Magnum- the unfolding/unravelling story of our LGD

frustratedearthmother

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Woo Hoo! Baby steps are still steps in the right direction and probably the best idea for him right now. Maybe try giving him a treat when he's relaxed around the goats. You want him to get the idea that interaction with goats is a positive experience. Not that you should have to do that forever - but for now it may help with the association. I'm rooting for you both!
 

ChickenMomma

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I put this on Dooley's thread, but also wanted to put it here, the herding behavior you described is exactly what Magnum does with our goats. He runs up beside them with an open mouth once they move to where he wants them, he stops. So is he trying to herd them? Does this change anything about how I should train?
 

Beekissed

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I put this on Dooley's thread, but also wanted to put it here, the herding behavior you described is exactly what Magnum does with our goats. He runs up beside them with an open mouth once they move to where he wants them, he stops. So is he trying to herd them? Does this change anything about how I should train?
My current dog, Blue, started doing that with the sheep the first time he was with them. Not quite as aggressively, mind you, just a slow walk to get them moving and he would bring them back up from the woods, towards the buildings and such. It was as if he was moving them from an area of what he thought was dangerous, back up to the safety of the homestead.

I corrected his behavior, so now he moves where they move to guard them, instead of moving them to where he wanted to station himself.

Your dog,herding aggressively, is NOT a good behavior and it needs nipped in the bud real quick. There is a FB page from Farei Kennels that deals with training LGDs....most of their methods are those I agree with, though those ladies have some rough language I do NOT condone. Your dog really NEEDS a lot of their methods! https://www.facebook.com/FareiKennels/

They advise tethering a dog in the goat/sheep area on a soft tether(can't emphasize that enough...I used a regular cable tie out and one of my sheep got entangled and it permanently crippled her) so they can't chase the goats/sheep, but still have proximity to and can guard~after a fashion~for up to a month. I used that one on a recent pup I had that was stubborn about training...tethering her helped, as I couldn't watch her 24/7, but after her month was up and more training applied, she would still do a casual lope at the sheep now and again, having to be corrected...again. Nothing aggressive, not biting them or anything, but just a little lope to get them moving, like she was having fun.

She no longer lives here. Don't be afraid to call it quits if the dog never conforms to your needs after all your best training. She now lives with a family in NY who loves her dearly and she's clearly where she was supposed to be. These dogs are not your pets nor your family members first...first, they are your employees that you invested a good bit of money in to do a job for you. If they don't do the job correctly, you can move them along to a new place of employment. Don't let people guilt you into not giving up on a dog....sometimes you and the dog are not a good match and they can find a better match elsewhere and so can you. Life is much too short to be miserable all the time, worrying about what the dog will do when you can't be watching it.

Also, I don't hold with the waiting until they are 2 yrs old to make that judgement....I know within a couple of months if a dog is going to be trainable for the job~why wait for 2 yrs, when the bad habits are firmly set in and I've lost chickens or larger stock, had to retrieve the dog from the neighbors over and over or other undesirable behavior when I can get a dog that doesn't make me wait that long for it to get with the program? Better dogs/breeds of dogs are out there, why wait for that long to get one started on the job? Get rid of the problem early on before you get too attached to a dog that will give you grief all its born days, is my best advice.
 

Baymule

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The fencing would take a lot of time and money and something we would have to think about. Our yard isn't flat so there are hills and banks to scale and the layout wouldn't mean just a simple square fence, so it is something we will have to plan. It is my hope that when he is older he would roam our land and stay in the perimeters without fencing but still have his own area to bed down and eat.
I well understand the cost of fencing. We fenced our entire place in non climb horse wire, cross fences too. $$$$$ LOL It took us 2 years to get it all done and we only have 8 acres.

The ONLY Great Pyrenees I know of that STAYS HOME with no fence is Fluffy, a spayed female GP that lives a couple of miles from us. She was a stray that wandered up and George fed and cared for her. She has never left. When George is home and outside, Fluffy chases cars to show him that she is protecting him from car monsters. If George is inside or not home, she barely gives cars a passing glance. For Fluffy to be lost, it means she wandered away from someone else that never found her, or they dumped her. She must be so glad to have a home, food and care, that she never wants to leave. Fluffy is the exception to the rule.

