LGD puppy - does she need a friend?

TXFarmGirl

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Our LGD puppy is in or garden, which has a 6 ft chainlink fence around it, and nothing growing in it, and it has a nice size shed in it for Sheera(the lgd). The chickens pen runs all the way around the garden, and the have their barn too...we let Sheera out to mingle with the chickens while we are outside. We went on a one day trip Sat, came back, a chicken had flown into the pen, and she ATE its back side, and neck out(it’s dead). We have a shock collar on her, so when we have a couple minutes, we let her out to be with the chickens, go inside, watch through the window, and make sure she is good while we “aren’t watching”. Then we put her back in her pen(the garden), and she has tons of toys, interactive toys, toys tied to the fence, etc. She is 4 1/2 months old.

She is great at doing perimeter checks, barking at bad things, everything like that...but she just doesn’t like the duck hens, and our smaller hens. Would it help her if we got her an animal to bond with that would help keep her distracted? Like a doe, or kid, or lamb, or puppy, or anything? Just to keep her occupied during the day?
 

Baymule

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No. Getting her a friend won't add to training, it would just mean MORE training. A puppy would ensure that she bonded to her new playmate instead of you. Take the challenges you are facing now and multiply by 2. If one puppy is taking a lot of time, what will 2 puppies require? Likewise on a goat or other animal, you would have to train the puppy to it and giving a puppy a goat to chew on is not fair to the goat, nor would it be good training to the puppy.

In my opinion, you have it backwards. Coop the chickens and give the puppy more room. She is in a pen and bored. The chickens have the free range while she is in a pen. Not fair to a large dog. Let her patrol the yard with the chickens in the coop. Open the garden gate, let her have the whole yard and keep the chickens up in a coop and covered run, so they can't fly out.

My opinion, a shock collar is a poor substitute for hands on training. She will learn when it is on and when it is off. Shock collars and bark collars have no place in training a LGD. I have been sorely tempted before, but stand fast in my belief that those training "aids" backfire with these dogs.

Please start reading. There are pages and pages of threads in the LGD section of this forum. Many people have faced what you are facing.
 

Xerocles

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@Baymule is the Queen of lgds around here. I was going to direct her to your thread, but I see she found it on her own. I don't have a lgd. I have a three yr old mutt.....who does a wonderful job of protecting "her" animals, now that she's trained. But your chicken commited "suicide by dog".
A puppy is a puppy is a puppy.
I'm not speaking for anyone else, and I may get chastised for this, but I wouldn't expect even Bay's 4 month old puppy (well on his way to being a trained lgd) could be trusted if a flappy sqawky chicken landed in front of him.
You said "just to keep her occupied during the day". It's my understanding that a trained lgd IS occupied during the day.....keeping constant vigil for threats to her wards. That's the instinct, the maturity, and the training.
Heed Bay's advice. It's great stuff.
 

Baymule

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I am not the Queen of LGD's. I just extensively read the posts here and studied the breeds, asked questions and listened. Anybody can learn from the years of experience and wisdom in the pages of the LGD forum. Thank you @Xerocles for the lovely compliment.

Sentry, my puppy is 7 months old now and could be trusted within a couple of months with chickens and the Looney Gooney Trio (guineas). There is a free range chicken that won't go back to the coop and she waits for him to get fed. She stalks his food bowl and he lays down to guard it from her. It is funny to watch them. If Sentry walks away, the hen comes to peck at his food. He pounces at the chicken, never on the chicken. It is like watching chicken-dog ballet. She doesn't even run from him.
 

Beekissed

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Yep...I've trained pups that are rock steady on chickens at 3 mo. of age, fully trustworthy. It's not really an age thing, it's training and response to it. Gotta put in the wrench time, especially if you don't have an older dog to show the younger what to do....but with chickens, you ALWAYS have to do some training.

It's fairly simple training, doesn't take a lot of time and sticks for a lifetime. I haven't had a single dog raised and trained by me ever harm a chicken.

