06 October 2010

This is War

Dear readers,

I am forwarning you that I am about to engage in a long rant - so if you don't happen to be in the mood for one...well you know where to find the back button button, right?

Lately, I have been having insurmountable troubles with my 8 month old natural male livestock guardian dog.

Okay, before you get on your soap box and start telling me that I need to neuter him - let me explain a few things.

First, we are a SUSTAINABLE FARM.  This means that if the world were to shut down tomorrow we could continue living and not be scrambling for food (in that situation, guardian dogs are valuable commodities that could be traded for needed items). Keeping him intact is no different than keeping a buck for breeding purposes.  He will possibly be used to propagate my future guardian population.  He is not in suburbia, he is a WORKING farm dog.  For me to neuter him would make as much sense as to have two does and no buck and expect milk in the next year....nature does not work that-a-way!

Secondly, dogs that are neutered before a year old continue to grow and develop incorrectly.  This is horrible for a dog who will spend his 99% of his life out of doors - running, chasing, working and living with an improperly developed body (all to help reduce other people's irresponsible breedings).  I must say though that the Tolies do love "their" new barn.

Third, yes I have been to kill shelters.  (Actually, I regularly volunteer in a no kill shelter and watching a pet Dalmatian be euthanized ended my career as a vet tech - I have too big a heart to daily deal with purposeful death.) I know there are zillions of animals without homes and I have opened my home to two and hopefully many more dogs and cats will find a furever home here, indoors. but I have the time, the growing knowledge, the explaining understanding of dogs, and the resources to breed dogs.  I have wanted to since I was a little girl - this is not a split second decision.

Surge has now killed -by accident or otherwise- 8 chickens, including 5 hens, three of them being my laying hens and 2 kittens.  After, he killed the kittens something in me changed.  I would no longer tolerate his bad behavior.

I admit, I thought getting an older guardian would "fix" things.  And to a limited extent she has.  But now Surge is older and stronger than her and is feeling his oats.

I am so very tired of being told the methods I am using are wrong.  One man even had the cajones, to tell me the method I was using was cruel - so cruel in fact that I would have been arrested for animal cruelty in his state.  That made me feel horrible!  But here is the kicker the method I was using a dangle stick, which I know is essentially a knee knocker - WORKED!  After 36 hours of wearing Surge now  moves slowly around the livestock, head down, QUIETLY.  Where as before he would zoom by and scare the daylights out of everyone.  So which is better, injured and frightened livestock or cruelty and a calm dog?

I have been told to alpha roll him and yell NO!!!  Well, neither of those really work with him.  He is frightened when I roll him.  And just wags his tail at my yelling.  I seriously doubt he understands either.  Humm...

So, today, I did something different. I thought back to where these dogs come from and what they do.  Okay Turkey - how would they deal with him.  He would live on a chain until they were ready to use him and then he would either be led behind adult animals or be tied to an adult.  I tied him to my waist and went about my chores.  That includes taking him inside to our feed room....

I do no want to chain him again, so I have shut the barn.  Instead I will build a pen for him.  I am using 8 x 5 cattle panels and if he jumps those I will hotwire them... He will be able to see the livestock, but not harm them.  I have also placed a drag chain on him to slow him down.

I think what irriates me the most is that people seem more interested in telling me what I am doing wrong, instead of steering me in the right direction.

That's it.  I'm ordering a book and forming my own damn opinions!