Quiet LGD - do they exist???

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by bluemoonluck, Sep 7, 2009.

  1. bluemoonluck

    bluemoonluck Crazy Dog Lady Supporter

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    I had an Anatolian Shepherd before I moved to Utah...unfortunately he thought cats and chickens were lunch :mad: so he went back to his breeder to be rehomed. He also barked/whined/made noise constantly - if he was awake, you knew it LOL! But he did a great job of watching over my rabbits......

    Now I'm all settled in here in Utah, and I've got chickens and rabbits and goats that really could use a LGD. My property backs up to a waterway, and there's horse pastures behind that.... per my neighbors, we have skunks/foxes/weasels/etc that can and will climb the 6-foot chainlink fence to snack on livestock.

    It is possible to find a LGD who wouldn't bark constantly, and wouldn't dig up my pasture? I have an in-ground sprinkler system, and I can't afford to have that dug up/chewed on. My pasture is also only about half an acre, so its way too small for a large LGD who is bred to roam large farms.

    Donkeys and Llamas are out of the question, due to local regs (I can only have a certain # of livestock on my property).

    Suggestions???
     
  2. deaconjim

    deaconjim Appalachian American Supporter

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    I'm answering this after going out to see why my LGD was barking. We have an 8 month old Karakachan (also known as a Bulgarian Shephard) who has proven to be a great dog. He does bark, but there is always a reason. We had only had him a few weeks when he confronted a bear in the woods behind our house. He was barking tonight at something I couldn't see, but it was obvious he heard something.

    He has chased our chickens out of boredom, but it was easy to break him from that. In fact, he sleeps under my workshop, sharing the space with a hen that is setting on a nest.

    I wholeheartedly recommend these dogs, but they are hard to come by.
     

  3. oldcj5guy

    oldcj5guy Guest

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    Icelandic sheep dog. Smaller breed but still has all the herding and guardian instincts. The few that I have been around didn't waste much time barking
     
  4. haypoint

    haypoint Unpaid, Volunteer Devil's Advocate Supporter

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    IMO, it doesn't sound like you have enough "livestock" to warrent a LGD. Any working dog that doesn't have a full time job will busy themselves in other ways.

    Most dogs can find something to bark about every night. Neighbors will not be interested in the reasons your dog barks every night.

    Much easier to simply put your animals into a shed, barn or small mesh pen.Get a live trap and learn how to use it.

    Most of us like pets. Dogs are common pets. We tend to justify the ownership of a dog by purchasing one for a useful purpose.

    All across the nation are Border Collie Rescues. People buy working dogs, but don't have enough work for them. Without lots of attention, they pick up bad habits and end up on a chain or taken to a shelter. So few people can actually use a working dog, many useful dogs are killed each year.
     
  5. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO Be powerful. No other option exists. Supporter

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    You do NOT want a herding dog. Herding dogs and guardian dogs are two different things.
     
  6. ozark_jewels

    ozark_jewels Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I agree that you do not want a LGD on 1/2 acre. Its just not enough and your dog will be bored, get into trouble or decide to leave home. Unless, and its a big unless, you can find an older spayed female. I've had the best luck with them when it comes to small spaces. But ,it all depends on the dog.
     
  7. kandmcockrell

    kandmcockrell Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I am in Virginia as well. I have chickens, ducks, geese and goats. Would you tell me where you found your pup and, if y ou do not mind, what you paid for him?

    Thank you.
     
  8. edmonds

    edmonds Well-Known Member

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    How about using an electric wire at the top of chainlink fence, and maybe another at the bottom? Get a good charger and those critters won't bother you.
     
  9. bluemoonluck

    bluemoonluck Crazy Dog Lady Supporter

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    LOL!!! I don't need to justify buying a dog - I raise and show mini bull terriers, and I am heavily involved in rescue for my breed as well. Any dog that I get as a LGD would be filed under "livestock" on my budget spreadsheet - it won't be a pet.

    I am curious as to why you don't feel that my animals "need" a guardian? Is it because I have a small space, or because they aren't my livelihood?? The way I look at it, I have livestock - paid good $ for them and can't afford to replace lost animals on a regular basis - and no matter what I do they are vulnerable to predation. Predators can dig into barns or find a way thru fencing - even electric fencing. The more layers of protection I put between my livestock and the critters that want to eat them, the better!

    I'm well aware that working dogs need a job, and that 1/2 an acre isn't that much space....that's why I'm asking the question here, to see if anyone has a solution that works on their small farm that might work on mine.

    I already use locks and have secure fencing, but would like a livestock guardian animal if I can find one that would be a good fit for my situation. Does anyone here have constructive suggestions towards this end for me??
     
