Should Dogs Roam Free on the Farm?

| 5/28/2009 10:44:43 AM

Tags: dogs, pets,

Dogs are a common sight on most rural properties. There are dogs for watching, herding, protecting and just for petting. There are breeds suited to each job — Border Collies for herding, Great Pyrenees for protecting, shepherds for watching and Corgis for petting. Most “farm” dogs are not confined in any way and are able to roam off their own property, occasionally causing havoc along the way.

Do you think that farm dogs should be kept in a kennel, leashed or in the house when not “working”? And does it depend on the breed when making this decision?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below.



7/7/2009 8:13:51 AM

No property is complete without a dog. They are your responsibility like kids so train it, keep it under control, and be considerate of your neighbors. My dog has been trained to an underground fence, (yes I tried it myself to see if the shock was bad), she will kill or chase everything but the deer in restricted area and will not go outside of the fence. She has about 3 acres to protect within 30, she doesn't need to roam the rest of the acreage. If you are not considerate and your dogs chase game on to my property....they eventually will be shot. Good fences make good neighbors.

7/3/2009 11:33:03 AM

I have lived in many places, from crowded Los Angeles to rural Oklahoma. Every place I've lived there has been trouble from dogs roaming free. They are like children, depending on their owners for food, shelter and guidance. When I lived in Los Angeles I jumped, shovel in hand, in front of a pit bull who was charging my 5 year old child. The dog was out for a walk with its owner who was too lazy to keep it on a leash. the dog backed down, the owner said I was crazy. When I lived in Oklahoma it was common to turn out pets when the family couldn't afford them anymore. Packs of feral dogs attacked livestock and children. It was also common for residents to shoot and kill a dog running loose. People who wanted to keep their dogs alive kept them fenced or in a kennel. I know it sounds cruel, but for people who live with rural poverty that small herd of cattle or goats is the difference between survival and starvation. If you choose to keep a pet of any kind, please take responsibility for it. Keep it on your property by whatever means you choose.

aggie janicot
7/2/2009 7:39:47 PM

I am frustrated by the neighbor's farm dogs who come onto my mini-farm and annoy my dogs. They will sneak up to the edge of the property, make my dogs angry, then get my dogs to chase them. She can't control her dogs and won't. My dogs on the other hand are carefully watched and trained. They are not allowed to leave my land and are expected to know "sit", "come", "no", "stay" and other basic commands. So far, we've not had any goat or chicken deaths due to dogs/coyotes/etc. and the time I've spent on my dogs has been totally worth it. Now if just everyone else would take time too. Aggie

aka steve
6/22/2009 6:06:54 PM

if you raise a pup as a house pet and get it used to any type of animal you don't want it to harass. without training it won't roam(it wants to go inside)and it will protect from predators any livestock(playmates)it knows.

6/21/2009 4:15:31 PM

Another thought on man's best friend roaming wild and free (nomore). I can still roam pretty much wild and free myself in rural Louisiana. On a recent trip over that way I don't remember seeing a single dog or cat along the road. But more and more I see their happy presence being replaced by skunks, possums, coons, armadillos, coyotes, and, worst of all, squirrels, even in the daytime. This is a not a good thing. I have never heard of a dog getting into an attic and trying to tear the house down but the squirrels and coons are having a ball. No deer problems yet but I'm sure that is just around the corner. There is a reason why the pioneers cut down the trees around the cabin and chased off the critters.

6/21/2009 3:44:21 PM

I grew up in a free country where I could take a pocket knife to school, build a fire anytime I wanted,shoot a calf in the back yard and butcher it in the driveway,buy a .22 in a hardware store, and keep a dog without a bunch of taqs around its neck. Alas, those days are past. Courts are casinos where the owner of a little Cessna or a dog with a tendency to take a nibble on a trespasser can wind up financing the lavish lifestyle of a lucky victim of his irresponsibility. If you have half a brain you will have a small dog with a big bark and keep him penned.

6/18/2009 3:27:08 PM

Talk about timing! Our Great Pyrenees, Angel, whose job it is to protect our goats....somehow thinks that OUTSIDE the barnyard is way better. We've had her for 5 months, since age one, and have been able to actually keep her inside her boundaries only 2 of those months --shut up at night in a horse stall. Now we need the stalls for new baby goats, and her bed got moved into the barn hallway. She is able to shrink her great body into small openings everywhere, and no amount of repairs to the fences, barn, or gates have helped stop this. We were nearly desperate in our attempts, because she also discovered the thrill of chasing cars that infrequently pass by our 32-acre farm. One of them, sure enough, got her --and she disappeared into the deep woods behind us for 2 days. When she finally came home we were totally distraught from searching and had given up hope of finding her alive....but her back leg was broken horribly. She is now about to get out of house confinement and her cast, all healed...and we are faced with trying ONCE AGAIN, to contain her safely. She is stubborn beyond belief, yet her devotion to our family makes it impossible for us to do anything but love her, and try we shall to build a fence from which she cannot escape!!!

