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I am new to the group, so this is my first official posting. I have a 13 month old border collie. He has lots of BC energy, so we value our off leash time at the dog park. He is usually a very good listener off leash (many puppy classes helped). Our problem is the moose at the local off leash parks. If they are laying down, I can distract him with his ball or frisbee. If they are standing or running, I have no such luck. He sees one and is off, charging that them and trying to herd...I am worried about him (and I) getting stomped. Anyone have some good training ideas for calling BCs off wild animals? We have a fenced yard that is high enough to keep wildlife out, but he goes craszy when there are moose on the street or in the neighbors yard. Thanks!!

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Moose?!?!

Wow, I didn't know they lived so close to some people.....

 

One thing is just doing training (with a long-line so it is safe to set up for a failure) around them. At some point he will just see them as a set up and ignore them. But that would take some time and some hard work - it would be successful though! :rolleyes:

 

Good luck.

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Moose??? Whoa, this is new.

 

I'm just getting this mental image of a little BC, trying to round up a herd of Moose. As impressive of a feat as that would be, I don't see the moose being very cooperative. I agree with the danger factor there!

 

Why not try having him on a long lead while at the park...and when moose are spotted, work on recall with the leash in hand....that way you can assure yourself he wont get at him, and teach him that disobeying you just isn't going to happen...

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This was a significant concern of mine as well when Finn was a pup. Two things... when he was pretty young we did a LOT of recall work while out walking. He's food-motivated in the house, but outside, forget it. The Big Wide World is WAY more interesting than any mere food. So I took his favorite toy with me, and on recalls I'd use his name to get his attention, wave the toy at him, and when I had his collar *in hand*, then we'd have a little play with the toy, tons of praise, etc, then the toy went back in my pocket and on we went. I did this 8 or 10 times per walk - at least. Could be you can tighten up your recalls with this method...? It helps if you do it under distraction, so that he learns to pay more attention to you than to the other enticements. I used other dogs and people as distraction, so that Finn got used to the idea that no matter how good the game, if I called him off, off he came. I always made it worth his while.

 

The other thing is that I taught all my puppies "leave it" when they were little. That was used to mean "whatever you're doing, stop it right now and come over here". (If you're working your dog on stock, "that'll do" might make a reasonable substitute, as a means of telling your dog to stand down.) I have a pretty good "leave it" on all the dogs for this very reason - and many others. It's very handy, I must say, any time I drop medication, or they just HAVE to harrass the cats... :rolleyes:

 

As a BTW, I HAVE had Finn on and around stock, which I realize is not practical for a lot of people, but it did teach him to restrain his drive a bit on request.

 

Finn's mother, Keetna, thinks she can run off any moose, regardless of size, circumstance or calves at side. This is usually not my problem (since I don't own her), but I posted a while back about an episode where I was taking care of her and she tangled with a cow/calf pair in my back yard. Luckily she DID come when called, but that was enough to cause a major adrenaline squeeze. :eek:

 

At any rate, moose can and do do significant damage to dogs. I've seen my share - lac's, fractured and separated ribs, flail chests, pneumothorax, fractured skulls, split pelvises, severe necrotic bruising, lost or broken teeth, broken legs - the works. Hence my thoughts would be to avoid the moosey areas until you're a lot more certain of his recall under the influence of moose-madness. Also, I don't care how reliable a dog is, bear in mind that ANY dog can lose his mind just that one time and then you've got a problem.

 

A certain amount of risk accrues to living in AK, and part of the deal is that you can't control it all. You do your best and you cope with the rest - but you have to take responsibility for the consequences of your choices, so pick something that you can live with. FYI, I didn't take Finn into moosey areas alone until I was very confident of his Leave It and recall. I still never go alone into moosey areas with a single dog; I always take at least two (whose recalls are trustworthy) on the theory that a moose will be more inclined to let it be if there are two or more dogs and a person who are all trying to give a wide berth. If nothing else it divides the moose's attention - which target to pick? - and a group may look like enough trouble that so long as we are departing the moose may be more inclined to let it be than it might a single individual. And, knock wood, so far the closest I've gotten is the pair in my back yard - everything else has been at a much more comfortable distance, luckily, or confined to scat.

 

Good luck with this - I know it can be both frustrating and scary.

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It's easier to teach a dog to ask permission before giving chase than it is to teach them to hear your recall once they've already started off. They both take work. The difference is that you can teach the former by starting with attractions that aren't all that attractive and slowly building up to asking permission to access better and better stuff. Squirrels are very handy if your dog likes them, because you can always reward the dog by releasing him to the squirrels and no one gets hurt (unlike the moose situation). There are lots of opportunities to practice this, like asking permission to go through a door or begin eating dinner. You can define what you want "ask permission" to mean. I wait for a sit. Other people have trained their dogs to tap their foot (the person's foot) or look at their face.

