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resources for LGD handling (food, shelter, boundaries, training, etc.)--W.W. Sepp Holzer Do?

 
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There's a lot of information out there, but I don't know how much is true.  And I find a lot of times it is based on thinking and perspectives that aren't aligned with mine, and end up costing a lot of money and then lead to problmes that cost more money.

That's why I love Fukuoka's philosophy so much--"don't do it"--and Sepp Holzer's.  

But neither of them discusses LGD's (livestock guardian dogs), and as far as I know Holzer just doesn't need any raccoon-defenders, doesn't have coyotes, etc.  Wolves not a problem? I don't know.  He was interested in them when he met a Great Pyr but had been fine without them.  Is it just the Sepp Holzer magic? is it that moving the chicken's shelter frequently enough throws predators off the scent? what about hawks, weasels, etc.?  I read that leaving big weeds for chickens to hide under works--but ducks, well. . .they like to be Fukuoka-like and not just do something, sit there.  I'm gonna have ducks and 2 geese.  I am skeptical of the geese's ability to defend against hawks.

And we have a LGD puppy coming on Wednesday (more her idea than mine, but I do really want to go the LGD route over all in the long term, and you gotta start before you need them, while they grow up).

There's meat, and then there's the whole fencing thing.  They say get an electric fence and let them get one shock from it so they learn (seems cruel--I can see doing that to a raccoon but to someone you want to be your best friend for life??). And then the other source says never use any negative training (shock, punishment).  

It's a gampr, supposed to be even more intelligent than Great Pyr or karakachan.  Large enough to take on some wolves.  (Again, this wasn't specifically my idea, but it's the situation now).

I also feel totally unready to be a dog father or a duck dad.  ("Make him an offer he can't refuse.").  

What is a permaculture approach to this?

Are there junkpoles for junkpole fencing in the east somewhere that I dont' know about? I've never seen them, and I don't know what term to serach for them by.

For now I do have some pig fencing, and a leash, so the puppy isn't in immediate danger of hightailing it to the big city and going down a spiral of booze and cocaine. What reading do you suggest or what outside-the-old-box appraoches do you find work for you?

What is a permaculture approach to this?  Thanks much.
 
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I am not sure if this was related to permaculture though to me it would.

Send the puppy to school for Obedience Training unless you feel qualified to do that.

You will still need to potty train your puppy and teach the puppy manners.

Obedience training is taking it a step further by teaching you how to handle your dog while teaching the dog basic commands, how to behave, and how to get skills to be around other people and animals.

There may be special training, especially for LGD though I am not aware of these.  

May be our LGD owner will know.
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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Found a great answer--on Walter Jeffries' site, sugar mountain farm:

https://sugarmtnfarm.com/2007/08/02/lgd-expectations/

He also goes into myths about LGDs, breeds, etc.  I think we might pick up a stray dog and add it to our crew for free, after reading this I think we might have been able to save a ton of money.

The trick about running a cable over the land and a long leash off that is brilliant!  And walking the perimeter with the dog daily is what I instinctively was thinking to do anyway.  Thanks walter!
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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Anne Miller wrote:I am not sure if this was related to permaculture though to me it would.

Send the puppy to school for Obedience Training unless you feel qualified to do that.

You will still need to potty train your puppy and teach the puppy manners.

Obedience training is taking it a step further by teaching you how to handle your dog while teaching the dog basic commands, how to behave, and how to get skills to be around other people and animals.

There may be special training, especially for LGD though I am not aware of these.  

May be our LGD owner will know.



Thanks Anne.  I'm trying to cut costs and I don't think I trust a school to do what I need, plus separating the dog from our land feels unnatural and off to me.  I am willing if it needs to be, but I would like to avoid it.  
 