sharon uribe
6/14/2009 11:05:08 PM

Unless you have a positively brilliant animal who will never stray out onto a highway or onto someone elses property then you should keep it confined on your own property. How you do it is up to a chain....whatever. But your animal will be safer and happier confined than if you let it roam at random.

tonnia williams
6/12/2009 9:59:23 PM

I live on 3 sections of farm land. We have a corner acerage that we run meat goats on for showing. We had a blue heeler and a border collie cross that worked our show goats and ran free on the "home place" and an akbash that guarded our herd in the pasture. These dogs ran free for 15, 10 and 2 years respectively. Last year the border collie expericenced several grand mal seizure suddenly that left her "crazy" we had to put her down. The old blue heeler literally laid down and died after we put her down. Three weeks later the Akbash experienced the same seizures but we got her to the vet in time for tests only. She too was deprived of oxygen and we had to put her down. Although the vet ran extensive tests we could not determine the cause of death but he believed they were poisoned. Our closest neighbors are over two miles away and these dogs NEVER left our land. The dogs we bought to replace them are now kenneled. We depend on our working dogs greatly and losing them was a great finacial loss but more than that we lost "family" and can still imagine their "ghosts" out in the pasture working even today. Never did we imagine we would lose our animals to poisoning, possibly by someone who wanted our show goats??? Kennel or free?? I don't know, depends on how much of a risk you are willing to take. My heart can't lose another one mysteriously like that again....

6/12/2009 8:15:17 AM

We have 2 Australian Cattle Dogs. I would no more impose my dogs on my neighbors than I would myself on my neighbors. That is why we put in an underground fence for our dogs. We have 10 acres on our farm and our dogs can at this time cover 70% of it. By the end of summer we hope to add them to the remainder of it. The reality is they need to be outside to do their job of keeping predators like fox, coydogs, racoons and neighbors dogs away, which they do very well. They announce visitors and intruders and people know not to come onto our property because we have them. We also let them sleep in the house either on the bed or where they choose and that is our choice. They are hard working dogs and they deserve a rest like we do. The thing that bothers us is that there are so many dogs in our neighborhood that our dogs need to protect our animals from. We have had chickens attacked and left for dead, some killed. We have been awakened by a cat being chased down by a pack of dogs from the neighborhood. Our boys went to work at midnight and cleared it out and the cat survived this one. The cats work too. They need to be out and control the rodents and now we worry about that! People need to keep their animals on their own property under their control. Our town has a leash law and a good portion of people will follow that but then there are still people who don't. Its a pity that the dogs are neglected. If you can't take care of the animals and care for them, keep them out of the road, feed them and love them that way then you should not have them. If you let them roam and run in packs or get in trouble then you obviously don't care. I hate kennels but thats one reason we did the underground fence. I can't fathom getting a dog and sticking it in a box for the entire day. Our dogs stay in the house if we are gone, which is rare.

6/12/2009 7:36:37 AM

Regarding roaming farm dogs. We have plenty of rescues here - a doberman, great dane, pit bull and occasionally my son Rottweiller. Have a large horse farm in south central Ky. and a total of 42 dogs. The four barnyard dogs are here for a specific purpose - to announce any visitors and greet them correctly - which they do very well. We do kennel in the packs of terriers (so.central Ky. terrier rescue) and the pack of foxhounds. Each pack has it's golden hour or so each day - helping me do chores on the farm. All dogs are highly trained about boundaries and lots of rules. Like Cesar Milan - owner's must be their pack leaders. Respect in the animal world - IS NOT DEMANDED - BUT COMMENDED AND EARNED! What the dogs have taught me is that it is the owners responsibility to have all spayed or neutered and train them accordingly. So basically - it's not the dogs - but the people with the problems.

sherry majors
6/11/2009 10:35:35 PM

We live on 3 acres in the country I have 5 border collies and 1 dushound, all are working dogs, we have chickens ducks cattle a horse and a goat, they are outside with us or if someone is home, otherwise they are in the house, they are not "kenneled" they roam but know there boundaries and each knows his or her job. train your pet they are your children, only they should never leave home unless you are with them. As for shooting someones dog no no no!! BB's are just the thing, think if it were your pet that did wander you would be heartbroken if you cared that is.So yes farm dogs need to be free on their property.