My point is that Magnum will not stay in the borders of your farm without a firm barrier, a fence, and even that may not deter him. I don't want to sound mean here, but stop thinking in Walt Disney La-La Land of happy little animals with human characteristics that do not eat each other, and start thinking like a strong, independent dog that is claiming his territory. You may hope that he is going to stay within the borders of your land, but without a fence, that is not going to happen. Please don't think that I am beating up on you and don't get your feelings hurt.

I further would advise to stop walking him outside the fenced area, except for your back yard area. Basically you are showing him where he can go when he gets out-and he may not come back. Someone might pick up the "lost" puppy. He might chase cars like Fluffy and get run over. ALL of my dogs race to the front fence to chase away truck monsters. They especially hate garbage trucks. Were it not for the fence, they would be dog pancakes. Why do dogs chase cars/trucks? Because it works. The monster is gone down the road, they have done their job, their livestock and people are safe-and it is just plain ol' fun.

If I don't start focusing on some positives and things that are going right with him I am going to deflate, so I have good news. Yesterday I started having "goat time" with him in his kennel. I got the two girl goats who are the most easy going and we had behavior training in his kennel with him. I got him to lay down and watch them for a bit. They came nose to nose a couple of times and he didn't snap at them! Every time he made an advance toward them I corrected him. But after about 10 minutes, he was losing his cool, so I ended it. I will keep repeating this every day, a couple of times a day.

I also did the sit and wait with his food this morning. Happy to report that he has no food aggression whatsoever! I even put a treat he likes on top of the food, took it back off, put one back in, interrupted him several times and he would stop and look at me until I said go ahead. It was like he already knew what to do.

Leash time to me is a time where I can control him and be the alpha. We also did that yesterday and I feel like he has a good understanding of "stop". The only command, but probably the one I repeat the most to him lol.

Baby steps.......
Yes! Baby steps! You did great on this. You are going in the right direction, it takes time and doing the same thing over and over until it clicks in his mind and he gets it. Never end on a negative, always end on a positive. No matter what you did for the preceding minutes, the last few seconds is what will be strongest on his mind. This also works with horses. LOL

Putting with goats for supervised time is great. Doing food training is also great. Keep up the good work. He, and you, can do this.
 

Beekissed

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Agree with everything Bay said 100%! GPs are known for their wandering and guarding territories for up to 5 mi. square....and known for getting picked up and turned over to the shelter, killed for trespassing on other people's farms and getting killed on the road. Actually, most of the breeds of LGD have this tendency, as they were more bred to be nomadic in their guarding, moving with the flocks either daily or for weeks on end.

Fencing is a must and even then, applying an additional layer of fencing by using a Sport Dog or similar type in ground electric to your farm perimeter or offset electric at top and bottom of woven wire fencing to contain your investment.

Fluffy is the exception and even he wandered from home at some point or he wouldn't have been out there on his own.

If you have a very small area to guard and your goats are confined to it, you may not need a LGD unless you have cougar or bear that prey on livestock in your area. A simple farm mutt on the premises all the time can do the trick, as long as it's the right sort. I've used Labs and Lab mixes for guarding 1 acre plots with small livestock and they've done well, even in places with coyotes, black bear and bobcat. They are also easier to contain, train and deal with altogether. This can save expenses on the type of fencing it takes to contain LGDs.
 

Stephine

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Congrats on your training progress! Just want to add that it is important to end before he loses his patience or gets bored with anything you train. The thing is that everyone, people, too, learns their experience; so you want to avoid him failing if you possibly can. Much better to end the training session early, when you think he’s doing great, and before you see him beginning to struggle. Then you can do another tiny session later in the day.
Also, dogs that are bred to think for themselves get bored with training repetitions. 2 successful repetitions (if you are training a command) are good enough to stop a session on, 3 is plenty. Then come back to it again in the next session. Short and sweet is the key! I am keeping my fingers crossed for you. And, like others said, it is not a terrible thing to give up on a dog that is just not the right fit, after you have put in some good work. Many, many people have dogs they adopted from shelters and rescues, or friends and neighbors and those dogs are living perfectly happy lives. It is much better for the dog, too, to live in a situation where he doesn’t fail all the time!
 

Ridgetop

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No one realized that you don't have perimeter fencing around your house and the goat pasture gates. Our suggestions have all been for property with fencing. If you can't or won't fence your property around the house, please rehome the puppy. He will never stay on the premises without proper fencing and since he is a Pyr even with fencing that may be too much to expect.

