Hands off LGD training

Discussion in 'Guard Animals' started by bluefish, Dec 4, 2014.

  1. bluefish

    bluefish Wait................what?

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    What is the thinking behind raising LGDs with as little human contact as possible? I can think of a few situations where it could be good, but what is the theory behind it? Why do you not want to be able to catch and handle your dog? Serious question, not trying to troll.
     
  2. Muleman

    Muleman Well-Known Member Supporter

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    It is not about not being able to handle and catch them, it is about proper bonding with the intended prey animal they are to guard. Dogs are pack animals, you raise them as a pack of pigs, the pigs is their pack and they will protect it. You raise them in your home as a family member, your family is their pack. Raise them as a member of the animal pack they are to protect, but establish yourself as the alfa. This is the basic premise.
     
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  3. bluefish

    bluefish Wait................what?

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    I get that. I mean actual hands off. I ended up with a 6 month LGD that was raised with almost no human input. These dogs had been put out with the herd and left there. The original dogs are now a family pack. They do a phenomenal job of protecting the herd and they aren't aggressive with people, but they aren't really handle-able. This was a herd dispersal after the owners died. The dogs and herd were rounded up and the dogs separated. When they were in a smallish pen someone went in and took out all the younger ones. They all were terrified and hard to handle.

    Since he was free, I thought I'd give one a shot. I've only had him a short time but he has finally stopped drooling and shaking when I come near. He lets me pet him, put a collar on him and he's stopped fighting the leash quite so hard. He does well with my small herd and doesn't even seem to notice the chickens (yet). I don't know how he'll work out yet, we'll see. He seems to want more to do with my dogs than anything else, but he is a scared pup yet. I don't necessarily want him bonded with me, but I want to be able to get ahold of him when/if necessary and transport or handle him as needed.

    This is not an uncommon way to raise LGDs around here and I don't quite get it. I've been told the best way to raise them is to create a feeding area where I can feed them without them seeing me and just leave them with the herd to do their thing. If a dog ever needs vet care or anything, I assume it's SOL.
     
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  4. okiemom

    okiemom Well-Known Member

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    I had a male like that. He was the best goat dog but he was a goat not a dog and the saddest sight is a lgd without his herd. You are right it was hell trying to vet him sometimes. Only the boys could grab him if they were sitting on the ground. He had been responsible when we got him @1.5yr old for a remote herd that had almost no human interaction. We were a little more hands on but it took him years to accept us. He was not a pet.
     
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  5. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Food is primary to survival. Use food to get him to have good associations with you. Assuming you are feeding kibble, get the best quality you can (tractor supply carries Taste of the Wild). Feed him from your hand, a few kibbles at a time. Over time, give him bigger handfuls until you are a point you might as well put it into a dish.

    And, when it is feeding time (feed him 3x a day for the next couple months), whistle when he looks at you and encourage him to come to you. If it is too scary for him, whistle and drop handfuls of kibble on the ground as you walk away. He will still associate your presence with food. You can then work up to feeding from your hand. Don’t lean over him, this could be seen as confrontational. If you are tall, bend your knees. Anyway, he will learn to come to you when you whistle, and a whistle will carry farther than your voice.

    Once he is happy coming to you for dinner, when he gets to you, before feeding him, pat your leg, turn, and take a few steps away. This is to teach him that when you pat your leg he is to follow you. If you want him to walk with you at the heel, then when he gets to the proper position, praise and feed from your hand. His mouth should be exactly where you want. Being a large dog, you probably want his ear at your leg.

    I would also caution you not to pat his head. Stroke his ears (many reflexology points on the ear). Rubbing the tip of the ear will calm him down, in fact it will take a dog (or human) out of shock. Also, with thumb and finger pinch (not hard) at the base of the ear and pull up. The side of the neck is also a good place to rub, and under the jaw. Do not pat him. A dog not used to crazy humans will not see this as friendly. Stroke or rub in circles. When he is at the heel you can rub under his ears.

