To Buy or Not to Buy - A Livestock Guardian Dog

Ridgetop

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These training articles are wonderful. I really think they should be posted routinely in the poultry section of BYH. New people arrive all the time, and repeat postings of these articles would be wonderful.

Beekissed and Baymule: You have raised and trained both LGDs and problem LGDs and your articles and experiences are invaluable.

Now, if only novice owners with read this and learn. but how many times have we had people say they are getting or want an LGD, and that when they have time they will read up on them?! The time is BEFORE you get the LGD (or goats, or sheep, etc. ). Don't wait till the problem is fullblown before thinking about ways to fix it!

Beekissed: You are right about the differences between Anatolians and other LGD breeds. It was one of the reasons I worried and got so much information from breeders before getting my first one. I am still learning about this breed and all its possibilities. Owning one can be like owning a loaded gun. And as Beekissed said - a "howitzer"! LOL

I would not own one as a regular household dog. Some people do, but it takes a good judge to find that one pup in the litter that will suit being a household pet. There are other breeds that respond to obedience training that would be good watchdogs and more satisfactory in a small property, neighborhood home, or even condo. For now, with my sheep, this is my breed of choice. Rika just turned 8 years old in May, :hit She will start showing her age eventually. In another year or 2 we will be getting our fourth Anatolian, to take over some of the load as Rika starts to slow down. We can never replace Rika though, she is the standard of perfection against which we judge all LGDs now. Eventually, if we get too old and decrepit and must retire to a standard neighborhood :sick we will not have Anatolians. They are special dogs for special circumstances. But I hope we never have to end up off the farm! LOL
 

SpaceBus

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I consider a LGD breed like Maremma sheepdog or Kommondor, but the cost to feed a few 100 lb dogs adds up. We have three alpacas that will push my GSD around, so they might work out for foxes or raccoons. We are waiting on 25 chicks to arrive in a few weeks and we have a lot of eagles, osprey, and mustelids (ermine, weasels, etc.). For these threats I think a few LGD would be a much better deterrent. 4+ lbs of meat every day is the number one thing keeping me from purchasing any LGD. I constantly go back and forth on this.
 

Jessica C

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This is a great thread. I’m fairly new to LGDs I currently have a 14-month old GP on five acres with goats and chickens. He came from a ranch and several generations of working dogs.
I’ve raised, trained and competed with working GSDs so I thought I knew dogs well enough.
He is more like a cat in temperament. Eats very little for such a big dog. At 6-12 months old he barked a lot - now it’s more decisive. I’m fortunate to have neighbors who aren’t bothered. I’ve lived other places where this definitely would have a been a neighbor issue.

He’s smart as hell, you can see the wheels turning in his head.
He’s a good chicken guard. Started him at eight weeks old among the flock and he has never harmed a bird. But, I obtained his sister at four months old and she would grab chickens and lick them to death. She never bit. She just plucked them down to the flesh. Someone told me to give the dogs fish or wheat germ oil supplements to dissuade this.
I don’t know if it works.
I lost her at 6 months old from intestinal torsion. It’s not bloat or obstruction; it was the twisting of the intestines to unknown cause that caused rapid tissue death. In the morning she was fine; in the evening the emergency vet told me there was nothing she could do to save her. They couldn’t find the cause. Said, sometimes it just happens. But I wondered and after this, I made sure no fiber or string or any other similar material was in my pasture. Puppies chew and play on such things.
My rancher has done no health testing but watched her lines and culled for issues. My boy has dropped only one testicle and the vet can’t locate the other so we’re in for an expensive neuter at 2 years old. I’m on a waiting list for an Anatolian female pup from a breeding planned in Fall. This breeder upholds extensive health and behavioral standards on her dogs. I love the Pyrs but I’m in hot FL and my boy, at least, matts. Sometimes this leads to hot spots. So I wanted a shorter haired LGD for his upcoming partner.
My main predators are coyotes and roaming or loose domestic dogs. It only took a couple times of me acting like a screaming idiot in the pasture to a hawk for my boy to alert to flying predators now, and look up. I’ve had NO losses since he reached four months or so. So he’s effectively been working this whole time, and not yet two.
He gets the occasional jerky teenager zoonoses and runs at a goat but I yell (or blow the air horn) and it stops.
 

Jessica C

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This is a great thread. I’m fairly new to LGDs I currently have a 14-month old GP on five acres with goats and chickens. He came from a ranch and several generations of working dogs.
I’ve raised, trained and competed with working GSDs so I thought I knew dogs well enough.
He is more like a cat in temperament. Eats very little for such a big dog. At 6-12 months old he barked a lot - now it’s more decisive. I’m fortunate to have neighbors who aren’t bothered. I’ve lived other places where this definitely would have a been a neighbor issue.