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I have had a great pyr-akbash for 7yrs now, and he’s the best. They do need confinement from roads, as they roam to their boundaries and seem to assume cars will avoid them. It would take quite a shock to stop a long furred lgd like our Willie, but I’d prefer that over him in a road trying to dorect traffic. For any dog I would be concerned about a leash on a cable getting tangled and causing strangulation or limb injury, and even more for high pain tolerance LGDs. I saw one nearly kill a friend’s dog, but that was a pug.

We have a 6ft woven wire fence around 1acre of our zone 1-2, and that keeps him in, while he keeps predators off birds and deer off our trees.
 
Anne Miller
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Joshua said, "plus separating the dog from our land feels unnatural and off to me.



??

How would you and your dog being away from home for an hour be "separating the dog from our land"?

Dogs sometimes do have to leave the land to go to the vet, etc.

Maybe your idea of Obedience training and the one we did are two separate things.
 
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I'd like to add that if you are new(ish?) to keeping dogs, and especially with a new puppy, eliminate their options to make bad decisions and develop bad behaviors.  

If you're house training the dog and it can be crated (or i guess kept in a barn stall if it's a LGD), take it out every hour or so and praise the heck out of it, and repeat the name of the thing you're praising when it does what you want (in this case, good potty, yes, good potty!!! in a very excited voice).  

When we got our 8 month old mutt, she had displayed exactly zero inclination to do anything destructive.  We both work from home, so keeping an eye on her basically all of the time is a pretty easy thing for us, but occasionally we both need to be gone, and we crated her, rather than let her learn that when we are gone, she can take advantage of that and go counter surfing or start eating our $3000 ergonomic leather chair.  It wasn't for roughly 6 more months (of zero destruction) before we started giving her limited access to the house for slowly extended periods of time.  

Your primary goal is setting your dog up for success, whatever that may mean for you.  That means no unsupervised access to livestock until the dog is 100% solid and hasn't displayed any behavior to suggest it may want to try playing with or predating your other animals.  Goldshaw Farm on youtube recently brought a new LGD to their farm and has done a number of youtube videos about the training process of this new puppy,  I highly recommend finding as much content as you can in regards to training a LGD.
 
Laurel Jones
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I have one other piece of advice that has helped me significantly, and that's having a marker word.  It works similar to clicker training, where if you do clicker training, the dog learns that the sound of the click is a positive thing.  I tried briefly to use a clicker with my pooch but keeping the clicker on hand and ready to click at a moment's notice at all times was just too much effort.  I switched to using the marker word of "yes."  So now when I request a behavior (or she presents one without request) and I want to mark that behavior positively, I give her a "Yes!" We are currently working on her learning (and effectively retaining) the names of directions of spins - I'm using the herding terms by and away, as my husband already heavily polluted left and right with her, so when I ask for a By and she spins Away, she gets nothing from me, I just wait for her to present the correct direction, then she gets a "Yes!  Good Girl!"  This allows positive reinforcement without always needing to reward with food or a toy.
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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Just a gut feeling.  I know dogs like car rides, but it just feels off to e to have the dog off farm for obedience training.  I'm gonna try it the way Walter writes about and others, see how we do.  They say the gampr is really smart, so I want to give him a chance with home schooling first.
(There are some other dogs on our block that he might be able to play with sometimes if he wants dog socializing along with the other animals.

24 hours to dog!

Anne Miller wrote:

Joshua said, "plus separating the dog from our land feels unnatural and off to me.



??

How would you and your dog being away from home for an hour be "separating the dog from our land"?

Dogs sometimes do have to leave the land to go to the vet, etc.

Maybe your idea of Obedience training and the one we did are two separate things.

 
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Joshua Myrvaagnes wrote:
There are some other dogs on our block that he might be able to play with sometimes if he wants dog socializing along with the other animals.



