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Rescue LGD persnickety...

Discussion in 'Livestock Guardians' started by TMChickensLGD, Jul 13, 2018.

  1. Jul 13, 2018
    TMChickensLGD

    TMChickensLGD Chillin' with the herd

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    We adopted a GP (mostly if not all GP). Sweetest most affectionate dog. Probably 4 months old. He hates a leash, won’t walk on a leash. Can’t stand being tied up. We made him a nice bed & stall in barn with a small pool & a fan. He prefers that. We can’t progress towards any training, he just lays down, not food motivated. Tried training without a leash, he runs off. Literally. Always comes home. He will walk around with you all day as long as he is free to do what he wants. First time he wants to chase a guinea he takes offf and then keeps going. Any ideas? We live in a very rural area with NO trainers nearby. Send him to a trainer? We only need him to guard chickens and someday guineas.
     
  2. Jul 13, 2018
    Bruce

    Bruce Herd Master Golden Herd Member

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    @Southern by choice has a lot of experience with LGDs and GPs in particular. Perhaps she (busy as she is) will see the tag and comment.
     
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  3. Jul 13, 2018
    Latestarter

    Latestarter Novice; "Practicing" Animal Husbandry Golden Herd Member

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    Greetings and welcome to BYH from NE TX! So glad you joined us. Sounds like you're going to have your hands full with your new dog. Since you have no history of parentage or where he came from/background, there's no guarantee he even has LGD traits... It could prove even worse depending on what bred he is crossed with. Sorry, just the truth. I suggest a very well fenced area for him to stay in. It will need to be very secure as he's already demonstrated that he's a wandering spirit. There's a wealth of info, knowledge and experience shared in the multitude of threads. I suggest the LGD threads specifically. Browse around and see what interesting stuff you can find. By all means post away when the desire strikes you, especially if you have questions (provide as much detail/info as possible and pictures truly help)... With all the great folks here, generally someone will respond in no time at all. Please make yourself at home!

    PLEASE put at least your general location in your profile. It could be very important if/when you ask for or offer help or advice. You know, climate issues and such. I recommend at least your state as most folks won't be able to figure out where if you put anything more specific (county, town, street, etc) by itself. Old folks like me will never remember & look there first. To add it, mouse hover over Account top right and a drop down will appear. Click on Personal Details and scan down. You'll see the spot for Location. Then go to the bottom and save changes. Thanks! Hope you enjoy the site!
     
  4. Jul 13, 2018
    BrendaMNgri

    BrendaMNgri Loving the herd life

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    First of all, welcome to this forum, I think the Admins require you to do an intro post over on the "welcome" page first so you might want to
    check that out and say hi and where you are from.

    I have many questions for you:

    Did you adopt this dog from a rescue/shelter or individual?
    Did they say why the pup was being given up?
    What is your prior experience with dogs? And LGDS if any?
    Is your place fenced, as in dog-proof fencing? If it isn't you are probably going to be in for some issues because you can't keep an LGD
    home without some kind of fencing (as in, if the dog decides to chase off a predator, there is nothing to stop him.)
    Did you know that? Do you have plans of fencing your property if it is not?

    You say you "can't progress towards any training because he just lays down." Explain to me please, what you mean by that? What you
    are expecting the dog to do? If it is hot, he's probably uncomfortable, and wants to lay down to cool off, yes?

    Training LGDs to guard poultry is a very big commitment. I don't know if you've taken the time to search term this forum to read
    the many other threads about LGDs guarding poultry or not. I will post an article from a magazine I did some years back.
    You should read it.
    I am not attacking you so don't take this the wrong way. But I'm hearing a lot of expectations out of you for this pup, that are not in line
    with where he's at. You just brought him home, he needs time to adjust, to get to know you and the farm/homestead/whatever, and to
    toss him into guarding fowl right away is not acceptable.

