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Discussion Starter #1
We recently adopted a Komondor from some folks who knew nothing about the breed. He's 11 months old and is absolutely wonderful. It was rather impromptu..and well, dire. He was a mess. A friend tipped us off, and we took him after a couple initial meet and greets with him.

I have no idea what the folks that bought him were thinking, but they wanted to use him as a service dog. I explained to them that I'm not a Komondorok expert, but these dogs are pretty terrible at doing much more than what they're bred to do. I also explained that a service dog trains for way longer than 6 months and these dogs don't even mature until they're a good two or three years old. He was badly clipped of his starting cords, and his poor ears and hocks were burnt up from what I guess were angry clippers. He also had ear mites and a pretty nasty allergy to the food he was on.
BUT ANYWAY. Their loss was our gain.

He's a beast at 85 lbs right now, and still has a lot of puppy left in him. He plays a little too hard and needs guidance, but he's generally well mannered and very well socialized so far.

He alerts us about everything he finds out of the way. During the day he patrols the yard and lets us know about every car coming down the road, every cow that moos across the road, and every strange smell he catches. At night, he sleeps on the porch and lets us know about every chattering raccoon he hears in the distance.

It takes some getting used to for my DF who has never had a guard dog, but I feel safer. My grandfather had GSDs and a Pyrenees so I am familiar with guarding/livestock breeds but I must say he is SO headstrong. He's definitely gonna take lots of work and patience.

His purpose is more for guarding, rather than livestock..since we only have chickens right now. I know that these dogs are happier with their sheep but he seems to be pretty okay with doing his patrols and watching his family so far. I know he has a lot of maturing to do. I am hoping that introduction to livestock will go well when we get our goats. He doesn't seem to have any much of a prey drive that I've seen as of yet. He doesn't bother the chickens, but he has heavy paws so we are careful in letting him around them.

He's a gentle giant right now, which is what I'm hoping he will stay. He gets to ride with us wherever he's permitted to further his socialization. We had read of Komondorok in initially looking for a farm dog and strayed way due to potential aggression. I'm hoping with my experience with GSDs and some professional assistance, we won't have that problem!

Anyone else have a Komondor? Do you have cording tips? He came to us sheared but I'm hoping to start his cords as he grows out!
 

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I have never had one, but understand they are strong willed and not a good first dog. You should probably be fine with your previous experience.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1f-BUkiI5cM this is a woman bathing a well behaved, patient komondor.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixHOwXaS9d0 this is a standard poodle with cords, she shows you how to tear them to keep the cords.

I noticed that most of them have the muzzle trimmed, rather than corded. For the show ring, you want the cords to get long, but otherwise keep them about six inches. You can probably keep the belly fur clipped short, ditto under the arms and tail. Personally, I’d keep the dog clipped in a 2 or 3 inch fluff.
 

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I think the fluff all over would be very pretty. DF wants to cord his head and have a Rastafarian farm dog, but we'll see how that goes. :)

The previous owners ignored bad habits that could have one day led to huge hassles. They warned us that he would bully you for the food you were eating, and he does try. He'll walk right up and try to snatch it and attempt to shove you to get it. He's learning corrective action on that. He's displaying the start of some other dominant traits so we are working on establishing pack order. I think all will be well. It would have been ideal to have a tiny pup but he's not beyond fixing!
 

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Use NILIF with him. Nothing in Life is Free.
 

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I've owned a few komondors over the past 20 years, and I'd love to offer you some insight on this awesome breed.

Komondors have NO prey instinct whatsoever, so don't be worried about them chasing anything. Most won't even chase a ball. Cats seem to sense this lack of prey drive, and usually love komondors. Socializing is, of course, essential for these dogs. But make sure you are socializing him to strangers at your house. Komondors behave VERY differently out in the world, as opposed to at home. Even a komondor who HATES all strangers at his home will usually be very calm, and even friendly, to strangers when he's not on his own turf. So, just because he's friendly towards people when you take him out, doesn't mean he'll act the same way at home. They are also much friendlier as puppies. Most komondors go through a change (between 1 - 2 yrs old), after which they become more distrustful of strangers. It's best to make sure your closest friends and family meet the komondor as early as possible.

The MOST important thing I can tell you about komondors is this: Your demeanor toward them means more than ANYTHING! They are extremely sensitive to disrespect - IN ANY WAY! Of course, you can NEVER (not even once) hit a komondor, but they also hate being teased, or disrespected in any way. When you discipline a kom, always remain calm & confident. If you are too mean or angry or high-strung, the kom could become mistrustful of you. That is not a good situation with a kom. It only takes a few bad incidents, and a komondor might NEVER trust you again. Ordering them around doesn't work very well, either. The best way to deal with a kom is to build as much TRUST and LOVE with them as you can. It's best to think of it as a partnership, instead of a master/servant relationship. I always tell people to treat them like a roommate, instead of a dog. Don't yell orders at them - ask them nicely, and explain WHY you want them to do something. I know it sounds funny, but they really listen much better, and actually seem to understand when you calmly explain things to them. And don't ever expect them to obey you INSTANTLY. Even when they decide to obey, it will still take a while - and you might need to say "please" a couple times.

