Finding the Right Rescue Farm Dog

Choose the right rescue to be your farm dog after reading these rescue tips.

| February 2018

Farm Dogs (Storey, 2016) by Janet Vorwalk Dohner is an in-depth guide to different dog breeds, while telling the history of dogs and humans working together for survival. She goes through each breed and how they each have been bred throughout history to be utilized on farms. In the following excerpt, she explains how to find your perfect rescue farm dog.

When considering a rescue dog, it is very important to know why the dog is looking for a new home. A working dog who needs to be rehomed because his owners are relocating or selling their stock or farm is a good possibility. Dogs who transfer from similar situations and stock are more likely to adapt. Be very wary of any dog who has not been socialized or is difficult to catch and handle. Retraining a nearly feral livestock guardian dog, an improperly trained herding dog, or a poorly socialized terrier is not a job for an inexperienced person. In all cases, make sure the dog can be safely handled.

Many herding dogs and terriers are handed over to rescue organizations for the following reasons:

“Too hyper” or “needs too much exercise.” “Hyper” dogs usually just need lots of exercise, as much as two hours a day for some breeds. It is important to remember that this is not “bad” behavior — these are the desired working traits of a herding dog or terrier. A dog who has already demonstrated his need for activity can be a good choice for someone dedicated to providing for his needs or engaging in dog sports.

“Impossible to control.” An “out of control” dog is most often lacking appropriate training and handling; it may have been left alone too much without enough attention. A rescue dog will probably need retraining with an emphasis on consistent commands. An experienced owner may be able to provide the appropriate situation with consistent routines, rules, and expectations.

Herding dogs in particular want leadership as much as they want to impose order themselves. Most people are not equipped to train a dog who is capable of distinguishing among a multitude of commands with varying verbal terms, body language, or gestures. Terriers are independent, dominant, feisty dogs who are challenging to train. LGDs have very particular needs to be met and must be brought along slowly in a new situation. You must be willing to enroll in obedience training or work with a professional trainer if that is called for.

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