In search of LGD in Florida

Angeliki Manouselis

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After a year with no problems, I believe I have another bobcat in my area. I set a trap last night and didn't get it. (I have successfully trapped in the past) Will try until I get it, but I think the better long term plan is finding a couple Livestock guardian dogs. I have goat kids on the way and I am so nervous. I lost a duck and a hen this week. My ducks don't like to go in at night so I have to chase them and put them away. If anyone knows any LGD breeders in Florida, I would really appreciate information. Thank you!
 

Ridgetop

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If you are having trouble with a resident predator, you will need an older trained dog. A cute little LGD puppy will be a meal for the bobcat.

Here I may upset some people, but I am saddened by reading posts from people who have problem dogs because they did not do their homework on LGDs, gotten poorly bred dogs from breeders who only care about breeding LGD puppies for a quick dollar. There are a lot of people out there breeding LGDs, they are becoming trendy. Trendy is the death of good dogs. It doesn't cost any more to feed and care for a good LGD, it actually costs less because you will have a good working dog protecting your livestock. We know where the bad socialized LGDs with poor temperament and no ability end up.

First, I don't advocate getting a puppy from Craigslist unless the owner has both parents, both parents are true working dogs, not pets in a backyard with one pet goat and some chickens. Puppies also need training. Do you have the time and experience for LGD training?

Second, I would definitely not get a rescue LGD either. No offence to those who have done so, but Angeliki does not have the time to train a rescue that probably has some bad behavior issues. Those people that have rescued or adopted unknown LGDs have had to work months and years to retrain them into reliable working dogs. There are more failures than successes.

And third, we have all read too many posts from people that have jumped at the chance to get a free "LGD" of unknown heritage or background who has "been with animals". Heartbreaking, but so avoidable if the poster had bought from a good breeder, trained the dog properly, and received the advice and help you can expect from a responsible breeder.

Angeliki needs a working dog right now, who is properly trained. Puppies are cute but will not be able to do the job for at least 6-12 months. Southern might be able to put her in touch with someone with a trained adult dog, or a 6-12 month old trained puppy that would keep the bobcat at bay. Those dogs will not be cheap or free. You can find cheap "LGDs" but they may or may not be worth the money. Are they healthy? Are they free from dysplasia? Most importantly, are they really out of working parents? Why take a chance, get a good dog from a reputable breeder.

Here I am going to get on a soapbox and defend good LGD breeders. Their dogs cost money because they put money into their dogs. I want to point out here before anyone starts screaming at the price of a good LGD, that you have to consider what a good breeder has invested in the litter. OFA testing for hip dysplasia is expensive. Without it your puppy could become crippled by an inherited deformity at 2 or 3 years of age. The stud fee for a good male is not cheap and if the breeder owns both dogs, she has the initial investment in the male and his expenses. She also loses a guardian while the female is in season (3 weeks), and delivering and nursing pups (4-6 weeks). Good quality dog food costs money and most breeders supplement as well. Puppies and a lactating bitch eat a LOT. Vaccinations run into money even if the breeder gives her own shots. By 12 weeks, puppies have had at least 2 rounds of vaccines. Don't forget puppies have to be wormed - more expense - and if the dog is leaving the state there is the charge for a health certificate.

LGD puppies don't leap out of the whelping box and immediately start guarding their livestock either. Training is time consuming. The good breeder watches the puppies for their attributes and temperament - not all puppies in a litter will make good LGDs. Some will be better suited to general household guards, farm dogs, and the cream will be LGDs. The best breeders stand behind their dogs, have contracts demanding the return to the dog if the owner has to relinquish it. They are available for advice and assistance in training, etc. By the time the breeder sells a puppy at 12 weeks of age, they have a large $$$ investment in those puppies. Good breeders are very picky about who gets their dogs since they don't want those puppies to end up on Craigslist, in rescue, or the shelter.

