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Back to basics?
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Old 09-22-2017, 10:38 AM   #1 (permalink)
Ankle Biter
 
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Back to basics?

Our Australian Cattle Dog is 18 months or so old now. He's been working the goats since he was a year. Something I'm running into recently is that suddenly, nothing I do seems to phase him. Before, he was good about herding, would out and down on command, and left the horses alone. Recently, he has just stopped responding to commands around the livestock. Runs them the wrong way, biting them, leaving punctures, even dragged my smallest nanny down to the ground by a front leg and leaving a big puncture, and bit up two of the other nanny's legs. It's not herding, it's livestock harassment. The goats are reasonably compliant, for goats, and aren't challenging him, unfortunately, there is no way I can catch them other than using a dog when they get out. They just scatter like roaches with the light on. All this was within a single 30 minutes last week. After the goats were back where they belong, he decided he was going to chase after my horses.
I don't worry too much about the horses injury wise because I know the dog is going to get his stupid head kicked off by them, that's just more of a safety for him because he could easily be killed by one of them. I'd almost just let him get kicked in the head good and hard by one of them, except I know it wouldn't stop him. Kind of like chasing cars, he got smoked by a car a few months ago, gimped around for a few days, and was right back at it.

So, it's like he's in a trance with it, doesn't hear me at all (I know he does). He had good control before, and now is an out of control little ahole. I have a couple of ideas but wanted to bounce them off someone else for feedback. I've had plenty of ACD's and never one that just didn't care and did what it wanted.
Not in any particular order after #1.
Idea 1 - back to basics. Obviously no more livestock work with him until he pulls his head out of his ass and listens to commands again. He's still fine away from the livestock with good obedience, but around the livestock, I got nothing but a dog with a blank stare.

Idea 2 - Longline - Back to the livestock on a longline where I have some control. I'm not thrilled with this idea in particular since he's biting them and I don't need to deal with more medical issues. Debating muzzling him for long-line sessions just for livestock safety. I have some consideration that this might frustrate him further.

Idea 3 - E-collar. I have one, I have no problem using it. Not sure if it'll "zap him back to reality" when he isn't listening, this is probably the hardest headed dog I've ever seen.

He's not an indoor pet or anything, I don't take him with me to feed, he's separated from the livestock any time he isn't working. Maybe that's an option too is to take him with me (on a leash) when I feed so he might learn that being around livestock doesn't always mean to herd them. I don't know, he'll probably just learn that if the leash is on he'll have to behave because he doesn't have a choice.

I'm welcome to any other ideas!
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Old 09-22-2017, 12:39 PM   #2 (permalink)
Broke the Bark Collar
 
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Re: Back to basics?

Welcome !

1. you’ve provided a great description of both your problems and some of the reasons why you are having them.
2. the ideas you have listed so far seem to back that up
3. usually i would say, “please post a video”, but because your post was so descriptive, i don’t need one.

if you are willing to consider you may have caused a lot of the problems i would be glad to offer an alternative way to deal with the issues.

from my perspective, "back to basics" is on point, but if all that means to you is more control measures i doubt it will solve the problem, so i won’t suggest any more at this point in time and would be wasting your time if i did.
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Old 09-22-2017, 01:35 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Back to basics?

Rick,

If you've got a suggestion then throw it out there. The OP gave a good description of her problem and needs help. She's here to learn, not prove to us what she knows, or doesn't know. It sounds to me that you know what to do to fix this dog. Throw her a bone will ya?

Personally...I'd flood the dog by exposing it to more contact with the animals like feeding times etc like the OP considered. I'd also use the ecollar as well like she considered. It sounds as if she's got experience in herding dogs and this one is a hard case but she's willing to give it a fair chance.
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Old 09-22-2017, 01:52 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Back to basics?

Howard (and the OP)
i read the post carefully... a few times
i'm not trying to make her prove anything about what she might know
,,,and i'm not trying to be "cryptic" either

i posted what i did for a reason and was trying to be careful about how i worded it
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Old 09-22-2017, 02:45 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Back to basics?

Howard ... and Ashley

i agree with flooding in many training situations. (and i know Matt hates it )
- but ONLY when you can control the dog 100% and prevent it from bailing or choosing another option

Ashley has already posted that this is probably NOT possible, therefore i would NOT choose it
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Old 09-22-2017, 03:15 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Back to basics?

