LGD Questions from a First Timer

Goatsincoats99

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Hi everyone! I have a few questions about raising an LGD.
A little backstory: I started homesteading on a handful of acres last October. I knew I wanted goats to help with brush management—and an LGD to protect them. I did a ton of reading on just about every LGD resource I could find. I searched for an adult dog (rescues, Facebook groups, Craigslist) but the only adult LGD breed dogs in our area were being rehomed for killing livestock, fearing livestock, were failed house pets, or were $2000+ each and bonded. I have $100 worth of goats, so even if I could afford $5000 worth of dogs, it just doesn’t make sense for my level of operation. At that point, I’d have a dog farm with goats for ambiance.
I settled on a 5 month old female that came from a working home with goats, children, and other dogs. She’s an incredibly sweet dog with a mean bark. We do not expect her to “go to work” or actually defend her herd at this age, but we want to raise her correctly so one day she will. The goats are locked up at night and they are not left together unsupervised. Pup is 9 months old now and has hit her devilish teenage phase.

She had free roam of the pasture, but the spring season hit us hard. We bought our property in October and had no idea that it was actually five acres of foxtails. After thousands in vet bills (over the course of 3 days) to have them removed from her ears and nose, she is confined to our dog run (about 20’ by 100’) which is as foxtail free as it can be. I brush her and check her paws everyday. She leaves the dog run multiple times a day for walks/runs down our long driveway (on a leash to keep her safe from any lurking foxtails) and we play with her a lot, but she’s still going stir crazy. Any advice on protecting from foxtails and burrs or keeping her mind busy as we ride out foxtail season?

Additionally (and I’m sure relatedly), she’s picked up an idle bark at night. 1 am, 4 am, it doesn’t matter and sometimes it’s nonstop. We don’t want to “reward” this behavior by giving her attention for it. It’s very different than her “alert” bark. I’m surprised our neighbors haven’t started taking potshots at her (and us). We’d like to end this behavior as soon as possible, before it does get ugly, but I’m at a loss for how. As it is, I cannot afford another foxtail bender or another dog cooped up in the dog run for company.

One last thing. She’s generally sweet with the goats and we never leave them unsupervised. However, she’s picked up this horrible habit of following the goats around and licking their bums like they are walking treat dispensers. She has never been aggressive towards them, but she locks into this behavior. We firmly tell her no, and she’ll stop for a minute, and then immediately go back to it. Even if she’s on the lead, if a goat cruises by, she locks in. Has anyone experienced and stopped this before?

Thanks for all your help!
 

Finnie

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Hi, I can’t help you with LGD advice, but I wanted to say hello and welcome to the forum! What general part of the country are you in? You can add it to your profile, and then people who want to give answers to your questions can see what kind of climate affects the answer.

:welcome
 

Ridgetop

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Butt licking and sniffing is how dogs, and other animals, identify and bond to their pack members. If she is just licking, leave her to it. If she is nibbling or biting, then correct her. Otherwise, she is learning the smell of her flock/pack members. Since she is not allowed to run freely with the goats, she needs to check them over and make sure that these are her goats each time she encounters them. As we move our ewes in and out of the breeding pen, main field, and lambing barn, our 3 trained adult LGDs check over every sheep when it is returned to their particular field. New lambs that are turned in with the main flock also get a rigorous smelling and licking to make sure that our dogs will recognize them as pack members.
 

Goatsincoats99

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Hi, I can’t help you with LGD advice, but I wanted to say hello and welcome to the forum! What general part of the country are you in? You can add it to your profile, and then people who want to give answers to your questions can see what kind of climate affects the answer.

:welcome
Thanks Finnie! I am in Northern California. I will add it to my profile as well. 😊
 

Goatsincoats99

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Butt licking and sniffing is how dogs, and other animals, identify and bond to their pack members. If she is just licking, leave her to it. If she is nibbling or biting, then correct her. Otherwise, she is learning the smell of her flock/pack members. Since she is not allowed to run freely with the goats, she needs to check them over and make sure that these are her goats each time she encounters them. As we move our ewes in and out of the breeding pen, main field, and lambing barn, our 3 trained adult LGDs check over every sheep when it is returned to their particular field. New lambs that are turned in with the main flock also get a rigorous smelling and licking to make sure that our dogs will recognize them as pack members.
Thanks for your response! This definitely goes beyond an identifying sniff. She is eating the poop out of their bums as they as they drop it, and excitedly following them in circles waiting for more. A delicious snack for her, I am sure. She is not “aggressive” about it—meaning I don’t think that she is going to hurt at all—but she is fixated on it, and will disregard commands until I physically pull her away.
 

