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training LGD

 
Peter Smith
Posts: 83
Location: NEPA
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How do you train an LGD? Is it just breed instinct and a little human guidance?
I recently lost 17 2month old chickens to I believe a fisher. We also have fox, coyote, bear, mink, etc. My wife thinks we could never train an LGD, I think we can. I need some support here
We will be getting more livestock in spring, but we have 6 ducks, and 18 chickens. I have 26 acres and was thinking great pyr. Would a rescue dog be effective? And does anybody have any sources.
 
Ray Star
Posts: 48
Location: twin tiers of WNY zone 5A
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Not sure where in PA you are, but I bought my Pyr. for $100. from a PA farmer about 2 hrs southeast of Olean, NY. He was advertising pups for 150. Mara was 7mnths old. Hence the cheaper cost. That was almost exactly a yr ago (new yrs day). Around the first of Dec. I spotted another ad for $100 pyr pups from a farmer near Erie PA. I saw it late, and they were all gone. The man I talked with said he might have more born in the spring. Both farmers said their dogs were pure bred, but did not come with papers. The first farmer explain his wife bought their breeding pr for 400. each. they could have had papers if she wanted to pay double that. Good enough explanation for me.

Point being, they seem to be the LGD of choice in the twin tiers area. And trhey are not to expensive, if all you want is a LGD. These tend to be working class, not show class. there is a visible difference.

AS to how they are around animals. The barn where Mara was kept contained many different breed of dairy cows, some calves, untold chickens and barn cats, as well as 2 other pyrs. The farmer mentioned owning goats,pigs and other animals. He pointed these things out so I would know she was use to farm animals and shouldn't be a threat to them. That said, I didn't get any farm animals till the end of june, when I bought 4 goats. She guarded them well, up on our land.(I found some one to board them for the winter). 2 times when we showed up to bring food and water (every 2nd or 3rd day), we found she had broke her runner and was running free. Both times she was laying in her "spot" (halfway between her doghouse and the goat pen). The last time it had snowed, so I could see how far she roamed. Not far. She had croossed the logging rd to our nieghbors prop. but probably to chase off a 4 wheeler. She HATES 4 wheelers. We did have electric fence and some livestock fencing between her and them. She showed unusual interest in the one females privates, and tried to mount my young billy, at the time we loaded them for transport to their winter place. She road with us in the cab, but man does a wet dog stink. Her off interest probably was my doing, by waiting to reintruduce her to farm existince again.

2nd point being, I think if you were to get a pup, and show s/he what you expected in regaurds to behavior around your animals, you should be ok. A rescue might be doable, but if it doesn't work out, and you have to return it, isn't that an immediate death sentence? You might be able to contact a rescue who was able to let you "try" the fit. Or offer to foster, and then adopt if things work out.

As a warning, I did read pyrs are prone to wandering far, and sometimes not returning. It's on a thread in this D&C forum. The one about LGD for multiple spieces. Hope this helps, and good luck.
 
April Boughton
Posts: 6
Location: Southeast Missouri
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I have raised and "trained" lots of Pyrenees pups. The cool thing is that the guarding they do is just their nature. Even without a herd or flock to guard, they like to get up and head out to the pasture in the mornings, lay around there for a while and make sure everything is going according to plan. Then they like to get up and move over to a different area and lay around there for a bit keeping an eye on things. They like to bark warnings at anything out of place. They do all this naturally. It only takes a very little while for them to figure out what the standard operating procedure is. You will be responding to things that happen, they will watch and become concerned about whatever you are concerned about. Your energy when all is well will go a long way toward showing them what "all is well" means. Having said that, puppies are different from older dogs in that they like to play a little harder. The first year of the dog's life you'll need to spend a little bit of time telling them what they can and can't do. I've lost a few chickens to overly playful pups. As long as you catch them doing it and tell them forcefully that it isn't allowed, it probably won't happen more than once.

We live in the middle of some Ozark woods with lots of deer, racoons and squirrels. I haven't even seen a squirrel on my property in years. The dogs keep them warned off and I get to keep all the hickory nuts! They've never killed a squirrel, they just tell them forcefully that this isn't the place for them. They don't attack the deer or wild turkeys, but they certainly don't let them very close to the goat herd or gardens.

I love my gentle giant guard dogs!
 
Peter Smith
Posts: 83
Location: NEPA
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Thanks for all the thoughts, really appreciate it. This is why Permies is awesome! I'm gonna check around on craigslist for an inexpensive one as function is more important than style. Then I just have to convince the wife
 
Peter Smith
Posts: 83
Location: NEPA
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so would you say that i need to have at least 4' fence where ever the dog will be? or if i have enough going on to keep it busy will it stay close by?
 