He’s smart as hell, you can see the wheels turning in his head.
He’s a good chicken guard. Started him at eight weeks old among the flock and he has never harmed a bird. But, I obtained his sister at four months old and she would grab chickens and lick them to death. She never bit. She just plucked them down to the flesh. Someone told me to give the dogs fish or wheat germ oil supplements to dissuade this.
I don’t know if it works.
I lost her at 6 months old from intestinal torsion. It’s not bloat or obstruction; it was the twisting of the intestines to unknown cause that caused rapid tissue death. In the morning she was fine; in the evening the emergency vet told me there was nothing she could do to save her. They couldn’t find the cause. Said, sometimes it just happens. But I wondered and after this, I made sure no fiber or string or any other similar material was in my pasture. Puppies chew and play on such things.
My rancher has done no health testing but watched her lines and culled for issues. My boy has dropped only one testicle and the vet can’t locate the other so we’re in for an expensive neuter at 2 years old. I’m on a waiting list for an Anatolian female pup from a breeding planned in Fall. This breeder upholds extensive health and behavioral standards on her dogs. I love the Pyrs but I’m in hot FL and my boy, at least, matts. Sometimes this leads to hot spots. So I wanted a shorter haired LGD for his upcoming partner.
My main predators are coyotes and roaming or loose domestic dogs. It only took a couple times of me acting like a screaming idiot in the pasture to a hawk for my boy to alert to flying predators now, and look up. I’ve had NO losses since he reached four months or so. So he’s effectively been working this whole time, and not yet two.
He gets the occasional jerky teenager zoonoses and runs at a goat but I yell (or blow the air horn) and it stops.
I wanted add a few things:
I have good, five foot fencing that I topped with hot wire, and ran hot wire coils at the bottom of all gates. My dog (and goats) hit this when they first arrived and now respect it 100 percent.
My biggest difficulty with my LGD is he hates riding in a vehicle. It’s a struggle to get him in and he lets me know how miserable he is for every second of any ride. He lets me do anything to him, but passive resistance in a 100+ lb dog is a thing that can be a pain.
He is separated by a fence from my house dogs, a GSD and a bulldog. He was playful with them as a puppy, but I’ve seen him posture and mark the fence around my male dog. Same sex aggression is a thing with LGDs as well. I’m keeping them separate to avoid any fights and because they have separate duties anyway.
I’ve always fed him separate from goats and chickens because of a breed type tendency to resource guarding. He eats on and off, slowly, but I never wanted him to feel he had to defend his food so he eats in peace.
He has no interest in typical dog toys but he does enjoy large plastic containers, shredding paper plates and an occasional raw marrow bone. He hoards all these things in a special pile, like a dragon.
 

Beekissed

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I consider a LGD breed like Maremma sheepdog or Kommondor, but the cost to feed a few 100 lb dogs adds up. We have three alpacas that will push my GSD around, so they might work out for foxes or raccoons. We are waiting on 25 chicks to arrive in a few weeks and we have a lot of eagles, osprey, and mustelids (ermine, weasels, etc.). For these threats I think a few LGD would be a much better deterrent. 4+ lbs of meat every day is the number one thing keeping me from purchasing any LGD. I constantly go back and forth on this.
Mine eat the same amount as a 50 lbs dog.
 

rachels.haven

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4+ lbs of meat every day is the number one thing keeping me from purchasing any LGD. I constantly go back and forth on this.
My adult 125 pound LGD eats 3 cups of "super premium" dog food per day and remains overweight and only takes mini snacks at her dish all day like an overfed dog (probably not going to eat too fast and bloat that way, so I'm happy). If I put out any more than three cups it's still in the bowl at the next morning feeding. Once an adult you might be surprised on feed amount.

And we get the nice stuff for her since she eats so little. We want concentrated nutrition if that's the way she's going to be, but I personally would not raw feed her. She'd probably stash it around the yard and not eat it and THAT would be smelly and disgusting. Also, she gets really food aggressive around the little raw meat we have given her, so NO WAY. All her stashes would be gross landmines and when discovered by human or animal I'd worry she'd go nuts and someone or something would get hurt. Nothing but the cooked boring for her.
 

SpaceBus

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My adult 125 pound LGD eats 3 cups of "super premium" dog food per day and remains overweight and only takes mini snacks at her dish all day like an overfed dog (probably not going to eat too fast and bloat that way, so I'm happy). If I put out any more than three cups it's still in the bowl at the next morning feeding. Once an adult you might be surprised on feed amount.

And we get the nice stuff for her since she eats so little. We want concentrated nutrition if that's the way she's going to be, but I personally would not raw feed her. She'd probably stash it around the yard and not eat it and THAT would be smelly and disgusting. Also, she gets really food aggressive around the little raw meat we have given her, so NO WAY. All her stashes would be gross landmines and when discovered by human or animal I'd worry she'd go nuts and someone or something would get hurt. Nothing but the cooked boring for her.
I don't feed my dogs raw meat, I cook it first, but a dog is supposed to eat 2% of their body weight in food every day. I feed my dogs Merrick kibble and supplement with cooked down chicken bones and whatever we don't eat off the whole chicken. First I make broth with the chicken carcass and then puree the solids with dog friendly vegetables. Perhaps some individual dogs are less active and need less food, but generally speaking a 100 lb dog should be eating 2 lbs of food per day. Often non-kibble foods are heavier because there is water in them. Think about how much a burger or piece of meat shrinks when you cook it, the size difference is the loss in water.


Still, it is expensive to feed multiple 100 lb dogs, especially if they are working dogs. I say multiple dogs because I would never keep a single lonely LGD, there would have to be at least two.
 

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