Friday, December 9, 2011

Training a Dog to Not Chase Livestock

A leash is the best way to protect livestock -- and your dog.

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Some dogs aren't interested in chasing livestock, while others have a strong instinct to chase nearly anything that moves. To prevent your dog from chasing livestock, begin training while the dog is young so she doesn't develop the chasing habit. However, with dedication and patience by the trainer, even an older dog can usually be taught not to chase livestock.

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Every time an unsupervised dog is allowed to chase livestock, its urge to chase is strengthened and reinforced, and the habit becomes more difficult to break. Eventually, a livestock kill may be inevitable, and training the dog not to chase livestock may be impossible. If you don't want your dog to chase livestock, don't allow it to chase anything, including squirrels, rodents or even insects. Unless you are an expert trainer, your dog will not be able to tell the difference between animals that are OK to chase and those that are off limits, such as livestock or wildlife.


A sturdy leash is the key to supervision and training, because a dog on a leash isn't allowed to develop and reinforce bad habits. A leash not only prevents injury to livestock, but protects your dog from possible injury such as being hit by a car. Keeping your dog on a leash also protects you from liability for any damages or harm to livestock done by your dog.

Obedience Comands

Teach your dog to come when you call for any reason. Place your dog on a short leash and call the dog. When the dog comes to you, place the dog in a sit or down position. When the dog has mastered the come command on a short leash, graduate to a long leash. Once your dog reliably responds to the come command every time, practice the command without the leash.


Every time your dog responds to your command to come, it should be rewarded. However, don't bribe the dog by enticing it with the reward or allowing it to see the reward before it obeys your command. While a special food treat is a good reward occasionally, other rewards work just as well. For example, a favorite stuffed animal or the chance to fetch a ball or stick is fun for your dog and helps to distract it from chasing livestock.

ReferencesThe Real Owner: How to Prevent Dogs From Chasing LivestockEducating Rover: Dogs That Chase LivestockASPCA: Predatory Behavior in DogsUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: Raising Your Dog the New Skete Way:Purdue University Extension: Dog ObediencePhoto Credit Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty ImagesRead Next:

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