Originally Posted by CAjerseychick
Hmmm I think the hunting instinct vs guarding/ fighting instincts are very different drives.... I have a Bernese Mt dog, a Boxer, and a giant Schnauzer and they all operate very differently, very different things "drive" them-- the Bernese is def hands down the best at being a farm dog out of the 3 yet he also guards his homestead (without wanting to eat any of his Flock!)....
PS centrarchid my friend swears by his 2 Guardian LLamas (they have been known to kill rotties) that he got free off Craigslist....
When I am considering options for livestock guardians issues of cost and risk of failure considered. I did consider donkeys and llamas but do not have pasture to support them and, especially this year with drought they would be probitively expensive to maintain. My operation is not intended to be profitable so is small in scale. Even when peak desired production reaches nearly 500 birds during coarse of year I am still well below what would pay for keeping multiple large guardians. This year looks like I will hatch only 120 to control what will likely be very high late season feed costs so way, way below profit zone. This is for fun.
The breed as a factor (nature) is not all that important when training (nurture) promotes behaviors that otherwise would not be dominant. Dogs typically much more flexible than breed descriptions indicate. Flexibility still varies by breed and individual. My little bird dog will take on a threat just like a larger bred for purpose LGD inpart because considerable effort was invested in getting him interested in the activity. Shave you big LGD's, paint them brown, and reduce their size by half and you will have a dog that behaves a lot like mine against a threat that fights back. Mine even sounds like a small Great Pyrenees when barking at another dog although bark is different for raccoon or oppossum but sadly not for skunk. For me to know ID of varmint I am assisiting with helps me prepare. Big difference would be with smart fast predator where my dog would employ a range of options to try and actually catch varmint while the standard LGD would bark a lot and move directly at threat as making ruckuss. My dog barks too but usually reserves that for when varmint already knows it is being pursued or my dog has it somehow cornered. Latter is where my dog is special as he recruits me to help him get at critter. With fox it is game to catch varmint by being sneakiy while with coons and sometimes oppossums they often find cover like tree, pipe or even pen dog can not get into. Dog fetches me and he gets access to varmint.
Edited by centrarchid - 8/4/12 at 8:25pm