  10. highlands

    highlands Well-Known Member

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    Yes, our LGDs don't bark much. They will bark at specific things and howl as well but it is language. They are marking their territory against predators, letting me know what is going on, calling each other in to deal with something, warning off people. Just watch out when they're totally silent and walk out you with that stiff legged march, head down...

    On the other hand, I've heard plenty of dogs, most who were not LGDs, who barked incessantly. Usually it is because they're lonely. People tie or cage them up and fail to train them. Sad
     
  11. HilltopDaisy

    HilltopDaisy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I cannot imagine having a LGD on 1/2 acre. I would run a hot wire outside the perimeter fence, 6-8 inches off the ground, perhaps another 18 inches up? Or you could use the electric netting-fence.

    IMHO, a LGD would not be a good fit in your situation, because you do not have the land to warrent it. Have you or neighbors had issues with coyotes? You should be able to build your chicken/rabbit pens to withstand skunks, etc. without much trouble. I would think you could walk a small dog around you property on a daily basis and it would deter predator attacks.

    LGD's are not like "regular" dogs. If I had it to do over again, I would have reinforced my fencing tenfold rather than get the Maremma's, and I have 5 acres. I love my dogs but they bark A LOT.
     
  12. bluemoonluck

    bluemoonluck Crazy Dog Lady Supporter

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    And that was really my big concern, my pasture is so small..... I understand why LGD were bred big and bred to cover large areas, because livestock usually cover a lot of ground. But I'd still love a smaller breed of LGD, if one existed..... sigh......

    There are coyotes around here, but I'm not sure if they would come into the yard or not. Mostly what I hear about is trouble with skunks, weasels, mink, and foxes. My backyard is divided into two sections - I exercise my dogs in the part closest to my house, and the livestock have the back part against the back fence. So maybe just the scent my dogs leave behind is enough?
     
  13. Countrystyle

    Countrystyle Well-Known Member

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    We've had dogs/pets for over 25 years. On 5 acres and now on 10 acres. They have always watched over our chickens and horses. Our horses are good "watch dogs" as well. My mustang gelding will run off any strange dog in the pasture. Once, the horses even ran off 6 pigs that came to visit from next door. They don't like strangers in their space. Our dogs have always kept the skunks, coons and 'possums away from the chickens.....what kind of dogs, you ask? In 25 years, an assortment of chows, shepherds and for the last 10 years or so we've had dobermans. Right now, 3 dobermans and one pit. They just took out a possum about 3 weeks ago. Earlier in the year it was an armadillo that got in the fenced yard. I guess all this rambling's point is that you don't necessarily have to have an LGD to guard your livestock. Oh, and the dogs being around keep the coyotes and foxes at bay too, just with their presence.
     
  14. SheriM

    SheriM Well-Known Member

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    As so many people have already said, it depends on the dog. I have 160 acres here, but my goats are kept in small, 1/2 to 1 acre pastures while I'm working on fencing more land. In winter, the goats are in the barnyard full time and that's not more than maybe 1/4 acre. I have two female Pyrenees in with the goats and they are more than happy to stay there. I also have two males who are more like yard dogs, loose at all times, and they do roam their territory and are the first line of defense if something comes visiting. Admittedly, the two females do take off exploring if they do get out, but they watch the big male come and go from their pen over the fence and never try to follow him. They know their place is with the goats and are happy to stay there.

    As for barking, yes, it's awfully noisy around here at night, but that's the point. The coyotes around here are thick as thieves and my neighbor 1 mile south has had coyotes come right into his barn and kill full grown ewes, yet I have not lost a single goat to coyotes since getting the dogs. In fact, I haven't seen a coyote on our land in years. The two boys loose in the yard at night are all the protection my chickens need, too. Their run is covered with netting but the pop door into the shed doesn't even have a door on it.
     
  15. highlands

    highlands Well-Known Member

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    It sounds to me like your situation is too small for a LGD. We have a pack of LGDs to guard our livestock, they cover about 40 acres. They don't bark needlessly but they will bark, growl and howl at predators and people who shouldn't be there. They also kill pests and predators. If you're on just 1/2 acre it sounds like you would be on too small a space for a LGD and too close to neighbors. It might work with the right dog, each is different, but you're pushing the lower limits.

    By the way, endless barking is a sign of boredom and not part of their normal behavior. Our dogs bark for very specific reasons, to communicate to predators, each other and me. A dog that barks too much may need training or the situation changed.

    Cheers

    -Walter
    Sugar Mountain Farm
    in the mountains of Vermont
    http://SugarMtnFarm.com/blog/
    http://HollyGraphicArt.com/
    http://NoNAIS.org
     
  16. copperpennykids

    copperpennykids Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I disagree with those that think 1/2 acre is too small.

