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Working in LGD's


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I've just gotten 2 LGD puppies. One is 5 months old and the other is 6 months. younger one is pure pyr and the other is pyr/anatolian cross.

The Pyr is way to young to know what's going on but the pyr/anatolian is already trying to do his job. I'm keeping them down with the sheep but the young one really wants to get out to be on our porch. Older one is happy with the sheep. I don't want to let either one out before they're ready to stay with the sheep.

I put my sheep up each night in a lean-to with a round pen attached. They have a llama with them. Each day I let some sheep out and keep some in with the pups. Hoping they'll bond. The cross is trying, pyr is crying....

I'm not used to leaving dogs alone, so am having a hard time not wanting to mess with them. I want them friendly enough for vetting or giving meds. but other than that I'd like to see them with their sheep.

I really love the cross. His hame is Lonesome. We were calling the other one Dove but my son has changed his name to Lumpy and it fits perfectly.

Any ideas or suggestions?


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Go ahead and handle your pups. They need to get to know all the humans and get used to being handled by them. Just like with a Border collie, they will learn there's a difference between social time and work - it's just that work is more integrated with them.


If possible, keep some sheep with the pups all the time. If at all possible, make it the same group of sheep. They must be gentle and have no issues (ie, no dog haters, no rams, no mamas with lambs at side). Ideal is big enough to discourage roughhousing, but young enough to accept the dogs readily as flock members.


They are puppies, so give them stuff to do just like you would Border collie pups. I give my Maremma babies big marrow bones to gnaw (no it won't give them any ideas about the sheep). I also give them those big horse balls to throw around and chase. Tell them they are good dogs when they play with these appropriate objects, and when they bark at strange dogs or other alarming things, and when they lay down with the flock. These are clever dogs and they really cue off you pretty easily.


They are just about to enter a difficult age when they'll go from following the flock to wanting to lead them. This is when you see the youngsters start to harrass the sheep pretty seriously. Like a border collie that dives and bites, not knowing how to do what it knows needs to be done, these dogs are trying to establish their leadership in the flock but don't know how to do it peaceably.


There's two ways to approach this issue when it arises. One, what I do - I keep a very close eye and when the roughousing starts, I run out and drive the offending dog away from the flock. That's the worst punishment you can dish out for these guys. Actually, it's really the only effective correction. It's exactly what an older dog would do, too.


If you can't keep a pretty close watch for the next few months, there are various ways to give the sheep the advantage by hampering the dog's movements. I'm not as fond of these (though I've used them when I couldn't be there all the time) - it doesn't extinguish the behavior as quickly, I don't think - and you aren't reinforcing your own leadership role. This is when I teach the "GET BACK" command, which is useful for other things later on - especially when strange dogs are there to work, or visitors are there, or the dog is just being nosy. :rolleyes:


It IS possible AND advisable to teach the dogs that the sheep are yours and you ultimately make all the decisions, including when it's ok to interfere. Do socialize and obedience train them early. When you are not there, they are smart enough to make the right decisions - like a Border collie that is working out of sight - they know the default is "bring the sheep" and the right way to do that is built in - one hopes!


Good luck!

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Thanks Rebecca

That sounds like what I am doing. It's hard to keep certain sheep with them so they are getting to know all my sheep. I keep the mean Mommas with the ones I let out. The older one is already budding up with the sheep. The younger one doesn't want to have anything to do with the sheep. The llama is surprisingly nice to them. He lets them lay close to him without any issues. The sheep are letting them drink out of the same stock tank even when they are close. So sounds like I am on the right track. As far as obedience, I'm teaching no jumping on humans, recall, and working on sit or down. I have to get them leash broke so I can take them to the vet. What age do you neuter?

My goal is to be alpha and that seems to be ingrained. I just have to get my 14 year old son and Dh to do the same. They are lovers of all animals and it's hard to get them to reinforce manners.

Thanks for the tips. They are really cool dogs. Even though they are young I haven't had a coyote issue since they've been here. Guess that gruff bark is a good thing.


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It sounds like they are settling in. They will probably work the llama into their "team" once they mature. The younger dog may have to be tied in a pen with nothing but sheep for a while. I'm not a huge fan of purebred Pyrs because I feel like the bonding instinct is a little more unpredictable in the breed - I've heard good and bad both, pretty equally.


I wait until between two and three to neuter. My bitches get spayed before a year old. I haven't had any wandering problems - quite the opposite - I had a bitch here once to breed to my male and it was a crazy experience trying to get them to accept each other - eventually we had to convince my male that she was part of the "pack" by bringing her here well before her time. I wait until the males are older simply as an asthetic thing - I like them to grow into their big boy physiques - neutering really makes a big difference in the looks of these breeds. Obviously if the male is wandering it's more important to fix that, than to worry about looks, but I've never had a wandering problem as I said.


One other thing I forgot to mention - good food makes for happy guard dogs! Look for a high quality feed that is as close to 30/20 as possible. I just switched my guys over to EVO and I have been very pleased with the result. I don't think you can feed your pups EVO, but premium foods are definitely worth it - even when you are dishing it out by the pound (ouch!). Happy and healthy guard dogs don't wander, stay focused on the job, and shed their winter coats better. You'll really appreciate that last one - having to shear the llama is enough, I'm sure! :rolleyes:

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