A farmer’s life is not complete without a dog. A tough worker and best companion you could ask for, dogs make for excellent assistants on the farm.
A farmer’s life is not complete without a dog. A tough worker and best companion you could ask for, dogs make for excellent assistants on the farm. While some breeds are born with certain useful herding instincts, they don’t naturally know how to do their job.
Whether you have a commercial farm or you’re raising just a few animals, you want your best friend to share the workload. It takes time and training to raise a proper farm dog, but the results will make a huge difference.
Here are a few tips:
- You can start introducing your pup to the livestock they’ll be working with at as young as 8 weeks.
- Always lead your puppy and keep close supervision while they are getting acquainted. Pull back at any signs of aggression or excessive playfulness.
- Eventually, you’ll graduate to supervised off-leash time, seeing how your dog reacts when free to explore around the other animals.
- Finally, you’ll allow for unsupervised time between the livestock and your dog but always stay within earshot, just in case.
Expose Them To Different Scenarios
- Your pup will not just interact with other animals. Some machines can be overwhelming at first. Riding in the truck or tractor gives them a healthy exposure to big vehicles.
- Your dog should never eat from feeding machines and needs to know the difference between farm food and dog food.
- Make sure you are using proper farming equipment to keep your dog safe. Professional products that you can purchase at Dalton Engineering or any reputable farming company will stay in good condition for longer and not break, which could potentially injure your dog.
- If you tend to have visitors, let your buddy meet new people as often as possible. It’s important to understand humans are friendly to avoid a fear of strangers.
- Do your best to make clear what work you expect from your dog. Your commands should be clear and direct. Always begin your training with simple commands like “sit” and “stay.”
- Eventually, you can build to more specific instructions like “go to the chickens” or “round up the sheep.”
- Use positive reinforcement and don’t say new commands without proper training. Always train through positive reinforcement, offering a treat for a job well done.
Set A Feeding Routine
- Keep your canine’s chow away from the livestock’s food, so there is no competition. Feed your animals and your dog at different times, so the dog knows they aren’t grouped in the same category.
- This routine keeps everyone happy and helps your pup understand the boundary between home and the farm. Everyone needs to maintain a work-life balance!
- Like a human farmer, a working dog is going to get some cuts and bruises naturally. After each day of work, run your hand across your dog’s fur, searching for bumps or blood. Your well-trained pooch may keep working through pain, so you have to make sure they are cared for.
- Ticks and fleas are big problems for dogs out in the field all day, so take your pet to the vet every few months for regular checkups before the rest of your family starts scratching.
A properly trained farm dog can do quite a bit to make your life easier, but it takes serious training and dedication from both species. Through hard work, you can produce a helper that you are proud of and seeks only snuggles and treats as payment.