1) My name is Beau and we will be moving to our 7.5 acre property in central Texas to start a Homestead! And we are documenting it all on YouTube. I want to share one of my latest videos with y'all where we visited a small Homestead as they are in the early stages. Here is the link:
2) Our visit raised a sort of conflicting and controversial topic about Great Pyrenees LIVESTOCK guardian dogs and how to train them. Meaning that some say you should NOT socialize them with your family and kids as they need to bound with the actual LIVESTOCK. And then this family made some good points in the video that we weren't expecting.
Would y'all be able to give me your opinions? I would love to hear what you think! We want a guard dog...but for us the #1 "animals" we want protected are our 4 children.
Thanks a bunch!
A family swimming upstream and challenging the status quo.
We've not got dogs yet (LGD's that is), but we have our name down for a couple of Anatolian Shepherd....from our limit understanding you want them to bond with anyone you dont want them to potentially attack.
We've heard all sorts of horror stories of all breeds of LGD's, it seems to be a training issue. My advice, get some professional help, that's what we'll be doing. And we want to see dogs operating per the training of the said professional before we engage them.
Funny thing about the GP, they can and will do both, protect their people and guard animals they have been introduced to.
The reason most people say one or the other is that they want the LGD to live with the animals, in which case, the normal is correct.
However, it is very possible to have one that has been "humanized" and "animalized", you just have to work with the dog and do cross training.
currently we have 1 Boxer mix (house guard dog) and one Catahoula Leopard dog that is approx. 9 months old, she will also be a house guard dog. For animal protector we have a donkey that adopted us.
We have had Pyrenees for over 20 years, both pups and rescue dogs. With 7.5 acres the dogs will claim the entire place as their territory. No worries about them bonding to the kids and the livestock. They will do both very well. I watched your video. Eventually, the dogs will attempt to dig out under that fence. If the ground gets soft when wet they will succeed. An 18" strip of chicken wire flat on the ground secured to the bottom of the fence and tacked down will keep them in. Pyrs have a large territory. Maremmas - the Italian model of the Pyrs - have a much smaller territory. This results from the two different ways the dogs are used in their home countries. The pyrs stay out in the mountains with the flock. The Maremmas come back to an enclosure at night and stay there with the flock. This results from the extensive use of sheep for dairy purposes in Italy. We have a Maremma and a Pyr now. The Pyr is the one to always test the fences.
Also, if getting pups, early personality tests can be done to determine the best type of environment/use for the pup.
Rescue dogs are, of course, more of a gamble. Molly a rescue Pyr that we had in Montana was extremely aggressive to predators (including strange dogs) but mild and sweet to kids and human visitors. She ran off a grizzly sow and cub one night and a very large black bear a few weeks later. All our neighbors had cougar trouble - but we never lost a sheep or goat to a big cat there. She was a wonderful dog. We have had other rescues who were a bit ditsy.
Much good information is available in the book Livestock Protection Dogs by Sims and Dawydiak.
My good friends who have a herd of dairy goats on several acres have had great pyrenees for many years. They would say that it also comes down to the breeder. Be careful about who you buy from. They imported a pup from the USA (we are in Canada) and he ended up being quite aggressive with the animals, killed some chickens, tried attacking the bucks and eventually began showing signs of aggression towards people even though he lived inside the house and was socialized. Make sure to buy from breeders who actually socialize their puppies with livestock. These breeders had said the puppy was socialized to livestock when in reality it was later found out that only a few horses lived on the farm. Some breeders probably focus more on looks and showing than on temperament and functionality. I have some friends in Prince George BC who imported two fantastic LGD from the USA, i can ask them where they got them if you would like.
I think the most important thing to figure out is what you mainly want the dogs to be doing. Dogs that live in the house with the humans will never be 24/hr guardians to your livestock, they really need to live with the livestock to form a bond that you can depend on. I have seen LGD who live inside the human house go after livestock and it is terrifying. Perhaps there is a happy middle ground, sounds like your property isn't huge, what is the predator threat? I know it can be quite effective to keep LGD in a common area that is not directly with bigger livestock, and have them socialize with humans a lot so that they bark if an intruder is nearby or the livestock is distressed, but don't need to be in with your goats or sheep etc. If your herds are quite a ways from your house and your property isn't surrounded by other properties with dogs then of course the predation risk goes up and you may very well need LGDs to be with the livestock as they wander far from human ears and eyes.
Most of the pyrs I've met here in Texas range from 'okay' to 'exceptional' with kids- I honestly don't think I've seen more than a handful who were BAD with kids.
I have, however, seen a lot of social butterfly temperaments who really wanted to be with people more than livestock, even when raised with them. So buy carefully and raise sensibly. Seriously, we don't have human predators of a number or risk that justifies NOT socializing your LGD. Get them comfortable on leash. Let them ride along to the feed store, especially as a young dog and meet weird people wearing hats.
Your vet will thank you down the road when it's time for rabies shots. (And your groomer, too, if you end up needing to have the dog clipped down!)
I have a unfixed pyrenees-akbash male who is great with kids, babies and ducklings alike. In regard to kids, it is also a matter of the kid's personality and training. I can imagine some little shits (I am a teacher and have known some) who would basically do something that amounts to asking for it from a dog (tail pulling, riding, etc), but even then a well adjusted pyrenees is big, agile and smart enough to show him who is in charge without hurting the kid. If my attempts to do things he doesnt like such as clipping his dew claw are any indication, he would just knock the kid down getting away from him. I have never seen a softer mouthed dog, as my Willie will eat the meat off a bone in my hand with great care to not hurt me. When playing with my 18month old niece, he was very gentle, though when she toddled away trying to get him to chase (saying, "chase me!") she would trip over herself at his slightest nudge, as he was trained to nose you on the hand when called over. But he would then watch over her to make sure she was okay and look very concerned. The key is really the kid though, as they need to learn to get up without crying when its no big deal and how to not get hurt around large animals, and I can't imagine another gentler way to learn than a good LGD that has been socialized with humans. In that regard, Willie is also great with unsociable dogs that often people feel wary to let play with other dogs, as he can handle their aggression and overwhelm it with playful love and communication only dogs seem to know that has won over several dogs.
This is all just my opinion based on a flawed memory
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