I think this is a bad idea for a couple reasons.  If your dog learns that his "friends" are next door, where do you think he is going to want to go?  Besides that, LGD's instinctively treat things that live on "their" property as their family.  They don't need to socialize with the neighbors dogs.  They have a family and that family includes everyone and every animal in your household.  Everything else is generally the "bad guy", and that is the way I think it should be.  If a strange dog comes onto my property, my LGD's job is to protect us and our animals from that dog, just as it would a coyote, wolf, bear, and two-legged intruder.  LGD's are bred to be very territorial over their property.  It's what they have been bred for for thousands of years, and they are good at it.  They are true working dogs, and if you aren't sure that is what you want or need, you may consider a different type of dog.  
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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I know he's a working dog, but I want him to have good quality of life too.  He needs to know the dogs on the block and know they are friends, not foe.  (These other dogs are show dogs, actually, so if my dog did attack them it would be especially unfortunate, and only justified if they somehow went after our ducks, which most likely wouldn't happen as they are kept indoors or inside a fence.). I wish I could have a pack of a few LGD's together for him, especially an elder dog to train him, but it's going to be a while before we can afford that, plus get the hang of care and getting feeding costs lowered.  

I think in an ideal world, we'd pool together as a neighborhood to get a pair of LGD's at least, and pitch in for costs as a community, and the dogs could patrol as large a perimeter as they're wired to do, and everyone could reap the benefits.

Walter's website really has answered my questions, except for food on the regular (it sounds like they are mostly feeding themselves coyote and other catch).  I'd like to train/invite him to hunt chipmunks.  There are a lot of those.  I might also feed him the cat if she won't shut up.
 
Trace Oswald
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Joshua Myrvaagnes wrote:I know he's a working dog, but I want him to have good quality of life too.  He needs to know the dogs on the block and know they are friends, not foe.  (These other dogs are show dogs, actually, so if my dog did attack them it would be especially unfortunate, and only justified if they somehow went after our ducks, which most likely wouldn't happen as they are kept indoors or inside a fence.). I wish I could have a pack of a few LGD's together for him, especially an elder dog to train him, but it's going to be a while before we can afford that, plus get the hang of care and getting feeding costs lowered.  

I think in an ideal world, we'd pool together as a neighborhood to get a pair of LGD's at least, and pitch in for costs as a community, and the dogs could patrol as large a perimeter as they're wired to do, and everyone could reap the benefits.

Walter's website really has answered my questions, except for food on the regular (it sounds like they are mostly feeding themselves coyote and other catch).  I'd like to train/invite him to hunt chipmunks.  There are a lot of those.  I might also feed him the cat if she won't shut up.



I understand wanting your dog to have a good quality of life. Mine certainly do. They are part of our family, and are treated as such. Being a working dog is what the breed is meant to do. That doesn't mean they can't be part of the family as well. You mention Walter's views on this. Mine agree with his for the most part.

Let me ask you this. If you have ducks that you aren't afraid will become prey because they are fenced or inside, and you want a dog that likes all the dogs in the neighborhood, as well as the neighbors I assume, why do you want a LGD? They are bred specifically to mistrust anyone or anything that isn't their family, and to be territorial. That sounds like the opposite of what you want. LGD's generally dislike dogs they don't live with. They don't like strangers, especially on their property.  Off property they usually range between dislike and aloof with people.  They also aren't great natural hunters. Most LGD have low prey drive, and high defensive drive, specifically because you want them to protect your animals. High prey drive dogs are great hunters, and bad LGDs. If you want a dog that will hunt chipmunks, there are lots of dogs that will do it better than a LGD. Terrier breeds are bred for that very type of thing. That isn't too say you can't teach a LGD to hunt. They are very smart and can learn most anything. It's just far simpler to train a dog to do what it has been bred to do.

I know this sounds like I am trying to talk you out of a LGD, but that isn't completely true. I just think you should know what you are getting yourself into. A LGD roaming loose in a neighborhood is a liability. Having a community owned pack of them could well be a nightmare. Please consider talking to a couple reputable breeders of LGD to get their opinion. Don't base your entire viewpoint on one article. As I said, I read Walter's article and I agree with a lot of it. It also has some things in it that just aren't true, like when he says German Shepherds are LGDs. They aren't. My advice, for what it is worth, talk to a breeder of kangals, gampr, Anatolians, Central Asian shepherds, and tell them exactly what you're looking for in a dog and get their opinion.
 