6/11/2009 10:10:22 PM

Dogs should be closely supervised if they are roaming unabated by lease, electric deterents, or fencing. In many states, a dog running "wild" on your property may be shot. Be a good dog owner and a good neighbor - train your dogs and keep them under your control, don't let them run unsupervised, keep them in an appropriately sized kennel when you can't directly supervise them, and whenneighbors come by, don't let them jump up on the visitors or their vehicles. If your dogs are trained enough, kennel them before or as visitors arrive. Yes, we all love our dogs, but not everyone feels the same!

eric nisonger_2
6/11/2009 4:39:22 PM

On my way back to my hotel last night, in the middle of nowhere, I was crossing a small bridge when out of thin air, a dog came right at the passenger side of my car. Before I could slow, I had run over the animal, killing it. This was a terrible waste that could have easily have been prevented. Dogs running loose, even out in the middle of nowhere can get themselves into trouble with cars or trucks. Please, folks, keep your four legged friends on a leash.

6/11/2009 3:38:05 PM

Dear people I will make this as polite as possible. Look if you live on a farm, You better get use to losing animals. I have lived on a farm till it was taken from me. I had to shoot 3 of my own dogs,because they got the taste for blood from one of my live stock. I had to kill two of my live stock because of those dogs. The 4th dog of that group I still have and has turned into a very good dog. He is not perfect, but he does his job. I acquired a guard dog after those three because of wolfs(dogs, etc). And he stayed with the live stock. If you have a problem with dogs. Either take it up with the Owner, or Train YOUR dog better. thanks don

6/11/2009 3:07:49 PM

We have 28 acres in Nevada and I have two Pyrenees who run with my livestock and have to chase out other people's dogs who are allowed to roam free. I also have one border collie and one lab who are fenced in and only allowed to be out with one of us. I have seen too many dogs killed on the road, by coyotes or mountain lions, or shot by the farmer trying to save his livestock. I don't care how sweet your little doggy is or even what breed your dog is, precious family pets will start running with other dogs and run down livestock for the "FUN" of it. Once they taste blood they will kill every sheep, goat or chicken in the field. Atleast a bear, coyote, or mountain lion will only kill one animal to eat, not the whole herd. Wildlife also has a large impact on people's pets. We have heard about small dogs being grabbed by coyote's for their evening meal. I wish every person who lives in the country would think about what could happen to their pet before they allow them to run loose just because they live in the country. Pets are safe when kept at home in a supervised, controlled environment. This way their pet will live for a long time.

carol _6
6/11/2009 7:59:02 AM

I live on 7 acres in a rural area of Louisiana. My house is unfortunately not at the rear of my property, but toward the front. Since I moved to this house 3 years ago, my neighbors across the road have lost at least 5 dogs that I know of, as they let their dogs run free and they are always in the road, usually coming across to my property to poop, bark at me, chase my barn cat (who never strays far from the barn), and attack my Corgi, who stays by my side when I am working outside. As much as I love animals, when the Great Dane-size dog disappeared, I was relieved. When I asked they keep their dogs on their property, I was told the dogs had a "right" to go wherever they wanted and do whatever was natural to them! That included terrorizing me and my animals and defecating all over my yard. I cannot afford the thousands of dollars to fence my property to prevent these dogs from entering. I called the sheriff's office who informed both me and my neighbors that I could do whatever it took--including shooting--the neighbors' dogs if they threatened me or my animals. I never had to resort to this, even though I did carry a pellet gun with me (for dogs and snakes). For those of you who feel your animals have "rights," I hate to tell you, your animals' "rights" end at your property line. If they cross that line, YOU are responsible for whatever happens to them. Good fences make good neighbors, so keep your animals on your own property as your neighbors aren't required to welcome your animals on their property. What's really sad is that anyone reading these comments is already attuned to what is right/wrong, proper/improper. It's the ones who don't care who AREN'T reading them!! sigh.

6/11/2009 6:56:52 AM

First of all, let me just say that a "Corgi" is not a lap dog. A Corgi is actually a herding dog. Yes, they make good "petting" dogs but so do all dogs. I have lived in the country all my life. I have seen "free roaming" dogs everywhere. And I can tell you that they are a problem and that their owners do not deserve to even own those dogs. Kennel, house, or even just atleast a fenced in yard, not electronically fenced either, OMG for all those who have electronically fenced in dogs put the collar on and walk passed the line yourself people. A well trained dog is not something that comes from a little training and then thats it. A well trained dog is a dog that has the love and leadership of the owners full time. If you aren't willing nor able to give a dog balanced training and leadership, exercise, and good home then don't have one for the love of all that is holy. A well trained dog will let you know what is going on outside without you ever having to teach it. Free Roaming is a no brainer b/c it requires the owners to have no brains. And don't get me started on those that shoot dogs. I was raised the same way and yes i know to those that don't know better it seems like the best way. BUT ITS NOT I have learned so much in my later years and have had my eyes opened to knowledge and wisdom that you should all know. Please, I beg you if you are going to own a dog then look up all the info you can about that breed. Learn as much as u can and then try to learn more. Dogs are some of the most beautiful creatures that was ever born on this earth and if you get a dog from good legit breeders then they are at the best of that breeds standards. I have seen puppy mills with dogs sold to pet stores and used like factory chickens for breeding and nothing else. I have seen dogs that were used for fighting that are sweet dogs and loving dogs but had masters that shouldn't be allowed freedom let alone a life to care for. My goodnes

