Advice needed prior to purchasing a LGD

farmhousegrace

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We have recently stumbled into owning goats. I took on 4 young kids this winter. One pair lost their mother unexpectedly at 5 days old. The other pair had severe frost bite and the mother developed mastitis due to them being unable to nurse. They were brought to me less than 24 hours old. They are all now 4-5 months old. I have since purchased 6 more that are 5 months old. The biggest predators in our area are dogs. My father, who lives next door, has lost approximately 20 goats in the last 6 years to dogs alone. 15 being in a 48 hour period. Three weeks ago he had an 8 month old billy get mauled by a dog. The second predator is red foxes. They pick off young kids usually less than a month old. We also bobcats. I personally haven't had a problem with them but they are killing chickens at a neighbor's farm. We were considering adding a LGD to our farm. Mainly, we're considering a Great Pyrenees. 1. They are the most common working breed in our area. 2. They seem to be a docile breed. We have 5 young children (3yo, 4yo, 6yo, 8yo, 10yo). We need a breed that is gentle. I have often heard the Great Pyrenees refer to as the "gentle giant". We are considering getting a puppy. Here's my questions:

1. Is it better to purchase a 8-16wk old puppy so you know the training he/she has had? Or is a 5-6 month old still trainable? What's the oldest age I should consider purchasing?

2. I've read different methods for correcting bad behavior. Shock collar, time-out, shaming etc
What method do you use? Do you use different methods depending on the level of offense?

3.Is it true that Great Pyrenees tend to ramble?

4. Male or female? Is one better at a certain job than the other?

5. What characteristics should I look for when picking out a LGD? (ex: personality)

Thank you in advance!
 

Southern by choice

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You have great questions!
I would prefer to answer in better detail tomorrow, as I am only up because we have a Kiko doe that kidded and is down... so I am up checking her every 30 minutes.

In short we do not allow any pup to leave before 12 weeks. This way they can be evaluated properly and placed in the proper setting. I like to keep them 16-20 weeks as I prefer more training and much easier on new owners especially first timers.

We specialize in the family farm guardians, we see the LGD's that are needed for the family farm should be all around acclimated and adjusted. Quite different than a LGD that will get a pat on the head every once in a while and is on 100+ acres.

Evaluating LGD pups is not like evaluating other breeds, often it is quite the opposite.

BONDING with your LGD and earning respect is the greatest training tool you will need. We have 3 Great Pyrenees and 1 Anatolian Shepherd. We never use shock collars, or drags, or time outs. I have never used those methods on any dog we have trained either. I am not opposed completely to them but find them to be rather unnecessary.

In one of my threads I have a recorded week by week progress report that I shared you may want to look through... later there are some evaluations. Not sure if I included imprinting or not. Unfortunately with sickness and kidding season I have not updated or been on site much.

Hope this helps. http://www.backyardherds.com/threads/minnie-blurb-pup-3-pics.27247/page-8#post-350243
 

woodsie

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I'll take a stab at your questions. Southern has been such a valuable source of information and support to me and my two Pyrs so I hope I don't contradict anything she advises here.

First of all, I love the Great Pyr breed with children, I have 4 kids under 7, and they have grown up around the dogs and I never have to worry about them with my kids. They are very respectful of the kid's space (no jumping, mouthing etc) and tolerate lounging on them, hugs, even crawling on them. Our kids are not their "flock" however, their goats/sheep are that for our female and my male is definitely the farm/property & chicken guard (he was overly protective of the babies).

That brings me to the next point, early training/imprinting. My male I got as an adult that was always on property but not specifically with stock....well he has been a huge challenge. He is a fantastic dog with great instincts but as he was not trained around stock early, when he encounters something new in the field he is unpredictable....breeding time he was herding off my ram and keeping him in a corner, even took a chunk of skin/fur off his shoulder, I believe in his mind he was solving the problem of this ram that was bugging/harrassing the ewes. Birthing time he was claiming the babies as his own and aggressivly chasing off the ewes from their babies. Despite correcting him with scolding and belly up submission, it just wash;t enough and I found him too unpredictable to live with the stock...which is a shame because he was usually amazing with them. Correcting a 150lb + dog high on adrenaline is a very difficult if not impossible thing, much easier to start with a pup and train as you go. Look for a breeder that is raising them around people and in with stock...if you get an older pup that is raised up with stock under parent supervision you are good to go and would be more valuable than a young pup but unfortunately not a lot of breeders do that.

I'll post more later but I gotta go.
 

farmhousegrace

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Thank you both for your responses! I've been meaning to respond but my free time has been limited lately! I found a farm that has a litter of GPs. We've had a few unexpected things come up so we are unable to purchase one now but possibly in the next few weeks.I am disappointed but we will get our LGD when the time is right. For now I will just absorb as much knowledge as possible.
Southern I've read most of your thread and am definitely learning a lot! Thank you for sharing the link!
 

Ropada

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I can't help with the other questions, but our Great Pyr is absolutely amazing with our 4 year old. Gentle giant is a great description, ours is so gentle with kids it's amazing to watch.
 

Baymule

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#3. Yes. GP's ramble. We have a female GP named Paris. We live in town on a lot. Paris was given to us because she killed chickens, it took 2 years, but now she is an awesome chicken guard. That said, we raised the fence two feet and we are glad we did. If Paris stands on it-it is HERS. If she sees it-it is HERS.

If your fence is goat proof, then is should be dog proof.
 

farmhousegrace

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#3. Yes. GP's ramble. We have a female GP named Paris. We live in town on a lot. Paris was given to us because she killed chickens, it took 2 years, but now she is an awesome chicken guard. That said, we raised the fence two feet and we are glad we did. If Paris stands on it-it is HERS. If she sees it-it is HERS.

If your fence is goat proof, then is should be dog proof.
Good to know! As of right now our pasture is goat and dog proof. I have a boxer that is a Houdini when it comes to finding places to escape. I walk her weekly along the fence line to check for weak places. However, in the next year or less we will move to my husband's family farm. The fencing is in great condition but the farm has never had goats. It's always been a cow, pig, and chicken farm. I'm sure there will be adjustments to make if I know our goats.
 

farmhousegrace

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WOW! It's been nearly a year since we first considered purchasing a LGD for our goat herd. Last month we finally purchased two Great Pyrenees pups but they will not be ready until the end of the month. I'm excited we found a breeder that also operates a dairy goat farm. I really wanted the LGD we purchase to already be introduced to goats. This week I plan to start prepping the farm for our new additions. We now have 7 one year old boer mix goats. We may add a few more young kids in the spring. Our current setup for the goats is in a large semi wooded pasture with a pond on the back side. The barn has an aisle down the center with a gate in the middle. So, they have access to half of the center and to the two stalls in the barn.

*Does anyone have any advice on must-haves or must-nots to setting up for our LGD pups?
 
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