Now that we have establish that the breeder has a lot of money invested in each puppy, maybe you won't shriek in outrage at the price. Here is another way to realize the value in the LGD. Take the price of that dog and divide it by 12 years which is the basic life span of a good LGD who receiving proper food and vet care. Compare that to 12 years of no lost livestock, 12 years of being able to sleep through the night, and a trustworthy guardian. It will be cheap.

After our old LGD died of cancer we decided not to replace her. 2 years later I had lost $3,500.00 in dead ewes and lost lambs. It took me over a month to locate a trained adult LGD that would suit our family. I could have had a pair of older trained LGDs - they were vicious when eating, the owner could not approach them. I could have had a nice trained LGD whose owner was rehoming him because he needed 7' fences. Another that the owner thought might make a good LGD, maybe. Several litters of puppies but they would have to be locked up for many months so they themselves would be safe from predators. You get the idea.

In the end DH and I found a breeder in Texas who had a dog he might sell. I talked to him for 2 weeks about his dogs, then we drove 1,500 miles one way - 3 days - to meet the breeder. I paid $2,500.00 for a trained 18 month old Anatolian bitch. My breeder's contract was strict. I spayed my bitch since I did not want to breed puppies.

She was the best investment I ever made. I have since bought an Anatolian puppy from the same breeder. I am currently training our 3rd Anatolian from the same bloodlines. I don't shudder at the price. I have money invested in my livestock, I invest money in good LGDs. It is worth the cost.

Ask Southern how much money she had in each of her puppies, and how much time she spends helping her buyers and others.
 

Ridgetop

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Sorry, I probably should have posted this in its own posting or forum.

Angeliki needs help finding a good LGD and I am not criticizing her at all.
 

B&B Happy goats

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Look on CL in the gainsville Ocala area, there are great breeders that breed and have both parents on site and do training, we are in horse country, cattle, sheep and goats. These people advertise that their dogs are socialized with these animals. They may also be in touch with older dogs that need a home or rescue groups. I understand @Ridgetop passion...but there are some good breeders here. Best of luck to you
 

Angeliki Manouselis

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Thank you all for the info. I will search for reputable breeders. I am willing to put in the time to train and raise a young dog with my animals as I work part-time and only nights. I understand it will take a while and also of course they won’t be put out in a field to be eaten by the predator. I was planning to build a dog house/shed in the animal yard for the LGD and I think I want two of them.
 

Ridgetop

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Yes, B & B, I am passionate because I want LGD owners to have a wonderful experience and be able to sleep at night.

New buyers need to know the difference between someone who happens to have a couple of LGD breed dogs and has a litter thinking to cash in or LGD reputations for money and those who really know their dog and are producing good working dogs for working homes. Those breeders want their dogs to go to working livestock homes.

Angeliki,
You can buy two from the same litter. They will be back up for each other at an earlier age and company for each other. However they will so be twice as much to train, feed, and socialize.

I suggest you read some books about LGDs as well since they are truly a different kettle of fish from all other breeds. I recommend The Way of the Pack by Brenda Negri. Yes, everyone, I have read it and that is why I am recommending it. I do not do everything she suggests, but she has excellent advice in it. I would also go on the Lucky Hit website and read the articles by Erick Conard who has spent over 30 years breeding and training guardian dogs. He has many excellent articles covering all phases of his experiences with LGDs. Third, find the Facebook page of Debra Buckner and look at her puppy training videos. I don't do Facebook, but Erick says she does a great job with these training videos.

For over 30 years we have owned, lived with, and worked 8 LGDs and are currently training our 9th. During that time we have run varying numbers of sheep and goats (as few as 5 up to 100) on 5 fenced steep, brushy, acres in southern California. We have 5 resident packs of coyotes living and hunting outside our fences, and occasional cougar. Our first LGD was a SarPlaninetz purchased from a sheep rancher in Montana. Our subsequent 5 were Great Pyrenees, 4 purchased from commercial Basque sheep rancher in Bakersfield. One of our Pyrs was a roamer, and we rehomed her to a large ranch in Riverside. Our last Pyr was a granddaughter of our best Pyr amd a Pry LGD out of Ohio. All of our Pyrs were distance protectors meaning they protected the borders of our property. They remained with our goats and sheep during lambing and kidding only. During an attack on the livestock they would split up to protect the flock, one staying close and the other driving off the predators. Our current 3 are Anatolians. I prefer them because they are close in workers, but like all LGDs they divide up their work loads, and work in partnership.