mary ann macleod_1
6/10/2009 8:46:48 PM

Aren't there laws in every county reguarding this? Like I have read in preceeding comments, IF a dog is well trained and obedient, there is seldom trouble. BUT, as far as I know, an owner is supposed to have liscenses on all dogs, ands are responsible for any and all damage they may do while roaming the countryside. I know of people with beagles and bassetts, and hounds, whom will all hunt and leave their owner's premises, and sometimes, livestock and dogs on neighboring farms have been attacked. Only well trained dogs should be left alone, especially when owners are away.

john _3
6/10/2009 8:24:34 PM

I grew up on a farm with a blacktop road going past the building site. One to four days at all times depending on how many the city slickers had dumped off. All of the dogs were free to roam. No fence or collar for them. The smart ones knew or learned to stay away from the road and not to chase the cattle, hogs or chickens. They learned fast. They knew where the food would be and when. They also knew who was feeding them. Chickens also ran free. We had fun catching the roosters in the fall because they always went to roost in the tree tops. But they were outstanding eating. The dumb dogs went back to town. None of our dogs ran. They stayed in the yard or followed us to the field. They protected the place when we went to town. Most people did not bother our place. They might come in but they didn’t get out of their vehicle even though the dogs would not bite anyone. Interesting, one very nice dog would growl and the hair would go up every time a certain salesman entered the yard. The dog would stay right next to us until the salesman had left. The children could go out in the yard and play because the dogs were always there to protect them. Dogs don’t belong in a house. Especially when I have allergies.

6/10/2009 6:58:18 PM

I have an excellent dog that someone dropped in the road near my house - she gets groundhogs on a regular basis but is kind as can be to my hens, who range freely -the Alpha hen even attacks the dog and the dog is always polite, although I realize someday the hen might go too far, but it's a risk I am willing to take(I don't have any roosters)- my and my neighbor's dogs sometimes get together to visit but none of them chase deer, etc. (my dog realized she'd never catch one and groundhogs are more fun, and there are often deer in our yard in the mornings when the dog is OUT and she just ignores them - but due to her severe allergies (I even had her skin-tested at great expense) I do not put a collar on her. When we are out she stays nearby. When we hike she ranges ahead but comes back, always circling. If there are others on the trail I do leash her - she gets very excited by the leash (a mark of her former owners since I generally haven't used one) and I find it extremely sad to tell you of the number of dogs that are dropped off near my place. But I think it is really a matter of the dog and its temperament - I've had other dogs I couldn't trust at all, so I don't think it's me, I think it's the dog. Some are good at being left outside without tethers, and some aren't. Not a black and white issue unless you live in the suburbs and there's a law about it.

sue rayburn
6/10/2009 6:54:27 PM

When we lived in very rural western NYS, we let our dogs have free roaming on our farm. In looking back, I realize that that was very irresponsible, and resulted in the roadside deaths of several dogs. We have had anywhere from two to four dogs at a time where we live now. We have no fenced yard. If any of our dogs are outside, it is because we are with them to supervise and control them, keeping them safe. We have working Border Collies - they would not be a good type of dog to have loose outside as, with their intelligence and energy level, and their strong desire to work livestock (and sometimes chase cats or small animals), it would be so easy for them to get into trouble harassing livestock, chasing animals, or getting in the road. If I can't safely confine dogs to my house, a secure yard or kennel (and I don't mean just on a chain), or supervise them whenever they are outside, then I shouldn't have a dog.

6/10/2009 6:31:23 PM

People need to take the time to TRAIN their dogs. I have a Golden Retriever that has never been chained, kenneled or electronically fenced. He is almost 15 and has been friends with all our neighbors all of his life. He is part of the family and stays inside at night but has free roam during the day at all times. People have to have common sense themselves to have a good dog no matter what the breed. We have neighbors that have two Labs who should not be vicious dogs by nature but have crossed their electronic fence and killed an 8 week old puppy(tore him in half) in front of two 7yr old children who will be traumatized for life. I guess my point being is that if you are not smarter than your animal then you do not need one. My dog was also trained to use his "personal" bathroom that is not offensive to anyone.

jody brandner
6/10/2009 5:23:26 PM

We live on ten acres in eastern colorado, We have 2 mini austrailan sheperds and 1 german sheperd puppy,and four cats. we let our dogs and cats roam free. We also have 20 chickens, and 4 ducks that are totally free range during the day. We are very fortunate that our dogs and cats do not bother the chickens or ducks. They often will walk around the dogs when they are sleeping. They never bother our goats and sheeps and pigs. They also stay on our property.