    I'm also curious as to how much you asked the people about him before you decided to bring him home, as in were the parents working
    LGDs or not? Why was he given up? Etc. Etc. Were they informative, or did they just look the other way and basically say nothing or ?

    A lot for you to digest. But these dogs take that. They take thinking, patience, more patience, and time. Lots of it. No quickie training tricks.
    And guarding fowl is one of the hardest to do especially if the pup is already 4 months old and had no prior poultry training, or came out of non-working stock.
    I could go on but won't. I will leave you with the article. Please read it. I just sense that you bought this pup home and have unrealistic expectations of it.
    I hope you will slow down, read what I post here, and really take a step back, a deep breath and approach this responsibly and seriously. No regular dog trainer
    is what this pup needs, no.
    You are the trainer.
    What this pup needs is for you to "empty your cup" and learn how to understand him and make him your partner, and trust you.

    Brenda

    A preface to this article: the woman written about has four LGDs from me. They all came from proven, working lines.
    The first pair of pups I started on fowl here on my ranch. The second pair she got (due to a divorce) were also bred by me, but she
    took them and furthered their poultry training, as they'd already shown great aptitude and interest in guarding flocks in their original home.

    She was a first time LGD owner. She leaned heavily on me for advice and support.
    And she succeeded. It can be done. But it takes time and work and dedication.

    Hope you will read what's here and continue your learning adventure!







    Buckeye Enthusiast Keeps Heritage Hens Safe
    With Livestock Guardian Dogs



    By

    Brenda M. Negri with Barbara Judd
    Copyright 2015 Backyard Poultry Magazine


    You can hear the dedication and sound reasoning in Washington farmer and heritage Buckeye breeder Barbara Judd’s voice when she says why she uses Livestock Guardian Dogs to keep her rare breed of poultry safe from depredation:


    “Buckeyes were once in the Critical Category established by the Livestock Conservancy. Thanks to their Buckeye Recovery Project, the breed moved from the Critical to Threatened category on the Conservation Priority List. I am committed to always protecting all my charges, and the fact that this chicken breed is still considered “threatened” gives the importance of their protection even heavier weight. I decided the best protection I could give them would be Livestock Guardian Dogs.”


    Using Livestock Guardian Dogs (LGDs) to keep sheep, cattle, goats, alpacas, and other mammalians safe from harm is an age-old practice, although relatively (approximately 30 years) new in North America. Some of the more common LGD breeds in use are the ever popular Great Pyrenees, Akbash, Maremma, Kuvasz and Anatolian Shepherd. Rarer breeds such as the Spanish Mastiff, Pyrenean Mastiff and Karakachan are increasing in popularity and use. Putting LGDs to work to guard poultry, ducks, turkeys, geese and guinea fowl is more of a recent movement in line with the increased number of hobby farms, small family ranches and homesteaders. It’s a commitment of time, patience, and more patience, but LGDs can be successfully trained to guard poultry, and many have come to depend on their dogs to keep their flocks safe from depredation.


    Barbara Judd agreed to share her story as to how she came to raising Buckeyes on her Washington farm, eventually choosing two sibling LGD pups and two adult siblings from my ranch and kennel operation in Northern Nevada.


    “I had decided I wanted to breed Buckeyes. I had fallen in love with their personality, and their story is intriguing as well,” says Judd. “Buckeyes are a notably personable breed, very active and noted for being especially vigilant in the pursuit of mice. They also are very friendly with people and lack the tendency to feather-pick ach other. The males emit a full range of sounds beyond those typical of many other chicken breeds, including a dinosaur-like roar!”


