How to break chase/kill instinct with cattle, etc. - German Shepherd Dog Forums

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Old 12-11-2012, 07:55 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default How to break chase/kill instinct with cattle, etc.

Our 3 year old male/intact GSD lives at my parents farm/ranch. He was bullied by an australian cattledog for about a year, until one day the cattledog growled at my dad and our GSD "defended" my dad and went on the cattledog almost killing him. Since that day our GSD was the dominant dog. The cattledog would spend his days locked in the barn and his nights out. If they were together they would fight. The GSD and another GSD sleep 2gether in a large kennel in the barn at night. Acouple nights ago our GSD killed the cattledog through a small hole in the kennel...so the cattledog was obviously taunting him. Anyway, the very next day our GSD went out and took down a large cow. My dad called him off when he found them, but the gsd immediately went after the other cows. He knew he was in big trouble and ran away, but did come to dad when called after awhile. My dad says he can not trust him anymore. Our gsd knows he's not supposed to bother the cattle. He goes out with dad everyday to work the cows, but after all this time still wants to chase them and not heard. I told my dad he needs to keep him tied up or in the kennel if he's not out with him and to set up training time with him, w/ a leash out with the cows and correct him everytime he shows a chasing look. Dad says he already hollers at him when he goes to chase and the dog knows it's wrong. My dad LOVES this dog but feels he can't trust him to be loose around the farm w/out him, and doesn't want him tied up alot. This dog is a sweet big baby and a great watchdog. Very territorial. When we lived in the country, in another state, this GSD got into killing our chickens. He knew it was wrong, we gave him training with the chickens, thought he was doing good, trusted him and then he killed them all. He didn't eat them, just killed them. My dad is used to having cow dogs around and not having to do alot of special training with them. He's ready to get rid of this dog over this. We live in town now and can't keep him here- we have a small fenced in back yard, but he would have to be tied up outside bc he can escape almost anything...even a chain. Our house it tiny and he would not be happy in it, I don't think. If their was a way to keep him happy in town with us, I'd be willing to try it. We're planning on getting a treadmill he could run on, but I don't know if excercise and love would be enough. I think he would miss all the farm/outside stimulation. I have 2 small children and wouldn't beable to spend all my time with him and training with him. I'm sorry this is long. I hope someone can give me their thoughts. We LOVE this doggy and I don't want him to suffer bc of our lack of knowing how to fix this issue.
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Old 12-11-2012, 08:30 PM   #2 (permalink)
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This has certainly gone to a point I am not sure many folks on the forum have gone to....a dog killing multiple other animals. The only thing I can say is to contact Lou Castle (he is on the forum, I would send him a PM) and see if he thinks there is any hope for one who has gone that far........
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Old 12-11-2012, 09:52 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thank you.
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Old 12-11-2012, 10:14 PM   #4 (permalink)
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At this point, since the dog has killed another dog and livestock, he could be considered too dangerous to place in an ordinary household. If he is to be rehomed, he needs a strong, confident, and GSD-savvy owner, and one who is willing to take on a project. This person may be very difficult to find, but you cannot responsibly rehome this dog to anyone else. I believe that you may be vulnerable to liability if the dog hurts someone after you place him.

If you want to keep the dog on the ranch, hire a trainer/behaviorist immediately and have them come out and work with you, your dad, and the dog. The dog can probably be rehabilitated but it's going to take a LOT of work, which must be consistent and lifelong.

Even after extensive training, I would never trust this dog alone with other animals or livestock. Consider building him a kennel so he stays out of trouble while no one is there to supervise him.
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Old 12-11-2012, 10:51 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freestep View Post
At this point, since the dog has killed another dog and livestock, he could be considered too dangerous to place in an ordinary household. If he is to be rehomed, he needs a strong, confident, and GSD-savvy owner, and one who is willing to take on a project. This person may be very difficult to find, but you cannot responsibly rehome this dog to anyone else. I believe that you may be vulnerable to liability if the dog hurts someone after you place him.

If you want to keep the dog on the ranch, hire a trainer/behaviorist immediately and have them come out and work with you, your dad, and the dog. The dog can probably be rehabilitated but it's going to take a LOT of work, which must be consistent and lifelong.

Even after extensive training, I would never trust this dog alone with other animals or livestock. Consider building him a kennel so he stays out of trouble while no one is there to supervise him.
Thank you for your response. I agree..we would not beable to rehome him to just anybody. We are in the middle of no where and there are no trainers around.
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Old 12-11-2012, 10:53 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Where are you located?
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Old 12-11-2012, 10:57 PM   #7 (permalink)
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in northern/central north dakota
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Old 12-11-2012, 11:15 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I don't see this as a rehabilitation issue, rather a management issue. Just don't leave the dog unsupervised around your stock.
We are on a farm here in OZ....we use our GSD around our sheep so he has pretty good self control but he is NEVER left unsupervised around our stock because I don't trust him OR our kelpie to not chase our sheep when we are not watching.
We have an invisible fence around our house yard so that the dogs can be in the yard and not have to be chained/kenneled or they are inside lounging around.
I don;t think it is any big shock to think your dog might chase and kill livestock.....there would be many dogs on this forum who, if given the chance would LOVE to do that.....difference is they aren't given the chance.
If your dad feels let down by the dog he needs to understand that the dog is a dog and if left to their own devices will chase and kill things.
As for killing your other dog.....I can imagine this is a hard thing to come to terms with but what is done is done......just need to manage the situation better to make sure it doesn't happen again.
Your dad doesn't need to get rid of the dog he just needs to make sure he can't hurt his livestock......something almost ALL of us on farms need to address.
Good Luck.
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Old 12-11-2012, 11:44 PM   #9 (permalink)
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We use hotwire inside a 6' kennel-wire fence.
The dogs stay in the yard. The hotwire is posted at "nose level" and one at the top of the fence.

I agree with sparra.

As for the dog "knowing", the dog sees your dad angry, he's doing what dogs do, he doesn't "know" it's wrong.
He does know your dad gets angry when he does A or B, but to say he "knows it's wrong" isn't quite the way to look at it.

I think management would be good, and if your dad can't or doesn't want to do that, then probably euthanasia is the best solution.
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Old 12-12-2012, 09:17 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Your first hurdle is to not anthropomorphize... the dog does not inherently know "right" vs "wrong" as we see it. Once you can understand that this isn't a moral decision making process on the part of the dog but rather a lack of impulse control over instinct, you'll be a lot better equipped to deal with the problem. Lou is a phenomenal resource, I second the suggestion to contact him.

I would avoid the treadmill-- exercise alone will not tire a dog/stimulate a dog/train a dog. All it essentially does, without obedience work in addition, is give them more stamina to run amok. Do some serious obedience work with this dog...teach him impulse control, slowly. I'm not naive enough to think that that is by any means a cure, but it won't hurt. Do NILIF. "Territorial" is not necessarily a good thing and that sort of term tends to speak of fear aggression and insecurity-- not being able to tell if something/someone is a threat and the associated anxiety.

Work with the dog, but most importantly, manage. A dog is a dog, not a moral being (in the traditional sense, anyways). There is only so much that training will be able to accomplish, as other farmers here will tell you, so priority #1 is management, containment, etc.
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