Look into the different breeds since they are different in their approach to protection.

Whatever breed you buy, your fences must be escape proof and you must teach your dogs their boundaries. A roaming LGD can be shot, picked up by the shelter, stolen. Roaming LGDs with sharper temperament like Anatolians may bite their rescuers and end up being put down, or you can be sued for having a "dangerous" dog. GOOD FENCES ARE IMPERATIVE.

When shopping for your dog or puppy, speak to the breeders on the phone before looking at cute puppies. Here are some questions to ask before going to see the puppies:

1. How long have the breeders owned LGDs?
2. Have they experience training LGD puppies that are guarding livestock?
3. If there is an issue, do they stand behind their puppies and take them back?
4. How large is their property, what is the topography, and how is it fenced? Flat fenced land with easy sight lines is easier to protect than steep, brushy land with lots of out of sight places for predators to hide.
5.
Have they had their dog x-rayed for dysplasia?
6. Have the puppies had their shots, been wormed, do they guarantee the health of their puppies?
7. What are the problems of this particular breed? Roamers? Diggers? Sharp temperament around strangers? Need constant grooming? (All LGDs have heavy double coats, BUT some breeds with excessive coat need constant grooming - others only need heavy grooming during spring coat blow.)
8. Does the breeder every have adult dogs for sale or placement.

Ask the breeder's advice about what they have seen in each puppy. Don't fall in love with one particular puppy or let your children choose one. Remember this is not just a cute household puppy for the kids that will bark at coyotes and bobcats. The livestock guardian dog is a working family member with a strong mind and even stronger body. You will have him/her to work with you and you will have to be responsible for him and his behavior to others for a minimum of 12 years. You will have to anticipate any moves made by 150 lbs. of muscle in the event of emergency. You need one that suits your ranch, livestock. and you. (Hopefully, you will have chosen a good breeder who can help you choose based on your needs.) Even better if you locate a breeder that has taken back a trained dog due to the owner's health, or other problems. Often these will be more costly, but are trained and working immediately. You can then add a pppy once the adult has settled in. The adult dog will help you with the puppy' training but you will still have to do most of the training yourself.

You do not have the dog yet, so this is the time to make all your inquiries, read all you can from people who have had problems so you can avoid making costly mistakes. By doing this, you will have a successful relationship with your guardians. They are not just dogs, they are working partners in the safety of your stock, and family, whom they will defend to the death.

I have decided to put all this information on a second new forum about LGDs and I invite everyone who has LGDs to contribute.

Angeliki - Good Luck. A good LGD is worth the entire cost of all your livestock. I could not live safely without my dogs.
 

B&B Happy goats

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Yes, B & B, I am passionate because I want LGD owners to have a wonderful experience and be able to sleep at night.

New buyers need to know the difference between someone who happens to have a couple of LGD breed dogs and has a litter thinking to cash in or LGD reputations for money and those who really know their dog and are producing good working dogs for working homes. Those breeders want their dogs to go to working livestock homes.

Angeliki,
You can buy two from the same litter. They will be back up for each other at an earlier age and company for each other. However they will so be twice as much to train, feed, and socialize.

I suggest you read some books about LGDs as well since they are truly a different kettle of fish from all other breeds. I recommend The Way of the Pack by Brenda Negri. Yes, everyone, I have read it and that is why I am recommending it. I do not do everything she suggests, but she has excellent advice in it. I would also go on the Lucky Hit website and read the articles by Erick Conard who has spent over 30 years breeding and training guardian dogs. He has many excellent articles covering all phases of his experiences with LGDs. Third, find the Facebook page of Debra Buckner and look at her puppy training videos. I don't do Facebook, but Erick says she does a great job with these training videos.