Ben Zumeta
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I agree with Trace about LGDs being bred to not have a prey drive, but disagree about them inherently disliking all other dogs or people. I have read this as well, but have see it disproven as being universal.

Part of being a good guard of anything, including being a good LGD, is discernment of visitors’ intentions. Predators and non-predators act very differently if you watch their gait, posture, gaze etc, and an LGD like a Great Pyrenees bred over many thousands of years by Basques for protecting sheep and their people, can read these better than people can. I would bet they can even smell something on people or canines of concern. If looking for Pyrenees, I would be wary of those in the US which were overbred in the last century just to be enormous, making them less healthy and effective, and make sure they come from working parents of diverse lineage. The latter is how the landrace was developed over 10,000+ years by Basques in the Pyrenees. My understanding is that Basques welcomed having some diversity of temperament within a litter, with some being purely livestock protectors, and some being excellent babysitters/nannies for children wandering through the countryside.. This may be why Pyrenees have the lowest bite rate among large dogs according to my research.

Wilson, our Pyr-Akbash, was raised by his parents to 12-weeks alongside dozens of rescue mutts (they were a regional fostering facility) and diverse livestock. This, along with excellent and relatively diverse genetics, is a large part of why I think he is such a good dog, and LGD. Much more than any training by me. He just seems to naturally care about what we care about, and to understand what may be a threat (though the CA Golden Bear statues are still probably less dangerous to us than he seems to think).

Wilson has treed multiple bears and prevented any bird deaths within reason (we have lost some true free rangers perching in trees outside his reach or nesting outside his fence). He has also undoubtedly deterred human bad-actors from choosing our place to prey upon, as multiple neighbors were burglarized. Still, he has only shown aggression to people I strongly suspect to be human paraquat (particularly meth-head thieves scoping the neighborhood, and a dude we knew who abused his girlfriend and kids, but Willie likely sensed I wanted to rip that guy’s throat out myself). While he has a ferocious bark and look when needed, he will subdue an aggressor without harming it when feasible, and be friendly to virtually everything and everyone that we are welcoming to. He will be protective of the weakest person or animal in any group, and will not allow any bullying or aggression by people or dogs towards each other, his people, his cat, or his birds. He maintains guard over his cat any time new dogs are at the house.

Wilson’s standard method of intervention is to put the aggressor on its back and bark thunder into their skull, and has done this to 125lb dogs that he is friendly with until they show aggression. In one case it was a swiss shepherd Max, who he’d known since puppyhood, that snapped toward me on a cross country ski trip when I tried to pass him (Max was always the fun police). Willie went from rear guard to on top of Max in a flash, but didnt hurt him. He’s done similarly many times in breaking up other dogs’ fights at parties at our place. I do think Wilson is the best dog ever, but I would bet other similarly well bred and raised LGDs would be similar.

Wilson is also available to stud if your have a suitable female and would like to take a trip to the Redwood coast. We have a good place for them to do their thing while you hike, surf, kayak or just hang out at watch them with some nice mountains in the background. We’d ask for pick of the litter, and for the female’s owner to show they can help find good, safe and appropriate homes. Wilson is a bit of a local celebrity, so we also have a bit of a waiting list for his potential pups here too.
 
Trace Oswald
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Ben Zumeta wrote:I agree with Trace about LGDs being bred to not have a prey drive, but disagree about them inherently disliking all other dogs or people. I have read this as well, but have see it disproven as being universal.



