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LGD feeding arrangements? and UPDATE: goat surprise! on pg 4

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by zzGypsy, Sep 24, 2011.

  1. zzGypsy

    zzGypsy Songster

    Aug 8, 2011
    hey there,

    looking for ideas on what's worked for you on this:

    I've got 2 four month old LGD pups (1/2 pyr, 1/4 anatolian shep, 1/4 kangal) one male, one female. my intent is for them to live full-time in the pasture with our goats, sheep, horses, and free-range fowl. right now, they're in with the goats, and we're introducing other species as we go.

    my current feeding arrangement involves letting them out of the pasture and into separate kennels to eat. the male is food-agressive and, while we are working on that, I'm not sure it can be permanently solved.

    in part because of the feeding arrangement, they're getting ever more people bonded, and I want these dogs to love and prefer the livestock, rather than leaving the livestock and hanging out with the people.

    So... I need a free-feeding field arrangement for the dogs.

    the problems to be solved:
    1) goats love dog kibble
    2) there needs to be two setups so the dogs eat separately to reduce the chance of fighting
    3) dogs need to be able to get to food, but goats need to be kept out
    4) I want to be able to load up a 40 lb bag in the feeder and let them eat as they need to
    5) did I mention that goats love kibble?

    so... have you done something similar? what worked?

    I'm considering maybe a covered pen in the pasture with a double door arrangement... our kennel building has inside and outside runs separated by a door with a spring hinge and a flange. the door allows the dog to push it open directly from the inside, and pull it open using the flange from the outside, and the spring hinge automatically closes it. the goats have learned to operate this type of door as well (some of them use the licker type dog waterers too. [​IMG] )

    I'm thinking if I set up 2 of these doors - one on the inside of the opening and one on the outside, they'd have to pull open the first using the flange, then push the door on the other side to go on through. shouldn't be hard to train the dogs to use these. I'm hoping that pulling open the first door and not seeing an opening will defeat the goats.

    anyway, that's my current thought, looking for your opinions and experience on the subject.

    Last edited: Sep 26, 2011

  2. bagendhens

    bagendhens Songster

    Mar 29, 2009
    Outside the Boundries
    personaly id continue to feed them like your doing now, ESPECIALLY with a food agressive dog...
    you want your lgds to think of the flock as thier pack, BUT unless you have 300 acres, never see these dogs, never need to put flea protection or give vaccinations you WILL be incontact wiht the dogs and the dogs still need to like and respsct you enough to safely handle them under potentially bad circumstances...

    feeding the way your doing now teaches them that you control the food and therefore no matter how independant they are from humans during the day time, when it comes down to it you as the human as the one thats in charge overall.

    ive known many lgds that cannot be handled by their own owners because they choose to never interact with them in hopes of them becomming better lgds, but to me its simply impractical and potentially dangerous.

    free feeding is also not something that can safely be done with all dogs...i free feed mine right now and there fine with it but they have been fed this way since tiny puppies, MANY dogs will simply overeat.
    also unless they eat 40lbs of food in 3 days, kibble being it contains animal fats can go rancid if not kept temp controled pretty quickly
    leaving it out like that would alos attract racoons, skunks, coyotes, feral dogs ect.

    personally i would schedual feed, given they are 4 months odl id be feeding at least twice a day right now...
    make them work for thier food too, dont just thorw it infront of them, instead make them sit, or down and wait untill you give them the command to go forward. it might even be worth hand feeding the food agressive one.

    once feeding is done they go back out with the livestock and dont get anymore interaction wiht you other than simple obedience if you looking for them to not bond at all, again you NEED to be able to safley handle these dogs, they will be huge and i know kangals in themselves can be incredibly hard headed...as can pyrs and im sure anatolians arnt that different, they NEED to know how to walk on a leash, sit down and stay and come when called, you NEED to be able to touch them for vacinations, teeth and ear checks and nail maintence as nessicary, youll need to be able to handle thier feet should they get a slice or a splinter, you need them to be mindfull of you enough to be able to handle them if they get injured enough to need medical attention ect, so having a dog thats completly isolated form humans beyond "hey i see that thing walk through my feild" isnt the best thing in my opinion.
    however during the day obedience and feeding, use food only when feeding and during the early stages of ob (wean off the treats to verbal praise only) and the rest of the time ignore them so they are in wiht the livestock the rest of the time.

