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Farm Fresh Blog
Friday, December 18 2015
"I just watched the u-tube video on LGDs. The dogs are amazing. So, my question for you all. Why are there so many Pyrs and Pyr mixes in rescue? I follow a particular rescue group and have done some reading. It seems to be a really big problem. Thoughts?"
Wow. That's a loaded question. Let me see if I can answer that without offending people, or at least spread the offensive material across a broader range. Or we could just bounce right in.
As a puppy she lived with the sheep and lambs with no problems. As she got older, she saw the lambs as siblings and tried to play with them as she would another puppy. I had an entire lamb crop with scars and scratches on their ears because Briar played too rough. When I caught her at it, I threw a bucket at her and scolded her. I locked her in a pen inside a pen when she couldn't be supervised. Not only is the livestock my responsibility, but BRIAR is my responsibility. She is a dog, not a mindreader. She must be protected from herself.
As Briar got older and quit playing with the livestock we then had to deal with her climbing fences. In her case, it wasn't to roam, but was to attack the garbage man when he came and stole the garbage. We had to install a hotwire on top of all the fences. We could also have used the "roller" wire and if I'd known about it at the time, I would have used that instead. Regardless, the point is that instead of trashing the dog, we TRAINED THE DOG or changed her environment to prevent unwanted behavior.
A Livestock Guardian Dog is an investment. The dog is actually more important than the sheep. If I lose a sheep to a coyote, I've lost a single sheep. If I lose a dog, I lose all the sheep. Think about that for a minute. The dog is so important that you simply MUST invest the time to train it. Unfortunately, we live in a disposable society. People put more time into playing a video game to the next level than they do in creating a good Livestock Guardian Dog.
People want instant results, and they don't want to put a lot of effort into it. I think that's why the "throw 'em out with the stock and leave 'em alone" myth is so prevalent. Most of these dogs were never meant to be handled that way. In the countries where these dogs originated, a shepherd was out with the dogs and the stock. The dogs are not just thrown out there and left alone. Someone missed that little factoid when they created the myth.
So Karen, the first part of my answer to your question is that we are living in a disposable society of people who know nothing about how to train dogs. If we, as a nation, knew anything about dog training, there wouldn't be this massive number of dogs in rescue anyway. At the risk of offending the rescue organizations, I believe the problem lies not with breeders, but with the fact that very few people in this country seem to be able to train a dog. People get dogs, keep them for a while, and then discard them and get another dog. I believe the heart of the matter lies not with the responsible breeders who are producing dogs, but with the fact that the average American believes a dog should behave a certain way with little or no training. Instead of pushing all this money into spay/neuter propaganda, I'd put more money into "Learn to be a responsible dog owner and train your freakin' dog" propaganda.
Now that I've pissed off the rescue organizations, let me piss off the breeders. Just because you have a good dog doesn't mean you should breed it. Seriously. Just because you love Fluffy and believe the world would be a brighter place if everyone had a Fluffy, is not reason enough to breed two dogs. And just because Fluffy happens to be a stellar Livestock Guardian Dog, that still doesn't give you the license to plop 5-9 puppies on the ground, collect your cash, and never look back. Responsible breeders are responsible for the puppies they produce for their ENTIRE lives. If you can't take that cute fluffy puppy back next year when it's a gangly teenager digging up the yard, don't breed your dog.
There is a saying in the racehorse industry, "Breed the best to the best and hope for the best."
Now let's be serious. Are you breeding the best? Does your dog really work? Is your dog healthy? Do her parents work? Her siblings? Are they healthy? And by healthy, I don't mean "Is the dog still alive and walking?" I mean, does the dog have good hips? Good elbows? Epilepsy? Anything that keeps it from doing the job it was bred to do? What about the dog you want to breed to? Is it healthy? Does it work? Or God forbid, does it just have papers?
