Seven month pup running off to play with sheep!!(55 Posts)
We live very rurally and have sheep and lambs in field opposite at the moment. Our garden is hard to completely secure but we have created a garden within the garden for her to play in. Pup is a crossbreed, I work from home and have spent a lot of time playing with and training her. She is very bright and active and knows her commands. Well obviously she doesn't well enough. We have a lovely wood on our doorstep too and she loves to run off lead in there. Initially we had no problems with recall, did hide and seek, whistle training at home and then in the woods. About a month ago she started recalling for the first half of the walk and then running off to find another dog walker or find the cows still out in a neighbouring field. Today that extended to running back through woods, across our minor road and into sheep field where I found her excitedly chasing round and round sheep and lambs. She eventually came over near enough for me to grab her and put her on lead. I have done loads of recall training where I call her back and then let her go on again and also with playing with other dogs she will come back. Because she is a bit dodgy in the woods, she disappears so fast we often don't know where she's gone, I have been walking her in the morning in open fields and lanes on and off lead and down in our village footpaths where I have to keep a good eye out for livestock but find she is improving. We like to use the woods for her afternoon walk because of short evenings and convenience. Now have decided to go open field or on lead afternoon walk. Any advice?
Don't know if it is pertinent but she doesn't sleep much during the day, hasn't since the day we brought her home. We have worked hard on creating a relaxed early morning,short play, rest of breakfast in Kong , DH goes to work early, then 40 min walk on and off lead...sleep, I ignore whilst getting on with house and work, she sleeps for about an hour then follows me around. I may go out, she is happy to be left, doesn't whine, bark or destroy. Lunchtime we go out in garden, play and train or I play and do training session indoors. She has a snack at lunch and settles for an hours sleep when DH gets home from work at 2.30pm. We play with her and then take for afternoon walk for approx 1/2 hour and then she free ranges in the garden until her tea at 5pm. She dozes and then I groom her long coat for 10 mins, she has a chewy and apart from a wee trip at 7pm and 10pm before bed is settled for the night. I wonder whether she is overtired and this causes bad behaviour on afternoon walk. Sorry for long post.
You're overthinking it. She needs to stay on the lead in any place where there is even a chance of access to livestock until her recall is improved, unless you're fine with her being shot by s pissed off farmer.
Sorry, it's that simple.
Please keep her on a long line until her recall is solid, don't give her the opportunity to rehearse this chasing behaviour.
Jesus yes she must be on a lead, you're lucky she wasn't shot. There are pregnant ewes around this time of year I would imagine, she could have caused one to miscarry!
Be sensible and keep her on the lead until her recall is reliable. Some dogs can never be around livestock so it's up to you to manage your dog appropriately. Worrying livestock like that is an offence and a farmer has every right to shoot your dog.
As others have said, please dont allow her to do this. Poor animals, and its really not fair to her either
You do know that if some of those sheep are pregnant that her little "play" session may well cause them to miscarry? You need to keep dog on a lead at all times and make sure she can't get out the garden.
I have a dog that I know will chase sheep, just to play not to hurt. She thinks it's a game. Luckily I live in in arable area. But out of area and she's on her lead.
She must never be off lead where there's a chance she could chase sheep. They're quite nervy animals, easily stressed out by dogs and will miscarry their lambs. The Farmer can shoot your dog as well if he catches it in action
Gods sake her little play could end up with spontaneously abortions for the ewe's! Keep her on the lead
She is s dog that's why she is behaving like a dog by chasing things, You are lucky she hasn't been shot or you haven't got a bill from the farmer, as sheep easily miscarry when chase by a dog.
If you can't keep her in your garden try a boundary collar. And when out for walks an extending lead.
If she still isn't getting enough excercise try joining a dog agility class. She will have plenty of fun in a controlled environment with no danger to anyone's livestock.
It's bloody irresponsible, ignorant dog owners thinking their dear little dog 'having fun', that make my blood boil.
Sheep are incredibly highly strung animals who can easily abort if stressed. I know this from bitter experience. I wouldn't hesitate to shoot a loose dog 'having fun' on my land.
You are all totally right, because she is so good with recall when not confronted with livestock I have imagined she will get it if I keep persisting. DH and I have decided that she will have her morning walk as normal but afternoon one will be on lead in woods or we will take her away from livestock for it. Can anyone encourage us that she will get better and is she likely to make association that on lead is because she runs away off lead? I have had success with a leave command for not eating cow/horse poo and for leaving our elderly cat alone on the sofa in the evenings.
What everyone else has said.
Also at 7 months she is still a baby. My toddler does as he is told most of the time but will still push boundaries. I would also watch how much exercise she is getting. She is possibly over stimulated. Bit like a toddler at soft play.
Keep her on the lead. Find somewhere away from livestock to practice recall.
You say she's a cross breed but is she from working stock?
There are Stock Safe training sessions local to me you can go on with your dog to teach them to leave sheep well alone. It really is important.
No on/off lead. No hope she will improve. Keep the dog on a lead unless you are 100% sure of your recall!!!
A farmer would be well within their rights to shoot your dog. I'm not entirely sure it is still allowed off the lead after it chased cattle but I hope you will get the message.
We have a small farm where a local farmer uses a large area to graze his sheep. It was agreed when we got our dog (as a puppy) that if she chased the sheep he would be justified in shooting her. After all the sheep are his livelihood.
Naturally, we made it a priority to teach her she couldn't run after them. She is a very intelligent dog and most training has been quick and easy but the "sheep thing" took a long time. Even at nearly three years old, we have to remind her every now and then that she can't rush off after the sheep when they run. I think the desire to chase, is in her genes and this will be something we have to keep strictly under control for a long time.
Hope this helps a little.
not entirely sure why it is still allowed off
Chasing of sheep and lambs is a serious offence. The ewes could panic and injure or kill their lambs while running away from your dog.
In the summer if there is a ram in with the ewes he could kill your dog.
Pregnant ewes could miscarry from the fear of your dog chasing them.
If the farmer sees your dog chasing his sheep he is legally entitled to shoot her dead.
Running across a village road she could have been run over by a tractor or caused a traffic accident killing people.
She must be kept on the lead when she' s near the sheep's field
Oh, I should have added that at seven months, your dog is still only a young puppy. She needs to be reminded of the rules and rewarded when she gets it right.
Depends on what breeds she has in her, my lab springer X has as he grew up, mums lurchers never did.
Some breeds have a very high prey drive. If she's crossed with a breed that does (sight hounds, terriers etc) then it can be almost impossible to train a reliable recall - particularly if she uses her 'prey drive' elsewhere e.g. Chasing squirrels, rabbits, ball games etc. The endorphin rush she gets from this behaviour is likely to be far more rewarding than any nice treat you can offer. 'Retriever' type breeds (poodles, goldies,flat coats etc) are more 'return' driven so often easier to train a recall in.
My dogs are both highly prey-driven- they stay on the lead around livestock and horses - just in case.
There's a place in the lakes which offer a service and guarantee they will return your dog to you no longer interested in sheep. I dread to think how they achieve this though!
Problem is for the average person you can't train a dog to stop chasing sheep as it will take time and there will be multiple failed attempts before success.
I've managed to stop my daft dog chasing cyclists and I imagine that stopping her chasing sheep would be achievable with the same technique. But during training we had the odd occasion where a cyclist would be a temptation and she would start to chase the cyclist. Which isn't great, but not as bad as chasing sheep!
She's not a person so, no, she won't make the connection that she's on the lead because she runs away off lead. You just need to make sure to use the lead every time there's a danger of her coming into contact with livestock. It's too stimulating and exciting for her to expect anything else.
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