Howard and Ashley

i have used Ecollars a LOT. like em. have a couple Dogtra's and an Einstein i don't need anymore

one suggestion i would have offered is to use it to lay a foundation for a solid recall, since this dog DOESN"T have one right now, and if it's already been nailed by a car, the problem is CLEARLY NOT just with livestock
- but i wouldn't throw it on and use it for a bigger hammer...as she has posted that she is considering
- now would i allow it near horses at this point in time.
- now would i isolate it when not around livestock

- there is a LOT lacking right now in terms of her bond with the dog
- a LOT of mutual respect and trust is missing ... or was never there
- that has NOTHING to do with a herding issue and WILL NOT be fixed by an Ecollar or long line alone

that should give you both a teeny bit about where i'm coming from and that's as clear as i can get
- so cut/paste what isn't, but please don't put words in my mouth
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Old 09-22-2017, 03:50 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Back to basics?

Howard ... maybe Ashley
your comment "throw her a bone will ya " got me thinking

i can't remember EVER throwing a bone to any dog, so i doubt i will start with people //rotflmao//

- even with my own dog, who's going on 12, and he bit the hell outa me when i first met him many years ago
- i still make him get up and at least get two feet airborne to get it from my hand. that was tricky when i was feeding him beef neck bones, but taught me a lot and paid dividends in my tugging
- i think people might be surprised how even an aggressive dog can be conditioned to get a bone that way

done enuff posting on this thread...hope the OP comes back and weighs in

gonna shoot 2 dogs today
...with a Nikon //LOL//
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Old 09-22-2017, 03:50 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Back to basics?

The recall is definately NOT there. Back to basics on that one. Without that the rest is chaffe.
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Old 09-22-2017, 07:31 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Back to basics?

I don't know crap about herding, but to decrease behavior like biting and chasing unwanted livestock should work with e-collar using Positive Punishment. I would not let him know that the correction is coming from you, in other words, don't say NO and zap him, find a level that he can feel the unpleasant of the electric, not so high that it would freak him out, when he is herding and biting hard, I guess that is not acceptable in herding, I would just hold the continuous button down until he stop the behavior then release the button. The key is letting him learn that this behavior is causing the unpleasant, stop doing it and you can still herd and satisfy your drive to herd, not letting him know that the punishment is coming from you, because he will learn that if you are not there, he will get away with biting and doing bad behavior, just let him learn that the behavior is causing the unpleasant itself.
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Old 09-22-2017, 08:15 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Back to basics?

since you said the LGD stays with the goats, what does it do when the dog joins up ??
- do they get along ?
- does the LGD drive the dog off ?
- or does the LGD not stay with the goats all the time ?

why can't you work the problem in a more controlled way ? with ONE goat and the dog ?

i wouldn't slap on the Ecollar just yet.
- why would you want to let the dog loose on its own and hide somewhere with an Ecollar transmitter and take yourself out of the picture ?
- why would you want to condition the dog to avoid the goats ? the herders i've seen working are up close and personal with the goats and nipping at them never seemed to bother the handler.
- if you're not there to direct the dog, he's being left alone and that is setting him up to fail. how does he know what to do if you're not giving the proper herding commands. is he supposed to know where the goats should go ?
- E-collars are great once you have properly conditioned the dog to them, but not as effective when used as a hammer. there are a zillion ways to start with it before you zap him while biting, but you haven't indicated you will be doing more than that with an Ecollar

since he has taken one down and caused med bills, he's PREDATING not just being "rough". that is a bigger problem and indicates a much higher drive level than rough housing. i'm sure you already know this since this isn't your first rodeo with ACD's
- i have dog who predates and will easily power thru a VERY high Ecollar stim to get a tanuki (racoon dog in Japanese)

you also said he's fine with the livestock and has good obedience. what does that mean specifically ? you should be doing OB with him near and around them while keeping control of him. again, maybe just with one or two, not the WHOLE group who scatter like roaches, which amps up his prey drive even more
- OB by itself is useless if it can't be transferred to the real world and your real world are the goats. in my opinion he needs his OB drills near AND around them

ill just mention the recall once more...i'd like to know why it's not in your toolbox, since if he had one this would be a NON-problem
- it's one of those tools that everyone agrees is important but is never mentioned when discussing a problem //lol//
- and one good way i can measure the bond between the dog and handler
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