My point is that Magnum will not stay in the borders of your farm without a firm barrier, a fence, and even that may not deter him. I don't want to sound mean here, but stop thinking in Walt Disney La-La Land of happy little animals with human characteristics that do not eat each other, and start thinking like a strong, independent dog that is claiming his territory. You may hope that he is going to stay within the borders of your land, but without a fence, that is not going to happen. Please don't think that I am beating up on you and don't get your feelings hurt.
Agree with everything Bay said 100%! GPs are known for their wandering and guarding territories for up to 5 mi. square....and known for getting picked up and turned over to the shelter, killed for trespassing on other people's farms and getting killed on the road. . . . Fencing is a must and even then, applying an additional layer of fencing by using a Sport Dog or similar type in ground electric to your farm perimeter or offset electric at top and bottom of woven wire fencing to contain your investment.
Both Baymule and Beekissed are 10,000% right on this! NEVER try to keep a guardian dog on open land without fences unless you have thousands of empty acres, no road access, and are living with the dog and sheep in the middle of this wasteland. Good LGD breeders will insist that you have a fenced property and refuse to sell a puppy or adult LGD to anyone that doesn't.

Please don't get defensive over this. You didn't know anything about LGDs when you bought him except that you were told LGDs "stay with their animals and protect them". You expected him to do that, but did not understand that as a small 8 week old puppy he would not know what to do. LGD pups require a lot more training, The dangers to any dog are too great on an unfenced property. Cars, predators, getting lost, and humans that pick up the cute "stray" dog (even if he is wearing ownership tags )are just some of the dangers.

If you don't have a fenced yard, and can't put up a fence. you should rehome Magnum while he is still a puppy and can be retrained by someone with the appropriate fencing. You already have several strikes against you. First and most important, he is a Pyrenees. Second, lack of fencing. Third, he is a Pyrenees.

I have owned many Pyrenees LGDs over the past 30 years. We had appropriate fencing, but they still insisted in leaving the property and protecting the 100 acres behind us as well as the surrounding neighborhood up to 3 miles away. Bravo was killed by a car several miles away. The police called me when they found him. The officers said that they had often seen him trotting down the side of the road around 2:00 am while on night patrol. He was always in the yard in the morning, never knew he was gone. Alpha was rehomed to a large cattle ranch since she routinely left the yard, patrolled the neighboring hills and always turned up several miles away on someone's porch. After 10 trips to retrieve her in one month, we had to keep her tied. A guardian dog that is tied can't guard. A guardian dog that is tied can't protect himself from predators. A guardian dog that is tied will chew through the rope and must be chained! Chains can wrap around legs and cause severe damage. Any dog that is chained or tied, other than for a small period of time while a specific chore is performed, is in danger of injury.

Don't be afraid to call it quits if the dog never conforms to your needs after all your best training. . . . Don't let people guilt you into not giving up on a dog....sometimes you and the dog are not a good match and they can find a better match elsewhere and so can you. Life is much too short to be miserable all the time, worrying about what the dog will do when you can't be watching it.
And, like others said, it is not a terrible thing to give up on a dog that is just not the right fit, after you have put in some good work. . . It is much better for the dog, too, to live in a situation where he doesn’t fail all the time!
Absolutely!

You said that your property is very hilly. Here is a picture of ours. We have 6 acres. We sit on a ridge top and the land slopes away steeply in front and into the ravine in back and up to the dirt road in back.
Angel with sheep (1).jpg IMG_4429.jpg IMG_5657.jpg
That ravine is 100' deep and has a 60 degree slope. Steep slopes front and back, brush, dips, lots of predators. It is fenced with welded in place 5' oil pipe with woven livestock wire on the perimeter boundaries.


IMG_1428.JPG IMG_4418.jpg Front of property which is a 30 degree slope. We had to raise the fence since the ground sloughed off on the downhill areas making the fence only 3' high from the inside. Coyotes everywhere, cougar occasionally. We NEED our 3 guardians on our 6 acres.

We switched to Anatolians 7 years ago, but without proper fencing you should not get a livestock guardian dog of any breed. Even though my Anatolians don't have the roaming gene of Pyrs, I make sure my fences are secure and my dogs contained. Any LGD without proper boundaries will patrol outside their property. We had to teach them to remain inside the driveway when the gate was opened to bring vehicles in and out. Our 3 Anatolians learned this, our Pyrs knew better but refused to obey. We had to hold them inside when the gate was open.

