Chased sheep arghhhh!

Discussion in 'Labrador behaviour' started by samandmole, Jan 16, 2017.

  1. samandmole

    samandmole Registered Users

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    looking for some ideas as poor OH was walking Mole in our usual walk yesterday afternoon. Where we park the farmer has put some sheep in the field next door and somehow (not sure where) Mole got into the field and chased the sheep. Full pelt. Did come back eventually but OH was in a right pickle shouting "squid" at the top of his lungs (magic word) to no effect at all. :eek: Have never had this experience with him, he has been so good lately and I'm so worried that now he's done it he will want to do it again and again. Luckily the sheep were fine but such a terrible thing for him to do. How to I begin to train him not to chase sheep. I imagine this could cross over to cows etc? We are deep in the countryside so I'm sure we will come up against this again although will avoid that walk for a bit. Sorry for the long post but it really freaked me and poor OH out. Thought the training was going so well. :(
    Sam and Mole
     
  2. Beanwood

    Beanwood Registered Users

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    Ahh bugger! That would've been stressful! Try a long line next time, it could be just the excitement of something new. With Bramble I plonked her near a paddock of sheep...plenty of distance from the gate, and just worked on her arousal levels until she was calm. I acted bored, then eventually we were able to get closer, and closer. Eventually I got her into the paddock on a long line, then of the long line. It took a bit of time, then absolutely fine. :) Good luck!
     
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  3. Karen

    Karen Registered Users

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    Agree with Kate; I would practice walking on a lead (though I would use a short lead) past the sheep field, just within Mole's tolerance threshold. Day by day you will probably be able to get closer and closer to the field, eventually moving into the field but remaining on the lead. It's the chase is the problem - sheep do such a satisfying (for dogs!) scatter... Cows are much more likely to stand their ground and actually can be very dangerous for dogs, and any humans accompanying them.
     
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  4. samandmole

    samandmole Registered Users

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    Thank you I will work on this!
    I think he got so caught up in the chase nothing was going to get him back so need to work on this pronto.
    Just when you think you e got somewhere lol!!
    Sam
     
  5. Karen

    Karen Registered Users

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    To cheer you up... When Poppy was just over a year old we went on holiday to a villa in Tuscany, which was in fields surrounded by sheep. The first opportunity she got, she chased them down the hill... the shame!!! :confused:

    We did a lot of work with her over the rest of the year, walking on the lead near sheep whenever possible, gradually getting her more and more used to them.

    Over the New Year we were on a shoot on a farm. There were sheep in the fields - she completely ignored them and focused absolutely on the job in hand. Yessssss... :thelambiesarecoming:

    You'll get there, it just takes time and patience. Good luck!
     
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  6. Beanwood

    Beanwood Registered Users

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    It's fixable..just need to make sure it doesn't become a learned behaviour, ,meaning sheep =fun! :)
     
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  7. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    It's not really practical to work on recall or not chasing around sheep with a dog that shows any tendency to chase at all. If you wanted to do this, you'd need the help of a specialist (and if you look for one, make sure you understand how they train and avoid punishment).

    It's a really good idea to desensitise any dog to sheep - while on lead - but to train not chase when the sheep scatter you'd have to have your dog in among them, and that's not practical in terms of casual opportunities to train, or good for the sheep!

    Charlie isn't a chaser of anything but balls. Betsy is a chaser of animals. Betsy will never, ever, be off lead around sheep! She will spend her entire life on her lead if sheep are around.
     
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  8. samandmole

    samandmole Registered Users

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    Thanks everyone! Yes he would have been on a lead had we known there were sheep there (just been put in that field) and a hole in the fence as he hasn't been around sheep yet - it was a big shock that he even managed to get in that field as it's right next to a popular dog walking woods. Now I know!! Will take him on lead and try to get him used to the sheep and hopefully over time I can desensitise him. I imagine it was extremely exciting, poor sheep. Sheep=lead from now on - just hope not to get taken by surprise again!!
    Thanks again for help with the hooligan!
    Sam
     
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  9. snowbunny

    snowbunny Registered Users

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    Similarly with my two. Willow is not interested in the chase, but I can't imagine a time I trusted Shadow 100% around sheep. He's never had the opportunity to chase one, but has chased deer, marmots etc, so I know he would if they started to run.
    Cows are another matter. Thy are both scared of cows. That's fine by me!
     
  10. David

    David Registered Users

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    Just to agree with the above. I gave my dog, Lady, lots of on-lead exposure to sheep gradually closing the gap and then lead walking through them. This is a positive training methods forum but I have to confess at not being able to be 100% positive with her sheep training. If Lady looked at the sheep I checked her with an "Ah! Ah!" and making her sit, but praised her when she ignored them. I must admit I had a bit of help in that the farmer where I walk the sheep is a friend and said I could practice on his lambs and I was able to work up to off-lead work around the flock. He did say I could put her in a pen with a ewe and her lambs but I thought that was a step too far and definitely not positive! :D

    She's fine now and as Karen, she works on a shoot in fields with sheep and ignores them even when they surround her as has happened on a couple of occasions. Mind you she's in hunting mode and has her mind on other things.