Here's a hot new flash for you. Papers don't necessarily mean squat. They "may" be proof that your puppy is a purebred, but they don't give you proof of health, working ability, or anything else that says a registered dog is any better than the dog behind the bars in the pound. In fact, many of the dogs at the pound are registered dogs that some nitwit disposed of because he didn't have enough knowledge to train properly. Does that mean there is something wrong with the dogs behind bars? Absolutely not. If I were looking for a pet, that's the first place I would go.
Read my lips: Every one of my dogs would have ended up at the pound. (except maybe Lily) None of my dogs were born perfect. (except maybe Lily) They all chewed up things. (except Lily) They dig holes. (except Lily) They escape the fence. (except Lily) They chase/chased livestock. (except Lily) They bark. (except Lily. Nevermind, she barks at the microwave and the coffee pot.) So in a nutshell, out of ten dogs, all would have ended up in the pound except Lily. And I'd say that looking at the numbers, that's about right. For every dog kept in a happy home for its entire life, nine or more are probably trashed. Do you really want that to happen to your puppies? If you just take the cash and walk away, the chances are good that it will.
Let's look closer at my Livestock Guardian Dogs:
Briar - mixed breed, no papers, bad hips, excellent working dog that chased lambs as a teenager, and to this day climbs fences
So Karen, to answer your question, all three of my Livestock Guardian Dogs would have been trashed by someone else. Judge and Jury are now entering into the prime time for LGDs to end up at the pound. They are gigantic. They eat a lot. They still jump on you from time to time. They will still chase a lamb if the mood strikes them. If you don't watch them like a hawk, they will escape for about 10-20 minutes every morning while the sheep are eating. Remember, dogs have no understanding of human boundaries and fence lines. They smell a deer gut pile just on the other side of the fence. Raw food is good. Leftovers come home with them. Do I like this behavior? No. Whose fault is it? Mine! Either watch the dogs closer, lock them up, or build better fences. The answer is not trashing these dogs and getting two more.
I hope that people who fall in love with Briar do not rush out and get a Livestock Guardian Dog without doing a lot of research and having a lot of patience. Briar is invaluable to us, but she didn't start that way, and she isn't without fault. You will recall that from time to time she attacks the herding dogs. She also killed and ate numerous chickens that belonged to the neighbor when they trespassed onto our property. Although she didn't kill chickens she had grown up with on our farm, she may now no longer be trustworthy around chickens since she developed a taste for the neighbor's roosters. We'll get chickens next spring. If she tries to eat them, we'll work around that. We won't trash the dog. It is a certainty that Judge and Jury will attempt to kill chickens. Again, they are dogs. Dogs kill chickens. Livestock Guardian Dogs have to be trained or managed around birds. It is my responsibility to do that. In this same situation, too many ranchers would send three dogs to the pound for killing chickens next spring. Me? I count on it and adjust my chicken numbers accordingly until we get the management system worked out.
Another reason these dogs end up in the pound is that they are sold to pet homes and they are not pet dogs. Pet homes don't want a dog that gets out of a six foot fence with ease to go attack/chase off the neighbors' dogs/cats. Pet homes don't want a dog that has a biological need to roam vast spaces. Many years ago I adopted a Pyr that had been a pet, but when the owners got tired of the escapes, they tied it to a tree and there it sat for 2 years. When I got him he weighed around 85 lbs, was neurotic, and one giant mat. He had no idea about livestock, family, home, or anything else we think they ought to understand. The only thing he knew was that the neighbors' dogs and cats were inside his territory and he wanted them out.
Posted by Patty on 12/18/2015 - 08:52 AM
That is a very good point! I see a lot of people getting these dogs with no clue what they're signing up for.
Posted by Forensicfarmgirl on 12/18/2015 - 09:29 AM
Hey Sheri do you mind if I put a link to this post on the Livestock Guardian and Anatolian discussion groups? You NAILED it!
Posted by TinaG on 12/18/2015 - 10:10 AM
Bravo! Excellent article! (from an owner of cattle dogs... grin)
Posted by Cappy on 12/18/2015 - 10:19 AM
Oh Dear Lord - PLEASE make this mandatory reading for each and every person who wants to read the rest of your blog. You have perfectly and accurately detailed what LDG's are about, and why not all are suitable for the jobs they are hired for. Thank you!