    Judd subsequently got on a wait list for chicks from Laura Haggarty and Pathfinders Farm in Kentucky, and received her hatchlings in spring of 2014. Recently Judd moved to a 55 acre farm she calls Froghaven near Salkum, about an hour north of Portland. Here she plans to increase her Buckeye flock. “My goal is to become the go-to person for Buckeye chicks and pullets in Western Washington. I love this breed; they are a great dual-purpose chicken for homesteads and fit in well with a back-to-the-farm sentiment.” Barbara further adds, “The cocks can grow to 8 or 9 pounds and are good meat birds. While as layers they are not quite as productive as a White Leghorn, for example, I understand them to live and produce for a longer period of time than the breeds that were developed for their egg-laying ability alone.”


    Barbara’s new farm has a host of predators and wildlife, as did her previous one. She admits to not having given much thought to predators at first, but one day commented to a friend, “If I lose a bird to a predator, it will be that one”, pointing out one of the gold sex-links she had. Less than a week later, she discovered a pile of gold feathers, not 20 feet from her house, in the afternoon. Her dire prediction had come true. She immediately began researching how to keep her chickens safe. “My chickens were not raised to be coyote food,” she quips.


    Judd read about Livestock Guardian Dogs, “But I was extremely put off by the prevalent and popular descriptions of hands-off training and minimal human interaction. Any dog I own is a part of my family, and I felt the hands-off, do-not-touch descriptions I read just didn’t make sense for us.”


    Later that summer she lost another hen to a coyote. Now, she was determined, as well as furious, and bound to find a solution. Judd spent the evening researching LGDs on the Internet.


    She continues: “This time, as I looked I discovered another perspective to owning LGDs, living with them and training them, one I had not run across before. I found Brenda Negri’s website for her Cinco Deseos Ranch in Nevada where she’d been raising LGDs since 2009. On her site were several articles she’d authored wherein she expounded at great length about socializing LGDs with people, about LGDs being part of the family, a component of a team, not just a disposable tool or something to be kept at a distance. She reared litters in a huge pack of working LGDs and spoke of how they were mentored and shepherded along by her older, seasoned dogs, and spoke of the continuity and consistency this produced in working pups. Her website was full of information on having LGDs as part of a small farm, small acreage, as well as the rare Spanish breeds she specialized in, being more suitable for this type of duty.”


    As it happened, I had a litter of LGD pups on the ground at the time, sired by my trusted old Great Pyrenees, Peso, and a rare Italian import Pyrenean Mastiff female, Atena. Barbara sent me a puppy application, “The stars aligned,” she chuckles, and the Judds became proud new owners of Lucy and Patty, nick named “The Pockets” as they were the two smallest pups in the huge (16 puppies) litter. As if predestined, they also hung out together and were inseparable. Barbara took the pair home at about ten weeks, and LGD Chicken Guarding 101 began!


    Patty and Lucy’s litter had already been exposed to my own mixed flock of 40 Cochin, Brahman and Polish layers, with daily visits into the coop and chicken yard. Barbara wisely took my advice, and bought two siblings who roughhoused with one another and wore each other out playing instead of taking out their young energy on livestock and fowl. The pups had also been exposed to neighbor children, cattle and sheep and were showing great promise as guardians.


    “Which brings up another point,” Judd adds. “The importance of selecting a knowledgeable and reputable LGD breeder. I had always had rescues as pets….these dogs were to be working dogs, not pets. They were to be socialized and part of the family but I needed them to be LGDs – guaranteed – not maybes. I needed to be certain, and not risk they’d turn out to be chicken killers instead of protectors. So I bought LGDs from a reputable breeder, who had both parents, who were working parents, descended from working lines. And she had references, and many, many clients who came back time and again to buy dogs only from her. That was how reliable and trustworthy her dogs were. Actually, the price I paid was not significantly more than which the rescue organizations ask, and in the large scheme of things is an insignificant cost when you consider the lifetime cost of caring for a pet – or as I’ve heard in poultry circles, ‘It costs the same to feed a breeder’s chick as it does a feed store chick.’”


