[NAFEX] dog breeds for orchards

Kieran &/or Donna holycow at frontiernet.net
Thu Jan 27 16:29:39 EST 2011

I remember someone on this group mentioning their lazy friendly large breed 
dog who didn't care in the least what the rabbits or deer were doing nearby. 
We have had a series of rather hyper dogs over the years, have meant that we 
have no deer problem at all and only a little trouble with rabbits.  Of 
course we don't have the kind of deer pressure in the county that some 
people have in big towns, but a hyper dog needs something to do.  The amount 
of barking we put up with would probably make them unpopular in town.  We 
had a wonderful Border Collie/Blue Heeler cross for many years.  We are on 
our second mountain cur, actually she's mountain cur crossed with mountain 
feist... think of her as an undersized hound with shorter ears.  She's pure 
varmint dog, which is what I thought I wanted but we miss our old dog who 
paid more attention to us.  Still, she does a great job and only weighs 
about 35 lbs.  Jack Russells can provide hyper in spades, and they show up 
all the time at shelters, but we found that's not the cheapest way to get a 
dog.  We got a little 13 lb rat terrier that cost $120 to get him adopted, 
fixed and shots, and then the coyotes ate him less than 2 years later.  He 
was just too small.  We got a Jack Russell about 20 lbs from someone at the 
livestock auction, an apartment dog that they couldn't housebreak, and he 
proved to be mostly good for barking at box turtles.  He might have amounted 
to something eventually if a deer hunter hadn't put out antifreeze "to kill 
coyotes".  There was an earlier rat terrier, an old man had had 2 of them 
tied in a barn for 2 years, they were in terrible shape.  I picked the one 
that looked to be in better health, paid to get her fixed, then discovered 
she wanted to be a lap dog.  Every time I squatted down to pull a weed she 
tried to climb in my lap.  We found her a home where she could again be the 
lap dog she had obviously once been.  I know people say to get rescue dogs, 
but we have never had good results with them.  The best dogs we have had, we 
have raised from pups.
    As for killing poultry, I think every dog we have owned has killed a 
chicken or two before we convinced them that we didn't like it.  Two of them 
I had to tie up and beat with a stick (big enough to smart, too small to do 
any damage) while waving a live chicken in their face, but they got the 
message.  I hated to do it, but the choice was a trip to the pound for the 
first dog.  The second time it was our beloved Madra, the border 
collie/heeler cross who got it in her head one day to kill young muscovies. 
After she killed the first one we tied her up and yelled at her.  She killed 
the second one an hour or so later while still tied up, and I yelled some 
more, and then she killed a third one.  I yelled at her while leading her 
off to tie her up where she couldn't be near us, and then went through the 
stick and the big song and dance routine.  I made my husband go yell and 
give her a whack too.  It broke his heart.   She was about 8 years old then, 
and there was no question of getting rid of her, I suppose we would have had 
to give up muscovies.  But it worked, she didn't give us any more trouble 
with them.  Young guineas were a different matter.  I bought 3 and the cur 
dog killed them.  I bought 4 more and Madra killed 2 of them.  I did some 
yelling and bought some more and the dogs left them alone.  I really could 
hardly blame the dogs, the young guineas seem like such furtive creatures. 
All it took was a bit of drama though, and they left off.  The worst one of 
the lot was a pretty little dog, some kind of terrier cross, who loved 
nothing better than chasing flying little banties.  But I got her broke of 
it too.  (Never could turn her into a dog who was good for anything, and she 
came to a bad end because she wouldn't stay home.)  It just takes being 
there and yelling a lot.  If your dog understands "Bad dog" and doesn't hear 
it for every little mistake, it tends to work quite well when used with 
feeling.  Also our idea of having a second dog as companion for the first 
tended not to be very useful.  The dogs cost us twice as much and pooped 
twice as much, but paid half as much attention to what we said.
    I hope this helps someone to select a good dog and avoid some of our 
mistakes.  There are built in differences in personalities.  A 7 week puppy 
that comes toward you with it's tail up is an independent thinker.  One that 
approaches with it's tail down will be obedient.  One that cowers and won't 
approach at all is not a good bet.  This is from "The Intelligence of Dogs" 
from tests given to potential Guide dogs for the blind.  Be prepared to 
spend a long time watching a litter of puppies, or to spend time with a 
give-away dog.  The pound is the very worst place to try to get to know a 
dog.  For give-aways, ask that they take the dog back if it doesn't work 
out.  I have taken 2 dogs back very quickly after bringing them home.  We 
once had a cat who was a pretty good judge of dogs.  She chased the first 
one around the house, so I took him back.  The second dog very carefully 
avoided giving offence by never looking the cat in the face, and she proved 
to be a very good dog.  Though she only weighed 15 lbs and had to be broken 
of killing chickens, she developed the fine art of harrrassing misbehaving 
goats.  All we had to do was teach her was to come back to us when the flock 
had turned.   Donna 

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