Posted by Beth on 12/18/2015 - 10:52 AM
Posted by Ramie carter on 12/18/2015 - 11:42 AM
Says the breeder of my puppies! (Evil grin)
Posted by Forensicfarmgirl on 12/18/2015 - 11:47 AM
Excellent! Isn't just LGD's that happens to - all dogs require work and the LGS's and some others have specific needs.
Posted by Judy on 12/18/2015 - 12:07 PM
You are so right, Judy! The idea of disposable dogs is a real pet peeve of mine. I have no patience with people who dump their dogs. Ten times out of ten when a dog ends up at the pound for behavioral reasons, the fault lies with the owner, and I would roll over in my grave if my family dumped my dogs in the pound when I died, so I haven't found a good reason for anyone taking a dog to the pound. I'm just sayin'.
Posted by Forensicfarmgirl on 12/18/2015 - 12:27 PM
That is one of the best articles I've read in a long time and certainly applies to all dogs. I have a Belgian Sheepdog and people are always asking about the breed. "He's beautiful". Yes he is. He's also extremely smart and his energy level is off the charts. I love the breed but I tend to discourage people from getting one unless they have it together to put in the training.
Posted by Jeanne K on 12/18/2015 - 02:33 PM
So here's the thing....we adopted an Anatolian from a shelter and had no idea what breed he was until later....he was listed only as a shepherd mix. I have 2 kids and no flock of anything. He's a pet. I've done my research and know exactly what I'm in for now...we've had him only 5 months. My dog will never go back to a shelter. You may be disappointed that he is a pet, but we're all working through it together...and he is freaking awesome.
Posted by Dawn on 12/18/2015 - 03:19 PM
Excellent!!!! My 3 ASD's are applauding! Two have killed chickens (we're working on it), one chases my old rescue pig (we're working on it, Deer? (We're working on it!) But they do their job of keeping fox and coyotes at bay.
Posted by Donna Knauber on 12/18/2015 - 04:38 PM
We in rescue have been preaching this for years BUT if there are some problems with this post. The majority of people buying LGD are doing so from breeders so to not hold them responsible for preaching this info is a tragic mistake. They are the ONLY ones in contact with people buying. They are also the ones spewing this crap about all LGD offspring will naturally become a LGD. Rescues pick up and clean up all the fall out and then when the average idiot shows up wanting a rescue as a LGD who has already failed, we're not going to fail that poor dog again. Rescues lose money while breeders make or break even.
Posted by Shelley Smith on 12/18/2015 - 04:38 PM
Bless your heart, Dawn! I'm not disappointed that your dog is a pet at all! He clearly has landed in a loving home that appreciates him for what he is! I'm so happy with my Anatolians that like you, I'd have one even if I didn't have sheep. When I walk, they walk beside me like bookends. I feel very safe. I don't see anything wrong with someone having an LGD breed for something other than LGD work as long as they understand and appreciate the true nature of the dog.
Posted by Forensicfarmgirl on 12/18/2015 - 04:56 PM
Whoohoo! Well said!
Posted by Jenny Glen on 12/18/2015 - 05:03 PM
I am a rescuer who is giving you a standing ovation!!! I cannot tell you the number of times I have preached train your dog! 90% of rescues are under a year old. Love the article and shared it on my rescue page.
Posted by Camp Jean on 12/18/2015 - 07:41 PM
My commendations for a spot on article. Having spent my life with working and sporting dogs and now learning what makes my "rescued" Tornjak tick....your insights and observations are hard hitting for some but, by and large painfully true of today's society. The dogs deserve better! If you can't/won't take the time to thoroughly understand your dogs ***heritage*** and train according, you have little business owning and dis-servicing such a dog. Well done writing!!!
Posted by Danne on 12/18/2015 - 08:57 PM
THANK YOU. I have been saying this for YEARS & it's the whole reason I created my Facebook group, Learning About LGDs. Working dogs don't pop out of the womb ready to go, folks. Dogs are partners & employees, not tools.