    Once settled in at the new home, Patty and Lucy’s training continued with older, calm hens who were less flighty and thus, less inclined to tempt the pups into chasing. Judd made the training time a “treat time” by positive reinforcement. Each pup received a treat before each short, 10-15 minute “class”. Soon, they were reminding her it was time for “school”.


    “I knew this process would take weeks, if not months,” Judd adds. She kept the chickens and pups in a small, very manageable area, and sat with them. No distractions were allowed: no pet dogs, no children. “We spent time just hanging out with the chickens, and always ended on a positive note before they got tired.” As time progressed, “The Pockets” became calm and confident around the fowl, remaining alert and interested, but no inappropriate behavior. Judd increased the time the pups were with the flock gradually.


    “I came at training the pups in a slow and systematic, careful manner. I learned from Brenda, from previous dog trainers and read the books by noted dog behaviorist, Turid Rugaas that Brenda insisted I read. The pups became part of the daily chicken routine. As puppies, they needed protection too as they were far too young to fend for themselves, so they were never left alone overnight, for example.”


    Judd was also learning about unique LGD behavior, which is markedly different than non-LGD breeds. “I can say they are nothing like other dogs I have had. They won’t fetch, they don’t play tug o’ war. They DO seem to notice every detail around them.”


    Judd’ observations are accurate. LGD breeds guard on ingrained instinct, not so much training, although the owner will enable, foster and encourage that guarding instinct with positive reinforcement and gentle reprimands when a pup makes a mistake. Tying a dead chicken around a pup’s neck is an oft-quoted “solution” for problems but only encourages confusion and distrust in the pup and shouldn’t be done. There are no short cuts to doing “Chicken 101” with LGD pups, and the owner has to commit to the time and patience it takes.


    One night, Judd woke to one of the pups barking at a bookcase. “I had moved a large photo onto that bookcase, and Lucy noticed – something’s not where it belongs!”


    A more telling incident happened a week or so after Barbara brought The Pockets home:


    “We’d spent a lot of time around the chickens, in their run or out foraging. One early evening we walked by the run and no chickens were in sight. Patty was immediately stressed! She sat down, whining at the run. The chickens had simply put themselves in the coop for the night, so when the hens poked their heads back out to see what the commotion was about, Patty relaxed and was immediately satisfied.” Judd continues, “You could see the wheels turning in Patty’s head – ‘Oh that’s where they are. OK, everything is fine now!’ I was amazed and impressed. These were certainly the right dogs to protect my chickens.”


    From the time I began raising and using LGDs, I have always understood the importance of running these dogs in the right numbers – just as they are in Spain and other countries where the pastoral life is still alive and very much a fabric of their society. I’ve continually lectured my clients about the advantages of running enough LGDs to properly cover the acreage, terrain, predator load and stock they have.


    Dogs, like humans, must sleep and rest too, and one LGD cannot last long if it is expected to carry the load of three or four dogs. In addition, should one dog become ill or injured, by removing him from duty, an operator’s flock or herd becomes immediately more vulnerable to attack. Where predators can easily take down one LGD, a pack of three or four dogs will present a much more serious deterrent to threats. On my ranch, my several dogs work in “shifts”, so there is always coverage, 24/7. Some dogs may do a “perimeter patrol” farther out at the edge of my 5 acres while the others stay closer to the flock, barns, and my house. Although my closest neighbors continually lose goats, sheep, horses, calves, pet cats and chickens to packs of coyotes, feral dogs, mountain lions and birds of prey, I have never suffered a single loss here.


    Barbara Judd was a willing and capable pupil and took my advice about “enough dogs” to heart. A few short weeks after the move to the larger farm, Barbara brought in two young adult Spanish Mastiffs I had bred who had to be rehomed due the owner’s relocation. Agostin and Argenta were from my first purebred Spanish Mastiff litter, who had been guarding horses and chickens in Montana. When she got wind of the pair being up for rehoming, and their proven experience as fowl guardians, Judd seized the opportunity to add two “chicken broke”, mature guardians, dubbed “The A Team”, to her larger acreage with its more serious predator load.