    Read his posture, tail position, ear position, tightness of the face.
     
  6. dozedotz

    dozedotz Well-Known Member

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    Our male Pyr had no petting or other human contact other than to see the farmer enter and leave the area where the sheep were contained. He was 11 weeks old when we picked him up and he was terrified of us. He had gotten into some kind of brambles and his coat was literally full of burrs that were so tightly wound into the hair and laying right next to his skin that I don't know how the poor puppy could lie down. We spent hours that first day just getting the burrs off of him. His eyes were like saucers but he never tried to bite or wrestle away (maybe too afraid). His mother had been killed by a neighbor who shot her for coming onto his property...or at least that was the story. Anyway, he and the other pups had been born and lived with sheep for 11 weeks. We brought him home to goats and he acted as if he thought they were sheep! He took right to them and was very comfortable with THEM...not us. Today, he is an excellent guard dog who totally accepts us and will even wag his tail, come forward to greet us and actually get into the truck with my husband (helpful when he had to go to the vet for a bad ear infection). He does NOT like other people at all. Our female Pyr is fine with all people as long as we are present or she has been "introduced." We got him fairly young, we treated him with respect, he never really did anything that was so bad that we needed to reprimand him due to his immediate affinity with the goats...so, maybe time is the answer in at least some cases...
     
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  7. motdaugrnds

    motdaugrnds II Corinthians 5:7

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    It sounds like you are working with a fearful dog...a dog taken away from its pack at an early age and was frightened by the process. What you want to emphasize in your work with this dog is to build its confidence in himself. You can do this by never overpowering him, being firm with whatever you're attempting to teach him while giving him time to think about what you're asking him to do and then making the effort to do it.

    The advise Maura gave as to getting acquainted with him is right on. (Quite usual with Maura's advice.)

    I'm fairly new to working with an LGD, having purchased my first about 2 yrs ago; and you can find out how I dealt with this type of dog in my thread here: http://www.homesteadingtoday.com/li...3238-made-my-choice-bulgarian-karakachan.html

    You asked: "What is the thinking behind raising LGDs with as little human contact as possible?"

    My response can only be: It makes no sense to me! (Even the Bulgarians who leave their Karakachans with their charges constantly will go out and tend to the needs of their dogs, even letting the dogs eat with them and feeding the dogs first.) However, maybe there are owners of large farms who cannot tend their livestock on a daily basis; and have learned it is good to let the dogs fend for themselves. (I'm just guessing of course. Maybe someone who thinks it is best not to give much human contact will respond to your question.)
     
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  8. bluefish

    bluefish Wait................what?

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    Thanks all. I've had experience with LGDs and with behavioral issues with other breeds and we're doing great. He's coming along very nicely and I'm not worried about that part, I even get tail wags now. :) I just don't understand the thinking behind having as little (preferably NO contact) with a dog that is working for you.
     
  9. Muleman

    Muleman Well-Known Member Supporter

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    In all honestly I think it goes back to how animals have been viewed in the past compared to modern views of animals. In the past all livestock, dogs included were viewed as just that, livestock. Today many livestock animals even, if used for their intended purpose are viewed for the most part as pets. No farmer would have spent the amount of money that is spent today on various livestock at the vets office. You see the relationships with animals today viewed differently because none of it is necessary to our day to day survival. People have various livestock today out of choice, not out of need. That causes a different relationship.

    I am not picking sides, just pointing out the difference in how animals are dealt with today. I too am new to LGD's, but have been around working dogs all of my life. My uncle and grandfather raised and sold various breeds of hunting dogs through the years since I was a kid. These dogs were not pets and we were not allowed to "Play" with them. They were handled when needed and they did a good job for their intended purpose.

