this board you will see a discussion by several people who have trained it very successfully without using a e collar. I have a 8.5 month old puppy and he has an awesome whipturn recall, taught without a e collar.

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