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New dog coming...Introducing non farm dog to farm life advice needed

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  • New dog coming...Introducing non farm dog to farm life advice needed

    Tomorrow morning I will be picking up Elvis, an 11 month old german shepard whose dad was deployed to afganistan. Aside from the heatbreaking fact that people go off to war and give up their pets to do it... I want to make sure elvis gets the best possible intro to farm life and horses (cats too if anyone has expertise on that). I will be researching on the internet but with all the knowledgable peeps here, seemed like the first place to ask.

    He is housebroken, crate trained, knows sit and stay. Not familiar with cats, though not showing aggression in foster home. Sits on the other side of the door gate going woof -big pause- woof -big pause- woof -big pause- at the cat that insists on sitting and staring at him. He is not good on leash. I'm told he pulls.

    He is coming to 5 fenced, x-fenced acres with a frenetic heeler, assorted house cats ... more or less dog friendly, 4 horses... more of less view dogs (heeler) as toy.

    Have crate in house, kennel outside, patience, and 3 days off.

    Advice much appreciated.
    www.hawkstracefarm.com Home of Doodles, Gabby, and Maggie, and resting place of Lexi the wonder horse!

  • #2
    Sounds like a wonderful addition. First thing the dog needs to learn is 'leave it' and 'come'. Work on the 'leave it' with toys, bones, etc. Then introduce the cats while dog is on leash. Make sure he understands the boundaries in that he MUST 'leave it' with the cats. For the horses, again, on leash. Work on his stays and lie downs while you are brushing horses, working with horses while standing. I wouldn't let him off leash around the farm animals for a while. Shepherds are wonderfully smart...not true herding dogs anymore but very trainable.

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    • #3
      It is always exciting to get a new dog! We foster dogs pulled from the local kill shelter. A number of these have been 1 to 3 year old golden retrievers weighing 70 to 100 pounds with no manners. If you can find a gentle lead to use while on the leash, it is well worth it. After a few minutes or so of fighting it, the dog will likely stop and walk on the leash without pulling. We use the one that fits over the nose or muzzle while another foster home uses one that fits over the shoulders.

      This works well on dogs with a defined longish muzzle, did not work well on a shar pei mix with a short wide muzzle, he could easily paw it off his nose. You might find one at Wally World but the one we bought there did not last too long, pet stores usually have these in stock.

      Good luck with the new dog.
      Last edited by be kind; Jan. 14, 2011, 10:34 PM. Reason: spelling error

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      • #4
        Originally posted by be kind View Post
        It is always exciting to get a new dog! We foster dogs pulled from the local kill shelter. A number of these have been 1 to 3 year old golden retrievers weighing 70 to 100 pounds with no manners. If you can find a gentle lead to use while on the leash, it is well worth it. After a few minutes or so of fighting it, the dog will likely stop and walk on the leash without pulling. We use the one that fits over the nose or muzzle while another foster home uses one that fits over the shoulders.

        This works well on dogs with a defined longish muzzle, did not work well on a shar pei mix with a short wide muzzle, he could easily paw it off his nose. You might find one at Wally World but the one we bought there did not last too long, pet stores usually have these in stock.

        Good luck with the new dog.
        hey this is very nice one by your side and remind me of last year when i had 3 dogs with me it was fun..

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        • #5
          Standard advice for any dog, new or old with problems, is "train and confine".

          Think of yourself as a trainer that just got a dog in to train, have a plan, keep the dog where it is under complete control, leashed, confined, work with the dog a little bit here and there on concepts, so it learns to listen to you.

          We can't expect a dog/puppy to have enough sense to just figure how the world works, not on our terms, not without first providing the tools, the training so they can manage.
          Left to figure things on their own, they will make too many mistakes, learn bad habits.

          You can't believe how many people don't realize that.
          They get a new dog/puppy, turn it loose and expect it to know how to manage properly, with a few words like "no, don't do that!" or "leave it!" or "come!", as if the dog would know what they mean.

