Can a LGD be trained to protect even against fellow family dogs?


10 Years
Apr 12, 2009
Gilbert, Arizona
I have two dogs. One is an Australian Shep. and the other is a Labrador Ret. The Aussie is great around all the birds, never chases them, lets them hop on him, yet chases away the wild birds trying to get their food. The Labrador would kill every one if given half a chance. The problem is that regardless of how protective the Aussie is of the birds, he doesn't seem to care if the Lab. tries to get one of the birds...and the Aussie is the dominant dog between the two.

So...could a Livestock guard dog type breed be trained to ward off even another family dog? Or would the dog pack mentality overrule the instinct to protect? I'm usually very knowledgable about dog behavior, but I'm wondering about this.


11 Years
Jun 29, 2008
New Hampshire
pack mentality rules, time to put you at the top of the pack.
If you show both dogs neither is Alpha and that you are it may change how the Aussie sees things.
he might just take things up to ward off the other dog.


Squeaky Wheel
11 Years
Feb 11, 2008
Waterloo, Nebraska
Be careful what you wish for. An LGD will can actually kill or seriously injure another dog to protect the flock. If the the LGD is socialized with the other dog, then it may just join in the fun and be part of the chicken killing pack. It could be a no win situation.


11 Years
Jan 23, 2009
Irwin, Pennsylvania (Pittsburg area)
The LGD's job will be to protect the animals or flock.

He should not be allowed to play with either of the other dogs.

If you can manage this somehow, he will certainly protect the animals/flock against both of your other dogs.


10 Years
Apr 12, 2009
Gilbert, Arizona
Thank you for the replies. I love our Lab. and I will certainly miss him once he goes...but he is old, so I won't have to worry about the current situation for too much longer. Point well taken, horsejody, about being careful what I wish for. And enola, it probably would be difficult to keep the new dog away from the other two.

I think what we will likely do is continue being as vigilant as possible with the Lab. and get an LGD when he passes.


10 Years
Apr 30, 2009
Central KY

My thoughts, exactly. Our LGD knows our "yard dogs" on a through-the-fence basis, but I think he might get a little upset if one of them went across the fence and started harassing the goats.. I'm not sure he'd attack, though, since he knows them to be his owners' dogs..or, his alphas' packmates, if that makes sense. Depending on which yard dog came across, I believe he'd probably just play keep away until someone came and got the yard dog out of his area.

For example.. One of our commercial goats went under the fence and got in our dairy goats' pasture -- a definite no-no -- and the LGD actually intervened after the dairies and the commercial started fighting.. He didn't hurt the commercial goat...he simply cut her out of the herd and played referee until I got the commercial back across the fence where she was supposed to be.

Even I was shocked that he did that..

Then again, LGDs are really amazing animals.. They're not only born with a eerily keen sense of what's a threat and what's not a threat, but they come to learn what's normal and what's abnormal to the point of recognizing even the most subtle differences..

I mean...that commercial looked very much like any other goat in the herd, but he knew the difference, realized she wasn't a threat, and made a really good decision -- all on his own -- to keep her cut out, but not hurt her in any way.

They've got more going for them than just bulk, raw strength, and teeth, that's for sure.


Free Ranging
15 Years
Feb 14, 2008
This world is not my home.
My GP/lab mix certainly hasl protected small animals from my other dog if she thinks he is taking an aggressive stance. She disciplined him for "mouthing" a kitten once, rather sharply, I might add. He hasn't really done anything like that since, so I don't know if this would still happen.

I would venture to guess that the alpha leader would be the only one to enforce this on a regular basis. Labs are real quick learners and pretty sensitive to correction....maybe you could do the alpha dog treatment on him and see what results you get?

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