Posted by Anna on 12/18/2015 - 09:41 PM
Hallelujah! You so nailed it! I have sheep and when they were at a different place there was an LGD that came with the property. It roamed but was always with the stock at night and the neighbors understood and accepted the roaming. When the LGD passed from old age and the sheep moved to a new area I understood that I could not manage a new LGD so got a mule instead because it could be properly managed by someone who worked full time and did not live on the property. ALL DOGS require training and management!!! Thank you for a great post!
Posted by Wendy on 12/19/2015 - 06:20 AM
Like Dawn, I adopted a Pry/Newfie mix from a shelter to be our pet. She was just over a year old. I did some research before I adopted her and knew that I was adopting a LGD that would need lots of exercise and attention. Needless to say, we LOVE Zoe and she will always be a part of our family! I think a LGD can be adopted for a pet, but it requires commitment and dedication. I think any dog can be trained to live in the setting and environment that you wish it to. People just need to step up and put the time and work into training them, not to mention showing them love. Unfortunately, we live in a lazy society where many people think possessions are disposable and easily replaced... including their pets.
Posted by Trisha Pawlak on 12/19/2015 - 07:08 AM
I have a Great Pyrenees and a Great Pyrenees mix. Neither are working dogs and neither are pets. They are family and act like it. We have a 4' fence and neither have tried to climb over it. We obtained the pyr from a breeder and the mix rescued us when he was 10 yrs old. Maybe this is an unusual situation but we trained with love and patience and they responded in kind.
Posted by Diane on 12/19/2015 - 08:07 AM
I have a more general and discouraged viewpoint. People expect dogs to house-train themselves. They think crates are cruel. They think dogs should walk nicely on a leash with no training. They think small dogs behaving badly are cute. They think small dogs need to be carried. They think basic grooming and trimming nails is much too difficult for the average owner, so they farm grooming out (= expensive). I have a Samoyed. She is gorgeous and well-behaved, but that took and continues to take an enormous amount of work on my part. I have a fenced yard for vigorous exercise. Samoyeds are roamers too, and chasers of small animals, although good with ones they know. After all, an arctic breed needs to be able to feed itself in hard times.
Posted by Pat on 12/19/2015 - 08:45 AM
Great article, so important to understand all the aspects you brought up. When I kept my sheep on rental property, the neighbors were "worried" about them, bought a LGD puppy from a PET STORE and started setting it loose at night to "go protect the sheep from coyotes" because "that's what they do". So frustrating, I had to find other property and move my sheep. The pup was threatening me and my herding dogs, spooking the sheep, and was only a matter of time before it breached the fence.
Posted by Heather on 12/19/2015 - 08:51 AM
Oh. My. Gosh. Heather, that's a first for me! I've never heard of someone buying a livestock guardian dog for someone else's sheep! Wow. I wonder what happened to that poor dog.
Posted by forensicfarmgirl on 12/19/2015 - 08:58 AM
your article makes 100% sense to me. For a person who has not had any experience with LGD do you have any recommendations on how I can learn how to properly train a LGD? Are there books/YouTube etc that you would recommend? We are planning to have a small homestead in the future and I'd like to start learning about how to train the dog now.
Posted by Ellen on 12/19/2015 - 09:19 AM
Well put! I will be sharing this. We foster/rescue ASD for one of those rescues that has rules. However, we have also adjusted those rules when the DOG dictated. There is no "one size fits all" in any rule.
Posted by Cheryl Beuning on 12/19/2015 - 09:22 AM
If it makes you feel any better about the state of dog ownership in the USA, I went to the ASPCA's numbers for total dogs in country and number of dogs put to sleep in shelters every year. It was 3%. Too high -- but not the "95% of dogs never find a permanent home!!!!" that inspired me to go hunting for numbers in the first place. And since a no-kill shelter is defined as one with a kill rate below 10%, this either means 92% of dogs are leading a mysterious vagabond existence or the 95% thing is pure guilt-tripping propaganda and we're doing pretty well sheltering our pets as a society. Not to say we couldn't do better, especially on the working breeds!
