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I've never used one but I would be hesitant considering labs have very high prey drives. If you wish to try, I would make sure that the pup is very young and grows up with their livestock. I would closely monitor an adult and really really gauge their interest with livestock. It's a lot of harder to train the chase out of an adult set in their ways.
 

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Well, you have two breeds that like to bark. Are you looking for a lot of barking? You can train a dog to bark less, but you aren’t going to train them to stop barking. Do you want a barker or an attacker?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Well I actually have a lab pyr mix right now that is a little under a year old. I was given him from a friend and so far he seems to do a real good job. He stays with the sheep all of the time, doesn't wander and only barks when an intruder enters or occasionally when he hears coyotes in the distance. He has never chased or played rough with the sheep and I've seen him ward off one attack from a smaller lone dog. The other day though a neighbors half wolf half husky got after the sheep and he was unable to defend. He got cut up trying to fight the wolf. When I got there the wolf had one sheep singled out and my dog had the other 14 sheep in a tight wad and he was in between the wolf and them. I guess he was successful cause none were killed but a couple did have injuries. I am and have been on the search for another dog so he has backup but I was pretty pleased with his work alone. Especially for being a pup. We used to run donkeys so I'm new to using an lgd to protect sheep. My only concern with him is that he was in a defensive mode when I got there instead of attacking the attacker but I feel that being young alone and smaller than the attacker and having already gotten cut up by him he was just doing the best he could. He needs a battle buddy.
 

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Sounds like your boy could use a partner. While I read that LGD's crossed with other breeds are hit and miss, there are the exceptions and kudos to him for giving a good effort while being so young.

My main thought here is that your neighbors dog was harassing and injuring your livestock on your property. Not sure where you are located, but that should be reportable and your neighbor 'should' be liable. I would be uneasy if my neighbor had such a dog running at will and visiting my herd. A bold dog, especially of that nature, could decimate a herd and injure your dog, as I am sure you fear.
 

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I would probably give one a chance. I might be hesitant on trusting one with birds, but one of our close friends has one named Marlow. He's an outdoor pet not a livestock guardian but he would make a smashing good one.

When a few of my goats were bottle babies I took them with me camping. When we go camping, we go with all our friends and family who also bring their dogs. Marlow was there and he took it upon himself to keep all the other dogs away. Wasn't mean about it at all, just calmly put himself between the other dogs and the baby goats whenever they tried to play.
 

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It is really impossible to say how that particular mix will work for you. Both those breeds have their strengths and which ones will show up in your pup is anyone's guess.

If that were my only option for an LGD, I would simply watch that pup as constantly as possible, ever discovering which traits show up; so if they are ones that will not be of benefit for an LGD, you will have a chance at curving it before it is used much. (I did this with a full blood German Shepherd once and that dog turned out very well as a livestock guard.) I also had to train a full-blood lab and that prey drive was challenging!
 

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Thanks for the input. My neighbor agreed to pay for the damages and said they will keep it put up but I'm sure it will get out again and cause me more issues. That is why I am scrambling to find another working dog to add. And also where I live the law states I can shoot it and I will next time. I hope I am home next time he comes around! I've been uneasy since it happened. I'm just thankful he was there to try and stop it cause I'm sure if he hadn't been I would have had several very wounded or dead sheep. I was just curious if anyone else had tried this mix before and how they had worked out.
 

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I'm trying to be very selective as to getting a second dog cause the farmer beside me has free range chickens and he said that if he catches a dog killing them he will shoot it. My current dog has shown no desire to bother them when he and the sheep are on that side of my property. Sometimes the chickens will only be a few yards away from him. My fear is getting another lgd that ends up chasing chickens and teaches him that then they both get shot and I have no protection.
 

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I'm trying to be very selective as to getting a second dog cause the farmer beside me has free range chickens and he said that if he catches a dog killing them he will shoot it. My current dog has shown no desire to bother them when he and the sheep are on that side of my property. Sometimes the chickens will only be a few yards away from him. My fear is getting another lgd that ends up chasing chickens and teaches him that then they both get shot and I have no protection.

Are his free range chickens in your sheep pasture?
http://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/extension/
 

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No they stay on his place and on the dirt road that my pasture borders. My fences are ok but there are still some places that a dog can get in and out. I'm working on them but a mile of fenceline takes a long time when you are doing it all by yourself and with limited resources. The dog I have now never leaves my place but I've heard people talk about how hard it can be to keep some lgd in so if I get one that wants to roam it can surely figure out how to leave.
 

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One of my Maremmas kills chickens if they come into the goat pasture, they other lays by the fence when they are close and I think he figures they are part of his herd. On the other hand, our house lab/chesepeake mix that never made a good hunting dog found his love of birds when we moved to the country when he was 6 years old. One morning he stood his ground and kept a pack of yotes out of the yard (before we had LGD's) until DH could back him up with a shotgun. Every morning there after he went into the coop and was pretty darn proud of himself. I never even knew he paid attention to the chickens till that moment.

