|Barked: Wed May 23, '12 12:36pm PST |
|Seriously...it depends on many, many factors. The experiences of both the canine and the animals involved as well as the given nature of those animals.
Scooter (as all of my dogs have) was raised around all sorts of farm animals and he has been in some high dollar show barns (for both horses and cattle), but I'd NEVER let him off lead; he's too valuable to me (as a SD) for me to get careless. The dog's body language is going to play a huge role; most farm animals take a direct stare as a challenge. If the dog gives appeasement gestures, it will put the animals more at ease. Scooter will look at specific horses, but not try to stare them down. He'll turn sideways or even show them his rear so they can see he isn't a threat. I've got pics of him at the zoo with a young red stag standing less than 3 feet away with only a single fence between them and he's doing this; same with the llamas.
He's buddies with my American Mammoth Donkey Jack, but I don't let them do much more than sniff through the fence with close supervision (preferably with Woodrow wearing his halter that has a curb chain). W is the most laid back Jack (stallion), but it isn't worth the risk. Scooter isn't allowed into any pasture that Woodrow has access UNLESS W is tied (in the case of the utv physically controlled by either myself or my kennel partner) and Scooter is leashed (to me) or tethered into the UTV. Donks are notorious for stomping (front feet) or doing a bite-n-shake to coyotes and stray dogs; a regular sized Beagle will easily fit in their mouths (this goes mainly for Mammoths and standards...minis (under 36") have smaller mouths, but can still inflict some major damage).
Depending on how much interaction the animals have had with dogs, including any negative interactions, it may not be safe for him to be off lead. Cows and sows are VERY protective of their offspring; I've seen both do some serious damage to dogs. Some hounds just naturally want to bay at pigs; that is apt to get them riled up. Donks and llamas are often used as livestock guardians. Again, with the horses, it will depend on the animal. Scooter could come into the pasture with Buddy (never let that happen unsupervised), but Buddy had been imprinted as a foal and raised with dogs. He was a bit wary of the APBTs at first and other than Mouse, none were allowed to mess with him; by the time he passed away, he was more than part of the "pack" and depended on sleeping by the kennel runs. He knew the dogs would alert him to any danger.
Scooter is fine with rabbits in fair and in-home settings, but there is no way I'd have a pet bunny loose around him other than inside the house and with strict supervision; his hunting instinct is strong. Then again, he's apt to be like Lola and would climb in the rabbit cage to eat the rabbit food. He's also been used for hunting; both tracking to hunt/kill and trailing wounded game (including pigs) but he's fine around them (and all the other critters) in a farm/fair setting.
The kennels that have dogs and horses/other farm animals generally take great care to start their pups off right around older, well grounded horses/animals.
NTD Chance - while it is great you want to make sure your goats become acclimated to dogs, that could backfire really badly should someone else's dogs, intent on mischief or worse, were to enter the goat pen. Not something I'd want to chance.
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