Posted by Erika on 12/19/2015 - 09:43 AM
While I agree they are not the first choice for pets, I have a few friends that have them strictly for pets, one being pretty much completely indoors. IF you know the breed and what is needed by that breed to be happy, they can make good pets. But much more work than say a poodle. It's all about the research on the dog, and willingness to train/provide what the dog needs.
Posted by Christi Parsons on 12/19/2015 - 09:44 AM
Please. Don't think I'm trying to change the focus of the conversation. But when we had wolf hybrids, the best thing we did was assess each one for personality and behavior. If it acted like a wolf, we treated it like one. If it behaved more like a dog, that's how we treated it. The other thing, was we only had one litter and kept all but three. These went to people we knew who already had experience with them (and that we approved of that experience.) If people would be as aware when they get an LGD, everyone would be happier. Especially the dog. We now have our 3rd Pyr. Love the breed, but this last one is just a big goofball!
Posted by Sharon on 12/19/2015 - 10:20 AM
I work in animal rescue and applaud your response! Just two points I'd like to make: 1. Our spay/neuter "propaganda" directly supports your argument against irresponsible breeders. It also keeps thousands of unwanted dogs out of shelters and rescues every year, allowing us to expand our message to other important aspects of pet ownership -- like the importance training your dog. 2. I know it's discouraging to come upon rescue policies that require dogs to be kept inside. Most people are looking for a household pet rather than a working dog. As we move closer to a no-kill society, working dogs and ranchers should be among those we look to match, especially in more rural areas.
Posted by Kim on 12/19/2015 - 10:49 AM
Ellen, there are some really good resources out there for learning about Livestock Guardian Dogs. There are Facebook pages and yahoo groups that you can join. In fact, some of the members of those groups read this blog so hopefully they will respond to your post and issue you a personal invite. Most of the groups that I've read have been really good about helping newbies. There is a LOT of bad information out there, (i.e. 'throw 'em out with the livestock and don't touch 'em and they'll bond with the stock,') and so these groups are really important.
Posted by forensicfarmgirl on 12/19/2015 - 11:41 AM
Lassie was trained :-)
Posted by Diana on 12/19/2015 - 12:13 PM
My problem, with rescues, is many of them don't let a farm rescue a dog. They have so many rules that make it unrealistic to even try to rescue for a farm. We have 2 small terriers who are vermin dogs but while we did train them not to eat or chase our cockatiel, ducks, chickens and rabbits, etc. the first thing we taught them was that we were alpha. When we said, "no", they stopped, now! Once the cockatiel was chasing one of them and the dog got fed up and got the bird in his mouth, I yelled, "no". He stopped. The cockatiel was fine except he could only squawk for a couple weeks instead of tweet. Yes, they did eat a parakeet once but that was our fault. Bottom line is training and rescue need to allow farms to rescue.
Posted by Faye on 12/19/2015 - 12:30 PM
You did not make me mad, you are 100% correct. For some the truth hurts. Am I guilty of jumping in to fast with a dog absolutely but we worked it out and... I won. It just took a little time. Thanks for posting this.
Posted by Henny Penny on 12/19/2015 - 01:06 PM
Very well said. I have my first ASD and spend a MINIMUM of 4 hours per day with him. I don't understand how people can expect to have a perfectly behaved dog if they don't conceptualize what they want the dog to do and think through the steps of how they can get there. Before I got my ASD, a rescue brought a Komondor for me to see, about 2 years old, he'd been living in an apartment with an owner who had no time and was scared of him because he was too protective of the children. I knew I only had the skills for training from the ground up, not retraining, so I took a pass on him. He ended up with a farmer who had experience with Komondors and was willing to work on it. Work being the operative word.
