Von Dykstra wrote:Rescues can be great places and can also be nut cases. And I am not talking about the dogs. They seem to have the instincts built in.
I have not had good luck with rescue dogs. The dogs that failed me, failed because although they had good built in instincts alright.... they did not have the proper socialization as pups (reared in town) to understand who was to be guarded and who was to be killed. The result was one rescue that would kill a sheep from the neighboring pasture as it crept through the fence to join the sheep on the LGD's side of the fence. Or another dog that thought 'we' needed to be protected from the wooly monsters. and yet another dog could not be made to stay where she was needed. When I realized these rescue dogs were costing me more in damage or hassel than what a properly socialized pup cost me, I gave up on the idea of accepting rescued dogs.
Having said that, I HAVE heard of rescue dogs that worked for people. My speculation is that these may have been by nature more mellow dogs with a lower guarding instinct to begin with. I am not aware of anyone who keeps sheep in a remote location that was able to get a town raised rescue to stay with the sheep. So I also suspect that flock owners who's sheep are adjacent to the farm yard will be more succesful than those who's sheep move far from the homestead.
Ray Coppinger once said something that stuck with me. He was speaking about the window of socialization, and how important it is that a dog be socialized with its charges between 4 weeks and 4 months of age. He compared this window to children learning a foriegn language. evidently if a person learns a foreign language before puberty, they will speak it well without an accent. But if they learn the new language after puberty, they will be able to speak, but always with a noticeable accent. Introducing dogs to sheep after 4 months is comperable to a human learning a language after puberty...they might be able to do their job, but will always do it with an accent.
Having good instincts is only part of what makes a dog succeed...early puppyhood socialization is very important too.