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why does my dog tolerate kittens & puppies but not livestock?

Posted by bigshoes213 7 Sardis, Ms ( on
Sun, Apr 25, 10 at 22:13

My 6 year old border collie/german shephard mix male dog BLaze puts up with the tinest kittens and puppies jumping on him, biting his tail, etc... but killed a chicken that escaped from the makeshift chicken tractor one day while I was at work a couple weeks ago. Then today one of my pygmy goats (2 1/2 months old) squeezed through the small opening in between the gate and the fence post into our backyard and he had her pinned to the ground by her neck. My father who lives with us heard them and came running and got the dog off and the goat back into her pen. The goat pen is now escape proof and the chickens have been officially moved into their own pen until they can be incorpated into the main chicken flock.

I live in a fenced in yard with 2 dogs and 2 cats. (the other dog Tyson is part great pyrenees and part lab and does extremely well in the pens with the goats and chickens) no problems there. The goats and chickens live in pens adajcent to my property. MY mil has a herd of dairy goats and 3 dogs that bump up against my property also. So both dogs have been around the livestock for 2 years now but never in the same area till recently.

Why would my dog see livestock as edible if he doesnt view kittens and dogs (who are much smaller than the livestock). I am more worried about him attacking the goats than the chickens. (what animal would not want to chase a furry flying thing)

He doesnt not seem to be in any pain as far as I can tell to make him aggressive. He is not aggressive towards us. I do understand you can never be completely sure of any animal and what they do.

I just wonder has something similar happened to anyone else. Blaze will not be let near any of the goats again. He will be kenneled anytime we have to move the goats.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: why does my dog tolerate kittens & puppies but not livestock?

Also something else I just thought of was when blaze was younger he would get lose from the leash whenever deer were around and he loved to chase them. Not sure what his plans were but he loved to run them. So maybe he thinks they are similar to deer. who knows.

RE: why does my dog tolerate kittens & puppies but not livestock?

It's genetic for dogs to chase livestock. If you want to keep this dog on a farm, teach him "no", teach him "come", teach him "leave it".

After he is well trained to the commands, buy or borrow a radio shock collar and let him loose with the chickens. When he starts for them, say "leave it", and if he doesn't (he won't) hit him with a good jolt.

You won't have to zap him more than twice.

Next, let the goats loose. When he goes for them, say "leave it" and he will be back peddling real fast. Call him to you and praise him lavishly (Good dog, good leave it)

Unless he is a real jug head, you will never have to zap him more than the first two times. Let him wear the collar for awhile and watch him around the livestock, just in case.

Don't be thinking it is too cruel. What is cruel is letting your dog get shot for chasing chickens, and believe me, someone will kill that dog for chasing their livestock if you don't teach him that chasing livestock is a really bad idea.

Your dog puts up with your kittens because they are your house pets. If he chases livestock, he will kill cats he finds off your property because they aren't your family members. He's a dog. That's what dogs do. Unless you train him not to.

RE: why does my dog tolerate kittens & puppies but not livestock?

Thanks for the advice Oregonwoodsmoke. I think that is a great idea and I am embarrassed to admit that it never occurred to me. I am going to start working with both of them on commands. They both need a little more structure when it comes to minding. I have a shock collar among all the junk in my house that was given to me long time ago, just have to find it.

Thanks. Christina

RE: why does my dog tolerate kittens & puppies but not livestock?

Just one last thought:

A shock collar teaches nothing. You must train the dog what the command means before you apply the collar. The shock collar simply says "See, I can enforce my alpha status, even when I can't catch you."

RE: why does my dog tolerate kittens & puppies but not livestock?

I have an eleven year old Vizsla/Doberman mix and an ancient 21 year old cat. The cat is pretty much a piece of furniture and can barely move. The dog looks and acts like a teenager. She will step over the cat to go up or down the steps without even looking at her. They are left alone together during the day while I'm at work. This same dog has and will kill any cat that comes onto the property. I cannot see the difference or what cues she is using to determine who belongs and who doesn't. My approach is to understand that she is a dog and not a robot, she makes up her mind to do what she does and isn't always going to make sense to me. My job is to try and keep her out of trouble which means never assuming she won't kill something or bite someone.

RE: why does my dog tolerate kittens & puppies but not livestock?

You aren't looking at how a dog pack is run. A wolf/dog will be perfectly nice to another dog in the pack, but kill a dog from another pack. Every animal made of meat is either pert of the pack, dangerous (and to be barked at), or edible. Some breeds will reserve judgement, and some will let any animal bigger than them into the pack (which is why greyhounds make lousy guard dogs). You just have to let your Dog know that it isn't in the position to deem another animal food.

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