I even witnessed a mama hen leaving her young chicks with him so she could chase off other hens that were getting to close to her babies. So, you just never know what these dogs will do given the opportunity to shine :)

As for roaming, some breeds are more inclined and need to be taught what their boundries are. We have a GP that never leaves her less than 2 acre fence, but is sure to make her rounds along the fence line before letting her keep out of the night pen for the day. (Her job is to keep the weanlings every year, thus her small acreage, and she's only 2 1/2)
 

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With a mixed breed you just don’t know what you’ll get. Labs like to run off hunting, you might get that gene. If you find a litter of Lab x Pyr, the owner may be savvy enough to tell you which ones are more like a Lab and which are more like a Pyr in their temperament. The mental development of an LGD is different from other dogs. Their socialization period is longer, which is why they don’t see their sheep or goats as prey.
 

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HOW do they DO that?
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With a mixed breed you just don’t know what you’ll get. Labs like to run off hunting, you might get that gene. If you find a litter of Lab x Pyr, the owner may be savvy enough to tell you which ones are more like a Lab and which are more like a Pyr in their temperament.The mental development of an LGD is different from other dogs. Their socialization period is longer, which is why they don’t see their sheep or goats as prey.
Maura, could you explain this further?
 

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Labs are hunters. GP are protectors. Genes are everything. You don't know if the genes in the dog will be hunting genes or protecting genes, or a mixture of them. You don't know what the dog's instinct will turn out to be. A great pet.... yes. A livestock protection dog? or A livestock hunting dog? Who knows. It just depends on which genes are predominant in the dog itself.
I'm sure it would make a great pet though.
 

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Our LGD produced 2 litters of lab mixes (due to a neighbors dog) before we got her fixed. We kept 1 from one litter and gave one to my folks from the other. Both are great with livestock, but do not have the protection mentality of their mother. Ours provides a great back up for our LGD though being that he weighs 95lbs. Great family dogs, but not quite a LGDs.
 

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I can’t find that book, I think the author is Coppinger & Coppinger. As the puppy’s brain develops they enter a biting stage, a fear stage, a prey stage, and so on. The LGD has a longer stage of acceptance (up to 16 weeks, which is why you want them exposed to your livestock prior to 16 weeks). The stage where they really get into stalking and hunting comes later than in other breeds. In most cases, they never develop a stalking/hunting stage. They may eat mice and voles, but they do not ‘hunt’ like a Lab does.

As far as protecting a flock, any dog will protect what he sees as his family. Who he meets in his acceptance phase (it’s not called that, I can’t remember) he will accept as being part of the family. This is why puppies need human interaction beginning at 4 weeks of age, so they accept humans. When they enter their fear stage, well, they are afraid of new things. They can learn to accept new things, but it is not automatic, like at four weeks. I know I’m not explaining it very well, but you can probably find a book or website that explains it.
 

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HOW do they DO that?
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I can’t find that book, I think the author is Coppinger & Coppinger. As the puppy’s brain develops they enter a biting stage, a fear stage, a prey stage, and so on. The LGD has a longer stage of acceptance (up to 16 weeks, which is why you want them exposed to your livestock prior to 16 weeks). The stage where they really get into stalking and hunting comes later than in other breeds. In most cases, they never develop a stalking/hunting stage. They may eat mice and voles, but they do not ‘hunt’ like a Lab does.

As far as protecting a flock, any dog will protect what he sees as his family. Who he meets in his acceptance phase (it’s not called that, I can’t remember) he will accept as being part of the family. This is why puppies need human interaction beginning at 4 weeks of age, so they accept humans. When they enter their fear stage, well, they are afraid of new things. They can learn to accept new things, but it is not automatic, like at four weeks. I know I’m not explaining it very well, but you can probably find a book or website that explains it.
Thank you, that does make sense.

Is this the book? I just googled Coppinger & Coppinger
2002 Dogs: A New Understanding of Canine Origin, Behavior and Evolution

or this one 2001 earlier edition or just first publication? Dogs: A Startling New Understanding of Canine Origin, Behavior & Evolution
 

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I don’t know, it was new when I got it. I’m sure the info is in both of them. It’s a great read if you like that sort of thing- which I do.
 

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Good explanation Maura. Most of us don't realize these critical first months. I had forgotten about a friend that bred champion Tennessee English Setters years ago. Wouldn't let kids handle the pups until they were a certain age. They had one pup that was dropped by a child who was sitting on the floor during part of a critical stage (perhaps the fear stage?) and that pup remained uncertain and never did hunt.

Thanks for the reminder, we all need to keep these points in mind no matter what the breed.
 
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