    “My plan is to eventually add a small herd of goats to forage the brush and weeds, and perhaps a heritage breed of wool sheep,” Judd says. “I knew with the larger farm acreage and more livestock, that I needed more protection than just two dogs, and the sibling pair Agostin and Argenta fit the bill to a “T”.”


    As introductions currently progress at Froghaven Farm, “The A Team” is getting to know “The Pockets” and all is going well. The Judds will keep their heritage flock of Buckeyes safe and sound from depredation with four very devoted Livestock Guardian Dogs. “Since we brought Lucy and Patty we have never lost a single bird,” Judd says, and with the addition of two more dogs, they won’t be losing anything in the future, either.



    Sidebar/Bullet Points



    · Buy pups who are only purebred or crosses of purebred, recognized LGD breeds. LGD breeds crossed on non-LGD breeds are unpredictable and high risk.

    · Buy from established breeders who will give references, customer support and have a proven track record of producing good guardian dogs.

    · You get what you pay for. Quality LGD pups typically start at $500 and go up from there. Quality going adults can cost $1,000 on up.

    · Never bring a pup home younger than 8 weeks of age and make sure all puppy vaccinations are complete, as well as several de-wormings.

    · If possible buy pups that have been started on and exposed to poultry and fowl. Make sure they have been regularly handled and socialized with people and are not skittish or frightened when approached.

    · Make sure your fencing is puppy escape-proof and secure.

    · Remember that rearing LGDs to guard poultry is a labor-intensive endeavor with no magical short cuts. Patience, time and persistence are key to success.

    · LGD pups take up to two years or more to fully mature. Don’t expect adult work from an immature dog.



    Recommended reading and related Internet links:


    The Livestock Conservancy: http://livestockconservancy.org


    Protect Your Poultry With Livestock Guardian Dogs, by Brenda M. Negri, Nov/Dec 2015 issue of Countryside Magazine


    Sibling Success! Advantages of Littermate Guardian Dogs,by Brenda M. Negri, Sept/Oct 2015 issue of sheep! Magazine


    On Talking Terms with Dogs: Calming Signals, by Turid Rugaas, Copyright 2006 by Dogwise Publishing
     

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  5. Jul 13, 2018
    TMChickensLGD

    TMChickensLGD Chillin' with the herd

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    Thank you for the tips. I updated my location which is Southern IL.
    We do know that Mom “was reported” to be full blooded as her & her pups were “dropped” off at the shelter. He does have the double dew claws and seems to have a lot of the same temperament from all of the literature I’ve read.

    He is secured now in the barn in a fenced in 12 x 12 stall with neighbors of mini Donks-no access. We have a fenced in area we are hoping he will “patrol” of about 1.5 acres. It is not dog secure, just more of a defined perimeter. We have the Llama’s in there the chicken coop. We installed a containment center (controlled by collar)...we are working vigilantly 3 times a day to drag him out there and teach him the boundaries. I cannot stress how much he hates a leash! We were following the video exactly for training but we literally have to drag him. I have to admit he is minimally improving but still a challenge. Because he is so reluctant to train we have the collar on 3/8 for correction cause we don’t want to scare him. Since he does kinda stick close to us we tried w/o a leash and he runs right through it and off into the woods.
    Now I am reading electronic correction should not be used. We are getting so many mixed messages between all of the threads, books and websites that is why I reached out directly. The one thing that will remain consistent is that we will never experience any regrets! We have faith in his guy and know together we will be successful!
     
  6. Jul 13, 2018
    Bruce

    Bruce Herd Master Golden Herd Member

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    You really need a dog proof perimeter fence. What is it now, 4' field fence? Would adding a hot wire on the top keep him in (until he tries to dig under)?

    e-fence is tough with a GP, lots of fur on that neck.