kevin robinson
6/10/2009 5:14:05 PM

Continued Dogs are as much a responseability as children and should be raised the same way. If you can take the time to teach your kids right you should do the same with your animals. I have invest to much in both my kids and my animals to to be lazy or careless,

kevin robinson
6/10/2009 5:05:46 PM

I have lived in the country suburbs and city. Loose dogs are both a safety and health problem. Safety when they go feral, attach whatever they considered food source. Health because they can pass on whatever diseases and parasites they may carry to your dog. I have shot strays that I thought where a treat to my family and my animals. One had a collar on it and had been missing for about a week "but that was nothing new" according to its owner. After I killed it I took it to the vet working for the county told him how it was acting. The vet did some test and later told me the dog was in the early stages of rabies. I train all my dogs and knowing how smart a dog can be I do not rely on "once trained always trained"; you have to constantly reinforce the training. Dogs will try to get away with things just like any child when you let them or if they get bored when you’re gone or too busy for them busy. My dog stay in a fenced yard or in the house. Just because you have trained your dog not leave your yard do not believe that it does not happen when you are gone. I had a dog that recognized the sound of my truck and always managed to be home or very close when I got home. However when I left one day and came home in a new truck he was nowhere to be found, he sound up after dark and started barking at a strange vehicle in the drive. I have see other dogs do the same thing, they know when the boss is gone by our habits. I have heard the argument that chaining or kenneling breaks a good dog down and the same person than keeps his best dog on a chain so it won’t run away or fight with his other dogs. Off the chain that dog is the master. I have also been told that they kept free to protect the farm and seen those same dog torn up by a cornered possium or badger, even a racoon can do a good deal of damage to a dog. It's the dog job to let you know when somethings wrong and your job to take care of it. Dogs are as much of a c

kevin robinson
6/10/2009 5:04:56 PM

I have lived in the country suburbs and city. Loose dogs are both a safety and health problem. Safety when they go feral, attach whatever they considered food source. Health because they can pass on whatever diseases and parasites they may carry to your dog. I have shot strays that I thought where a treat to my family and my animals. One had a collar on it and had been missing for about a week "but that was nothing new" according to its owner. After I killed it I took it to the vet working for the county told him how it was acting. The vet did some test and later told me the dog was in the early stages of rabies. I train all my dogs and knowing how smart a dog can be I do not rely on "once trained always trained"; you have to constantly reinforce the training. Dogs will try to get away with things just like any child when you let them or if they get bored when you’re gone or too busy for them busy. My dog stay in a fenced yard or in the house. Just because you have trained your dog not leave your yard do not believe that it does not happen when you are gone. I had a dog that recognized the sound of my truck and always managed to be home or very close when I got home. However when I left one day and came home in a new truck he was nowhere to be found, he sound up after dark and started barking at a strange vehicle in the drive. I have see other dogs do the same thing, they know when the boss is gone by our habits. I have heard the argument that chaining or kenneling breaks a good dog down and the same person than keeps his best dog on a chain so it won’t run away or fight with his other dogs. Off the chain that dog is the master. I have also been told that they kept free to protect the farm and seen those same dog torn up by a cornered possium or badger, even a racoon can do a good deal of damage to a dog. It's the dog job to let you know when somethings wrong and your job to take care of it. Dogs are as much of a c

6/10/2009 2:57:05 PM

I grew up on a ranch which also happens to be on an Indian Reservation. We have always had dogs around to help us with the cattle. At one point we had 14 dogs. We kept the aggressive dogs penned or chained, and yarded the rest. None of them have wandered off our property. This isn't true for others with dogs. We have an extreme dog pack problem on the reservation because people have let their dogs run loose, or just stopped taking care of them period. These packs have attacked several cattle and there were meetings because people finally started waking up to the dangers to their children. While our dogs have run in packs they never go out without a human alpha to go with them. From the head of house hold to the youngest child on the range, WE HUMANS are alpha! My father trained them that way and he taught US to train them that way. I've no doubt should one of our dogs attack or otherwise become fa problem with our neighbors my father would have shot them. I myself like the idea of finding them another home. On a side note: Joyce, you DO KNOW that you have a case to sue your neighbors for your son's injury. If you did so it might help to get your neighbors to be more responsible for their dogs. Jade, will you marry me! ;-)

jeff _1
6/10/2009 1:15:23 PM

IWe live on 3 acres, surrounded by others with 3 acres, and everyone lets their dogs free, including us. All the dogs like to play together, and they seem to end up at our house all the time as I am disabled and am always home. I treat them all well, and everyone knows that their dog will be at my house if they can't find it. I moved to the country to be able to let our dogs have room to roam. since we all get along, they have alot of room. I actually don't know what the laws are here, but with almost all our neighbors letting their dogs run free, we don't care.