    Here is my opinion on this subject as it is brought up quite often in various forms , as with many subjects on the net. People who generally view handling working dogs as a bad thing normally point out the far leaning left position, where they are kept in the house etc. etc. and lose their ability to guard livestock. People who generally view, "not" handling as bad, point out the far right argument of no handling at all etc. etc. and then they are unable to be dealt with at all. The truth in my mind is there is a balance somewhere in between. Enough handling to allow them to be dealt with for their basic needs and basic use, but not so much handling that they become lap dogs and just another pet.

    I think it also goes back to the original question which everyone needs to answer honestly, no shame on either side, there is no right or wrong answer, it is after all your money, not mine.
    Why do you want to get a LGD?? Answer this question honestly!!

    If you have 3 chickens and live on a 2 acre lot, in all honestly you do not NEED a LGD. There are various ways to protect your chickens, which will offer the same level of protection probably at an cheaper price in the long run. Please understand. I am not saying you should not have one, or you are doing something bad to have one. Not at all. I am just saying be honest about why you want one. "I just want one because I like dogs!!" Good answer, now go get you a dog and call it what it is, my pet. There is no problem with that at all. I think everyone could benefit from having a pet and dogs make good pets.
     
  10. Davstep

    Davstep Guest

    IMO I would not do it. My LGD are allowed in our house some when young and occasionally even as adult. I don't like playing catch me if you can when I need them. That goes for anything.

    I also like to check my dogs over regularly, mostly daily, during a good rub. A dog with no human contact would not be that easy. When my dogs run into a porcupine I'm glad they are easy for me to handle and not wide eyed across the pasture looking at me:eek:
     
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  11. Muleman

    Muleman Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I just would like to point out as I alluded to in my previous post. There is a distinction to be made between a dog that "Allows" human contact and one that "Seeks" human contact. My outside dogs are not treated as pets in the way my wife's little inside dog is. That is not to say they are wide eyed and fearful, or mistreated. They allow human interaction and respond to various commands and body language. However, they do not seek human contact and affection and are content to simply go about their business and casually observe what we are doing rather than run over to become a part of it or to gain our attention.

    Again, I just think it is important we do not view this as an all or nothing topic. I know some do, on both sides of the issue, but it does not have to be, unless it is made to be an all or nothing approach.
     
  12. Davstep

    Davstep Guest

    Hi Muleman,
    I rarely say never or always on anything unless referring to programming. Personally I wasn't implying anything other than what I do. My dogs have not had puppies for me to raise but they were puppies when I brought them home. Similar to what you said but about how I raise my goats. I've raised bottle, lambar, dam and combos and for the last couple of years raised only by dam. They are just as friendly and approachable as bottle raised but many place their fingers in their ears as soon as you say it:) Everyone's situation and style is different. I just share what works for me and maybe it helps someone else, or helps them on what not to do. That's how I learned along with trial and error.
     
  13. Davstep

    Davstep Guest

    Not sure if this is your first LGD or not. Mine when puppies (12 weeks) were brought in the house and allowed to play with our wee house dogs. I did this to prevent later problems if they were to enter the fence and be mistaken for a Possum:) LGD's, especially without a mentor will take around 2 years to fully mature and really know what to do. I see nothing wrong with allowing them play time with non LGD that are yours.

    As adults, my LGD still loves to play with our other dogs outside of the pastures. The LGD do not allow the others to enter their pasture with their livestock. A good dog will be able to tell the difference. We have a large house dog to that has a prey drive. No issues though.

    Regarding feeding, I often even feed my LGD out of my hands. Or away by themselves. My LGD don't gorge and rather bury any extra. It's not really funny to see a dog spinning in fury when pigs and goats are coming from all directions. Pigs are smart and assign a runner (not really but seems that way). One pig darts in, grabs a bite and takes of running. The others wait and make a dive when they think the dog is not watching. Moral is, they need to be fed separate.

    My LGD are pets that also work. I also play with my LGD. Hasn't affected the protective drive. Sleeps with the goats and pigs, young and old. Chickens run here and there to. Very effective at what is needed.
     