Komondors don't generally see human as their superiors. Remember - traditionally they were out in the field taking 100% responsibility for the whole flock of sheep by themselves. The human only came out a couple times a week, to bring them food & water, and check on their health. So, if anything, they see us more like THEIR servants! So, you just can't bully a komondor into submission. Once you've pissed them off, they might never want ANYTHING to do with you, EVER AGAIN. I know of some people who got a komondor and treated it very badly. The komondor was so unhappy, it crawled underneath the house and refused to come out - barking and growling at them if they tried to get it out. They never got the dog out - basically it committed suicide, rather than deal with owners who were mistreating it. Now, this is a worst-case scenario, but it shows how very sensitive they are. Not only were these people very mean to this dog, but they also never gave it LOVE. Komondors are all about the Love! You must give them lots of affection - particularly if they are a pet or house guard (rather than a livestock guard). Every moment of affection you give them will be greatly repaid to you, many times over.

A komondor does not believe it MUST obey a human. It will only obey a human if it WANTS to. The only way to deal with this is to get the komondor to COMPLETELY trust you. This is accomplished by ALWAYS being CALM. Even when you are mad at them, you must still be calm. Being very even-tempered, and never in a rush, is the best way to get a komondor to trust you. Once you have their trust, then they will obey you (even if they don't want to) IF IT IS AN IMPORTANT MATTER. However, if something seems petty & insignificant to them, they might not ever obey. My komondor simply refuses to believe that he should stay out of the kitchen trash. Even though I tell him every day to stay out of the trash, he doesn't believe that is important, and checks for "treats" in there and takes what he wants, whenever he wants. If this is really important to ME, then I have to find a way that utterly prevents him from being able to get to the trash. Like they say: you must PICK YOUR BATTLES with a komondor. Don't sweat the small stuff. They really seem to have an innate sense of what is REALLY important and what isn't. The most important thing to them is your safety.

Now, if the komondor has done something very bad AND it is an IMPORTANT MATTER, you DO need to discipline them, but it’s not easy. If you tell a komondor they are a “bad dog”, you are not going to get the reaction you would expect from a dog. They will not look guilty and hang their head, like other dogs do. They don’t really seem to care. This can make inexperienced owners very mad at their dog. When the owner gets mad, the komondor cares even less. This makes the owner even angrier, and thus a bad cycle begins. You will never win like that. The komondor will just get fed up and mistrustful of you. Situations like that can get worse and worse until the owner gets rid of the dog; or ties it up permanently in the back yard; or the owner gets bit and euthanizes the dog. I have seen way too many scenarios like this. You can NOT berate a komondor by yelling “Bad Dog!” at it over and over. The best way is to gently “guilt-trip” the dog. Don’t sound mad – just sound extremely disappointed with him. Talk to him like a person: “I can not believe you did that! You should be ashamed of yourself! I am very disappointed in you!” Let him FEEL the disappointment in your voice, and then curtly turn away from him and ignore him. If it was really important, and you are truly disappointed, he will get it. He just won’t look very ashamed – don’t let it bother you!

A komondor will usually only truly "obey" one member of the family. It will only acknowledge that one person as the alpha - but it will see you as a "co-alpha". The komondor will see himself and you as the two "co-alphas", and everyone else will be lower down on the hierarchy. If another member of the family is trying to get the kom to obey, you (as the alpha) might need to offer a little reinforcement to make the kom listen. Sometimes this might just mean a look, or a posture, toward the komondor. Sometimes my kom will get a little overly affectionate with friends, and try to crawl up on their lap. If they tell him to get down, he will look around to see if I am watching. If I'm not within eyesight, he will completely ignore their pleas to get down and climb on them and lick their face. But if I just stick my head in the room and loudly clear my throat ("Ahem") and stare at him - he WILL do what he knows he's supposed to. I don't usually even need to say a word - he knows.

This "staring" thing is an important skill to have when it comes to dealing with a dominant breed. It's a great, peaceful way to enforce your dominance. When you give your komondor an order, make sure you maintain a firm, confident stare at him until he listens. If you look away before he has completed your request, he will probably not comply. If you don't enforce it, he isn't gonna do it. The throat-clearing works wonders with my dog - he knows I mean business when I do that. Make sure you don't back away or look away until your dog has fully complied with what you're asking.

I'm a little concerned with him trying to take food from you. You need to deal with that quickly. A komondor will do anything you let it get away with. If you're not the boss, he will become the boss. The best way to be the boss with a komondor is to be CALM & CONFIDENT (I can't stress this enough). When he comes to try to take your food, try this: Say "Excuse Me, This is MY food!" Your posture is very important to convey your message. Make sure you are sitting or standing straight up and full of confidence. Lean FORWARD to own your space (and your food) and make the komondor back off a little. Do not lean BACKWARD at all - he will take this as you being weak and giving in. Don't pull the food in towards you (as if to hide it from him), he will just think it's a game of hide and seek. Keep your posture forward and look him straight in the eye - don't back down. This doesn't mean you have to be harsh at all. Stay calm and upbeat. It is always best to have a very positive tone of voice when telling a komondor what to do. Talk to him like he's a person. Explain in a calm, positive tone "This is MY people-food. Doggies don't eat people-food. You have your OWN food!" Give him a few seconds to think it through, and then he should comply. Don't avert your eyes or relax your posture until he has completely backed off. When he (finally) listens, tell him "Thank you". I know this sounds kind of crazy, but I have really found this approach works far better than anything else.