    they wont bond unconditionally only wiht you and ignore the livestock simply based on feeding schedual...if thats the case they wernt going to be good lgd's anyway...not all lgd breeds make good lgds overall...its a combination of breeding, individual personality, instinct and training.

    least this is my opinion...
    ive met way too many lgds who have been raised almost toally hands off who are now monsters and have to be sedated for vet care/emergencies ect...

    you want a happy healthy middle ground...

    as a side note, if your dogs can get in the goats can get in...i dont think theres anything you could realy make or set up that would let a dog as big as yours are gonna get IN yet keep the goats out....
  3. zzGypsy

    zzGypsy Songster

    Aug 8, 2011
    interesting things to think about there.

    I'm not looking to have totally independent dogs - those not safe to handle - but I am trying to avoid the story I've heard several times where the pyr gets more intersted in hanging out with people, and will camp on the porch and not stay in the field... this behavior, along with wandering, are the two reasons I've heard most for rehoming formerly working pyrs. my caution comes in part because the male, Turk, clearly seeks attention - you know the sit on your foot chin on your knee staring into your eyes kind of attention. interestingly, he's the food agressive one. I limiit the amount of attention time, but try to spend a little time in the yard with them and the goats where I'm just sitting there, not paying an particuar attention to the dogs. Turk does try to insert himself between me and Seka or Clover, the goat that's always in my lap for a scratch. not agressive when he does so, but a little pushy. I usually handle that by making both dogs lay down, Clover handles it by giving whichever dog is closest a butt. anyway, I'm trying not to exacerbate the "pet me" drive in Turk.

    both Turk and Seka (the female) are good on the leash, Turk reliably comes when called, Seka, not so much, especially if there's been any kind of correction in the last 10 minutes... we're working on it. we're about 80% on Don't Jump Up On Me. I periodically do the handle the ears, look in the mouth, check between the toes, poke around the belly stuff just in case of the need for vet care, and they make no issue of any of it. haven't really done sit or lay down, but I do make them wait before opening the doors to their individual runs to eat.

    right now, they are on scheduled but not measured feed... they come in to eat instead of free feed, but I let them eat all they want (I don't meter the food, just leave them to it until they stop eating, plus a few minutes). they seem to be keeping good weight and making excellent growth.

    on the food agression... after the first two corrections, Turk has never shown any food agressiveness with me... or to Seka or the goats if I'm standing within 3 feet of him. the goats, their kids, the other dog, all can eat out of his dish with him if I'm near by. if I'm out of sight, or further away, he growls or snaps and snarls if they get too close (not even in the dish, say 18" away). He has pinned both Seka and a couple of the kids for being inside that 18". unless I'm standing there, in which case he just eats and wags and ignores them. I'm working on extending my influence zone by setting up correction opportunities (me just out of sight but close enough to be right there in a stride or two), and he's gotten less severe in his reactions, but there's still work to do.

    right now, they're just on half an acre with the goats, as we improve fencing that'll be opened up to 10 acres, and maybe to the full 40, depending on how we decide to complete the fencing. our ultimate plan is to purchase 150-200 acres, so depending on how it lays out, it's possible to have livestock and dogs moderately remote from the house. and it would be good to be able to go away for a weekend and not have to have a dog sitter for the LGDs. as for putting out 40lbs at once... right about spoilage in the summer, however where I can save time I need to... lots of critters to tend, a job and a commute... efficiency counts. I normally have eyes-on every day, I check all the critters/pens twice a day on weekdays and more often on the weekends. in the winter, I don't think spoilage is going to be a problem. still, no point free feeding kibble to the goats, and if I can't keep them excluded, I can't free feed. Still, would be nice to have the option.

    thoughts and feedback welcome.
  4. dainerra

    dainerra Crowing

    Jun 4, 2011
    the wagging his tail that you see with Turk when you are standing there is likely a sign of stress. He knows that you will reprimand him so he can't correct them himself, but he is trying to express his displeasure.

