Training LGD

Js4DB

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Hey all, this is Ava (tan) and Evangeline (black). They are 5 month old (I was told) Akbash Tibetan Mastiff cross. The mother is definitely an Akbash as I saw her when I picked them up, but the more time I spend with them, the more I’m convinced the father was a rez mutt.

I want to start by saying I have trained many MANY dogs from Anatolian Shepherds to hunting dogs, to my medical alert dog… so when we developed a problem with our neighbor’s German shepherds coming over and killing our sheep, it seemed right to add livestock guardians in with our donkey and the flock as they would split up and our donkey was struggling to handle them both.

A close friend bred and raised akbash dogs and so I was familiar with the breed and thought I would be ok adding a couple to our farm. LORD HELP ME WAS I WRONG!! These girls have absolutely ZERO respect for anything. NOTHING keeps them contained. They will not stay in with the sheep which is a mix of cattle panel and pallets. They will not stay in welded wire, they will not stay in chain link, they will not stay in a wire kennel, they won’t even stay in my stock trailer without jumping up and out through the vents! Why am I locking them up you ask? Good question reader! You see, when we are not with them, they enjoy wandering. Now while I understand that is part of this job, they have been shown the perimeter 2x a day every day since we brought them home (6 weeks ago). Do they respect this perimeter? NO! Why is that a problem? Well 1) we live near a gravel company and their large semis travel past our farm frequently. Our neighbors with the murdering shepherds also hate up and will 100% shoot them should they step a paw on their property (which unfortunately is their right in our state). 2) these monsters that I call dogs have developed a taste for poultry. Chickens, chicks, ducks, guineas, doesn’t matter. If it has wings they kill it. We have tried everything including but not limited to: adding a net over the poultry run (they broke it down), lead line training around the chickens (they rip free of their collars and bolt… we’re working on that), holding the chickens when they are out and about to show the dogs they’re friends, tying one they killed to their collar until it falls off (friend’s suggestion), and e collars. After they killed 3 chickens last night and attacked and severely injured two ducks today, I laid on them and shaved a spot on their necks (holy adventure and drama Batman) to get a good connection as I thought (maybe their coat is just too thick even for the long prongs). When they took off for the coop, I attempted their recall and nothing. I went from the audial beep, to the vibration, to the shock. There was ZERO reaction from either of them. I ended up throwing a stick at them to distract them enough for their recall to kick in.
3) I want them IN with the flock to better protect them. How are they going to prevent an attack if they’re off killing chickens?

Please help… I’m at my wits end with these two, and as much as my husband loves them, I’m ready to take them out behind the barn 🙃
 

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Baymule

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You have the dogs from he//. Any chance their “breeder” would take them back? I think I’d be on board with lead therapy and starting over.

Did you actually see the Tibetan Mastiff? This may be a case of who’ your daddy?

What you need is an already trained dog. I dont know what you paid for these two destroyers, but it was too much. A GOOD dog or puppy from a REPUTABLE breeder will cost you.

There are collars with the distance thing. Turned up all the way, the farther they go, the more it shocks them. But on killing the Poultry, there’s a difference between dogs going off track, playing with squeaky toys and wholesale determined murder. Breaking into the coop to kill would be a no go for me.
 

Js4DB

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I doubt they’d take them back as they talked us into the second one by saying they were bringing her to a shelter if we didn’t take her. I HAD read that they do better in pairs so I wasn’t against it. I’m ready to be done with them… now I just have to convince my husband 🤦🏻‍♀️
 

SageHill

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First, I’m not and LGD person - we have many here who are. And I’m not making excuses for them or saying keep them.
They are only pups, and need tons of training, even well bred dogs need training. Working dogs, be it LGDs or herding dogs like I have aren’t truly trained until they’re close to 2 yrs - and that’s with a good dog and someone who knows what they’re doing. Heck I’d have an LGD if I didn’t need to do much and just put them in with the sheep. Sure would like one, but I need to be ready to take on that training, mindset and dedication and I’m not there.
As for two puppies at the same time - not the best idea. Been there done that even with well bred dogs.
 

Baymule

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Even untrained pups don’t normally tear into coops to kill. They chase and play with a chicken, WHEE!! GREAT FUN!! Most take correction and grow out of it.

@Js4DB can you hot wire the sheep pens with fry their hair HOT wire?
 

secuono

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Going after chickens like that doesn't sound like pup play at all. They're not bird safe and most likely never will. Many are large stock dogs, not bait stock dogs. Sell, give away or euth if you cannot/will not fence the birds away permanently.
Collar shock not working when attacking is because it's too late. You need to zap long before they start running after them.
Hot wire. Super hot, well grounded, on a rainy day. Ground tie them so they can easily reach a fence, but cannot get past it further than their head. If they chew or get out of collars/harnesses, you'll have to make a harness from chain.
 

Margali

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Not an expert by any stretch but breaking into coop is bad sign. Have you worked on them singly and if so does one behave better? That one may be salvageable by getting the co-conspirator in crime off property.

Either way puppies are no match for marauding adult dogs. I would consider lurking thru all the FB groups for an older dog as mentor for ONE of these puppies. Yes, you may inherit quirks but there are plenty of good dogs whose people have to relocate into town. That is how I got Hera, my 7yr old Anatolian rock star.
 

farmerjan

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Couple of questions. I do not have LGD's but did take care of some on a farm I used to farm sit.

The questions are this... did you see the german shepherds kill or even chasing/harassing the sheep? You made the comment that the laws in your state allow a person to shoot a dog that is on their property... so if you saw the dogs after your sheep, why are you not shooting them?
Could you at least post your state in your profile? Here in Va it is legal to shoot a dog harassing or killing livestock... Often we have called the county sheriff and had it "put on record" and if the animal's owner can be found, financial compensation is often made with the sheriff telling the owners of the laws and that the dog will be shot if it does it again...
If a dog is going through fencing like that, and is unresponsive to the shock collar you are using, it has already developed the predator instinct and stopping it from killing the chickens is 99% unlikely. From the sounds of them going to the extremes they are to get out of the trailer, it seems unlikely to me that you are going to break them of the roaming habit either.
Honestly either take them to a rescue with explicit information of them killing any/all poultry and waterfowl... and their tendency to roam and inability to keep them in fences... or put them down and start with an adult dog like @Margali suggested.
I had a german shepherd that was a sneak killer... would ignore the chickens and all when I was around, but when I would leave there for work or to go to the feed store or anything, there would be a dead bird or 2. Couple days later, I drove to the neighbors and walked down through the field and watched.... caught her chasing and killing the chickens... that she had laid around and totally ignored for the better part of the day when I was there and in and out on the farm. She never had the chance to kill another chicken after growling at me when I caught her, and hollered at her...
 

peteyfoozer

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As far as keeping them in, I had to use Sportdog radio fencing, which I zip tied to existing fences and went underground in gateways It is adjustable and literally dropped one of my Maremmas so I would be surprised if it didn't get a reaction out of these guys. It was so effective, that I actually turned it off after awhile and my dogs never left the pasture again.
I have to say, they don't look like LGD'S, so I would question what the father was. Sounds like he was something with very high prey drive, besides which, Akbash are white...and they don't resemble TM's...there might be multiple sires to this litter :(
That said, the info you were given above about pups needing to be mature before being trusted alone with small stock is spot on. I always penned my pups with a fence adjacent to the poultry so they could get past the suicidal squeaky toy novelty phase, while their nearby presence successfully detered most predators. The youngest my dogs were poultry safe was 18 mo
With LGD's, prevention and maturity are your two best friends.
 
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