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Sorry this might be a little long...

I've had Malachi a little over two weeks now. He's come a long way in just two weeks. Three days ago, I had to take his collar out two notches:D He's putting on weight so nicely..he looks SO good. His whipworms are all gone (he has one more dose of wormer to take in two weeks) In another two weeks when he goes back for his booster shots, I think the vet will give the green light to start his HW treatment.

Anyway..
We are bonding wonderfully. He's my four-legged anti-depressant. He's my shadow and my buddy. This being my first GSD, I am incredibly impressed with how smart and trainable this breed is. I am in LUUUV :wub:

We have a routine that works for us. We exercise physically three times a day: before breakfast, before lunch, before dinner. We play mental games randomly through-out the day. He learned quickly that our 2nd outside time of the day, is when he gets to do off-leash time. It is without question his fave time of the day. I live on 20acres so he can run freely and happily without concern for neighbors...until yesterday..

I know two weeks is not generally long enough for ANY dog to be running off leash with such little training. I guess I was giving him way too much credit. He was doing beautifully. We would walk out to the top of the back field (top of a steep hill that leads down into a big open field bordering some woods). He knows to sit immediately, then I will unhook his leash and remind him to be a good boy. He sits until I say, "OK, GO!"..and he takes off like a wild banshee. He always runs to same section of woods, is out of my sight for a minute or two (but never far away that I can't hear his collars) and then he runs back to me to check on me. Then we will usually walk around part of the property together- with him occasionally running off on his own for short bursts.

Yesterday was no different UNTIL I heard him bark when he ran into his usual section of woods. Kai NEVER barks. My initial thought was turtle or feral cat, ****, etc. I began calling him. No Kai. Then I heard two more short barks. I ran down to the edge of the woods and tried to see him. No Kai. More barks. I began my way into the woods hesitantly (I really didn't want to haha). I was only a few feet into the woods when I'm assuming Kai heard me walking in there and ran back to me. WHEW. Crisis averted. NOT. As soon as I turned to walk back to the house with him, he turned around and ran back into the woods. He paid no mind to my calls. More barks. Lots more barks. I darted into the woods, eating lots of spiders along the way. When Kai got into my view, I stopped to take in what I saw. Apparently that corner of my property butts up to cow pasture. My property must end at the fence line of this pasture *I knew this-but it's been YEARS since I walked this part of the property, I forgot*. Kai was running maniacally along the fence line barking at a group of about 8 cows that were standing there looking dumb as dirt. He made no attempts to go after them until I think he realized I was there. Then it was like..full protection mode. He started trying like crazy to get through the barbed wire. He jumped through repeatedly and would charge at the cows, they would run a short distance and then take turns turning and charging back at Kai. They were rallying around a calf-which I think is the only reason they didn't just run away. This went on for about 5min. Kai wasn't listening to me-he was in another world. I finally SCREAMED at him, after he had jumped through the barbed wire for the umpteenth time (I was so sure he was going to be ripped to shreds)..and he listened and came to me. I put his leash on and began the fun trek back through the woods, cursing at him-and myself.

My question is for all you seasoned GSD owners out there. Would he have behaved differently if he were trained better? Would he have come to me immediately? I'm fairly certain Kai has never seen cows before and I could see the instinctual drive in his eyes..It was one of those looks that made me feel like all the training in the world wouldn't stop. BUT I don't have much experience with formal training. Could this have been stopped immediately with lots of good training?? I hate to stop his off-leash time since he loves it so much, but doesn't seem like I have a choice until we get some formal training. It could be years before those cows are at this corner of their pasture again-but I can't check everyday before I let him go..

Funny thing is..when we got back into the house, he immediately went to one of his hiding spots and pulled out his beef meaty bone (the first time he has chewed on this since I gave it to him a week ago!) It was like he was giving the cows the middle finger lol He just gnawed away looking like, 'you may have won the battle, but I won the war! I'm eating your great-uncle!' haha..

just had to share..
 

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1>>> i don't own cows but training will help.

2>>> training and socializing.

3>>> teach him "stop".

4>>> yes, training is key.

5>>> keep him leashed when out untill he has recall
and knows "stop" and "no". he knows he can chase the cows.
i think he'll do it again.

6>>> why can't you walk to the area where the cows are
with your dog leashed? i would leash my dog and walk to
the cows and train and socialize eveyday, several times a day.

fix the fence.

 

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Thanks, Doggiedad.

It's not my fence to fix-don't think it's broken-it's just barbed wire and can be jumped through. It's a miracle he wasn't torn to shreds.

Like I mentioned, this is the first time the cows have been there since I've had Kai. I believe they have a very large pasture area, and probably only frequent this corner of it once-in-a blue-moon..I'd love to try and socialize him with them on-leash but I'd be surprised if the opportunity presents itself very often.

Normally he's really good about coming and responding when called. But this was obviously put to the test yesterday- and he got an 'F'.

I really hate to take away his off leash time. He lights up when he gets to run like that. I feel like since he's going to have to stay so calm for a month once he gets his HW treatment, he should get to enjoy some running until then. Guess I'm going to have to dust off my running shoes. Lord help me.

I have contacted a reputable trainer locally to start training once his treatment is done. I can't wait!
 

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Just be careful not to let him off in areas around farm animals. My gsd goes insane around cows also. It could just be she wants to herd them. She circles and trys to get at their rears. Do that to a high strung angry horse the dog is doomed.
 

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I'm sorry, I know it's not funny...but you write well and you're story made me chuckle. Crazy Kai!

Yep. Training. Long line until he's proofed, because that sounded waaay too fun (for Kai, not you!) not to try again ;)
 

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Not an expert but had cow issues at our old house. Tried while ours were on leash to walk them up and down the hill where the fence was .Wetreated as they acted calm. In our fenced yard Lucky used his barking at the cows to get extra ball time. He trained me well! I played alot of ball. One day the biggest Holstein girl made a run at the fence when i threw his ball like she wanted to retrieve. I kind of miss the cows. The dogs all acted like it was brand new whenever the cows ran or suddenly appeared. Then in five minutes the dogs were like OK your boring.The idea of training the recall is the best way to stop alot of bad reactions. Kai sounds like a great dog.
 

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Maybe you should see if there's any herding training places near you. :) My dog and are I currently training and having loads of fun. Obedience is a BIG part of herding too, that along with some formal obedience training could be a big help for you. My dog has excellent recall EXCEPT around sheep(it's something we're currently working on) so don't feel bad!

I would second the being careful with cattle, the place I train with also does cattle herding but it's only in advanced stages because cattle can be very dangerous, even deadly to a dog. Possibly try using a long line so that way you can let him have a bit more running room and can work on his recall training at the same time but still have hold of him just in case?
 
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