6/10/2009 12:32:21 PM

Train your dog. It will do me no good to have a dog that is sitting in a kennel while the foxes, racoons, or neighbor's dogs eat my chickens. Farm dogs serve a purpose and to chain them or lock them up defeats that purpose.

6/10/2009 12:24:38 PM

I live in the country. The land around here is mostly owned by family. My chocolate lab has free roam but seldom goes far. It is a known fact that dogs seen chasing livestock may be shot and often if they are seen running deer the same fate is possible. Early on I taught my lab to leave my chickens alone. Often the chicks will climb on her to warm their feet. Now squirrels on the other hand are fair game. She on occaison will go visit my dad who lives a 1/4 mile away (in a strait line) but usually is on the porch should I have to leave her home. As for seeing game I still see deer and wild turkey (feral cats are harder on them) along with rabbits(in my yard on a daily basis) racoons and possums. And on occaision I see a coyote. Some dogs are more homebodies than others and some are just plain more aggressive. Do your research and train your dog but be aware that intact males will travel if a female is in heat.... Spay and/or neuter your anima.

6/10/2009 12:17:52 PM

ps. On neighboring dogs roaming into your yard and being destructive. Talking to the neighbor is best, but when that and other attempts fail, what do you do? Prior to having a large property protection dog who would run off visitors, we had a nuissance moose of a dog being a constant problem. My husband and I differed with his solution, but it worked. A BB shot to the dogs rear on two occassions stopped his visits and destruction. I am still not fond of this approach, but it did work. Note, I did say BB, not bullet or pellet. If I had a cork gun that would have worked, I would have opted for that instead.

6/10/2009 12:05:43 PM

This topic hits home hard with me. Being a dog owner, living on a farm and working with what I have is what I am faced with. I do not have the support or means to electronically fence in my property, so that option is out. I have tried my darndest to teach them what is allowed and what is not. If that doesn't work, being strong enough to rehome your beloved animal is probably the best option. In my case, my last 2 GSD's are no longer with us. The most recent loss is happily (and sadly) a rehoming situation bc he had taken to roaming the road and terrorizing drivers. Not good for him, not good for the drivers. He's now a city dog, with a fenced yard, with a loving family who's personalities jive well with my beloved dog. The previous GSD also took to the road and met his fate. Unable to break either of them of this nor to cage them, we must be responsible and need to make hard decisions sometimes.

6/10/2009 12:05:18 PM

I live rural but I do have some chickens, two cats and a dog. I sometime walk my dog around the neighborhood. I have been, and my dog, attacked several times by people who think they are above the law and do not need to contain their dogs. I do not like the mess other dogs leave around the street and on my lawn. Laws are made for everyone not just some, including those on farms. If they can prove that their dogs are the kind that will not roam, under any circumstances, then maybe but if not the must follow the laws like the rest of us. I would love to go out and not have to leash my dog either but the law is the law and that is my stand.

6/10/2009 11:53:37 AM

I live out on 5 acres, surrounded by other 5 acre parcels with neighbors. We ALL have dogs and a county leash law that we enforce in case animal control isn't patrolling on a regular basis (we report dogs running loose and where they live). I have 4 queenslands - working cattle dogs - and they are either contained in a large yard unless they are out with me when I'm feeding my horses or cleaning pens, or just for a game of chasing tennis balls. The few times in 10 years of being here that one of them has gotten out of yard, they stay on the front porch or near the house. I think having dogs puts the same responsibility on you as having kids (also an issue for me as I don't have any children! LOL) - teach them, train them, and BE RESPONSIBLE for them and their actions! People always ask how I managed to have them so well trained - dogs live in packs - horses live in herds, and someone needs to be the "leader" or they will choose one among themselves. Therefore my response to the training question is always simple: I'm the ALPHA BITCH in the house and yard, and I'm the LEAD MARE in the corral - and EVERYBODY knows it! I often with people would take the same approach of being the ADULT/PARENT with children who run rampant and are destructive on other people's property.

kenneth johnston
6/10/2009 11:41:23 AM

Responsible pet owners are often not so responsible when Fido gets into the neighbors livestock. Know your dog. Know that dogs are capable of doing property damage. Know that Fido has a better chance of surviving a trip to the neighbors chicken coop if you have been resposible in the past. If there is a chicken coop out the back door then there is probably a shotgun just inside the back door. If you expect your neighbor to play fair then the resposible pet owner has to be fair also. My dog would never do that is not a good answer. Dogs are like kids, they will get into trouble.