Posted by Lynn on 12/19/2015 - 02:58 PM
I too do rescue work and also some training. Two of my friends have LGDs which which were rescues, one an Anatolian and the other a Pyr who was dumped by his owners since he did not like guard work (they used the put the dog out with stock and it will naturally guard method which did not work). In both cases the rescues into a pet home was successful .... but, I worked on basic training with them and they kept the dogs active. My motto is "Train, don't complain".
Posted by Susan on 12/19/2015 - 04:57 PM
We have several LGDs of different breeds. We train them all. Your right you have to expect some losses if you don't do you do diligences.
Posted by Jayme on 12/19/2015 - 09:36 PM
THANK YOU! From all farm dogs everywhere! I know you are talking specifically about LGDs, but so many "regular" dogs living on a farm has these problem owners. I read a lot on homesteading forums about "the dog ate one of my chickens so I shot him". It nearly makes me sick. TRAIN YOUR DOG. EXPECT TO LOSE A FEW BIRDS IN THE PROCESS. People are idiots, and dogs pay the price so many times. Thank you again for this article.
Posted by Jennifer on 12/20/2015 - 07:12 AM
Thank you SO much for writing this! I will share it.
Posted by Cecilia on 12/20/2015 - 07:26 AM
Thank You for a wonderful article. I have Great Pry that while it came from a long line of LSGD she is a pet. As for training we have been to one puppy class, one dog class and will be starting her third one in Feb 2016. Training, training and more training. She doesn't have a herd to watch but I keep her busy with constant training of things we have learned in class. If all goes well she will enter then go to class to become a certified Therapy dog. this article is spot on what ever your plans for your dog it has to be trained for it. Maybe if the rescue/pounds had training classes as part of the package they would have more empty cages then full ones. understand.
Posted by Deborah Campbell on 12/20/2015 - 07:34 AM
Another myth not addressed is the one that an LGD must be with the stock from the time they are born or they will never work. WRONG. This is another reason some rescue groups won't place a pyr in a working home if it came from a pet home. Guarding is an instinct. Let me repeat, guarding is an instinct. They are born with it (or not). Back in the 90s when breeders were spitting out pyr litters like water, we rehabbed over 500 pyr rescues into working dogs. BTW, I have 4 pyrs right now who live with our sheep. They are all rescues from pet homes.
Posted by Rose on 12/20/2015 - 09:00 AM
I disagree that they can't be in pet homes.I,have a Pyr,but breed another breed.I have high fences.I start with the assumption thatthey will try to escape so they don'tstay outside when I leave the house.All have "dens" i.e. comfortable big crates with padded beds and stainless h2o buckets. They never stay in crates over 3-4 hrs continuously,never home alone more than a work day's worth of time.An investment of time/home space,and dog walking help.My Pyr is allowed in the fenced yard but she + I walk too,she has her Canine Good Citizen cert., she met 100 different people in the 1St 100 days of puppy socialization. With an experienced pet owner where the Pyr is not their starter dog,a Pyr does not have to guard a flock to be happy.
Posted by Judith Dieter on 12/20/2015 - 09:57 AM
This is a really great article as somebody who works with mostly ACD's and herding breeds I had wondered about this myth myself. I would argue that the s/n propaganda is needed for the vast majority of American people who shouldn't be breeding their dogs and have no clue. But I also believe in responsible breeders who really care about their dogs and produce well tested dogs that people really want and are there for life as backup. That being said the rescue that I work with is in the Central Valley of CA and we understand life from a ranching perspective. So we will place dogs who are going to be working and not living inside the house if that's what's best for the dog. These are working dogs people it's not a chihuahua!
Posted by Carol on 12/20/2015 - 10:31 AM
I will just pop back into this conversation to say that our local Humane Society (a non-profit - not affiliated with county but under contract to the county) does offer training classes for our dogs. Also the local AKC affiliated kennel club offers 1/2 price classes to dogs taken in from rescue organizations - usally $30 for 7 1 hour classes. There are other groups who do the same. The main reason people don't train is that they don't realize that it is that socialization and paying attention to you in a chaotic environment is key to having a well trained dog. I can teach my dog to sit/stay ... but will it sit/stay when there are distractions.
