Sheep...

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Sheep...

Post by Trondheim2015 on Wed Aug 10 2016, 09:33

Hi folks

Our gorgeous one year old brindle pup is loved by all and
has been the most wonderful addition to our family. She is
great with other dogs, and even with horses and cows when we go for walks (although we of course keep her on
a lead around those animals). But sheep......oh dear. We had an incident the other day when a sheep appeared from
an area that we were not expecting to see sheep and she
chased it and bit it, clinging on to its flank and refusing to
let go, causing some serious bleeding. We managed to remove her but clearly we were at fault here, I accept that.
But my question is: how do people here go about training
there dogs not to chase sheep? I have my own ideas but I
would really value any input from others. I am prepared to
put the proper amount of time and effort into this. It is so
important.
Thank you for any advice.
T

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Re: Sheep...

Post by gillybrent on Wed Aug 10 2016, 10:33

you need to teach a 100% recall and/or 'leave'.

if you can't get a 100% recall (with distractions - ie sheep!) you may have to consider muzzling her whenever you are walking in fields - it just isn't worth the risk.

in the meantime you should either keep her on a lead or get a properly fitting cage-type muzzle. sounds drastic, I know, but if the farmer had been around at the time he may well have shot your dog!


have you spoken to the farmer?

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Re: Sheep...

Post by gillybrent on Wed Aug 10 2016, 10:40

have you thought about using a long line when you're in a field? that way, if she does 'go' you have a chance of stopping her before she catches her 'prey'. a line of about 20' should do the trick & you can get them quite cheaply from Amazon.

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Re: Sheep...

Post by Trondheim2015 on Wed Aug 10 2016, 11:34

Thank you. The long line and the muzzle do not address the root cause/issue. They will work as immediate preventative measures (essential of course) but I am more interested in how people have accustomed their dogs to sheep and whether there is a familiarisation process that can be adopted. Is it useful for example to seek out fields where there are sheep and, keeping your dog on a lead, getting the dog used to being around sheep, and addressing any attempts to lunge after sheep with a command of "No!" or "Leave!"?

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Re: Sheep...

Post by gillybrent on Wed Aug 10 2016, 11:55

i've always been of a mind that dogs should be on lead around livestock, so i can't really help you there.

obviously a 100% recall is essential for being around sheep, but i'm not sure that you can ever confidently say that a dog WON'T chase sheep - it's part of their deeper nature, so i wouldn't take that chance.

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Re: Sheep...

Post by Trondheim2015 on Wed Aug 10 2016, 13:03

All noted, thank you. I think it was the hanging onto the sheep, rather than just chasing and hounding the animal that caused most concern. I am (naively as it turns out) surprised that she sank her teeth into the animal and hung on for dear life.

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Re: Sheep...

Post by -Ian- on Wed Aug 10 2016, 15:16

Gilly is quiet correct with the leave it and recall commands above, however, I think it's safe to say that we've all been caught out by sheep appearing at one time or another, I know I have.

My Flo doesn't like sheep (or rather she does) and will happily have a stare off through a fence. I can't see that it would do any harm if you walked where your girl could see them and slowly get desensitised to them whilst also practicing recall, really high value treats will help. I would make sure there's a fence between the two though.

As a general rule we always put Flo on lead when entering a field that we can't see all of and only let her off when sure there isn't any live stock in that field, as Gilly says, it's not worth the risk of injury to the animal or your Staffy Smile


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Re: Sheep...

Post by Trondheim2015 on Thu Aug 11 2016, 08:29

Thank you Ian, good advice.

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