Sheep dog. Choosing a puppy. Behaviours. Physical. H and

Sheep
farms could require a guard dog, to protect sheep from predators, or a herding
dog, to direct the sheep and help with general chores around the farm. When
tasked with picking out a dog to help run a sheep farm one must consider this
as well as many other aspects such as what age of dog to buy, whether a
co-dependant or independent dog would be more suited, whether to purchase a
purebred or mixed breed dog, and which breed or mix breed would handle the
environment the best. Every aspect of these questions brings in the question of
which behaviours and physical attributes one needs to look for in the chosen
dog.

 

Choosing
a puppy. Behaviours. Physical. H and G

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When
faced with the aspect of choosing a dog people owning sheep farms should first
consider what age they would like to adopt. In general puppies are easier to
train unless you buy an already trained young adult or adult dog. This can
easily be inferred from how much easier it is to train puppies than older dogs
(normally two years and up) at a training school (SOURCE). Adopting a puppy means that you can look for preferred
behaviours from the beginning and then train the puppy for other required
behaviours. This also means that you can search for the required physical
aspects immediately. However, one must take into account the fact that it takes
time to raise and train a puppy, which in the circumstance given might not be
appropriate.

 

The
behavioural aspects that you should look for in a puppy range from how energetic
the dog is to how curious it is (ideally the puppy should be seen interacting
with livestock before one considers whether or not that particular puppy should
be purchased). Submissive behaviour is important and signs of this kind of behaviour,
for example lowering of the head and tail (livestock
guardians, page 52 and 53). Janet Vorwald Dohner (2017) mentions four main
behavioural aspects in choosing a puppy namely; activity levels, prey drive, temperament
and pain threshold. The activity levels are rather complicated to look for
considering both low levels of action and high can be beneficial to a sheep
farm especially in guard dogs;

 

Choosing
a young adult or adult. Behaviours, physical. H and G

However,
if one is moving to a sheep farm that has already been set up and is in
immediate need of a guard or herding dog one should consider either adopting a
young adult dog and training it, rather than having to raise a puppy, or to
purchase a young adult or adult dog that has been either fully or partially
trained. This way they already have some of the required herding or guarding
behaviours needed. However, one would still need to meet with the dog
beforehand, get a full health check with a vet before purchasing a dog and
finally take the breed of the dog into consideration.

 

Trainability.
Physical and behaviour?

 

Co-dependant
or independent and behaviours and physical to look for in either you choose. H
and G

One
needs to also consider which way you would like to train your dog and look for
physical and behavioural traits that fit this requirement. One can train a dog
to be independent, works well and effectively almost entirely without an owner,
or co-dependant, requires the owner to give some sort of direction but can also
assist in daily chores because of the relationship and proximity to the owner.

 

Choosing
a breed. Behaviour and physical. Mixed vs Purebred. H and G

There
are differences in behavioural and physical traits between mixed breed dogs and
pure breed dogs and then even within types of pure and mixed breeds. Therefore
when choosing a dog it is important to consider the dog’s breed.

 

Choosing
based on the environment. Behaviour and physical. Cold and dark.

Once
one has come to the conclusion that a purebred dog is a better choice than a
mixed breed dog one can start to narrow the breeds down even further than they
have been above by considering the need for a dog that can adapt well to the
dark and cold days in ———. So one must consider the physical traits
needed for these requirements as well as possibly some behavioural traits.

 

Guard
or Herding. Behaviour and physical.

The
final decision one needs to make is one that has been discussed above; namely
whether one should start with a guard or herding dog if one can only choose one
between the two. This decision can be made by examining the physical traits but
more importantly the behaviour traits that are exhibited and trained into the
individual kinds of dogs used on sheep farms.