Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Dog training time

Blue, born in March 2010. 

The two puppies I retained from my last litter of Airedales are at the age where I start to train them.  What I teach them are the basic skills I need to make my life with them more peaceful, and to make them more useful on the farm.  Here's my basic list: 

Come when called
Don't pull on leash
Don't get on the furniture, ever. 
Don't jump on anyone
Lay down until told you can get up
Go left / Go right / Go where I am pointing

The basic rule that I follow is that you always treat a big dog puppy as if it's a big dog already.  I don't roughhouse with them, as fun as that is with a puppy because it leads them to believe that roughhousing is a good thing.  Its ok when they're puppies, but when they're north of 60lbs, a friendly nip or jump can get someone hurt, or scare someone who doesn't know the dog.  So we just never do it. 
I know that you called me, but if I sneak away slowly you won't notice
Airedales are willful dogs.  They're stubborn and loyal, and they tend to stick with an idea once they get it into their heads.  So I'm a bit stricter with them than I might be with other dogs.  This shows up when I teach them to lay down.  Lay down for my dogs means their chin is on the ground.  that means when they resist it's by raising their heads.  If I taught them that lay down meant laying down with their head up, resisting is walking away slowly. 
On the right, Red, last years littermate
Some Airedales have a very strong prey drive.  I've written about Red, pictured above, and my challenge in getting him to stop eating my poultry.  he's very good at herding, listening to the call-off signal and supporting the other dogs, but he does like his poultry, and this is a problem if he's bored or unsupervised.
Blue, this years pup

Blue has shown some potential as a herding dog as well.  He's calm and friendly, and has a good conformation.  Nothing at all wrong with him.  He's still growing (note red on the left and monster over the top of him for size comparison) and I expect him to be around breed standard at maturity. 
Monster, the father of the pups
Monster, the dog of this pack, is starting to grey out a little, but is still doing his job on the farm every day.  He I trust to not mess with the livestock, and as top dog he gets more face time with me than the other dogs.  He's my pickup truck companion as well as the tireless rat hunter at the farm.


Anonymous said...

Sounds more like housedogs then farmdogs; especially the "basic commands". Sure, you need to teach them those commands for farm use too I suppose. Are they from farm stock; airedales in the US have exclusively been bred for pets/show; with a few breeders breeding for sport (schutzhund etc.)
Psuedo farm dogs for a pseudo farm!

Bruce King said...

Our dogs have to behave in all contexts. To have a big dog without basic manners is a huge mistake people make, and any dog that you'll be working with needs to have a set of basic commands to start with. Depending on the dogs natural inclinations I'll expand that list.

Bruce King said...

And I love you, too.

Across The Creek Farm said...

My Pyrenees know sit and no. Those are the only two commands they consistently obey.

They understand what I want them to do, they just refuse to do it. It's that LGD Independent streak.


DayPhoto said...

This is a very interesting. I have always liked Airdales although I have never been around one.


Leslie said...

Beautiful dogs.

Anonymous said...

Is this the breed of dog that you suggest that aspiring farmers purchase for their farm?

Mike said...

I love them, great dogs. Stubborn bastards though!

dog containment systems said...

I have an 8mo GSD - really a calm, well behaved dog, except for one bizarre problem. Everytime I reach for the garage door opener in my home (or open the garage door otherwise) he runs as fas as he can to the door and attacks it. It is a detached garage.