Baymule

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Idle barking….. get ready for some sleepless nights. I’ve used this method on different breeds for 40 years. It works.
Dog barks.
Tap window glass with fingernail
Open door, HUSH!
Dog usually stops barking…. Until you just went back to sleep.
Dog barks.
Tap window.
Open door, HUSH!
Go to pen, call dog to you. Pet and firmly say HUSH! Several times. You may have to do this 5-10 times.

If unwanted idle barking continues, you escalate your correction.

Dog barks.
Tap window.
Open door, HUSH!
Go to dog pen with rolled up newspaper.
Slap pen with paper, HUSH! Each time you slap the pen with the news paper. Slap pen 6 times.
Before you go back to the house, call dog, pet and reassure that you are not upset any more. You want to correct behavior, not make him scared of you.

Dog barks.
Tap window.
Open door. HUSH!
Go to pen with paper, slap pen 10 times, yell HUSH! each time.
Call dog to you, give reassurance.

This usually takes a week or two. If dog is too far away to hear window tap, think of another warning noise the dog can hear, that you can use again easily. In time, the window tap will be all that is needed.

Sometimes there is the real stubborn dog that just won’t shut up. This is when Monster Mom comes out. If slapping the pen with newspaper doesn’t work, go in the pen and slap your hand. Be mad. If that doesn’t work, yes, slap the dog with the newspaper. More than likely, you won’t have to do that. This is after a couple of weeks of correction and it’s time to escalate.

I stopped my Anatolians from chasing and catching chickens with a rolled up feed sack. I found chickens laying all over the place. Luckily just in shock, not dead. I made it an event to remember. I put dogs in the coop, tossed chickens on them to make the chickens flutter their wings. Yelling NO over and over, I beat the coop, roost, my leg and I whalloped the dogs with the feed sack. I scolded, I shoved chickens in their faces and yelled some more. I shut them in the coop to think about it, standing where they couldn’t see me. After 5 minutes, I went back, went in the coop and called them to me. I reassured them that I wasn’t mad any more. Then calmly caught a chicken and offered the hen to each of them. They wanted NOTHING to do with the chicken. Problem solved.

My point is, mostly a simple correction works. Sometimes you have to correct over and over, patiently until one day, they get it. For real bad behavior I bring out the rolled up paper. For terrible never do that again behavior, I rain rolled up paper all over. That is the only time I whalloped them with a paper sack.
 

Baymule

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It is important with a young dog, when the barking is real, whether it’s a bobcat or anything your dog sees as a threat, go outside and back him up. Go talk to him, pet and praise him. This lets him know he’s not alone. You don’t have to do this every night, just once in awhile or when he is seriously barking. You may actually find a predator. It could be a possum, or anything.

There has been a pesky turtle invading the sheep pasture. My male Anatolian hates the turtle, barks and paws at it. I’ve put it over the fence 3 times, a few days later, it’s back. Sometimes you have to help them fight their battles. LOL
 

Goatsincoats99

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Idle barking….. get ready for some sleepless nights. I’ve used this method on different breeds for 40 years. It works.
Dog barks.
Tap window glass with fingernail
Open door, HUSH!
Dog usually stops barking…. Until you just went back to sleep.
Dog barks.
Tap window.
Open door, HUSH!
Go to pen, call dog to you. Pet and firmly say HUSH! Several times. You may have to do this 5-10 times.

If unwanted idle barking continues, you escalate your correction.

Dog barks.
Tap window.
Open door, HUSH!
Go to dog pen with rolled up newspaper.
Slap pen with paper, HUSH! Each time you slap the pen with the news paper. Slap pen 6 times.
Before you go back to the house, call dog, pet and reassure that you are not upset any more. You want to correct behavior, not make him scared of you.

