Should I get a livestock guardian dog?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by dianneS, Sep 11, 2009.

  1. dianneS

    dianneS Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 16, 2009
    South Central PA
    I don't have a huge preditor problem, just skunks, racoons, hawks and a very bold fox that has taken both roosters tail feathers in broad daylight. I also have tiny baby pygmy goats that are almost small enough for the fox if he were really hungry.

    I've lost a few hens this summer to the fox and had a skunk break into the henhouse and get 4 chicks. I don't think we have any coyotes yet. The presence of a big dog would be enough to deter the preditors we have.

    My concern is that the dog might kill chickens or a baby goat or go after one of my house dogs or cats. I just don't know if our preditor problem is severe enough to run the risk of the "protector" turning out to be a "preditor". I would be really upset if I invested in a new dog and then had it turn on my livestock even more than the preditors we currently have.

    The dog I'm considering is 3/4 Karakachan and 1/4 Great Pyrenese. These puppies are 5 months old and have been raised around goats and chickens since birth. The breeder seems pretty confident that they won't hurt any of my animals.

    What do you think I should do? Any personal experience with livestock guardian dogs?
     
  2. mekasmom

    mekasmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 9, 2008
    If the dog is young enough to bond with your flock, it will be fine. I prefer to get them younger so they bond with our goats.
     
  3. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    My concern is that the dog might kill chickens or a baby goat or go after one of my house dogs or cats

    They shouldnt have access to your "house" dogs or your cats
    LGD's belong in a pasture with the animals they are guarding.

    If they havent been trained to chickens, they may very well kill a few before they learn​
     
  4. farrier!

    farrier! Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 28, 2009
    Southern Illinois
    Quote:Good for you for thinking about this first!!!

    I have a number of clients with "guardian dogs". I have yet to be impressed. We have one who travels 15 miles when he gets out of the yard just to be with kids (my daughter would love to keep him)
    A client had one that just bit her boy friend.
    Another client just bought two older dogs that were raised with sheep. They killed 2 of her goats. Tried to kill the mini foal. The male does not interact with people, avoids eye contact, and bites when handled.

    All the ones I have been around the last 40 years either want to be with people or are not safe to have around people, or at least young kids.

    If you were in the middle of no where and never needed to interact or handle the "guard" dog that has bonded with the animals then they may be fine. In the area where I have seen them they either love people and do not guard the animals or are simply too unsafe to have on property that may have visitors.

    edited to add my 0 in 40......
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2009
  5. dianneS

    dianneS Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 16, 2009
    South Central PA
    Thanks farrier! I was actually wondering exactly that! If it was either one extreme or the other with these dogs.

    Either they are pets, or potentially dangerous and unsafe. I didn't think you could have it both ways, a good guardian and people friendly.

    I just met with a breeder of some puppies tonight and even with all of the wonderful things she told me about the dogs, there were a few red flags for me.

    Thanks again!
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2009
  6. Biddylover

    Biddylover Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you want a true farm dog, that is loyal to livestock and family you need to talk to my friend's Heather and Ray http://bttbab.com/kaolin_kennels.htm I have one of Ray's pups his name is Maximus. I've had him since he was 13 weeks old best dog ever. No training involved, but in our opinion working bulldog is redundant. Maximus has been with my flock off and on since 13 weeks of age. We only use an old breed of dog origionally called Old English Whites now referred to as White English Bulldogs they come from the Alaunt family in Spain. They are not just livestock dogs, they are family dogs too. Maximus is in the house the majority of the time, guarding the chickens is to give him a job so he doesn't get bored. They are very aloof with strangers, will not bite out of fear extremely intelligent dogs, a breed practically going extinct.

    Max at 13 weeks first time ever seeing our chickens
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    Again
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    Max last month hearding
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    More
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    Lost track of one or two
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    finally got them all

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    posing with Aidan
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    meeting our new chicks
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    watching them eat about a week ago
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    I only suggest these dogs to someone that is serious about a good quality well bred dog. Good luck on your search [​IMG]
     
  7. deb1

    deb1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 26, 2008
    NC
    I wonder if it matters if you have a certain breed as a livestock dog or not? I know some breeds have high prey drives and you want to avoid that of course, but maybe other breeds could be used.

    I have a mix breed mutt.

    I take her out with me when I am with the chickens. When I give the flock treats, I make her sit and then give her a few treats afterwards.

    She doesn't get that kill stare that some dogs get and seems only inclined to eat the birds poop.[​IMG] She has chased off cats so I am certain that she would chase off anything in her territory.Even if something bigger came into the yard, she would bark and alert me. That is all the protection that I need.

    Of course, if I lived in an area with cougars and wolves, I would want a LGD.

    My dog is a pet and would be a good, all around farm dog if we had more land.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2009
  8. anngili

    anngili Chillin' With My Peeps

    I don't think that LGDs are necessarily one extreme or the other. If they are it's usually because they are generally poorly bred, not trained correctly, not trained at all, or put in a situation or asked to do a job they're not good for. I'd recommend contacting A NUMBER of people who raise and train different breeds of LGDs.

    I've seen some that were just fine with people they knew where supposed to be on the property but who warned off anyone who wasn't supposed to and also guarded their flock of sheep, goats, and ducks. One dog in particular did all of that but when someone came into one of the pastures anyway (they forgot to wait for the owner to escort them), the dog just barked and backed them up against a fence and then just wouldn't let them move far in any direction until the owner came. The owner came, the dog strolled up to get petted and then left to go back to the flock.

    After being introduced to that dog by the owner a number of times, the dog figured out it was okay with the owner if I went there and even took my herding dog and worked the sheep while the dog was in the same paddock. There was never any problem unless the LGD thought my dog (or I) was getting too rough with the sheep. Even at that point she didn't ever harm my dog or me.
    Good ones are like any other good dogs; they need to be out of good breeding, appropriately selected and trained for the expected job, and then monitored as needed.

    I know the person who breeds, raises, and trains those dogs and she's meticulous about making sure they're good, healthy, well-trained pups before they leave her place and tries to make sure that they go to good homes and gives good advice.

    Hopefully you'll be able to find someone like that in your area or to get another dog that might work well such as another White English Bulldog like the one shown above or a good English Shepherd, etc. I hope you find the right dog for your needs, just don't forget that breeding, health, and TRAINING (and training is always an ongoing thing!) are needed to get and keep the kind of dog you want.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2009
  9. Big C

    Big C J & C Farms

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    Dec 15, 2008
    Vernon Texas
    Our guard dog guards our property and has no interation with our flock, except alerting us to the presence of someone or thing that should not be on our property.
    The flocks are protected by a double layer of fencing which the outer is electrified.
     
  10. deb1

    deb1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 26, 2008
    NC
    Angili made me wonder if part of the problem that some people have with LGD is that they think that the dog doesn't need to be trained?
     

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