 

In the meantime, you have to use "management". Have the dog drag a 50' longline everywhere so you have a chance of stopping him if a moose suddenly appears (skinny climbing cord, available from REI, works well for this). Also, don't let the dog practice the "going crazy" behavior. That means not being outside unsupervised if there's a chance a moose might stroll down the street. It might seem like a lot of hassle for a while, but it's much easier to teach self control if the dog doesn't get a chance to practice being out of control, which is a self-rewarding behavior and hard for you to trump.

 

When it comes to living with danger, I'd take moose over cars any day.

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I lived about 15 miles outside of Fairbanks for 6 years. I lived in a little log cabin w/o running water. I had moose ALL around my place. One day I was walking to my mail box, in winter, with Bukka, who was about a year old. It was about a 1/2 mile walk oneway. On the way back we came around a bend and there was a momma moose with a calf. Bukka stopped for a second and I could see the excitement building in him. I gave him a frim "Stay!" The meeses (i know plural is moose) turned, took one step and that was all. They ran into the woods and Bukka went right after them. I saw him enter the woods tight behind them. I called him a couple fo times and he returned with a big grin on his face.

 

Bukka always had a 99% (Now it is 100%)recall even when he was 3 months old. I walked him off leash around my cabin, since it was so rural/wild.

 

I agree onm the cars. I spent more time with him on that. If there was a car comming I trained him to come to me and sit next to me as the car passed. I'd hear a car, I'd whistle, he'd come next to be and plant his butt down, watch the car go by, and look at me for a release.

 

Dogs and moose are everywhere in alaska. Dogs especially in Fairbanks. If you went to a party up there, most of the time you were expected to bring your dog. So, at a party you could have 50 people there drinking and having a good time, with 20 or so dogs playing. The only time I have heard of moose injuring dogs was a a dog sled team that came upon a bull on the trail. That was ugly.

 

It is still soemthing to be concerned about, but don't let it stop you from having fun.

 

Brad

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Thanks for all the postings...I have thought about using the long lead, but I also love it when he runs through the woods and tires himself out...but safety does need to come first. My BC has never chased cars (except one scary looking snowplow when he was a younger.) We were going a while when we didn't see too many moose, but they have been at the park almost every time when have gone lately. He does look pretty funny trying to herd those moose.

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Is this the same dog that you identifed in another thread as a borderjack? If so, the training advice doesn't really change, but the importance of doing it is increased. To me at least, the terrier heritage makes it more likely that your dog could meet an untimely end if he continues his career as a a wildlife chaser.

 

I know what you mean about the joy of watching the dog run freely through the woods. I struggle with the same thing. I got my BC at 8 months (after who knows how many previous homes...at least three), so I didn't have the chance to condition the right behavior from the start, but we've been working on self control ever since. If I were willing to keep my dog on a leash 24 hours a day, I'm sure we'd have made faster progress, but I'm not. That's just the choice I've made.

 

On the other hand, meeses are quite rare hereabouts. Bears are much more common, but I've tested my dog around bears and she is quite content to observe them from my side.

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Wow. No more advice to add, but I don't know how I'd feel having moose living by my backyard. :rolleyes: Of course, we do have foxes, wolves and bears, so... I guess I can't say anything. (But I haven't seen the latter two near OUR yard, personally.)

 

I understand totally about not wanting to leash them unless it's necessary. I feel the same way about Zoe.

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In my experience, the biggest danger of walking dogs in the woods unleashed are porcupines. My vet had a wall fo fame. Every dog that came in with quills in their muzzle got a polaroid tanken and put on the wall. All those sad little faces with quills in theor noses!

 

I also got good looking for moose. Often times I would see them before the pups and and leash them till we went by.

 

After reading my post earlier I realized I sounded dismissing about the danger. That wasn't what I was trying to get across. My point was that If I worried about moose too much Bukka would never have gotten off leash up there.

 

And whe I say they were everywhere, I mean they were EVERYWHERE. One winter night I was going to to my outhouse and had a run in. My poddy time, was the dogs poddy time. While I was in the outhouse they would run around the cabin playing, sniffing, and eating moose poop (mushers call them dog treats). It was a very dark night and while walking the short trail to my outhouse I heard some movement then 'saw'this HUGE dark mass rise right in front of me! a moose had bedded down behind my cabin. It scared all of us. We ran back to the cabin! I gave it a few minutes and went back out to finish my business and the dogs stayed on the porch!

 

Work really hard on the recall and keep your eyes wide open. I agree with the terrier comment. Most dogs will chase then come back. Terrier may try and fight.

 

I spent a lot of time on the trails with my dogs. We used to go on backcountry trips where the dogs had their own backpacks. I'm hoestly surprised we never had a run in with a porcupine. I always felt like I was more in danger than the dogs.

 

All this talk makes me homesick for Alaska.

