Training a livestock guardian dog

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by R1ley, Jun 9, 2017.

  1. R1ley

    R1ley Just Hatched

    Jan 19, 2017
    Okay so I'm planning on getting a puppy and training it to become a LGD for my chicken flock due to the presence of wild dingoes and foxes around my place, and I was wondering if anyone has any tips/advice/training guides? I'm unsure what breed I want to get, however I am leaning towards a GSD, but I'm not sure if that breed would do well as a flock guardian or not.

    I've already started researching on the internet and it will be months before I actually get the puppy, as I want to take my time to make sure I will be 100% prepared in training a livestock guardian. So basically I'm looking for breed suggestions or advice in whether or not a GSD would be able to protect my chickens, as well as any helpful guides/books/manuals or even personal experience that would help me out.​
  2. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Overrun With Chickens

    Jul 24, 2013
    I don't have any experience with LGDs. However, if you make an account on BYC's "sister" website,, there are several very experienced LGD raisers there that should be able to help.
    TheKindaFarmGal likes this.
  3. dainerra

    dainerra Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 4, 2011
    As a breeder, I will tell you that a GSD isn't going to be your best choice for a livestock guardian. They are a herding breed, carefully selected to work closely with humans. Also, as a herding breed, their instinct is to chase and round up things that run. Not the best thing for chickens, which are easily broken and killed.
  4. MyriamKP

    MyriamKP Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 16, 2008
    Here is a good article for training a dog to respect chickens.
    I raise Maremma and Akbash LGD and am training both a rat terrier and a LGD to specifically live with my chickens and pigeons. It is a long process to get a reliable dog. It helps to have older dogs who can help train the pup, so the first dog is the hardest to train. It is also necessary that the dog live with the chickens as many of the chicken predators are stealthy and can get past a dog that is not nearby. The trickiest part is controlling the puppy play urges that result in the first kills. It takes 1.5 to 2 years to train a reliable LGD.
  5. eggbert420

    eggbert420 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 15, 2017
    Dogs that are raised around chickens do best. Don't get a dog older than three months old, and it will be easily trained.
  6. MyriamKP

    MyriamKP Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 16, 2008
    I think easily trained is misleading. I makes people think that LGD don't need much training or are good for beginners. You have to be vigilant and get to know your pup and your situation. If you set the pup up for success from the beginning, it can be easy. But you can't plan on things working 100% on every pup. This is why so many LGD end up in rescue.
    dainerra likes this.
  7. In general LGD don't make great family pets...They were bred to be alone to live with flocks of sheep...With that said..My Maremma is fantastic...He looks after my Chickens and Ducks...He is the type to not wander...Personality he has is to stick with his flock...I also trainer a golden retriever/Aussie to patrol and chase off fox and coyotes ...They work as a team....
    Get a puppy and start its training from the time you bring it home...
  8. cassie

    cassie Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 19, 2009
    I will have to disagree with the statement that LGD's do not make good family pets. I had Komondors and they were wonderful dogs. There are some caveats, though. They are bred to guard whatever they are bonded with, whether it is your livestock or you and your family. They are protective and they are independent thinkers so their owners need to be experienced and knowledgeable dog owners. They need to be socialized and taught at least basic obedience.

    The person who said that a GSD would be a bad choice for a livestock guard is right. Of the cases I personally know where livestock were attacked and killed by dogs, the most common culprit was a GSD, followed by Malamutes and Huskies. Not long ago, a good friend of mine went to the barn to do morning chores just in time to see a GSD fly out of an open window. This window was a good six feet off the ground but it was no obstacle to that dog. Tony went in to find blood everywhere and several of his prize goats down and shredded. There were a few survivors, but many of those were badly injured and some had to be put down.
  9. Nikasha

    Nikasha Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 19, 2017
    The video on this page is worth watching. Those folks are using a pack of LGDs on a much larger sheep farm, but it kind of gives a brief overview of how the characteristics of a few breeds differ, and how the appropriate dog for the situation will vary depending on the type/number of predators. approx 7 min
  10. dainerra

    dainerra Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 4, 2011
    I just want to clarify that GSDs can be raised to be good with livestock. They are herding dogs after all and it would be useless if the breed was uncontrollable killers of livestock. However, herding is simply trained and focused prey drive - the desire to chase after things. In dogs with a high drive, if they are untrained the question becomes "crap. what do I do with this thing now that I've caught it?" That training can come in the form of teaching the dog not to chase animals. It can come in the form of working closely with the humans to take the animals to a certain place or to keep them in a certain area. But untrained dogs of any breed are likely to be a problem with livestock.

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