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December 19, 2012

Never Bring A Goat To A Dog Fight

This is my every morning. I let the dogs out to roam around, hunt varmints, bark at the neighbors dogs, and get all their wiggles out. One of the ways they do this is to play. First let's get this out right now - they are not fighting. This is what it looks like when big dogs play.

See why I'm always saying to never let your dog play with your goats? Look at my Kai, our little princess. We call her Wiggles - anybody want a piece of her? I didn't think so.

You might be wondering where Lucky is in this brawl? Well he's standing beside me while I was taking these happy snaps.

Since Lucky is the low man on the dog pack totem pole he'd be the one getting pinned by the rest of them. But Zander loves this kind of play so he's happy to get the take down.

To be sure this game is as rough as it looks. I can hear the "thud" when they all tackle The Bubby and bring him down.

But he loves it and gets right back up and starts the chase again. It normally starts with this kind of "clash of the curly tailed bear killers."

See how powerful Kai's back legs are? She uses her whole body weight and can easily knock Zander off his feet. And she's our littlest dog!

I'm showing these pics as a reminder to supervise your dogs around your livestock. When you aren't looking your Mr. Woofywoof acts like this. And he really wants to kill your goats. All of them. It doensn't matter how your dog acts when you are standing there watching him. Given the chance he will be very happy to unleash his inner wolf and take out a flock of chickens, your favorite duck, or your goats. Or your neighbor's flocks. You have to supervise your dogs. At all times. Always.

I read a post from a distraught woman who asked on a forum why her normally good dog killed her chickens. Because that's what they do, that's why. It isn't nefarious.  Dog are predators. Your flocks are prey. Left unsupervised it ends with your dog on a rampage much like these guys.

But your chickens, ducks, turkeys, geese, or goats are no match for even a smallish or mediums sized dog. Your dog may not even know that your flocks are a food source - he probably just thinks they are fun. They smell like poop and run and flap when chased, what could be better for a dog?

Imagine your favorite little goaty-woaty pippin' and poppin' around as cute as can be....then insert her into one of the pictures above. It's not even a fair fight. Even that big buck of yours doesn't stand a chance against one determined big dog or 2 medium sized dogs working together.

If you're lucky your dog may not have a high prey drive, or even better you've got a Livestock Guardian Dog who is hardwired to guard flocks.  But unless your LGD knows that he's supposed to guard those specific chickens, for heavens sakes don't just bring him home and pen him up with your flocks. It will go badly for everyone and you'll stand there wondering what happened.

I'm reiterating this point because lately I've been hearing that folks have had flock losses due to dogs. Not roaming around strange dogs - but their own dogs. Anecdotally I'll tell you the biggest threat to your flocks are dogs. Sometimes it's your dog.

What's the solution? Supervision. Fences. Keep your chickens and goats and your dogs separated by fences and not good intentions.  Take a good look at how dogs play. Then go and get your fences set up.

Happy Wednesday everyone! Is anyone getting the big snow? Not us...not yet.