    Our stud dogs are penned with goats in approx 1/2 acre (separate pens!) and they do just fine. But it had better be completely and securely fenced - or your LGD will want to expand his/her territory.

    We recommend Akbash LGD for your situation. They bark a lot less (still do bark) and seem to work well with close neighbors.
     
  17. okiemom

    okiemom Well-Known Member

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    Great pyrs like to roam. Think dozens of acres if allowed. They will be sleeping giants during the day and come awake at night. My yard pyr is the loudest as she is closest to our rooms. She barks a lot and all night. But there are reasons. The wildlife here is thick. The dogs and yotes call all night and she answers them. She is loud. You can tell when they are getting too close and she will run out to cut them off. She and the other 2 pasture pyrs mark territory by barking when there is a threat which is during the night.

    Even with 2 dogs in the pasture w/ the goats we have lost babies.

    The moms give birth away from the herd and the 2 dogs are with the herd not w/ the one or two babies on the far side of the pasture. This allowes the yotes to sneak in and snatch the babies before the pyrs can respond.

    This is a new problem we are dealing w/ as we have never had a pasture this big before.
     
  18. RJMAcres

    RJMAcres Well-Known Member

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    I'm new here so I'm behaving.
    But I'm not new to LGD's.
    You are looking more for a specific dog rather then a breed of LGD.
    You want a fairly quiet one.

    If I wanted a quiet one, I would check with rescue groups or a group
    called LGD Evaluators and see if they don't have what you are looking for.

    We have 4 great pyreneese on our small farm. Several are quite vocal but
    1 rarely makes a sound at all. She didn't even know she could bark at all
    until she was 18 months old.

    Anyways, if you want to email me I can put you in touch with some of
    the LGD Evaluators group. Good folks there. I'm a member of that group
    and know there is a new dog coming in shortly. Older female pyr. I haven't
    met her yet but have heard she is quiet but that could be because she is
    scared to death and just came from a very bad situation.

    As far as having a LGD on 1/2 acre. No problem at all from my point of
    view. I know several people who have quite a few great pyrs on that
    amount of land. In town, no problems with neighbors due to noise. I
    believe that lady teaches her dogs not to bark unless needed.

    Randy
     
  19. haypoint

    haypoint Unpaid, Volunteer Devil's Advocate Supporter

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    Dogs are often a source of neighborhood conflicts. "My dog barking doesn't bother me, but other people's dogs barking are a nuisance." is a common theme. One person may think that a dog that barks all night long is doing his job keeping the fox out of the hen house. The people that have their sleep disturbed couldn't care less about your bunnies.
    People got along just fine for hundreds of years without livestock guard dogs. Those that did, owned hundreds of acres.
    While LGDs that are correctly trained will bark only when a predator threatens, few people have the skills to maintain that training. When a dog barks too much, we have to tolerate the barking because we love him. Regretting getting a LGD doesn't solve the problem.

    Few people will run outside in the middle of the night when their dog barks.

    If endless barking is a sign of boredom, having a dozen animals to guard on a small parcel of land sounds like boredom to me.

    If your LGD doesn't work out, you can drop him off at an Animal Shelter, your problem is solved. That just isn't fair to the dog. Keeping a dog that doesn't fit his purpose isn't fair either.

    Seems clear that you are seeking a way to justify the purchase of a LGD.
    My constructive suggestion is to spend the time and money on fence reinforcements instead of adding a dog that will, through no fault of his own, become a nusense.
     
  20. RJMAcres

    RJMAcres Well-Known Member

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    Yes and no. People have been using dogs to guard their animals for many
    many years. Thousands of years. That was 1 of the main reasons that
    dogs were bred from wolves, etc. Working dogs.

    Dog may bark from boredom but most LGD's don't do that. Part of their
    guarding is barking. It's warning predators that it's there and to stay out.

    Will a fence keep all predators out ? Not a chance in hell. Our farm
    fencing is great. 6 strands electric with barbed in between the electric.
    We keep the voltage above 7000 at all times. Usually hotter depending on
    wet things are.

    That keeps predators from climbing the fence. It doesn't keep predators
    from jumping the fence, digging way under, etc.

    Do my dogs bark all night ? Some nights 1 or 2 will bark almost all night.
    But I know that there is a reason other then boredom. We have a whole
    lot of predators ranging from bobcats, mountain lions, coyotes, wolves,
    bears and wild dogs. Wild pigs are also in the area. The LGD's have saved
    our butts and livestocks butts on multiple occasions and I don't know how
    we got along without them before. I know we couldn't raise goats or llamas
    here without the dogs helping out.

    But all that being said. We only have 1 neighbor that is within hearing
    range. He's on his way back to prision soon.

    Randy