Once your dog has gotten used to the simple commands, as mentioned in last weeks article here, you can begin to move them onto more complicated training. Again patience is key. Do not move your pup on if it is not yet ready, the longer you spend training it the better working dog you get in return.
Getting your dog used to livestock
Again you should always start training your dog as young as possible. Introduce your dog to you livestock, firstly whilst on a leash.
Often the introduction can be hostile, with livestock less than welcoming. Firmly guide your puppy around to each of the various animals on your farm. Let it get accustomed to the different smells and sounds associated with each animal, without letting it get too close. This should be done using a long lead line, and gentle but firm tugging of the leash should your dog misbehave or attempt to chase the animals. If any aggression of any sorts is shown by your dog to the animals, end the training session immediately. Its vital you let your dog know that this behaviour is unacceptable.
Some animals just should not be introduced to your dog, as it will likely only end in trouble though there are exceptions. Beef cattle can become aggressive when aggravated, therefore extra caution is needed, especially due to their large size. Horses again are the same, they also tend to kick out when scared. It is strongly advised to keep your animal away from any pigs that may be on site, as they can become spooked very easily and hogs can become very aggressive. Avoiding bringing your dog near any animals who have just given birth, as they tend to be very protective and often aggressive at these times.
Never let your dog run free through barns, farmyards or even through open fields. You want your dog to know these are areas of work and not play. When you are confident and trust your dog to behave, you can let them roam freely but always keeping a firm eye on them. Always remember sometimes a dog cannot resist it’s primal instincts/urges. Some breeds cannot resist chasing certain animals such as chickens. This makes choosing a breed best suited to you and your farm vitally important.
If your dog is starting to make strides in it’s training, or is greeting other animals in the correct manner, then ensure you always reward them with a treat of some sorts. Again this helps the dog to associate good behaviour with treats. One cannot stress how important consistency is when training an animal. If you already have a working dog, allowing your new puppy to see it in action or how it behaves around other animals may help.
Next week we will dig deeper into what’s required to train the ultimate farming dog.