6/10/2009 11:10:48 AM

I think it depends on the breed, their training, their job and whether they can or will leave the property. We'll be living in 80 acres of very wild country. If my dogs aren't allowed to roam freely through the barnyard and pastures, then they can't do their job of protecting the property and livestock from predators and trespassers. However, I fully intend to acquire the right breeds of dogs for the various jobs and to train them properly. Not just boundary training, but voice training and expected behavior training. Most working dogs that aren't horribly inbred and are well trained will not bark constantly, attack without provocation, or attack visitors and domestic animals. If I am going to be away from the property for an extended period, my livestock and dogs will be brought in to central pastures and secured there... not left out in the far pastures to fend for themselves, wander away or get themselves into trouble. Smaller dogs tend to get predated, so I wouldn't leave them out unattended for any reason. If I had a terrier or two to help control rodents in the barn, then they'd be confined to the barn and barnyard. I think that proximity collars are great for younger dogs or new-to-you dogs to help them learn where they are supposed to stay on a normal basis; but it does allow them to cross the boundary if they determine that the situation is worth the shock... this is very important for a guardian or guard dog when you live out in the boonies in bear country. A solid fenced kennel could work against you in this situation... I've seen plenty of bears walk right past a dog kennel and head for the house, barn or garden because they know the dogs aren't a threat since they can't get out. So, get the right breed for the job, give them the proper training and reinforcement, and address problems if/when they occur.

6/10/2009 10:57:48 AM

Dogs trespassing on my property would be shot.

6/10/2009 10:38:08 AM

It is possible to have a farm dog that is allowed to free range and stay on your property. First of all, you have to have a breed that is suited to farm life and you must take time to train the dog properly. I have English Shepherds, a multipurpose farm dog that has been used on small family farms for over a hundred years. Once they are taught where their boundaries are, they respect that and stay on their property. As pups, I took my dogs on boundary walks every day, reinforcing the concept to stay on our property. Once they were mature, I gave them freedom a little at a time, watching to make sure they understood their limits. It also helps to only have one dog out at a time. My husband has a German Shepherd dog that has been taught not to bother stock (very important). He also has free range and stays close to the house. The English Shepherds will patrol the entire 20 acres because it is part of their job to watch over all the stock and make sure all is well. Both breeds are biddable. They have a strong desire to please and are loyal to the family, so they don't want to roam. This is key. You can't expect this from other breeds that don't have the same strong bond to their people.

hal newman
6/10/2009 10:32:45 AM

Have any of you ever heard of noise pollution. I live in a suburb, but there is a rat-dog that lives next door that has a proximity collar, however it barks constantly at everything. People can't even take a walk without vicious sounding barking coming from this dog. The owner's never walk the dog, barely give it any attention. It's bored. This example is the predominant dog-owner. They all think they own the world and if the dog is in their yard, then everything is ok. I used to take walks in my neighborhood and now I have to carry a cane or umbrella with me each time I do. I've called the pound and they do little. I dog-owners, NOT the dogs. They seldom clean up after their precious children and I've even seen a woman who thinks she's cleaning up by dumping her dog's mess in the gutter. They have killed all the Hillery hollies in my front yard by urinating on them.I'm off dogs and their owners. They do nothing but shit and piss all over everything!

6/10/2009 10:32:35 AM

in California, ranchers can legally shoot dogs that injure or molest cattle or other livestock. also, many areas have leash laws requiring that dogs stay on their own property. finally, owners or keepers of dogs are strictly liable for dog bites. no one free bite rule. sometimes landlords can be held liable for their tenants' dogs misbehavior. I have 4 dogs which I keep kennelled when my family or I am not present.

6/10/2009 9:21:47 AM

This is not very difficult. If your dog is friendly to people and stays within the farm they are farm. If the dog "protects" against innocent people and puts them in danger, it is bad.

6/10/2009 9:21:35 AM

This is not very difficult. If your dog is friendly to people and stays within the farm they are farm. If the dog "protects" against innocent people and puts them in danger, it is bad.

6/10/2009 9:21:25 AM

This is not very difficult. If your dog is friendly to people and stays within the farm they are farm. If the dog "protects" against innocent people and puts them in danger, it is bad.

6/10/2009 9:21:13 AM

This is not very difficult. If your dog is friendly to people and stays within the farm they are farm. If the dog "protects" against innocent people and puts them in danger, it is bad.

lynne smith
6/10/2009 8:33:20 AM

We live on 102 acres. All the acreages around us are large. I keep my 3 border collies in a kennel when I am not out with them. My reason for this is I want to keep my dogs safe. If I am away for the day I want my dogs to be there when I return. On occasion they have gotten out of their kennel, but they stick close to home, they know their boundaries. They do not leave the property unless they are with me.