    I think it's well worth the effort to steady the dog with sheep as it can be a life saver for unexpected meetings with surprise sheep in odd places. I would add though that I differentiate between allowing her freedom on the shoot and just normal walking because they are two different things for me and I always put her on the lead when we are near sheep and she's not working as I never feel I can trust her 100%. Sounds a bit holier then thou but I wouldn't want to give the wrong impression to other dog walkers either. Also, I think it's especially important when the sheep are in lamb.

    Here's wishing you success! ;)
     
  11. charlie

    charlie Registered Users

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    Again, lots of exposure to sheep here as we live in the countryside so encounter them every day. I always walk mine on lead through sheep treating for ignoring them, we gradually moved near and nearer over time. Hattie can sit inches from a sheep whilst I stroke them as some are quite tame :). Last summer I saw a flock of sheep that had escaped from their paddock, Hattie saw them a quick stop whistle so there was no chasing. No issues at all. Charlie walks through them too without any problems too. The same with pigs, cows and horses. Hattie walks off lead with her little lurcher friend and her owner who rides a large horse. It's all about positive exposure :) x
     
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  12. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    I do think it's very different - working a dog with sheep around, and walking a dog with sheep around. If Charlie is retrieving, he notices nothing else, because retrieving is his biggest passion by a million miles. Not so Betsy, chasing is her biggest passion (hoping that changes over time).
     
  13. Edp

    Edp Registered Users

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    Hi, where we live (Yorkshire dales) it's expected you have your dog on a lead around sheep. Particularly at this time of year when they are in lamb. The farmers will shoot first and ask questions later.....I have known some over the years get shot I think as a responsible owner it's best to walk through sheep on the lead. I am pretty confident Meg would not chase but its not worth the risk. Regarding the no harm done comment....it's difficult to say that particularly when sheep are in lamb. It's good to practice safe exposure though as there will always be that one flock that surprises you and is in the wrong field. Local Facebook posts are full of warnings and polite requests from farmers
     
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  14. Granca

    Granca Registered Users

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    When we have been in Scotland there have usually been sheep in the surrounding fields, as well as often in the actual field where our chalet is, so the dogs have always had to be kept on the lead on the farm. I've used extending leads for that purpose, as it's easier to recall them quickly if there's a problem. All the time the sheep are just grazing and mooching around the dogs just ignore them and the sheep ignore the dogs, but it only takes one skittish sheep (or lamb) to attract their attention and things could change.

    The only time I haven't walked the dogs, even on the lead, is when there have been cattle in the same field.
     
  15. FayRose

    FayRose Registered Users

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    I agree with most of what everyone else has said. The difficulty is, once a dog has chased, stock has run, the dog is delighted. It is instinctive to chase if something runs.
    Molly has never chased sheep or anything else but I would never trust her not to if anything runs. Our rule is, if there's stock in the field, either don't go in OR Molly stays on the lead.
    Good luck with getting Mole 'sorted'.
     
  16. Ski-Patroller

    Ski-Patroller Cooper, Terminally Cute

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    Chasing livestock is considered really bad in the states. The farmer is perfectly within his right to shoot the dog. In Oregon until a few years ago, any dog caught chasing livestock had to be put down, and there was no reprieve allowed. Now there is some leeway in the law. Chasing deer is also illegal and can get a dog shot by the Fish and Game folks.
     
  17. edzbird

    edzbird Registered Users

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    We seem to have had a rash of dogs chasing/killing sheep here. Probably seems worse because we are a very small, rural island so one or two reported cases are high profile. I would always make sure Coco is on lead near stock (ie within 2 fields or within sight). It's not worth the risk a) to the farmer & b) to your dog. Dogs can either be shot by the farmer or have a destruction order placed on them by the courts. I can't imagine how devastating that would be.
     
  18. Stacia

    Stacia Registered Users

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    I have been on a couple of "Sheep Safe" courses, all positive. We had the opportunity to send our dogs into a barn with the sheep, to do a retrieve, with the retrieve thrown into them. I was so amused once, there was a little dog and he had the attitude of "excuse me sheep, I need to get my retrieve' as he went through them. Although my dog was completely steady to the sheep off lead on the course, I still would never trust him off lead near sheep as they are such unpredictable animals and suddenly rush off which raises the chase instinct in the dog. You can steady a dog to lowland sheep, then meet meet one up on the moors and they will smell completely differently and the dog can chase. I am sure there are dogs who are brought up around sheep who find them boring, but on the whole it is never wise to trust a dog near sheep for fear of it being shot. Nevertheless, I found the course valuable.
     
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  19. HAH

    HAH Registered Users

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    ** long post, sorry! **

    Tagging onto an old thread as I feel so awful but this has calmed me a bit; on our walk today we went through a (secure, well fenced) field next to a field with sheep in. We live and work round sheep so are pretty savvy and Kipper’s always on a lead around sheep, but as there was a good fence between us, the sheep were all looking chilled and we’d just had a LOT of (poor) lead walking, I was keen to let him off. He was excellent until he went a little close to the fence and the closest sheep skittered off, at which point he went “wahay!” And bounced after thrm - happily :/ running into the fence about 2 feet to his right which brought him up short, and then recalling perfectly while I put on my best ‘everythings fine’ voice.
    I feel awful that I allowed him into that position, and now Im scared I’ve broken a fairly non-reactive dog by not being more careful. I guess time will tell but I’ll do a LOT of focussed work now suggested by others here (and obviously avoid that position again - but as other people have said, there’s always an exception...). Blurt over, thanks for listening!
     

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