John Polk
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As far as LGDs are concerned, I consider them working dogs, not pets (or fancy show dogs).
To be true working dogs, they should come from a line of working dogs.
If this is the case, the mother will begin training it for its job while it is still a puppy.
She will teach it some of the basics, such as not chasing hens or other livestock.
The young pup will have an understanding of its role on the farm...not just a place to run and play.

A young dog who has not had this early training may have already learned some bad habits.
For this reason, I don't feel that a rescue dog would be a good choice.

Craig's List, in rural areas might be a good place to look.
Also, you may ask your county's Extension Agent if he knows anybody who raises them.
Most county agents have a good feel for what is going on in their district.
He should know if they are being raised as work dogs, or just some hobbyist's puppy mill.


 
Peter Smith
Posts: 83
Location: NEPA
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Thanks John, my wife is the one pushing fora rrescue, but I have been resisting for that very reason. I just found some near by on craigslist on a farm 7 weeks old for $250. That's not quite in the budget, but maybe they will come down a bit.
 
John Polk
master steward
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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Rescues are a great place to get pets, "family dogs".
Working dogs are an entirely different matter.

It's kind of like going to skid-row and hiring 3 winos to come reroof your house.
You may not know it will end up until it is too late.

 
Ray Star
Posts: 48
Location: twin tiers of WNY zone 5A
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250 isn't bad for a pure breed working class pyr. See if they have older ones at disount. Took awhile for ours to adopt us, but now she loves me and the boys and LOVESmy mate. Like hi mom , daddy COME HERE!!! or quiet when I walk up and non stop barking when he comes round. sucks when you are trying to hunt. lol
 
Jodie Starr
Posts: 17
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Peter, I spent most of last year training an LGD. You can find this in a little e-book I wrote and published on Amazon Kindle Bookstore called "The Saga of Valentina".

I needed an LGD for our 6 acres because I simply couldn't get out and about as I use to. I chose a Bulgarian Karakachan because they were an endangered breed, were noted for their serious attitude in guarding and were versatile in what they guarded. (We have large Nubian dairy goats and an assortment of fowl...chickens, guineas and geese.)

What you've asked has often been asked in the dog forums. I don't think it would be appropriate to give an url to those forums; however, here is a little excerpt that might be helpful to you. (The basic information needed is that an LGD is not like regular guard dogs. The LGD "thinks" for itself; and the owner MUST take...and keep...an alpha role with these dogs.)

Instead of treating them like their "controller". You need to treat them like a valued "partner" (when the partnership is split 60:40 with your getting the 60%). In other words you need to value their ability to think for themselves, even nurture it. I've learned my Karakachan (who is going thru her adolescents at this time) enjoys knowing what she can and cannot do; then does it her own way. This really needs to be respected, even appreciated.

Now as for the specifics in training such a dog, I can only share what has worked for me. I would recommend getting them about a month "after" they've been weaned, PROVIDED THAT THEY HAVE BEEN WITH THEIR 'WORKING' PARENTS THAT EXTRA MONTH. If you cannot afford to get one that has had some training from its parents and choose to get one just weaned, it will still have all its inherited guardian propensities for its breed; however, YOU will be the one doing their initial training. You will need to let them explore their new home while knowing they are loved and SAFE. Catch them doing something (no matter how small) you find helpful around your place and Stress those positives with verbal praise and treats you know are healthy and enjoyed...at first. Then stress your appreciation with the same verbal praise while substituting treat with pets/hugs. (What you want to do is let your dog know, whenever it does something helpful to your homestead, that is what it is suppose to do and it is appreciated for doing it.)

Another poster made the comment, "Being the Alpha in your dogs relationship means ensuring what THEY think is important is being taken care of. And that's not always what we people think is important." I really like this, though it is very difficult to teach this to "humans".

Getting an LGD needs to be seriously considered; however, if you need a "partner" to protect your stock when you're not around, a quality LGD (one or more) cannot be beat!

 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3646
Location: Vermont, off grid for 22 years!
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John Polk wrote:Rescues are a great place to get pets, "family dogs".
Working dogs are an entirely different matter.


I've had great success with 3 LGD rescues and 1 failure with an LGD purchased as a pup!
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3646
Location: Vermont, off grid for 22 years!
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Also, you really need 2 dogs.

Do a search on permies, lots of threads cover this.
 
Peter Smith
Posts: 83
Location: NEPA
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Well, we found what seems to be the perfect dog. Griffin was a rescue 2years ago, but we found him on a small farm that was moving away from livestock and was looking for a new home for him. He is a 3 year old Akbash. We don't have good fencing yet, but we take him on perimeter walks 2 times a day, and out to check on the chickens 3 times a day. He seems very calm in with the chickens, and we hope to have fencing and a cow and calf this month. He is big and calm and awesome!!! We love him. Thanks for all the posts and tips. Any other ideas are appreciated.
IMG_20140104_170148.jpg
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first time on the farm
 
Jodie Starr
Posts: 17
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Congratulations Peter. Those Akbash sound like great dogs for a farm.
 
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