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Agressive LGD

Discussion in 'Livestock Guardians' started by Ttennis, Jan 11, 2019.

  1. Jan 11, 2019
    Ttennis

    Ttennis Exploring the pasture

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    I'm new here and I refrain from posting in FB groups because I usually get chastised, so please be kind I'm still learning.

    I have a small 1 acre farm with chickens, 1 steer, 2 sheep, and 2 LGD. The steer is a pet, and I got him when he was 3 days old. Our first LGD we got as a puppy, 8 weeks old. He is a Pyr/Anatolian/Akbash. His parents were working dogs, and the pups were born in the pasture along with many other animals- sheep, goats, chickens. We brought him home and kept him with the baby calf. They were best friends and cuddled together every night. When they were 6 months old we introduced a female puppy who was also born on a farm with working parents and exposed daily with livestock. She is a Pyr/Maremma/Anatolian and has a very sweet temperament. As youngsters, they would all dabble in each others food until we ultimately made separate feeding/resting areas. The last couple months the male has become very food agressive and started attacking the steer who was trying to get into his food. The barn was completely separated so that there was zero interaction while eating. Now the steer can't even walk by the opening of the dog side or look in that direction without the male going after him. Today he was going after the female who wanted a bite of food. Then I was comforting the steer and he started barking going after the steer in the pasture, and continued to go after him even when I left and watched from a distant.

    I get conflicting information. The two people I got the livestock dogs from say, keep them together as puppies with the livestock so they bond. Other 'LGD groups' say absolutely keep them separate (The dogs/steer) until they are at least 2 years old, even though they have been together since they were all babies.

    These are our first LGD and livestock, so it's all new to us. I'm planning on putting the steer with the sheep this weekend and keeping the dogs separate in the pen next to it. I just want to do the right thing, and I don't know which way is right.

    I'm open to learning and suggestions :)
     
    Baymule and Rammy like this.
  2. Jan 11, 2019
    Rammy

    Rammy Herd Master Golden Herd Member

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    There are alot of people on here with experience with LGDs. I know you will get alot of good advice from them and not from someone who only writes books and has never actually raised or trained a LGD. Im sure you will get the answers to help you.
     
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  3. Jan 11, 2019
    Latestarter

    Latestarter Novice; "Practicing" Animal Husbandry Golden Herd Member

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    How old are the animals now? Did I miss that someplace? @Southern by choice is the person you're looking for here... Perhaps you could PM her and hopefully she'll have some spare time. She's helped a lot of folks here with LGD issues. There's also a lot of experience shared in the various threads here. Read as much as you can and I'm sure SBC will need much more info than what you posted in your opening post.
     
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  4. Jan 11, 2019
    Ttennis

    Ttennis Exploring the pasture

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    The steer and the male LGD are one yr old now, and the youngest LGD is 9 months old
     
  5. Jan 27, 2019
    Ridgetop

    Ridgetop True BYH Addict

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    Food aggression is one of the things you need to work on from the time you get your puppies. Food aggression can stem from apprehension about getting enough to eat. In the wild the largest, most aggressive wolf pup, lion cub, chick, etc. gets the most food and grows the strongest. This is an instinctual thing. It is not too late though, but you have some training to do. Hope these tips will help you.

    First, your dogs should each have their own food bowls, so they know what is their own. They should not eat out of the same bowl or be allowed access to each other's food. You will have to supervise mealtimes until the training is complete. Place their bowls at least 10 feet apart. If the older dog starts to go after the younger dog, step between them, clearly say his name and tell him to back off, quit, no, or whatever your command is for bad behavior. No need to be physical, use your stern voice, just keep between him and the other dog, and keep walking into him to force him to give way before you to return to his bowl. Keep the younger dog from trying to get to the older dog's bowl too. Use the same technique. When both dogs have finished their food, do not let them investigate each others' bowls. You should keep them on leashes while doing this training to avoid any problems and give you more control. Make sure that the older dog has plenty to eat. Food aggression can also be linked to underfeeding. Since he is only a year old, he is still growing and you should be increasing his food until he is about 3 years old. Check his ribs to make sure he is not getting too heavy though. You will also have to increase the younger pup's feed ration as she grows. You are probably already doing this, but during this training you can increase the food amount you are giving him so he has plenty. Do not feed the dogs near the steer or near any other livestock. Pick up the food dishes when the dogs have finished and take them inside the house or barn.