  14. Foxglove

    Foxglove Member

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    Both theories regarding "hands off" making for better guardians, as well as the method of "force bonding" puppies have been debunked repeatedly over the past decade. They were outdated ideas left over from the 70's perpetuated by high volume livestock breeders, who read the one book published on the subject and who were more interested in their bottom line than they were in having a working relationship with their dogs. This is only practiced in the US and thank god people are finally beginning to question anyone who still believes this is the way to operate, even some of the bigger producers have started to slowly change their methods.
     
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  15. boerboy

    boerboy Beginner Part-time Farmer

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    When I get my dog, I would like it to interact with all my family members including kids, and sleep & guard all livestock. I feel that is reasonable expectation after reading your post
     
  16. wiscto

    wiscto Well-Known Member

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  17. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    His handling the dog during feeding is not really domineering, in my opinion. It helped to socialize the dog and accept the man’s being around the food. It seems that the dog had training, so he could tell the dog “no” and to come. As for the submissive gestures from the dog, sounds like invitation to play.

    In hindsight, he should have socialized the dog to having the man kneel in front of him. Lowering yourself places you beneath the dog in the hierarchy. This is why some dogs will get upset if you are doing ‘on the floor’ exercises. It kinda confuses them. Part of training should involve sitting on the floor beside your dog and working him or her through basic obedience. Most of us do this in ordinary life without thinking about it, but we don’t do it with an outside dog.

    In hindsight, he should have worked with the dog earlier to leave the pigs and piglets alone. In fact, the dog may have been trying to put the pig back, not kill it.

    I think the problem was the dog. This is a big, powerful, and aggressive breed. Most people should not own one. When they are good, they are very very good at what they do. Otherwise, they are dangerous. Many people keep this breed, are careful with them, and never get mouthed. It is possible that this particular dog had his own problem even separate from the breed. There are cocker spaniels that are friendly and soft, and cocker spaniels that bite. So was it bad breeding? Would all Akbash have reacted this way? I don’t know.

    As for the border collie joining the fight, this is not atypical with dogs. The border collie was probably not the man’s ‘favorite person’. Maybe Mawmaw is, maybe Cory. If he was the favorite person, I don’t think the BC would have bitten him.

    We don’t really know enough about the whole situation. As for hands off, I don’t think the guy was hands off, but maybe he needed to be more hands on.
     
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  18. wiscto

    wiscto Well-Known Member

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    Makes sense to me, and yea it does sound like he was trying to be hands on with Duke. I guess the only thing I have a hard time with is the Border Collie. I'm not saying it's uncommon, but with a member of the household....it has to be. My feeling after reading that was the Border Collie either didn't know who was being bit when she arrived, or he was so low down the hierarchy himself that she didn't even try to defend him from the alpha but instead joined in punishing. That she didn't see what was happening as completely wrong and start crying and whining and intervening submissively is really surprising to me. As far I've ever seen, dogs will try to distract then tuck their tails and roll their backs submissively hoping to take some of the punishment away from the target, if they care at all about the target. I've even seen that when the human "alpha" was being a bit harsh on one of the dogs and one of the others just couldn't watch anymore. In a throw down between two extremely aggressive males who are going to go all the way with it and everyone knows it's to the death, most others just scatter, like the young one he said was nearby when the big male attacked. This Border Collie actually joined in. On her owner. IMO he couldn't have been doing much correctly even with the Border Collie. Unless she just didn't know it was him.

    However that went down, it's a scary story.
     
  19. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Border collies can be very aggressive. They tend to be submissive with their people, but some of them are very hard. You wouldn’t put this type on sheep, but might put them on cattle. He says he went to Mawmaw’s (His mother or mil?), so I’m not sure the BC was his dog. He may not have been seen as a family member.
     
  20. wiscto

    wiscto Well-Known Member

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    That would be more understandable. I guess I'm not sure what he meant by "our border collie," but I took it to mean it was one of his. Maybe he just mistakenly thought of it as one of his even though it really belonged to "Mawmaw" and he had little to do with it other than feeding it now and then or something.