I recently had a new one, arrived at 7 mo. old that reportedly had already been trained on chickens and sheep.....NOT. Won't ever trust anyone's word on THAT again. One duck gone, training commenced and he's rock steady on all birds now. Had him a couple of months now.

Distractions aren't a training tool, nor shock collars if you don't know what you are doing and even when you do. If you want him to succeed, you have to help him and work for it.
 

Baymule

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@TXFarmGirl I took in a throw away Great Pyrenees that was a chicken killer. Here is a link to her thread. When I posted it, I had already had her for 2 years. That is how long it took me to turn her around.

Paris is still wacko to this day. I call her the Psycho B!tch. I just learned to work with her good points and make the best of it.



We moved and by the time I started training Paris to sheep, she was 6 years old and just wanted to knock them down and bite them. What worked for her and the chickens was them being in the coop. While she hated them to start with, over time, they became hers. She protected us and HER yard, since the chickens were in her yard, she inadvertently protected them too. Since that worked with the chickens, I applied that same thing to the sheep. I put the lambs in HER yard, they belonged to HER and over time, she accepted them.

I need to update her thread.

And because we have a puppy,


I really want to help you with your puppy. Realize that a LGD is not your "normal" dog. They are independent, they are thinkers and they don't need you to tell them their job, once they are trained.

I can't stress enough to go to the LGD forum and study the posts.
 

Xerocles

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May I, who knows nothing on this subject, butt in one more time? What breed, or cross is your lgd? Are you sure s/he's got the bloodlines to do what you're wanting? Do the parents work?
 

TXFarmGirl

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May I, who knows nothing on this subject, butt in one more time? What breed, or cross is your lgd? Are you sure s/he's got the bloodlines to do what you're wanting? Do the parents work?
Definitely, her mom guards chickens 24/7, and her dad guards goats. She is an Anatolian Shepherd/Great Pyrenees cross.
 

Ridgetop

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I really want to help you with your puppy. Realize that a LGD is not your "normal" dog. They are independent, they are thinkers and they don't need you to tell them their job, once they are trained.

I can't stress enough to go to the LGD forum and study the posts.

A lot of LGDs do not ever take to poultry. They can be trained not to kill poultry but don't necessarily bond with them like they do with small stock like sheep and goats. Training LGDs to guard poultry is much harder than training them to love and guard small stock. Bay is right - confine the poultry and give your dog more space to guard around the poultry pen.

I don't like training with shock collars. Dogs will recognize the shock collar, and learn that they must behave while wearing it but when you take the collar off it means "OK, you can do your thing now". My dogs knew the difference between the show collar and lead - treats in the show ring, choke collar and lead - obedience training and praise, and the regular collar - off duty except for burglars. They also knew the release word from obedience exercises. Dogs are smart. LGD dogs are even smarter and they think for themselves. If you can get some feisty, mean roosters, they will teach the pup better than anything you can do. Remember that to your puppy those chickens are just another squeaky toy to play with.

The dog needs to be trustworthy around the flock whether wearing a shock collar or not, whether you are around or not. Using the shock collar to train your dog means you are teaching the dog that the collar only shocks (corrects) him if you are at home, and when he is wearing it. Trust me your dog knows when you are not at home.

The better training method is to go out with him/her in the poultry pen and work with the dog there. Anticipation and prevention of bad behavior is the best way to train. Encouragement of good behavior and praise while the pup is doing it teaches more easily. Punishment after the fact is the worst. The shock collar is simply punishment (pain) after the fact. You have to entice or lure the dog into bad behavior to use the shock (pain) properly. Shock collars may have their uses, but in my opinion it is not the way to train a 4 month old puppy who only wants to please you. There are gentler methods that work just as well. Please listen to Bay and read the different forums.
 

TXFarmGirl

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Update::: Sheera is doing amazing and we have lost a big 0 chickens from predators since we’ve had her, she Counts them every night, she checks on them, she is sad for one that has a poopy butt, and she knows when we get new chickens(she doesn’t like newcomers much, but eventually excepts them). Thank you all for all the impit you gave. She turned out great with a bit of work, and we are working on more every day.
 
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