6/5/2009 8:23:31 AM

The debate re. neighbor dogs roaming free has hit home with us several times. We live next to the people we purchased our property from that have 5 guard dogs that guard a flock of 25 sheep. They do roam free on their property, 80 acres. The problem has always been the dogs are agressive. When staying at their house the male killed our house cat. All 5 dogs attacked and pinned our lab to the ground. The other day we drove up to visit and a female bit my son in the leg requiring medical care. The owner's comments were, that is their job, they're just being dogs, it is in their nature, they don't like cars, etc. These people think more about their dogs than the safety of visitors. Yes it is their property but these dogs are agressive and attack. Needless to say, we do not visit unless calling ahead, being sure the animals are fenced. It is only a matter of time before someone is seriously mauled. When these dogs come onto our property, I have no qualms about using my son's pellet gun to 'pop' them. Another neighbor will go outside in the dead of night and shoot off his gun when they constantly bark. They have been sued because these dogs bark all night. It is an unfortunate situation and if I knew about this we probably would not have moved here.

5/30/2009 10:42:05 PM

We are blessed by 4 chihuahuas...a cat, lots of chickens and two pigs...the neighbors seem to tolerate the dogs and are curious about the pigs.....we have only 9 acres in the panhandle of Florida.....they are only a danger to themselves and not to any neighbors......of course, I was unhappy with a neighborhood dog who bloodied one of the pigs through the fence.....but since i told them what he had done,no to your neighbors!!!!!!!!!!!!! Mavis

dominic ebacher
5/30/2009 12:24:23 AM

Well, obviously the other comments in this section highlight great examples of when it is okay to let dogs roam free. At our place, the exact opposite is true - there are 5-10 dogs that roam around here, and most of them poop in our yard in a regular basis. We have 3 acres, but we keep our dogs fenced and kenneled - so its annoying when we have to pick up poop from other people's choices. There is a roaming dog up the road from us that barks whenever we drive by, chases our car for 1/4 mile and generally causes a very traumatic situation for us every time we leave or return to our house: that's not right. In addition, the dogs keep wildlife away. We live in the middle of a heavily forested area, and I have yet to see a deer on our property - or a rabbit, or a racoon: the dogs keep them away. The only wildlife I have seen is bird, which obviously aren't deterred by dogs. I can't count how many times I cursed the problem other people cause me and my family by keeping their dogs the way they do and letting them roam free. I'm glad there's a discussion here and I'd like to urge people to consider whether or not their animals are impacting their neighbors: and make sure they aren't. A lot of people like us are too polite to say or do anything (well, i'm not polite - but my partner is in charge of our family's tact) and even if asked, they might not really tell you the whole truth about the grief your animals are causing them. So: I got 2 of the loudest roosters I could find. If you can't beat 'em at their game - find a new game. I probably hate their barking, wild-life chasing dogs just about as much as they hate hearing my rooster crowing at the top of his lungs at 5:00 in the morning. Its farm therapy. Dominic Ebacher

5/29/2009 8:41:19 AM

I think the only thing it depends on is whether or not your free roaming farm dog stays on YOUR farm! The problem with free roaming dogs is not what they do at home but what they do next door and down the street and across town. If you let your dog roam free you have to be willing to accept that he might not come home, or that you may be fostering bad relations with your neighbors or even opening yourself up to some liability from the damage he may be causing when he's out roaming around. If your dog won't stay on your property, you need to contain him. Sad but true!

david mentz
5/28/2009 10:06:24 PM

I live on a small farm with chickens, dairy cows, pigs & horses AND 5 dogs, all Yellow Labrador Retrievers. They roam free except for one limitation: They are all wearing proximity collars that provide a beeping sound when the dog approaches the outer limit of its permitted range. If they go over then they get a zap of electricity. Believe me, while they are tough 75-90 lb dogs, they DO NOT go anywhere near the boundary. That said, position your proximity hub appropriately. My labs are trained bird dogs; they would always be after the chickens if they could. Also, all the other animals enjoy the dogs protection and company, except the horses. The dogs seem perfectly happy to walkup unannounced behind a horse, never a good idea! I have the proximity range set to exclude the chickens and the horses and I have no problems. Lastly, I live in Wisconsin where we always have an ample supply of skunks, raccoons, porcupines, and in recent years a healthy black bear population. I can bad odors & a few quills in the nose, but these critters can do real damage. That's my biggest fear. Know your breed, know your dog and setup your farm to keep them out of danger. Not only am I and the other resident animals rewarded with companionship but rock solid protection as well. Best wishes!

dorothy lee
5/28/2009 9:18:01 PM

I think that as long as they are on their owner's property, and STAY there, they can roam free. But they should be kept from trespassing on neighboring property. How that is done, by fencing, kenneling or training, is up to the owner. I am a Homesteading wannabe.. and currently live in a condo. My two dogs and I are in training now, and my trainer actually feels that dogs are better off kenneled when the owner is away .. it's safer for the dog (they can't get into things that can a) hurt them (leftover chicken bones in the garbage) and b) that will cost money to repair (like chewing the corner off a sofa.)

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