          Once the dog is attuned to you well and you know you have good control of the dog in ideal conditions, then you start to proof the dog with more time in the more difficult situations, where the training will pay.

          Taking a new dog and putting it in a complicated situation as a city/yard dog in a farm with many kinds of strange critters and other dogs is overwhelming.
          Best train the dog in a confined place, until you know it is listening to you, then keep it under direct control until you are sure the dog is reliable any place.

          We see way too many dogs like yours not make it as farm dogs, because they get freedom to do what they want on their own, before they learned to listen to their humans.
          The trouble, dogs without direction will do what they think they need to do and that won't always be what humans will like.

          Three days of intense contact with the dog will get you way ahead, use them well, help the new dog do right from the start, don't put the dog in situations it may do what you don't want.
          Train the dog so it earns it's freedom.

          Remember the dog training motto: "Train and confine", it works.

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          • #6
            You've had some good advice. Just take it one step at a time, being careful not to overwhelm him, and make sure he understands what is and is not acceptable behavior. Make sure you set up a quiet place just for him to decompress first thing, and give him plenty of opportunities to take a break from all the stimulation, including at night.

            Shepherds have a strong prey/chase drive, so make sure to work with him around the cats and horses when all are calm and nobody is running. As has been said, "leave it" is invaluable for when they inevitably do run around and make his little brain fall out with the need to chase and snap. Depending on his personality, he may see the cats and horses at toys/possibly edible toys or as dog-eating monsters. Either way, if you make it clear they are part of the 'family' and how he's expected to act around them, he should be fine. For cats, you're supposed to hold and pet the cat where he can see that it's "yours" and eventually introduce them while you're still holding the cat (ymmv on how amused the cat will be). I also make them watch me interact with the horses for a while before on-leash introductions, so he knows they're mine, too. I've had both types--bold and shy--and they both got it figured out pretty quickly. Interestingly, mine made the distinction between "their" critters and wildlife/feral cats, and only chased non-family.

            Good for you for giving what sounds like a great puppy a wonderful new home. I hope you like him--sheps are typically super dogs and a lot of fun.
            ---------------------------

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            • #7
              "train and confine" - perfect

              I once read "if you cannot get "come" mastered, then at least get "sit" mastered, since that will usually get/keep a dog out of serious trouble".

              Of course, you NEED a good recall, as it's not always safe to just have the dog sit somewhere.

              The dog doesn't go off-leash until you do some long-line training with him and don't have to use the leash. And THEN, off-leash training in a place he can't just leave.

              I agree on the cat thing - things need to be seen as YOUR things. Not theirs. You choose when to let him have things, and this includes food You allow him to have his bed and toys. You give, you can take, and it's actually a good idea to (safely) take things so he knows that.

              So - kitty is YOURS. Horses are YOURS. Everything is yours for you to give him if you choose. But give generously
              ______________________________
              The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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              • #8
                Ditto the head halter/lead thing (especially for dogs that aren't good with collar leading) then attach it to your belt/waist and have him with you 24/7 when you are out and about on the farm.
                The only way for him to do what you want is to teach him everyday, in every opertunity, with repetition and praise when he does something good and quick reprimands when he does something incorrect. And how much fun will he have hanging with you????

                Can it be a pain? Yup. Will he quickly learn what is acceptable and what isn't? Double yup. Plus you will have complete control over him should he do something "not ok" like take too much interest in a cat or horse. You prevent him from getting into bad habits right off the bat.
                Katherine
                Proudly owned by 7 horses, 6 dogs, 3 cats and 1 Turkey
                www.piattfarms.com

                Comment


                • #9
                  Just be very careful with the head halter, if you're talking about the Halti or Gentle Leader type thing. One bad yank, of whatever origination, and there could be serious neck damage. Not that you would intentionally yank his head around, but if he lunges for something and gets yanked, well...
                  ______________________________
                  The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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