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Guard Animals Guarding the homestead


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  #1  
Old 08/29/16, 01:57 PM
saritamae's Avatar  
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Ohio
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Pyrenees Question

I am looking for the advice & opinions of people who have GP. We are going to be getting goats & sheep, so we extensively researched LGD. We chose GP because of their gentle reputation with children, but are aware that all dogs are individuals and don't always fit into "norms". Last week we had a break-in at our farm, and all of our tools were stolen. (We are renovating and were only about 2 weeks from moving in.) The break-in combined with the response time of the sheriff as well as the suspected thieves have caused us to reconsider security. DH and i have decided that we want security cameras as well as a very large, protective dog. I would like to get a pup when we move so that it bonds with us in place of livestock. It would be inside with us at night, but during the day I would have it out working with me around the farm. 17 of our acres, including the house, are fenced with a gate across the drive so I'm not (yet) too worried about roaming. I know that I won't be getting an obedient velcro dog and that's part of the appeal. I like that they are independent thinkers and can be trained to ignore poultry.

In all of our research, we have found a lot out about LGD that live with livestock. We have found GP that live as house dogs. I am having trouble finding info on people that use them as guard dogs in general on a farm. All of my reading says that if you don't have livestock they will bond with their people, but I am only finding examples of pets and not working dogs. I am looking for any experience anyone here has. Basically, I don't want to get a GP if they aren't at all a good fit for what we need. I welcome their protective instincts (and barking lol), but I guess I mostly worry that keeping an eye on our young family of 4 and our farm won't be enough work for them.

This is really long, so thank anyone that made it this far and has advice!
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  #2  
Old 08/29/16, 06:48 PM
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My friend has a GP that they bought to guard their sheep. They wanted a dog that could live outside with the sheep 24/7, but unfortunately her excessive nighttime barking means she has to be inside at night or the neighbors complain. These dogs are definitely barkers! This particular dog will bark at critters that don't belong there but she doesn't bark at human intruders. She will sit and watch them and maybe she would be more protective if the person appeared to be doing something they shouldn't, but they haven't encountered that scenario.

She is an escape artist. GPs like to roam. Her temperament is wonderful, though. She is affectionate with the family and polite to visitors.

Hope that helps!
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  #3  
Old 08/29/16, 07:12 PM
 
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Mine is a house dog, 6 years old or so, she is extremely attached to me, barks at everything, cars driving by, crows, airplanes, etc. She has rushed strangers pulling in the drive, think door to door salesmen, she is really only friendly with people she knows and has met, but she is protecting me as that is what she sees as her job. She hates the UPS man and the guy who delivers my propane, even though they give her treats, or try too. You have to be strong minded when you make them a guardian of "you" as while she wants to be with me all the time, she will run if she gets the chance and she is not coming back for love or treats until SHE is ready.

She is also the most extreme love bug and spends most nights sleeping with her head on my feet, yes in the bed with me, until she hears something that she thinks is an issue then it is barking pacing and growling.

Rich
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  #4  
Old 08/30/16, 09:56 AM
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Well, I've not owned a GP and have only had one LGD. The one I chose for my 6-acre homestead (dairy goats & assorted fowl) was a Bulgarian Karakachan. She is now 3 yrs old and what I've learned about her guardian propensities blows my mind!

Not only does this canine patrol the parameter fencing, she (with the help of my labrador) have intimidated all 4-legged creatures (We also have black bears; yet I've only seen shadows and heard breathing of these.) and all flying predators so much that I've been able to let all my goats/fowl free-range for years without locking them up at night...not even locking up the fowl (chickens, geese, ducks, guineas). But this is not all....

Valentina (the Karakachan) only barks when she senses and/or sees something that concerns her. Even when my lab (Cujo) barks, Valentina may not, depending on her own perception of the situation.

As for her protectiveness toward humans, i.e. me...I've had to accept the fact this past year that Valentina has decided I am one of her charges. She barks at me when I'm moving heavy rolls of wire, climbing on top of the chicken house and/or sawing down large tree limbs. She growls at Cujo when he is getting too close to my legs in an excited state...I am not that agile and my balance over uneven terrain leaves much to be desired.

Yes this LGD will let 2-legged strangers who show up at my gate in to talk with me, walk around with me, load the fuel tank, etc.; however, she will continuously let those people know she is watching....by following them around & even circling them while maintaining about 3-4 ft of distance from them. Occasionally she will even growl at them; yet she has never made an attempt to bite anyone...yet! (This occurred just yesterday when a stranger came inside to walk around with me talking about what needed to be done with some of my trees. Neither of my dogs tried to bite this stranger, though they both walked around with us watching. Valentina was the only one who growled at times.)