    It sounds as though the steer was allowed to eat out of the male's bowl when he was a pup, and you are allowing the younger dog to have access to his bowl too. Guardian dogs are not mature until 2-3 years, but at 12-18 months the male is growing up and beginning to show dominance. By driving off the steer who wants to take his food, he is asserting his place in the pack or hierarchy. Each dog needs to know that they can eat safely and without having to guard their food from others. Food is the most basic need in the wild and he will defend his food.

    Now, having said that, as a pup he needs to know that his right to food is protected by you as his pack leader. Since you have not protected his right to eat unmolested up to now, he is taking matters into his own hands (paws) to protect himself. You need to show him that you are willing and able to protect him by not allowing any other animal to eat his food.

    This means you will have to feed the dogs away from the other livestock, with each other but separated by at least 10 feet, and stand between them to keep him from growling at the younger dog and to keep her from trying to take his food. Once he understands that you will not let anyone take his food, he will be able to calm down and eat without being overly apprehensive and protective. This should eventually lead to him calming down about the steer.

    Hope this helps with your dog's food aggression. We feed our dog3 Anatolians on the porch away from the livestock after everyone is put up in the barn or fold. The 6 year old bitch, 3 year old male, and 2 month old puppy eat together with supervision. We have also trained them to allow us to take their food away from them, literally out of their mouths. This is necessary in case they get hold of something dangerous, and because our small grandchildren are often around them when they are eating.
    IMG_4293.JPG IMG_4294.JPG Here we are training the puppy (on leash) not to interfere with the older dogs. The large male at far end is also on leash in case go after the puppy's dish. The female is so non-food-aggressive that she will allow anyone to eat out of her food. She is also very slow eater so we have to train the others to let her alone until she is finished eating. After dinner they get family time in the house for about 2 hours before they decide to go outside on night shift.

    Hopefully, the steer will be going into your freezer in another year. They can be dangerous as they get older and an acre is enough space for one. There is plenty of space in a freezer for prime beef however.
     
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  6. Jan 27, 2019
    Baymule

    Baymule Herd Master

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    Does the male dog ever growl at you over his food?
     
  7. Jan 27, 2019
    Ttennis

    Ttennis Exploring the pasture

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    Thank you for your info. Our steer is a pet, so no room in the freezer for him! The steer used to be in with the two dogs, but he thinks he's a dog and wants any food he can get. Even with completely separate areas in the barn it got to the point that the steer could not even walk by or look the direction of the dog area without the male going after him. The dogs are now in an adjacent fenced area with their own shed, and the sheep and steer are now together. Even with this separation, if the steer stood at the fence line the male was still barking and lunging toward him. He does the same thing with the female, and won't let her get near the feeding bin. We have been using the free feader because that's what works best for us. He acts the same with a toy, he'll take it from the female and go after her if she want to take it back. I've been working with him and trying to spend time out there correcting every time I hear him barking at the other animals. He's never growled at me, but I am fearful and I try not to show it. I have been attacked before from my own dog and required emergency care in the past so that is where my fear comes from.
     
  8. Jan 27, 2019
    Ttennis

    Ttennis Exploring the pasture

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    Not so far.
     
  9. Jan 28, 2019
    Mini Horses

    Mini Horses Herd Master

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    He can feel it, you just think it doesn't show. The sixth sense.
     
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  10. Jan 28, 2019
    Baymule

    Baymule Herd Master

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    Take away the free feeder immediately. This is contributing to the problem. He feels that he must defend his food continuously. He is in constant fight mode. Set an appointed time for feeding. Put both dogs on a leash and set the bowls down. Give them 10-15 minutes to eat, then take up the bowls. Never leave their bowls down for them to finish later. Give them time to eat. praise good behavior and firmly say no to bad behavior. If you have to separate them with a little distance, do so.

    @Ridgetop gave you very good advice. This problem did not appear overnight and will not go away overnight. It will take time to correct.

    We will do all we can to help you. We are not here to bash you or make you feel bad. We all love our dogs and don't like to see these special dogs dumped at animal shelters, which sadly, happens when their owners don't understand them or spend the time necessary to train them. I myself, got a throw away Great Pyrenees some years back and she finally became a fantastic guard dog. I learned a LOT by reading this forum. I got advice and reinforcement from members here. So please read past posts, there is tons of information in them. Please ask questions and ask for help. We are here for you and we are here for your dog.

    This is going to require you to conquer your fear. This is going to require you to be the Alpha Dog, the Leader. This will not happen overnight for you either. It took a bad experience for you to become fearful, it has been there for awhile and you will have to work at it for yourself. Don't be afraid to ask questions, no matter how dumb you think they may be. Again, we care about you and we care about your dog.