Hera's Story

Margali

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So gloomy, rainy day with nothing to do puts Hera in cuddly mood. She approached for head rubs voluntarily a couple times while I tidied sheep shed. :love

I got a cute picture of Hera letting Cocoa lean on her. Hera moved before Cocoa got all the way up. She has the cutest little muddy hoof prints on her side.
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Ridgetop

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I understand and am trying REAL hard to not push her comfort zone. It's just I want to give so much love and cuddles!
By not forcing her comfort zone you are acting exactly right for an Anatolian you got as an adult. Trying to cuddle an adult Anatolian you have just gotten makes them nervous. Also didnt yo say that the previous owners did not spend much time with her?
So gloomy, rainy day with nothing to do puts Hera in cuddly mood. She approached for head rubs voluntarily a couple times while I tidied sheep shed.
Starting to come to you for affection is wonderful! She has accepted you as a loving pack member, and will soon treasure her role within the family. Anatolians love small children and it won't be long before she sees guarding them as part of her duties as well. Being accepted and loved by an Anatolian is a great thing.
:weee Success!
 

Margali

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@Ridgetop How long do you think I should wait to get another LGD? Hera is trying to be in two places at once. She'd currently torn between following the mature ewes out to graze vs stay at shed with ewes that just lambed. She keep on going back & forth or rounding mature ewes back up towards shed.

I have opportunity to adopt a anatolian / komodor mix named Coach that is approximately 1yr old. Coach is currently working with goats at Bluebonnet Rescue. Do you think the 1yr old would work?
 

Ridgetop

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It looks like you may have more predators than you thought if Hera is worrying about being able to protect the whole pasture. Predator load is what determines the number of LGDs y need, not the number of acres or animals. If she is bringing the sheep back to the shed, Hera may be worried about not being able to protect them in the field. OTOH LGDs want to stay with lambing ewes and newborns because they are most at risk. The smell of lambing and afterbirth carries several miles and attracts predators. If you can keep the sheep closer to the barn so she can check on the newborns and feel that they are safe while protecting the sheep in the pasture, you should be alright. When you have 2 LGDs one will usually take on the newborn duties if they feel there is a threat while the other does pasture duty. They will often trade off duties during the lambing period. With her leg problem and age, I would definitely get another LGD now. If you want a puppy, you have to start looking now in order to guarantee one from a good breeder and litter. Hera will help train the puppy now before she is too old.

If you want to try the 1-year-old cross bred, be very careful. I am not very fond of crossbreds because you don't know which parent they may take after. Some are excellent while others may not be. You will want to inspect the dog and how it interacts with the goats. Goats are often more forceful with LGDs than sheep and will often discipline a playful or aggressive LGD. If this dog is too playful the sheep may not be able to discipline him when he enters an adolescent play period chasing.

I would not agree to take this dog permanently but would ask for a trial period. Female Anatoloans can be very dominant, and Hera may not allow it on the property. Just because she needs help guarding doesn't mean that she will accept another adult LGD on HER property. If she decides to beat up this male and he defends himself you may have a problem. Hera may get injured due to her bad leg. (If a fight happens, do NOT get between them trying to stop the fight! They will be too powerful and YOU will get hurt!) You will need to have an introductory trial period with this new dog to see if she accepts him, if he will submit to her authority, and if he will get along with Bruno. Although a 1-year-old is technically a puppy in large breeds he may go after Bruno.

Also be aware that Komondors have dense mats of corded hair that can grow to the ground. They do not respond well to brushing because of this dreadlock type coat. This long hair will collect lots of debris and need to be trimmed around the legs and face. With the mud at your place, you might not like all that coat. On the other hand, since it is crossed with an Anatolian the coat will probably not be as bad as a purebred. The Komondor is known for being good with family and family pets, but aggressive with strangers. They also need 6' fences since they can wander.

It would be worth a trip to see the dog as long as it is not too far away to look at the dog and judge his LGD abilities. Are you sure that the predator load is so high that you need an immediate adult LGD? Otherwise, I would start looking now for another Anatolian puppy. You can get a female since there is such a distance in the ages. With Bruno on the property, I would not suggest getting a male Anatolian.
 

