Those raising LGD

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by Snomama, Mar 19, 2005.

  1. Snomama

    Snomama Well-Known Member

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    Jul 27, 2004
    Location:
    MO
    I have a question for you......I have a GP and we love her dearly, but she bonded to our family and not the sheep b/c we kept her in the house for two months as a puppy.

    We were given a GP puppy last night that is five weeks old, what do I need to do? I already took her out to the sheep, but they were very unhappy about it and I am afraid they might stomp her. They are very protective as most of them have new lambs right now.

    We have a creep feeder and I was thinking of putting her in there w/ a collar on and a small pail or something that would prevent her from getting out. That way she would be "in" with the sheep w/o them feeling threatened maybe?

    PLEASE help, I want to do this the right way! Our other Pyr is fantastic and she doesn't allow anything on our property, but I really want this one to bond to my sheep and goats and NOT be a family pet per se (if that is even possible at our house!) Our other Pyr is about 18mo and still enough puppy that she will occasionally run at the sheep so they do not like her at all. I want this one to be different.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Shahbazin

    Shahbazin Well-Known Member

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    395
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    Dec 9, 2002
    Here's a good article on raising LGD pups strictly with stock : http://www.luckyhit.net/ritestrt.htm
    A short one on how I train: http://www.shahbazinanatolianshepherds.com/flckguard2asd.htm
    And here's an article from http://www.lgd.org/ on Starting a Pup by Catherine De La Cruz
    When the 9-12 week old pup arrives at its new home, it should have a pen, approximately the size of an exercise pen (4 x 4 ft) already set up in the barn. A companion - either a lamb or a kid - just about the same weight as the pup should have already been selected and placed in the pen."Bummers" - lambs or kids that have to be bottle-fed several times a day - are the best companions because the schedule for their feeding coincides with that of the young pup. The frequent visits allow the caregiver to supervise the interaction of the two animals, being certain neither is injuring the other. The companion both substitutes for the pup's littermates, and teaches appropriate inter-species interaction.
    If there are no lambs or kids of the pup's size, put the pup's pen where the livestock can see and smell the pup. A salt block placed next to the pup's pen may encourage the older stock to approach.
    Shortly after the pup arrives, fit her with an adjustable buckle or quicksnap collar and a six foot leash. Spend whatever time is necessary in the first week to leash-break the pup. Do this in the training pen. Once she will walk happily on a leash, begin the pup's introduction to the rest of the ranch.
    Training begins
    Training of the pup - leash breaking, learning "sit", "wait" (at the gate),"come" - are all done in the area that the pup will eventually inhabit with the adult animals. This gives the older livestock and pup time to get used to each other.Once a day, take the pup, on leash, to an area where the livestock are and which she will later be expected to guard. Walk the perimeter of that area, allowing plenty of time for the pup to sniff and explore her surroundings.If she wants to approach a ewe or doe out of curiosity, allow her to do so on leash. Unless the livestock are particularly hand-gentle, they probably won't allow the approach; If they run, do not follow, as you don't want the pup to get the idea that it is OK to chase. If the livestock allow the approach, let the pup and sheep or goats sniff each other and get acquainted. Most likely, the pup will get butted. If this happens, reassure the pup and continue your walk. Do not let her bark or act aggressively toward the butting animal at this time.
    As the pup gets older, it and its companion are moved to a small training area (a half-acre or less) with electric-fence wire at the top and bottom of the 4-ft high woven-wire fence. Farm electric fencing is designed to give sharp, short, intermittent shocks when touched; people and animals cannot be electrocuted by them; no burns are inflicted - a single contact with an electric fence is enough to teach all but the most hard-headed adult Pyr that fences are not to be climbed nor dug under. Once the pup has learned to respect the electric-wire on the fence and no longer checks to see if it's on, she's ready to be moved out with the older animals. This can occur anytime from four to eight months of age, depending on the dog, the livestock and the terrain.
    Feeding the pup
    Whether the pup is fed on a schedule (2-3 times a day) or fed free choice depends on the preference of the owner. In either case, the pup has to have a place where her food is protected from the livestock. While she is small, an opening at the bottom of the creep will allow her both access to her food and a safe place to escape the larger animals. As she gets larger, some ingenuity is needed to devise a barrier the dog can get through but the goats/sheep can't. Around four months of age, the pup should be switched from puppy food to an adult ration. Look for one that is 21% to 24% protein and 12% to 15% fat. Higher protein amounts often cause skin problems in LGDs and higher fat amounts lead to obesity. You should be able to feel the backbone, but have the ribs covered with a moderate layer of flesh. Feeding dry kibble is recommended to prevent contamination by flies and ants.
    Learning to bark appropriately
    At about six months, the pup will begin to bark at strange sounds. The period from six to nine months is the time during which the dog's barking habits are established.The caregiver must check on every incidence of barking and either praise the pup for barking appropriately, or scold - and shake if necessary - for inappropriate barking. If the caregiver is certain the pup is barking inappropriately, and it won't quit, then a "time out" period in its pen in the barn is in order. If close attention is paid to the pup's barking during this period, and consistent reactions are forthcoming from the caregiver, the pup will develop into a reliable dog that can trusted when it barks.
     

