Tuesday, February 9, 2010

feb 2009: cattle chasing

Vanya once again chased the neighbor's cattle, getting through the double fences we had put up. This time he got kicked, was lucky to survive, and it was clearly time to think about other options. 

I wrote to the clickersolutions list: "He chased the neighbor's cattle again, getting under the 2 fences we had erected (let's not talk about the $8000 bill from the fencing company that did a lousy job, and then $1000 worth of materials and weeks of work I did on the rest of the property to completely enclose it. All I can say is: a fence is a wonderful thing, especially around 20 acres.). He got kicked badly. I wrote: "But last night, in the dark, in the 10 minutes of chaos when I got back to the farm, he somehow got under our fence, bashed through the state wildlife land marsh, and under the neighbor's cattle fence. When I called him, he came back down the hill, covered with blood and poop and barely able to drag himself. (At least he has the recall down pat.) Now, with the help of the emergency vet clinic, he's recovering (I hope) from a kick to the ribs and a (mild) lung contusion. It breaks my heart to see exuberant Vanya so quiet for the first time in his life.

Anyway, besides fixing the spot in the fence where I think he may have squeezed under, does anyone have any ideas for reintroducing him to the cattle when he recovers? Should I keep working on "leave it" commands, while he's on a long line on our side of the fence? Or should I just barricade the fence even more, and never let him catch sight of the cattle again?

Nancy in WI"

It turned out that a surveyor had left a gate ajar. After this, we talked with the neighbor again (a wonderful family) and realized that our options were essentially to keep Vanya tied up or inside for the rest of life, or else work with an e-collar. So we chose the e-collar, and while I don't want to describe the actual work we did with it, I will say we worked with it on very low stim, and it worked very well indeed for proofing his recalls and training him to leave livestock and deer alone, even when I wasn't right there beside him. It also meant that I could take him off leash on the DNR land, where I was fairly confident unleashed dogs wouldn't surprise us. It also meant that he completely stopped jumping up and roughhousing with people, even though I was careful not to stim him around people. The collar didn't reduce his exuberance at all, although when we first started using it, he certainly showed stress signs (tongue flicks).

We still put it on him every time we let him out onto the farm--it's backup to protect our neighbor's cattle, and to protect Vanya's freedom to roam on our 20 fenced acres. 

No comments:

Post a Comment