We have a 13 month old Great Pyrenees. My wife took him to puppy school to make sure she and the munchkins could control him. He responded very well and has impressed everybody with his training. One thing we are having problems with is boundaries. We were told by the breeder to walk the property line with him regularly. When he is off his leash, he takes off over the hill and doesn't remember the boundaries we show him. We have 80 acres and don't want to keep him chained or fenced, but I know he goes way beyond the property line when we're away. Any suggestions?
All LGDs will roam in an attempt to expand their territory. It's how they lived and worked for centuries on the open mountain pastures, steppes, and highlands. You can't change that at all. They are just doing their job, marking and patrolling their territory in order to protect it. They aren't like some other breeds of dogs that might learn a boundary. It's true a rare LGD will learn to stay home after they reach adulthood, but it's just that - rare. You need a fence to set boundaries unless your dog is working on open range or huge pastureland. If it's not robot enough, it will need electric or invisible fence backup. This is the only way to protect your dog from being hit by a car or shot for roaming. I have suggestions for fencing options in my book. Neutering also helps. Fencing also protects your dog from other roaming dogs, especially if she is intact.
Location: The dry side of Spokane, USDA zone 6ish, 2300' elevation.
Thanks. Are GPS-based shock collars a good option? I'd like him to have free run of the property, but fencing it all would be more expensive than some of the gps collars I've seen. If so, do you have a brand you recommend?
posted 5 years ago
There are GPS collars that only help you find your dog and there are radio fencing collars that can be set to permit a limited circle of movement from the base station. I don't use either and can't recommend a model or brand.
I do know folks who use radio collars suggest a robust system not a suburban "pet" collar. Your risks include the dog ignoring the shock when after a threat (a common problem) and the fact that wandering dogs or people and roaming predators can still access your property. As your dog reaches maturity he will become more protective and aggressive towards threats, which can be a liability to you. Thirteen months is still young dog who has probably not shown her incredible protective side, which usually emerges around 2 years old. If she is intact, it won't prevent a male from accessing her either. I do know folks who report success with the radio fencing in more remote and rural areas. You might also consider fencing a safe area near your house to use when you are not supervising her, since it sounds like she is not a full-time livestock guardian.
These dogs don't usually have a reliable recall either, especially when they perceive a threat. As self-thinkers they are distinctly different from many other breeds. We are used to thinking of a farm dog as a dog who reliably stays home and learns his boundaries. LGDs are instinctively a working breed who are pretty much driven to do their job, like a herding dog is driven to herd sheep or a Lab to retrieve objects.
As designers, don't we want to stack functions? I'm not sure of the costs you're discussing between fencing and virtual boundary systems, but doesn't a shock collar or similar only has one function? An electrified perimeter fence would seem to have several functions that can be stacked. A properly electrified perimeter fence is not only one way to keep your critters in, but also some undesirable critters out. But, I've also had it described to me that an electrified perimeter fence is also an electricity conveyance system for a smaller mobile paddock for rotational/mob grazing -- you simply hook the movable electric fencing into the perimeter fencing to wherever you're moving your animals. Non-electric fencing can also be used as a trellis for some desirable plants you may want to grow. Just thinking out loud here.
Absolutely Dan, fencing serves the purpose of keeping your critters in and unwanted critters out. The best predator control combines several methods - fencing, guardians, good husbandry (removing dead animals, using small paddocks close to barns at night, etc), lighting, noise, and good housing.
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