Komondors hate:
fast, sudden movements
loud, angry voices
surprises - keep a komondor informed of what is happening
being rushed (they take their time doing everything, except protecting)
being teased
being bumped into or shoved out of the way
being pushed

A komondor will react like a mule if you try to push him. He will immediately resist. If you need to physically move a komondor out of the way, the first thing you need to do is calmly explain to him what you want. Tell him "I need you to move out of the way because there's not enough room for you here". Then use your hands to SUGGEST and GUIDE him in the direction you want him to go. Don't try to FORCE him - it will backfire every time. Sound happy and patient - not mad and hurried. Be patient - komondors are NOTORIOUSLY slow at obeying commands.

I'm sorry this is so long, but there is a LOT to know about how to treat a komondor, and I have seen many bad situations just because people didn't understand this wonderful breed. I love and admire these dogs so much, I want to help as much as I can.

Beyond all this, take plenty of time to enjoy and LOVE your komondor. They are truly the most deeply loving breed of dog there is. They want nothing more than to be laying right at (or on) your feet, gazing at you adoringly for long periods of time. They love leaning against you or sitting right on your foot. This is a sign of affection and protection. Don't take these behaviors as dominance. When they are touching you, they KNOW you are safe. When they know you are safe, everything is right in their world and they can relax.

I would also recommend enrolling him in a puppy obedience class. That really helped my pup. Komondors are notoriously "bad" at obedience. That's not because they're stupid, but because they get bored easily, and they don't see the point in constantly repeating the same, meaningless thing over and over. My komondor was the star of his puppy class. Everyone was amazed at how smart he was. Going to a class really helps a komondor (via peer pressure) to understand that he is SUPPOSED TO obey the human! It works much better than doing your own obedience training at home.

Some other tips for establishing dominance:

Maura's suggestion is great - NILIF - make him sit/stay every time you feed him

Whenever walking through a doorway or narrow space with the dog, make sure YOU always go FIRST, not the dog

At meal times, YOU eat your food first, THEN the dogs get to eat

DON'T try the technique of forcing the dog into submissive position, it will never work with a komondor, and could back-fire badly

If he is very headstrong, you might want to get a "Gentle Leader" head collar for him. This is VERY helpful with a dog that pulls on the leash. Even just putting the head collar on (without attaching a leash) helps the dog to be more submissive. Google it if you're unfamiliar with the Gentle Leader

ALWAYS be calm, confident, and IN CONTROL. Be in control of the situation. Be in control of your emotions. Be in control of your tone of voice and your actions.

All these things will make your komondor love and TRUST you.

Above all, enjoy the privilege of spending time with this amazing breed of dog!

If you have any other questions, I'm happy to help!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Oh wow, thank you so much for this! You have no idea how much insight you've given me! I'm forwarding this to DF now so he can read it because it helps so much.

We've had our sweet boy for 3 weeks now and he's such an old soul. It's hard to describe his personality to people but we can very much sense he doesn't feel he is our servant. DF jokes that he is his "bro". They sit out on the porch together a lot while DF drinks a beer and he says he often forgets he's a dog. He talks to him about things going on and Ras casually listens by his side. He has absolutely no desire to please us in any way, but he is respectfully affectionate..if that makes sense. He appreciates a good head scratch or cuddle, but he doesn't get eager about it.

He's decided he no longer wants to sleep indoors at night. He paced constantly from door to door so now we've allowed him out at night where he sleeps on the porch in front of the door. In the mornings, as I'm leaving for work, he will walk me to the car and then do a perimeter check. He's successfully chased off some neighbor dogs and a couple coyotes since we've had him. Our cats were indoor cats but now also seem to want to be out with him. We'll peep out the front door and see them all piled together.

He's not obedient, but he's understanding to what we want. He does the same thing as yours - every day he walks straight to the kitchen trash and peeps in. I talk to him the same way I talk to my son, with the same "Eyes in the back of my head" mom stance. A simple "Ras, I told you to stay out of the trash." makes him pop his head out and walk over for a head scratch as though he's saying "I know, Mom, but a dog's gotta do what a dog's gotta do. You know you love me." and then he'll just casually walk off to do something else as though he doesn't have a care in the world.

I LOVE this dog. We are very on point with asking people to introduce themselves to him. Our friends think we're weird but I remind them that he will probably gain another 30-40 lbs and they really need to be on his good side. I always introduce them to him first and explain they are our friend. When he approaches them, I ask that they reiterate they are our friend. They remark about how odd it is that he seems to understand.
 

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I miss my komondor. She was very protective of me and the animals. I hope when I get my goats that I can find one that has been started with goats and sheep.
 
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