Ridgetop

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@Margali I looked up the dog. I don't think this dog will do for you. He and his sister were rescues from the Texas Hill Country and have only been at the rescue organization for about 2 months. They don't say why the dogs were given up - possibly for chasing livestock or ? Rescues often have problems, and you won't know the background. The dog is not living full time with the goats but is rotated into the pasture for what sounds like several hours during the day. This is not enough time to determine how well the dog will do with sheep. You want an LGD, this rescue is asking for a family to give the dog lots of attention and make him a family pet. This will not suit the purpose for which you need him.

The adoption fee is $400. That is a lot of money for a dog with an uncertain background. With a little extra you could get a good purebred Anatolian from working parents and be fairly sure that the dog would work. There is no guarantee that this dog will work, or even that it will not kill a lamb.

Rescues are great and I applaud their intentions, but since you want a working dog for a certain purpose, I would not adopt this dog. You don't have the time to devote to breaking any bad habits he may have or to making sure he is safe with the newborn lambs. Even the best LGDs have to be trained around newborns. With a dog like Hera if a ewe lambs in the field the lambs will be safe and that is what you want in your new LGD.
 

Margali

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@Ridgetop Thank you for your feedback! I rely heavily on you and @Baymule. I'm NOT planning on bringing any additional LGD onsite until spring lambing is finished and youngest lambs are about month old. That would be end of March.

I just feel like I'm stuck in a Catch 22. I need to get LGDs to expand the sheep farm but I work full-time so how can I train a puppy? That's why I was looking for an older dog. It didn't occur to me that one may challenge and injure Hera. :( That would be HORRIBLE!!!
 

Ridgetop

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The puppy training is not 24/7. First, the puppy will be small so will need protection from predators. You will be putting her in a small pen in the sheep shed at night next to the sheep. During the day while you are at work, the pup can be in a larger pen next to the sheep. Any outside pen should have a cover of some sort (chicken wire is ok) to protect the pup from the black vultures. You can take the puppy outside with the sheep on a lead (to avoid having to chase her and being late for work) in the morning before you leave for work. Allow her to run free with you while doing sheep chores in the evening. We will be having longer afternoon and evening hours soon which will mean more outside time with the puppy and sheep. I keep saying "she" because at this point I think another female would be best. You have a large male dog in Bruno so you don't want any problems in another couple years. Male Anatolians can be harder to train (much more dominant and often aggressive) than females. There is enough age difference between Hera and any new puppy to avoid fighting.

Start looking for a puppy NOW because it may take a while to find the right breeder and puppy. Never too soon to start looking for the right dog since reputable breeders often have a waiting list of buyers that are referred by word of mouth. It could take a year to find the right puppy. It is important to have a relationship with a breeder who can help you with any training issues. If you don't like the breeder or their attitude don't buy there. Once you locate a breeder you like, keep checking back reminding them you want a puppy so they will realize you a bona fide buyer. Many people put themselves on breeders' lists then back out once the puppies are actually on the ground and ready for pick up. Baymule can give you the number of Buford's breeder and I can give you Erick's #. Erick always has a long waiting list for his pups, and they are expensive, but he is willing to keep female pups a little longer while he judges working ability. Occasionally Erick has an older dog or puppy available that he is willing to sell.

There are sometimes nice dogs available on Craigslist, but you want to make sure that the breeder has done OFA hips and elbows x-rays at the very least to avoid any dysplasia problems showing up. Do not believe anyone who tells you that there is no need for those tests on THEIR dogs. Dysplastic hips do not show up until the puppy has reached a certain weight. The x-rays should have a good to xlt result and the breeder should be willing to show the results to you. Dysplasia is a malformation of the hip socket which can cripple the dog. This is very important since if the dog can't run and fight, she will not be able to fend off coyotes and hogs. And if the dog has papers be sure to get the registration papers when you buy.
Excited about Hera getting a little helper to train. :love
 

SageHill

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I’ll add another what @Ridgetop said in bold - esp since I’ve been in the “dog game” - find a breeder or a couple breeders you like and get on their puppy list. Check back with them every so often. The wait can be awhile. Sometimes breedings don’t take, litters are smaller than needed. On the good side people fall off the list for whatever reason. If the breeder knows you check back you’re more likely to move up the list. And of course sometimes emails/contact information gets lost or misfiled.
 
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