  3. Snomama

    Snomama Well-Known Member

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    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Location:
    MO
    THANK YOU!

    That is sooo very helpful! Can I use some of these techniques to "retrain" our other pyr? She is great at keeping the coyotes away, but we had a ram that "played" with her so every once in awhile she will run at the sheep. She doesn't really chase them, just gets them to begin to run and then takes off in the other direction. So weird, but bad behaviour. We are keeping her tied up during the day now. She never bothers them at all in the evening. She is very protective of them at night, sleeping at the gate to our corral around the sheep barn.

    Thank you again for all the wonderful information!

    Melissa
     
  4. Shahbazin

    Shahbazin Well-Known Member

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    Don't see why not. I've trained older dogs as flock guards (either re-homes, or retired show dogs), & if they've the right instincts, they do fine. Will mention, you generally have a diff. working style that way - right now, the two dogs I've got working, one is flock-bonded (worked with sheep since she was a pup, regards them as "family"), the other wasn't used with stock 'til he was 5 yrs - he had good flockguard potential as a pup, but was used as a house & show dog. He guards the sheep not because he particularly likes them, but because they're his "property", & he won't let anything else have them.
     
  5. Snomama

    Snomama Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    86
    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Location:
    MO
    Thank you so much, you have been a wonderful help! I wish you lived close and you could come help me out :)

    I don't mind if she doesn't nec. like the sheep alot, I just don't want her to have the innappropriate behaviour of thinking she can "play" with them. I am hoping alot of that disappears as she matures, she is 16 mo old right now. She did AWESOME during lambing, she cleaned up lambs and all the "stuff", but got right out of the way when the ewe wanted the babies. I was soooo surprised.

    Glad to know I should be able to "retrain" her :) Looking forward to working with the new puppy too!

    Melissa
     
  6. HunterTed

    HunterTed Rockin B Farm

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    Mar 21, 2005
    Location:
    Texas
    As soon as we get a new GP pup we put her in a small lot ( about an acre) with a few lambs. We usually keep them in there till the GP is large enough to handle itself out on the whole place (about 500 acres). We put no collars at all on the dogs for fear of them getting hung up. These dogs are not treated as pets, and we rarely handle them. They get put up in the lot every night along with the sheep.

    As far as trying to re-train an older dog, we haven't had much luck at all. Not saying that it cannot be done, it just doesn't seem to work for us.
     
  7. Laurie J

    Laurie J Well-Known Member

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    Mar 9, 2005
    Location:
    Beautiful Southwest Washington State
    Hi!
    We got a Great Pyrenees puppy (Bailey Jo) last May. She was 7 weeks at the time. She was born in a lamb pen and we brought her home directly and put her in a building with our 4 bummer lambs. We told the kids and were very strict about her not being picked up and cuddled. She was to bond with the sheep so she would do the job she was bought to do. As she grew, and the lambs grew, they all 5 moved outside in a larger pen, and from there she could see the remaining lambs and 20 ewes. They could get used to her, as well as she could get used to them. By the time she was 4 or 5 months old, she was turned out with the ewes. They got along wonderfully, and she was free a couple of months later, to roam our 50 acres. She has proved to be an invaluable dog! She has scared off coyotes, cougars, and has led us to several sheep that had their heads caught in the fence, lambed out in the woods, etc. We wondered how she would react to new lambs this spring, but we are happy to report that she leaves the lambs alone and the ewes are so used to her, they don't mind when she comes near. The lambs are just seen as more livestock to guard. She also guards our sons chickens, our goats, and a couple of kittens. She shows great concern when lambs are banded and vaccinated, and stays right by the unhappy lambs while they lay around after their doctoring.

    As time passed and she knew her job, we began to give her more attention, petting, etc. She still remains only in the fenced 50 acres. Great Pyrenees make great pets, however, you need to decide from the beginning which you want, a pet or a guard dog. Good luck!