I can understand that your experience with your dog has been different than mine.  No matter what dogs are bred for, they still have very distinct personalities.  That said, I'm just giving my experience from my personal dogs, and the LGD of people I know.  I have a very close relationship with the breeder of my LGD.  She has 8 of them.  Some of them are fairly approachable if she is with you.  The father of my dog is pretty social if the owner is with you.  If not, you would be bitten immediately.  Others she has, like the mother of my newest LGD, will not tolerate strangers even in her presence.  My dog is more like her father and she will allow people on the property if I am with her.  She will not tolerate strange animals of any species.

I have also seen pretty big differences between breeds with the LGD group.  Central Asian Shepherds and Kangals that I have been exposed to tend to be much more territorial and aggressive than some other breeds like Pyrs and Maremma.

All that said, I just want people to know what they are getting into with any breed of dog before they get one.  The rescues are full of dogs that did nothing wrong, and only did what they were bred to do.  It sounds to me like the OP is looking for a dog with pretty much exactly the opposite traits of a LGD, so I think it is prudent to sit and have a frank and open discussion about the breeder of any puppy he may consider.
 
Ben Zumeta
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I concur on that Trace, it is tragic when dogs are put in untenable and unsafe situations. I do think a lot more learning happens than we likely imagine with their parents, siblings and the environment they are born into. I also made sure to expose Wilson to as many people, dogs, and situations as possible while he was still little and easier to control physically. It may just be his nature, but I think most dogs learn a lot from other dogs. Wilson’s father (appropriately named Zeus) was the largest non Kangal dog Ive ever seen but seemed very confident that he had the situation under control without aggression. His mother was the prettiest dog Ive ever seen and constantly correcting his behavior. They had to be pulled off black bear the week before. Both were Pyrenees-Akbash F1 crosses, but from thousands of miles apart. I’d say this is great cross, but they need space, mammals to protect, and a good fence.
 
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I got a year and a half old akbash x maremma last year, a rescue. He's amazing - not a pet, but a partner. I see my job as teaching him what normal conditions are. Anything outside of that, he knows how to deal with.  Now that he's been here almost a year, he doesn't look to me as much as he used to, but when he first got here, he was very observant of my reactions to situations and used them as his cue.

For the first week and a half we had him, I kept him on a leash all the time, taking him for three to five short walks a day to teach him the perimeter of the area I wanted him to stay within. It worked brilliantly. He only leaves it if he's chasing a coyote.

My dog loves other dogs, but, again, takes his cues from me. In february, we got another rescue dog, a lab cross. She was only 8 months old and completely untrained. Whenever I'd feed them she'd try to barge into the shed where the dogfood was and bury her head in the bin as soon as I opened it. She was completely oblivious to verbal cues, since the person she was with before us just yelled at her all the time. I think she just thought that's how humans sound. So I'd do things like growl, or flick her nose to get her to back off. Once my lgd saw me doing this, he started disciplining her at meal times. Was very interesting to watch.

He knows on his own to watch the skies, and which birds to bother with. Eagles, crows, ravens all get chased. Songbirds and turkey vultures get ignored. He sleeps where he has a good vantage point, so he can keep an eye on things. When I'm working outside, he lies between me and the treeline to protect me. He'll chase a deer, but only until it's out of sight, and barks. He knows they're an annoyance, not a threat.  If he sees a coyote, he takes off silently at it, makes sure it's definitely gone, then patrols that area more vigilantly for a couple days. He'll come inside the house for fifteen or twenty minutes, but then wants to go back outside and work. He's got a pretty luxurious shed to sleep in, but he'll only go in it once in a while in the coldest winter nights.

He's my first lgd and I can't imagine having any other kind of dog now. The lab was in a bad situation, so we took her, but she's only reinforced how amazing our lgd is compared to her.

I don't really have any resources to suggest. Just wanted to rave about my dog 😁
 
She's brilliant. She can see what can be and is not limited to what is. And she knows this tiny ad:
full time farm crew job w/ housing
https://permies.com/t/178213/jobs-offered/experiences/full-time-farm-crew-member
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