 

Brad

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Unfortunatley I have had a Moose encounter of the not so good kind. I was hiking in Denali Nat'l Park, with my grandson in 2004 when we happened upon a mamma moose with two calves. No dogs with us, but we plain didn't see her( she was behind some tall brush and trees. I have been hiking and backpacking all my life and I am very aware of my surrondings, especially in Alaska, but, she was very well camouflaged. She BIG TIME, came after us! My grandson being 9 at the time saw her coming out of the bush first and yelled, "mammy run"!. I had taught him never to run while while hiking, "except" (on advice of the Rangers) if you see a moose. Sooo I thought he was just being a 9 yr old boy, and playing a joke on me, so when he ran past me I grabbed his arm and was about to say, "Kyle! no running", when I saw her, at which time I yelled, "Kyle run!" Well he was like a little flash of lightening goooooone~~~, but grandma here.. well... let's just say, I didn't know my legs could move so fast. Mamma moose, was behind me so close I could hear her breathing!!! and could have reached out (had I wanted to die for sure)and touched her. God was with me that day because all of a sudden 2 little (and I mean little) trees just happend to pop up right beside me, and bam... I ducked behind them and apparently that was good enough for mamma moose! If she had wanted she could have ran right over those trees, but I had no choice because she was gonna catch up with me...no doubt. I stood there just talking softly (no breath to do anything else!), and said... ok mamma.. we are going , it's ok, we are outa here, she stomped her hooves a couple of times and bobbed her head and snorted, and thank God, she let me live to tell about it. What a humbling experience!

Sooooo that being said... I must say, I would make sure with or without dog(s), to always make sure to give the "meeses" haha , their safety zone, and then some!!!!!

I was 56 yrs. old at the time, and I can tell you, that was the single scariest moment of my life. My poor little grandson just knew he was gonna see a moose stomp his, mammy to death.

Needless to say, this was a memorable visit to Denali for us!

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I have another one, but it makes me look really stupid. I had miles of trails went were near my cabin ( I mean I could catch a trail 1/8 mile and by switcfhing trails I could probably tavel the whole Alaskan Interior). One day, at sunset I was walking the pups on a trail near my cabin. I had forgoten my glasses. I'm far from blind, but in the twighlight at a distance.....i'm pretty close at times. I came to a fork in the trail headed back to my cabin. I saw a moose in front of me about 30 yards at the fork. I saw it turn to look at me then freeze. I called the pups, they came, and I leashed them. Then I watched....and watched....I thought for sure the moose felt threatened because it just stared at me. And stared.....I was getting reallt nervous, afraid it would charge. After a minute or two I slowly led the dogs back and backtracked a few miles back to the cabin. I was on gaurd afew days afterward because I thought there was a bull moose in the neighborhood who was totally unafraid of people. When I finally made it back there, with my glasses, I realized a large white spruce tree had fallen and what I thought was the moose was the lower trunk and rootball!

 

Brad

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Brad, that happened with me only I thought it was a grizzly bear... turned out to be a large tree stump. It was on a trail, at about midnight Alaska (summer time), not dark but a little dusky, and time for the critters to be out!...I earned a few more grey hairs that night! Next morning, broad daylight, that darn bear was still there, hadn't moved an inch!!!!

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My moose-herder is my Border Collie...my BorderJack does not go off leash yet because we haven't gotten to the point of reliable recall, and I think he is just as happy chasing squirrels. I am not sure all these moose stories are making me feel better. ) We just had one on the school playground--they realy are everywhere I turn lately.

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Well, luckily they should be dispersing soon. They seem to prefer to calve in a bit more "privacy", generally speaking. Of course, having calves at-side just makes the cows more dangerous if you DO meet them, unfortunately.

 

On numbers alone I'd agree the porcupines pose a bigger threat... can't tell you how many zillions of PPQ's I've pulled out of how many dozens of dogs - and one client. :rolleyes: If I'd saved the quills I could have knitted myself several full-sized porcupines, I've no doubt. Smelly, saliva-festooned ones, to be sure, but full-sized. I've probably seen at least 20 times as many PPQ dogs as moose-stomped dogs, but the potential of a moose to kill them outright is a bit higher than with the porcupines... although I know of at least one potential fatality from a PPQ that penetrated the chest. We punted it to the surgeons (well, I don't know about you, but I'M not going to crack a chest at 5:30 in the afternoon looking for quills - not without a 24-hour hospital setting, anyway).

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A note of caution with wildlife (or some domestic stock) and a "gathering dog" like a Border Collie - if your dog is going to try to "work" the moose (or bull, or whatever) it will probably attempt to bring it to you...

 

My dogs when younger brought our bull right to me more than once, when that wasn't my intent. A "leave it" command, 100% recall, or use of a leash might prevent am unhappy too-close encounter for you with a moose or other wildlife, etc.

 

Stay safe and have fun!

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