    I doubt the "regular dog" training regime will be particularly successful. Not that they can't be taught some basic "obedience" but understand that "commands" might be more like "suggestions" to him. "Yeah, OK I guess I'll do that now". Forget the food training, scrub his jowls and ears. Praise is reward to GPs.
     
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  7. Jul 13, 2018
    BrendaMNgri

    BrendaMNgri Loving the herd life

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    Excellent points @Bruce.
    Please...take the shock collar off this pup ASAP. You'll never get him to go with you if that is what you are doing.

    Don't drag him anywhere. Work on gaining his trust.

    So this is your first LGD I take it, you didn't say, and you didn't say what kinds of dogs you've owned.
    But LGDs are not like other dogs.
    @Bruce is right, dump the mindset about "dog training" as you think you know it.
    These dogs work primarily off of instinct. They are independent, and not push button dogs like herding (Border Collies and others) dogs,
    who you can micro-control their every step and move. Toss that idea out. Again: You have an LGD. LGDs are not like other dogs.

    Going to say it again: stop trying to train, first start getting your pup's trust and getting to know him.
    The rest will come later. And get your fences secured or this will be all for nothing.
    Search outside of this forum for fencing ideas such as Premier 1 Supplies. Look at what they have.
    I'd put the link up but typically the Admins take links off.
    Google it. But if your pup is already taking off into the woods, yikes...
    You gotta go back to square one here. Put your fencing as your first priority, please.
    That is something every shepherd should do before they even bring home an LGD, but its too late for that. Keeping him penned up all the time will result in issues later. So you need to work on fencing fast....
    Also search term fencing in this forum. You'll find plenty of posts. But check out Premier 1 too.
     
  8. Jul 13, 2018
    TMChickensLGD

    TMChickensLGD Chillin' with the herd

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    Thank you so much. The collar is for a perimeter fence but has literally been on him for less than 2 hours in the 2 weeks we have had him. We will abandon that idea. We have a nice fence that could be reinforced but that would take time and lots of money, we have 70+ acres we would let him roam if he wants to. Ideally he would keep the chickens safe during the day and at night he could roam.
    Yes my first LGD, not my first dog though. We are not even comparing the two for how we are attempting to train them. We have a fenced in area but not where we would like him to stay forever.
    So all LGD are fenced in completely? We didn’t get that impression in the literature. If we were to do that we could have secured it for the chickens. We thought we could teach him his perimeter..guess not.
    So, fence ASAP. It would have to be pretty tall then? We want to do whatever we can to make this successful.
    So if the chicks fly out he can’t go get them? We were hoping he could keep control of them. Sounds like no?
    I know I sound naive but I really am trying to do whatever to train him and make life good for him & the chickens.
     
  9. Jul 13, 2018
    TMChickensLGD

    TMChickensLGD Chillin' with the herd

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  10. Jul 13, 2018
    TMChickensLGD

    TMChickensLGD Chillin' with the herd

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    Thank you so much! In all of my excitement in receiving replies, I missed this one.

    Thank you for your attention to detail, I will do my best to respond to all questions.
    I already added my location to my profile; Southern Il.
    There was no reason given why the dogs were in the shelter; heck they thought the boy dog was a girl.
    We have multiple fences on the property. We have Llama’s, Donks and Goats who take care of themeselves. We were looking for a LGD to help us with out poultry. Did we install a specific dog fence? Nope. Unfortunately the books I read were about LGD’s in areas where fences were not required. They specifically referenced letting their dog(s) roam the property and “patrol” the perimeter.
    Ultimately, I can see us fencing in another area that is specific for the poultry & LGD, per the advice received.
    I really wanted a gentle giant who would protect the poultry and roam the property at his own will.
    Goals change and we will adapt to make sure all our Dolly, Tina, Marsha, Rhonda, Billy, Molly, Cora, Tracy, Frances, Daisy, Maggie, Ollie & Coty! are Safe and Happy!