It’s tough to imagine life out here without a dog or three around the place, but even in the country you’ll want to take care that your canine companions, whether working partners or pure pets, can live a relatively safe and happy life. The farm seems like an ideal location for dogs to live the good life, and thats mostly true. But there are still plenty of pitfalls and potential dangers that require diligence on your part, so that your partners and pets can experience the best that setting has to offer.
Farm dogs love to chase and chasing machinery with huge bar-lugged tires can convert your canine compadres to a furry pancake in a heartbeat. If they can’t be successfully trained to avoid chasing, then it might be best to keep them in a fenced yard when you are otherwise occupied.
Terriers love to hunt rodents and we all know that farms — especially grain and livestock farms — tend to attract them. Take care that your beloved Cairn doesn’t get poisoned by the same bait you use to control the rats. And no matter how well trained, most farm dogs will follow a rabbit right into the path of an oncoming vehicle’s tire.
I’ve had herding dogs, terriers and lovable mutts around my place and I simply cannot imagine life with out them. I’ve been privy to the kind of dog joy that comes from games of chase alternating with cooling dips in the pond. I’ve also felt the deep pain from losing a friend or working partner because I didn’t do all that I might have done.
Spend a little time training yourself to anticipate and prevent potential dog disasters — your entire family will be glad you did.
Watch the full episode! Hank shares hints like these in each episode of Tough Grit. Visit Tough Grit online to view this episode and many more. The how to keep farm dogs safe tips above appeared in Episode 22, “Red Rover, Red Rover.”
Hank Will raises hair sheep, heritage cattle and many varieties of open-pollinated corn with his wife, Karen, on their rural Osage County, Kansas farm. His home life is a perfect complement to his professional life as editor in chief at GRIT and Capper's Farmer magazines. Connect with him on Google+.