Dog barks.
Tap window.
Open door. HUSH!
Go to pen with paper, slap pen 10 times, yell HUSH! each time.
Call dog to you, give reassurance.

This usually takes a week or two. If dog is too far away to hear window tap, think of another warning noise the dog can hear, that you can use again easily. In time, the window tap will be all that is needed.

Sometimes there is the real stubborn dog that just won’t shut up. This is when Monster Mom comes out. If slapping the pen with newspaper doesn’t work, go in the pen and slap your hand. Be mad. If that doesn’t work, yes, slap the dog with the newspaper. More than likely, you won’t have to do that. This is after a couple of weeks of correction and it’s time to escalate.

I stopped my Anatolians from chasing and catching chickens with a rolled up feed sack. I found chickens laying all over the place. Luckily just in shock, not dead. I made it an event to remember. I put dogs in the coop, tossed chickens on them to make the chickens flutter their wings. Yelling NO over and over, I beat the coop, roost, my leg and I whalloped the dogs with the feed sack. I scolded, I shoved chickens in their faces and yelled some more. I shut them in the coop to think about it, standing where they couldn’t see me. After 5 minutes, I went back, went in the coop and called them to me. I reassured them that I wasn’t mad any more. Then calmly caught a chicken and offered the hen to each of them. They wanted NOTHING to do with the chicken. Problem solved.

My point is, mostly a simple correction works. Sometimes you have to correct over and over, patiently until one day, they get it. For real bad behavior I bring out the rolled up paper. For terrible never do that again behavior, I rain rolled up paper all over. That is the only time I whalloped them with a paper sack.
This is great advice, thank you! I will definitely try it. It has been high seventies here at night lately and I’ve been considering sleeping outside on the deck (where I can see her but she can’t see me) to correct her consistently (day job be damned lol). If she sees me, or if I hush her, she stops immediately, which makes it hard to find the right balance with correction. She would stop barking long before I made it down the stairs to slap the pen—which is a good thing, I guess—but she’ll start up again 5 minutes later (as soon as i’m back in bed!). Is it okay to go down and slap the pen even if by that time she is no longer barking? She is attention-motivated, so I am worried about reinforcing the behavior by going to her (and she learns “I bark, mom comes” even if mom is angry, because bad attention is still attention). Often when I hush her (sternly), her tail is wagging to see me.
 

Goatsincoats99

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It is important with a young dog, when the barking is real, whether it’s a bobcat or anything your dog sees as a threat, go outside and back him up. Go talk to him, pet and praise him. This lets him know he’s not alone. You don’t have to do this every night, just once in awhile or when he is seriously barking. You may actually find a predator. It could be a possum, or anything.

There has been a pesky turtle invading the sheep pasture. My male Anatolian hates the turtle, barks and paws at it. I’ve put it over the fence 3 times, a few days later, it’s back. Sometimes you have to help them fight their battles. LOL
That is so funny about the turtle! We don’t have turtles around here, so I imagine everyone would be really surprised if we found one.

I or my partner go outside with a flashlight when she barks seriously. She has a very serious and deep alert bark. We don’t praise her, but we stand with her and investigate. She can hear the neighbor dogs and I am sure she is often discussing the latest hot gossip with them. It’s a bigger deal for her to bark all night though, because we are at the top of a hill and sound travels like crazy from our house to the neighbors.
 

Baymule

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Yes, it is ok to go slap the pen. Make yourself BIG. A strong posture, raise your arms, be intimidating. Even though she has stopped barking, follow through with slapping the pen. Make lots of noise. A paper feed sack, rolled up makes lots of noise!

Her tail is wagging glad to see you because she doesn’t know you are not happy with her. It’s not her fault, she just doesn’t get it. It will take time, patience and more patience.

The breeder chose me for the female Anatolian I have. Sheba is unbelievably stubborn. Smart, but stubborn. Breeder said it would take someone with lots of patience to train her. Breeder wasn’t wrong. I’ll go find her thread, I was so excited when she finally got it that I was scolding her that I took a picture! She even looked sorry! BRB
 
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