For over 30 years we have owned, lived with, and worked 8 LGDs and are currently training our 9th. During that time we have run varying numbers of sheep and goats (as few as 5 up to 100) on 5 fenced steep, brushy, acres in southern California. We have 5 resident packs of coyotes living and hunting outside our fences, and occasional cougar. Our first LGD was a SarPlaninetz purchased from a sheep rancher in Montana. Our subsequent 5 were Great Pyrenees, 4 purchased from commercial Basque sheep rancher in Bakersfield. One of our Pyrs was a roamer, and we rehomed her to a large ranch in Riverside. Our last Pyr was a granddaughter of our best Pyr amd a Pry LGD out of Ohio. All of our Pyrs were distance protectors meaning they protected the borders of our property. They remained with our goats and sheep during lambing and kidding only. During an attack on the livestock they would split up to protect the flock, one staying close and the other driving off the predators. Our current 3 are Anatolians. I prefer them because they are close in workers, but like all LGDs they divide up their work loads, and work in partnership.

Look into the different breeds since they are different in their approach to protection.

Whatever breed you buy, your fences must be escape proof and you must teach your dogs their boundaries. A roaming LGD can be shot, picked up by the shelter, stolen. Roaming LGDs with sharper temperament like Anatolians may bite their rescuers and end up being put down, or you can be sued for having a "dangerous" dog. GOOD FENCES ARE IMPERATIVE.

When shopping for your dog or puppy, speak to the breeders on the phone before looking at cute puppies. Here are some questions to ask before going to see the puppies:

1. How long have the breeders owned LGDs?
2. Have they experience training LGD puppies that are guarding livestock?
3. If there is an issue, do they stand behind their puppies and take them back?
4. How large is their property, what is the topography, and how is it fenced? Flat fenced land with easy sight lines is easier to protect than steep, brushy land with lots of out of sight places for predators to hide.
5.
Have they had their dog x-rayed for dysplasia?
6. Have the puppies had their shots, been wormed, do they guarantee the health of their puppies?
7. What are the problems of this particular breed? Roamers? Diggers? Sharp temperament around strangers? Need constant grooming? (All LGDs have heavy double coats, BUT some breeds with excessive coat need constant grooming - others only need heavy grooming during spring coat blow.)
8. Does the breeder every have adult dogs for sale or placement.

Ask the breeder's advice about what they have seen in each puppy. Don't fall in love with one particular puppy or let your children choose one. Remember this is not just a cute household puppy for the kids that will bark at coyotes and bobcats. The livestock guardian dog is a working family member with a strong mind and even stronger body. You will have him/her to work with you and you will have to be responsible for him and his behavior to others for a minimum of 12 years. You will have to anticipate any moves made by 150 lbs. of muscle in the event of emergency. You need one that suits your ranch, livestock. and you. (Hopefully, you will have chosen a good breeder who can help you choose based on your needs.) Even better if you locate a breeder that has taken back a trained dog due to the owner's health, or other problems. Often these will be more costly, but are trained and working immediately. You can then add a pppy once the adult has settled in. The adult dog will help you with the puppy' training but you will still have to do most of the training yourself.

You do not have the dog yet, so this is the time to make all your inquiries, read all you can from people who have had problems so you can avoid making costly mistakes. By doing this, you will have a successful relationship with your guardians. They are not just dogs, they are working partners in the safety of your stock, and family, whom they will defend to the death.

I have decided to put all this information on a second new forum about LGDs and I invite everyone who has LGDs to contribute.

Angeliki - Good Luck. A good LGD is worth the entire cost of all your livestock. I could not live safely without my dogs.

My stating your "passion" was in no way ment as a insult toward you. I just happen to live in the same state as the poster of the question and offered her a wonderful area of the state to search for a good breeder...I am quite sure there are many states in this country with wonderful breeders...having passion for your animals is a beautiful thing :)
 
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