Posted by Susan on 12/20/2015 - 11:20 AM
wonderful article. I have two Great Pyrenees - LGD and PGD (people) and they sleep in the house and they play with the critters. I am sharing this article with someone who just got a LGD. love it.
Posted by teresa cutrell on 12/20/2015 - 11:50 AM
I have had two Anatolian Shepherds and both came from a breeder who taught me many things about the breed before I got the first one. I had to relearn a lot of things about training because I had always had German Shepherds before, and still do. Your article was great and I am still learning about LSGs. If you have a good one, they are the best guardians, and I now would not have any other breed for my alpacas. I sleep better at night, knowing that the Anatolian is out there protecting my herd. He has dispatched skunks without getting skunked, got rid of some possums and also a raccoon. As a youngster he did kill one or two of my Guineas, but he now knows which animals belong here and which don't. I would never be without one again.
Posted by Christiane Rudolf on 12/20/2015 - 11:52 AM
I would like to emphasize that people really need to do their research and know the breed characteristics before making the decision to bring home a LGD...the barking can be a huge issue for the family AND the neighbors. But LGD's bark...to warn off predators. Some bark more than others. And breeders need to make sure that potential customers are fully aware of the issues that come with LGD's. I once had a customer who told me her husband wanted a LGD that didn't bark. I told her there was no way I would let her have one of my pups.
Posted by Denise on 12/21/2015 - 10:39 AM
great article... right on!
Posted by Sally McDonnel on 12/21/2015 - 02:00 PM
One thing that really bothers me is the mislabeling of a dog as an LGD. If the dog has not worked a day in its life and it's parents did not work just because it is part one breed or another does not make it an LGD. My dogs both came from long working lines and I can tell you it matters. Ruger we got as a pup and from day one he became part of the herd. Ophelia was three when she came to live with us. She worked a farm for part of her life then lived in an apartment. She has chosen the pasture. She chooses rain, wind, sun over inside. It is her nature and what she was bred to do. They both do this not because they are Maremmas but because their parents did it, their grandparents did and and I teach them to continue to do it.
Posted by Amber on 12/21/2015 - 10:57 PM
This applies to every breed of dog in my opinion. Excellent article!
Posted by Stacye on 12/21/2015 - 11:14 PM
Chicken killing-- I'll tell you what. Any dog that comes onto my property and kills or tries to kill a chicken, its shoot, shovel and shut up. It is legal to shoot dogs chasing livestock in Oregon.
Posted by Melissa on 12/22/2015 - 11:38 AM
Melissa, I completely understand, but in our case, the neighbor's chickens were coming into MY barn yard. That's why my Livestock Guardian Dog was killing them. Although in the past she used to be reliable around chickens, once she started eating the neighbor's roosters I wouldn't trust her again with a "refresher course." Dogs have to be taught not to chase chickens.
Posted by forensicfarmgirl on 12/22/2015 - 11:46 AM
I have a couple of problems with this article as we are one of those Pyr Breeders, First let me say the article was excellent except on 2 counts. I don't care what kind of dog you buy, save adopt rescue, there are no bad dogs, just bad owners. We have today in our home to arplaninac females in our home and have had as many as 3 dogs in our small 1,000 sq. ft. home. They are house broken to a T, hell one of the girls if she can't wake me up to take her out uses the cats litter box!
Posted by Steve on 12/24/2015 - 06:40 PM
love the article training and knowledge is a fact of life for any succesfull livestock grower. We currently have 4 merrema's and love them to death. Yes they have killed chickens mostly through the puppy stage and yes our youngest would probably hurt lambs this year except he will be in a pen within a pen unless supervised because even though he has shown a great aptitude in doing his job doesn't mean he gets set up for failure. Breeders if you can't stand behind your product and give technical support then you are part of the problem!! We know where all our puppies have gone and have kept in contact with their new owners.
Posted by brian on 12/25/2015 - 07:06 AM