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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-15-2009, 08:54 AM Thread Starter
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Herding

I just got two baby dairy goats. Hercules, my 17mo old shepherd, thinks they are the geatest thing ever. When we brought them home we put them in their yard and brought him over on leash and let him smell them and see them. He whined and whined and whined, and the goats came right over and he licked at them and we said good. So we brought him in the yard on leash and made him lay down and he did but he was just trembling all over and wanted to get at them. We kept this up until they would come over and sniff him, so he would learn if he's being good he can be near them. Then later in the day one of the goats decided to liberate herself and go find the kids. Herc was out with the kids and I was inside. I heard baa baa baa.....and than alot of screaming and hollering from the kids. I ran out and saw herc standing over the goat with it's little neck in his mouth! I screamed no and he let go and let her up. She was all slobbery but unharmed. He tries to get at them and is just going nuts. He runs from me to the gate, me to the gate, and during the interactions with the goats on leash, he looks up at me almost like what do I do? He came to me once and offered his paw and tucked his head for a cuddle right in the middle of all. I want to be able to let him around them and teach him what to do instead of scolding him constantly for doing what comes natural, I want to channel it. Nothing fancy, I just want to be able to have him be able to be around them without mauling them, and I want to walk the goats out back on our woods trails so they can browse, and I would like him to be able to go too. Does anyone have any advice on how best to handle this?
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-15-2009, 09:58 AM
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Re: Herding

I have the same problem. My GSD will kill goats if left unsupervised. He has even attacked them when I'm out there with them and he is then so high in drive (just like it sounds like yours is), that he doesn't care a bit when corrected for it.

I think the best answer is an electric collar or lots of lessons with an experienced herding trainer. Correct with the collar without saying anything, so the dog associates the stim with the GOAT, not with a command from you. This was told to me by a herding trainer and I used it on a cattle dog I had that worried the horses constantly. It worked pretty well. However, with a high drive dog, I don't think it's ever safe to leave them uncontrolled around stock. Some low drive dogs may be able to be trusted around stock, but afterall, this is a herding breed

Good luck!
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-15-2009, 09:59 AM
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Re: Herding

Until a herding expert shows up. My guess is you'll have to keep them separated and work on this. I've seen dogs with too much prey drive to work sheep, Doerak was one of these. He'd go directly to the neck, so Doerak was not allowed to herd again.

When I've seen these high prey drive dogs at herding seminars, they are given corrections every time they move in to bite the sheep.

If you can get this under control, I have a feeling it's going to take a long time.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-15-2009, 10:32 AM
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Re: Herding

You may be interested in the information about herding from Manfred Hayne. It's on the internet. Very interesting thoughts from a very well know herding guy.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-16-2009, 01:55 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Herding

Just an update...Herc was muck better yesterday. He spent pretty much the whole day laying next to the barn. In the evening we were out with him again in the pen, and he didn't try to maul them. When he tried to nip or bite, we told him eh eh no biting! Or just eh No! and when he licked them or just stood around with them he got Yes! Good boy! They were in their barn, and when one would come out he would run around them and chase them back in. Then I gess he got tired of that, maybe he realized we really arent going to allow him to chew on them and he went out of the gate on his own, and came back in with his ball and wanted to go play. Maybe the newness is wearing off and he will be ok if we keep working with him. I am going to check out that Manfred Hayne right now. Thanks
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-20-2009, 07:42 AM
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Re: Herding

That's great! It will probably get better, since you are with him daily and can keep an eye on him.

With herding lessons, some of us only go once a week and that takes a long time.

I'll bet the goats are happier.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-21-2009, 05:07 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Herding

He was in the pen again a couple days ago and they were standing around with the kids and he was just standing there with them. I thought this is awesome!!! Then the kids started running around and calling the goats, their names are Flower and Lillian, and Herc glanced at me a couple times, and I said eh eh! and he gave me one more look and off he went, he just couldnt contain himself. I stepped between them and he laid right down. Then when I backed off he got up and went to the gate to get out. The goats are much happier not being slobbered and chewed on, for sure!
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-26-2009, 07:48 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Herding

I just had to post an update. Herc is in love with goats. He still really, REALLY wants to chase them, but he contents himself with racing around and around the goat yard with a stick in his mouth. I dont trust him with them though, if one got running I know he'd give in to temptation.
One of them got her head stuck out of the fence and Herc got there before I did, and proceeded to give her face, head and especially her ears a good washing! It was really adorable I wish I had pictures!
Then my inlaws, who live next door and have always allowed him to roam their property too, got a PONY! My husband and I went OMG!! We figured it was going to be nothing but trouble. But, Herc surprised us. We introduced him on leash, and the pony didn't seem to care much about him, and Herc was tentative but facinated. The next day the kids were going over to play and see the pony and Herc ran ahead with them as usual, but when we came out of the woods he headed straight for the pony, full tilt, but as he got up close he just ran around behind him and stood there watching the pony. The pony continued eating and paid him no attention at all. He went around and around him, not sure what to do. Then he ran off and found a ball, and brought it to the pony. Dropped it on the ground in front of him. The pony looked at him, and, very carefully they streched out and touched noses! I couldn't believe it!. He loves that pony too. He brings it his sticks and balls and lays next to it while it is grazing.
Once, we were feeding the pony apples while he was in his stall, and Herc was right by the gate, and the pony reached out an bit him right on his butt! He jumped about a mile and spun around, then went over and sniffed the pony's nose like what did you do that for!? I guess the pony didn't want to share his apples! It is all very interesting to watch.
I think his experience with the pony has helped with the goats.
One more thing he did is find one of my daughters missing baby rats. I didn't know it had gotten out, but Herc did, I think he squashed it with his nose when he found it, because he was foolowing me around while I was picking up the kids rooms and I heard a little squeak! And he was stanting there staring behind the toy box very intently. When I scooped it up he came over and nosed it and nudged it, he apparently cannot smell anything properly without rubbing his nose in it. And looked at me and wagged his tail, with his ears against his head, like he does when we cuddle. I told him he was a good boy, he seemed pleased with himself, and went to the the fridge for a treat!
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