This all said, it should be obvious to most in these forums that I'm quite prejudice! This Karakachan is all I could hope for in an LGD. She is definately an "independent" thinker. She minds me only out of respect, i.e. letting me go thru internal gates first, then waiting to be invited, coming in the house only when I say it is ok, eating only when she knows it is ok with me and even letting me groom her, the latter sometimes being a bit painful should she have a cut or something needing attention. I don't believe she is an "alpha" canine; however, she is definately assertive and fearless; and I have no doubt she would give her own life in efforts to protect what she has decided are her charges. So, Saritamae, you might want to think of getting a Karakachan for your place.
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  #5  
Old 08/30/16, 06:22 PM
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Thank you all! These are exactly the kinds of things I was wanting to hear.
Motdaugrnds after reading about Valentina, I have DH reading about Karakachan right now lol.
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  #6  
Old 08/30/16, 07:49 PM
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Whatever dog you get, a couple of those cheap Belkin motion sensor alarms in your tool shed will help get the dog barking at night if someone is messing around. They're at WalMart. Couple cheap motion sensor lights to blind them when they look back at the house or wherever you/the dogs might be. Meanwhile you're on the phone with the cops.

Also. I have a GP mix now on less land than you have, but a lot of her personality is different from both of the main breeds that went into her. I really think that's the only reason she barks so sparingly, because I wake up to a low growl in the middle of the night at least once a week. Usually just people down the road getting late night visitors, or maybe someone works a weird shift.

Karakachans sound great to me too. Kind of rare right now, though. Don't rule out some of the other breeds on the velcro dog thing. There could be some people breeding good farm German Shepherds. I have to check in with a pair of them once in a while on the job, their rule not their boss'. They barked at me the first time to let me know I was on their turf, but once they realized I was going to follow the routine, they started welcoming me with neutral tail wags. Now the female sticks her nose on the back of my leg to let me know I'm doing a good job, then she goes back to watching her chickens and barking at unruly livestock.

You could try a combination of breeds, your own prescription, as was suggested to me. I will likely add a male English Shepherd to my family eventually, one of the "farm manager" rule enforcer types. There's a couple litters listed on the club's page right now, maybe the breeders can hook you up with an all around dog like that. http://www.englishshepherd.org/breed...h-puppies.html There probably are velcro dogs in those litters, but it's a versatile breed.
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  #7  
Old 08/31/16, 10:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saritamae View Post
I am looking for the advice & opinions of people who have GP. We are going to be getting goats & sheep, so we extensively researched LGD. We chose GP because of their gentle reputation with children, but are aware that all dogs are individuals and don't always fit into "norms". Last week we had a break-in at our farm, and all of our tools were stolen. (We are renovating and were only about 2 weeks from moving in.) The break-in combined with the response time of the sheriff as well as the suspected thieves have caused us to reconsider security. DH and i have decided that we want security cameras as well as a very large, protective dog. I would like to get a pup when we move so that it bonds with us in place of livestock. It would be inside with us at night, but during the day I would have it out working with me around the farm. 17 of our acres, including the house, are fenced with a gate across the drive so I'm not (yet) too worried about roaming. I know that I won't be getting an obedient velcro dog and that's part of the appeal. I like that they are independent thinkers and can be trained to ignore poultry.

In all of our research, we have found a lot out about LGD that live with livestock. We have found GP that live as house dogs. I am having trouble finding info on people that use them as guard dogs in general on a farm. All of my reading says that if you don't have livestock they will bond with their people, but I am only finding examples of pets and not working dogs. I am looking for any experience anyone here has. Basically, I don't want to get a GP if they aren't at all a good fit for what we need. I welcome their protective instincts (and barking lol), but I guess I mostly worry that keeping an eye on our young family of 4 and our farm won't be enough work for them.

This is really long, so thank anyone that made it this far and has advice!
I've had three Great Pyrenees as working, outside, livestock guardians. Mine seem to have been anomalies because they bonded with our family, were very attached to us and also guarded everything on our place.
If one of our kids wandered off into the woods, one of the Pyrs would detach from livestock and accompany the child. They spent a lot of time just patrolling and marking their boundaries. They weren't fenced in...tried that and it didn't really work. But we live surrounded by vast swathes of public lands and it wasn't a problem. They eventually understood their boundaries.

If an unknown human ventured down our road, they barked. A lot. But I doubt they would ever have attacked. I think their mere presence was a huge deterrent.

They really were some of the greatest dogs I've ever known and miss them every day.

Good luck with the fencing. Our Pyrs went over, under and thru our fences (including electric) without turning a hair. Luckily we were in the position of not having it matter.
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  #8  
Old 09/29/16, 02:05 AM
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I know this is an older post however, my thoughts.

Generally GPs are not people aggressive. They will bond with their people but generally only bark and protect the critters they are in charge of(or bark at unknown people coming over in the dark). This can be different based on breeding but the breed isn't mean't as a guard dog for people. I know others who have better luck with Anatolian as far as them being an alarm to people coming to the farm. (more protective of their people)

We do love our GPs for the protection they provide to the farm as well as gentleness with my kids. Mine run with the peafowl, chickens, guineas, sheep, cattle, and horses. Find a good breeder regardless of what breed you choose.
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  #9  
Old 09/29/16, 08:32 AM
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For lots of info on the Pyr's, training, expectations etc, check out the website Bountifull Farm. They have raised, rescued, sold and educated about the Pyrs for many years. Their training seminars are great resources.
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