    One of the most important reasons not to free-feed is health. The first sign of illness is often loss of appetite - everything from a tooth ache to an upset stomach to an intestinal blockage. If you don't know how much the dog eats, how do you know if they suddenly start eating less?
  5. Jamie_Dog_Trainer

    Jamie_Dog_Trainer Songster

    Jul 8, 2008
    Washington State
    Bottom line is that if you are not there to control the behavior during feeding -- you cannot free feed a dog that has resource guarding (in this case, food). Putting your other dog in this position isn't fair if you are not completely sure that a fight won't ensue.

    Free feeding a dog that is food possessive is scary. The "possession' is always there, and if the food guarding gets worse having food down for him all the time may keep him from doing his job. He may try and stay near the feeding station attempting to keep the other dog away.

    It would be better to set a feeding time, stick to that, and somehow feed them separate. Maybe try to feed them in different areas, far apart and get them into that routine so that they have the ability to learn the routine. This is definately a managment issue with the two dogs.
  6. carolinagirl58

    carolinagirl58 Songster

    Mar 30, 2011
    Lugoff, SC
    I am feeding my two Anatolian Shepherd pups twice a day. For health reasons, these pups should not be permitted to eat all they want. These are large, fast growing pups who will grow too quickly if allowed to. It's unhealthy for them. Plus as a deep chested dog, these pups will be prone to bloat as adults if they overeat. For those reasons (among others), just feed them twice a day and then remove their bowls. don't worry about them bonding to you. There is nothing wrong with your dogs loving you too.
  7. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Crowing

    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    They aren't going to get overly bonded to you just because you feed them every day

    But you will ALWAYS have to feed them seperately from other animals.

    Food agression is a common LGD trait, and I've never seen one outgrow it

    I'd fix up a pen in the pasture just so I wouldn't have to take them out.

    They will quickly learn the routine if you always do it the same very day

  8. watchdogps

    watchdogps Songster

    Jun 4, 2011
    Central Ohio
    I allow my ASDs to eat as much as they want, but they are good judges of how much they should eat. Sounds like ZZGypsys are as well. I dont like rationing amounts because that actually teaches them that they might get hungry and to eat fast and increases guarding. However, if dogs are already gorgers, you kind of have to limit them so they dont go way overboard.
    I agree that free feeding a food guarding dog is not a good idea, end of story.
    I also would like to note that "correcting" the food aggressive dog is likely to exaccerbate the problem. The dog is guarding b/c he thinks you will take it. Dont do the "i can take it if I want b/c i am the boss" crap. Try making a positive association by tossing him something better than his kibble when you come near his food dish. Soon, he will not just grudgingly accept you, bu be happy to see you come near him while he eats. You can do the same with the other pets. When they come towards his food, you whip out the steak and pump it down him " oh lookie, when the goat comes to your dish, you get steak!" Seriously, it works.
  9. zzGypsy

    zzGypsy Songster

    Aug 8, 2011
    Quote:I will try this. Turk seems to be especially quick to make associations and adjust behavior (a good thing, or not, sometimes) so it won't take long to see if this works with him.
  10. dainerra

    dainerra Crowing

    Jun 4, 2011
    Quote:I cxan agree with that. How much my GSDs eat is constantly being adjusted. Of course, the young guy doesn't get as much as he thinks he needs because I swear he'd eat 15 lbs of food a day. A lot of people, though look at the bag and say "Oh 3 cups" and only feed 3 cups. That is just a starting point and I bet that LGDs burn more calories than your typical housedog. So I pick an amount and feed that and adjust by condition. If they are acting like they are starving when the bowl is clear, then I up the amount. As long as they don't get pudgy, then I know that they aren't being over-fed.

    You can put say, 5 cups down at a feeding. Let the dog eat until it's full. If over a few feedings you see that 2 cups is what he eats, then you can put down 2 cups or a little more. Of course, this requires that you get your hands on the dog every few days to feel their ribs. You don't want them fat, but you don't want them starving either. Another good reason to raise your LGD so that you can handle them I would think. They have a lot of hair so you can't judge very well by sight their body condition. Even if you just give them a full bowl of food at each feeding and don't measure, it will still be apparent if the dog isn't eating well. With free-feeding, the amount might stay the same but 1 dog isn't eating and the other dog is pigging out.

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