I think you should seriously consider rehoming your puppy now since you don't have fencing. Save yourself a lot of heartache, since without fencing your LGD experience will not end well. It would be better to rehome him while he is still young enough to learn instead of when he is older, has learned wrong behaviors and ends up in a shelter. You say he cost a lot of money, but how much? The amount you put into him will be more in another year if you have to rehome him, and he will have learned bad behaviors.

Instead of an LGD, consider locking your goats up inside a shed at night for safety. Put bells on their collars so you can hear if they are being chased. Bells work. Add hot wire around the top and bottom perimeter of the goat pasture. There are other ways to deter predators. Remember, if Magnum is not in the pasture or free to get to the goats, he can't guard them anyway. Later, when you have proper fencing, you can research breeds of LGDs and find one that will work for you. Look for a trained adult LGD at that time. The extra cost of a trained dog will be worth it.

Please don't take this as any criticism of you.
You have worked hard with Magnum. He is just not the right choice for you at this time..
 

frustratedearthmother

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If I understand correctly she states in her first post that she has a 1.5 acre fenced area for the goats. Inside that area she has a 12 x 12 kennel that the dog can be put in when he needs a time-out.

My suggestion would be to try and add electric fence to that 1.5 acre field to contain the dog. It's not terribly expensive and pretty simple to install.

@ChickenMomma - this is totally your call! If it were me - I wouldn't quit on him yet. As long as you are willing to work with him a bit longer to at least get a real idea of if he can or can't improve. He's a 6 month old puppy. This is only the beginning of his formal training.

I wouldn't give up on him after only 6 days of real work. :idunno
 
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ChickenMomma

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I have a FENCED pasture for Magnum to be in, his kennel is also in this fence when he needs to be alone/time out. I was only talking about the yard around our home that isn't fenced. The goats move from this pasture to a connecting bigger fenced pasture. The bigger fenced pasture is where Magnum escapes if we let him in there. He has never escaped the smaller fenced pasture.
 

Ridgetop

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It is not a matter of giving up on him after only 6 days, she has been trying for 4 months. THIS IS NOT A CRITICISM OF CHICKENMOMMA. She has been trying her best. It is not her fault.

In my opinion the criticism should be of the breeder who sold a Pyrenees puppy to a family at 8 weeks old without a fenced yard. The criticism should be of any breeder selling an 8 week old LGD puppy without proper training help. And the final criticism should be for those who would make Chickenmomma feel guilty if she has to rehome him. Magnum is wrong for her circumstances. There is no guilt or shame in placing Magnum in a home that will suit him and allow him to be a successful LGD. She has been trying to make it work.


The goat pasture is fenced and there is a smaller attached area with a kennel in it for the dog BUT those fenced areas are 600' away from the house with no fences connecting them to the house yard. He wants to be with the family since he is a baby and the goats don't like him. These goats have never had an LGD with them. Livestock has to be trained to LGDs just like with herding dogs. The goats run away from him and he has to chase them to be with them. When he chases them he gets scolded. This is learning bad behavior. To try to provide exposure to the gots she kennels him in the goat pasture.

He is almost 6 months old. She got him at 8 weeks, and immediately put him in the goat pen alone with the goats and expected him to just stay there. He immediately got out and no wonder, he was a baby and lonely. She is lucky that the coyotes did not take him. Without fences you should not have LGDs. He is a Pyrenees x Maremma. Pyrenees are known for not remaining inside fences anyway. He has been getting out ever since she got him. 4 months of going over, under and through any fence has taught him that he can do it without any problem. He has also learned that as long as he avoids being caught he doesn't have to return to the kennel. When walking him or trying to return him to the kennel he will slip his leash and be off.

She wants him to learn to stick around the house without a fence, and expects him to go into the goat pen to protect the goats with whom he can't bond because they dislike him. This is an unreasonable expectation for any puppy, let alone a wandering breed like a Pyr. It would be better to rehome him now, and when she has more fencing, get another LGD, possibly an older trained one.

By keeping this 5-6 month old puppy and continuing in this way, by the time he either disappears for good or they make the decision to get rid of him in another year or so he will be ruined. For the puppy's sake they should rehome him now. This is not a good fit for either of them.
 
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