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Discussion Starter #1
We have 2 female LGD's, both 3/4 GP and 1/4 AS. We LOVE them to death, and they are awesome guardians for our farm and livestock! One, in particular, is our "patroller" while the other is our more maternal, stick-with-the-herd gal. Our patroller does an amazing job, and before we had the second girl, she even kept 4 drunk troublemakers from stealing our goats one night. She is amazing, and did I say how awesome she is at protecting? :D

OK, so here is my dilemma....she was raised on our first farm, which was much more isolated. Due to the significant number of larger, more aggressive predators, and potential trouble-making folks, we did not discourage her from doing her job at all. Last year, we moved to a new farm. While the farm is larger, and she has much more room to patrol, we are surrounded on 2 sides with neighbors that walk the road along our fence line. We also now have a direct-to-consumer farm business, offer all sorts of classes and farm tours, work with interns, and have frequent visitors around the farm as a result. This girl, awesome as she is, just doesn't seem as suited anymore for this new environment. She has never bitten, but she has given a few too-close-for-comfort warning "snaps" at over-zealous visitors and interns that do something to make "her" chickens squawk. We are thinking it may be time to sell her to a more isolated farm that needs more protection. We have fewer large predators now (mostly overhead and small stuff), no real need for protection from people like we used to, and want what's best for her. We certainly can't fault her for doing her job, but sure hate to loose our best guardian.

Then, there is the risk that our other girl, or whatever pup we find to replace this girl (we want two), won't be as good at their job. Our other has never truly been tested, but has a personality otherwise perfect for this location (except maybe for her barking...oh well). I think that is my biggest fear.

What would you do?
 

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HOW do they DO that?
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That's a toughy for sure.

Maybe some retraining for her to deal with the increase in friendly two-legged neighbor walking the road? Maybe some retraining for the interns and visitors?

Oh, you've probably already tried all that, I know you're a good trainer.
Probably not possible to confine her during the days when the visitor load is high?

Sorry, guess I've no good ideas and no similar experience. Best of luck to you tho.
 

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It is hard to find a good adult LGD- and it takes a while to raise and train a pup. I'd try to exhaust all possibilities before rehoming her. aart mentioned kennelling during the day or maybe confining to interior pasture away from road and visitors during the day?
My ASD is pretty fierce- acting by the fenceline at the road. imo, my neighbors have to deal with it because there are many more stray dogs on the road than people and its her job to keep my goats safe. My neighbor across the road is very understanding about her barking and activity level. Maybe some of your clients and neighbors are too?
 

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Well, maybe this isn't what you want to hear; but I would put that dog first! She is doing exactly what you have asked of her. You live in a new place for her and I understand that; but why not put up signs for your customers to leave that dog's charges alone?

Ok you have "interns" and I suspect they will need to be near the animals that LGD has always guarded and thinks are hers..........Still, can't you have a place where those particular people can do their thing without encroaching upon that dog's territory? (Is she running loose?) Since you're running some sort of business and dealing with the public, maybe you could look at the "structures" you are using for that. If it were me, I'd find a way to keep all visitors to my place in a protected area, i.e. letting that LGD you're concerned about learn that it is ok for those visitors to be in those particular locations. Is that feasible?
 

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I agree with the above.
She is doing what you trained her to do her whole life, and now you want to punish her (read take her from the only life she knows), because she is doing it?
We have 2 Pyrs, one is very social, and one is not. We have people come over to buy lambs and what not all the time. If it is necessary to take them into the pastures, I remove the dogs prior. My female is not ok with people she doesn't know messing with "Her" sheep.
If we had a change of circumstance, and had to relocate to a different situation, I would never get rid of her, I would work with it.
This is why so many good actual LGD's end up in shelters, or worse.
You need to train the people to stay away from her, and what she is guarding, or put up a kennel that she can be placed in while they are there.
 

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You may have fewer problems with two footed baddies because they see your dog when they come to check out your place in disguise of customers. Give her a place to stay in when you have customers. She should be able to see what is going on, but not be underfoot.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
This is what I needed to hear. I have been going back and forth, with no peace with the idea of selling her. Certainly, I wouldn't be punishing her, (though I don't humanize animals that way some do) and I would have been very selective, but I just wondered if she wouldn't have thrived better in a more remote farm with livestock and not so many visitors. For now, we have been doing as suggested. When we do our farm tours, we put her in the barn. Honestly, it's the children that scare me the most. They just don't get it. Example: We had a family come to purchase a goat recently. We were OUTSIDE the perimeter fence, and the dogs were just looking on, on their side of the fence, not even barking. After a while, I forgot about them. Suddenly, one of the little girls ran over, stuck her hands through the fence and tried to pet them. This dog snapped her warning, scaring the little girl half to death. She did not bite her, certainly, but when the little girl jumped and jerked her hand back, she scraped her hand on the fence and was convinced the dog had bitten her causing the scratch. I realized at that moment how unfortunate it would be if the parents had NOT understood the situation. The dog could have been labeled as a "biter" or who knows? That's the type of thing that has happened.
 

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She sounds amazing and I would also do whatever it takes to keep her. I have been looking and looking for another one like that, but no luck so far. I need one for goats and chickens and around here they're all with sheep and think chickens are for dinner. I guess I'll have to get a pup, but really wanted to try avoiding that again. Oh, well.

Best of luck with your girl, she sounds awesome!
 

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Might be a good idea to put up a few signs too as it is a business. Many people don't understand about working dogs and it would be good for parents to get an idea so they keep an eye on their small children and help them to understand.

I do not allow for visitors to pet my dogs. Only my family and close friends can. Imo just a good practice since they are working dogs - one is for personal protection and the other an LGD. Probably need a couple signs myself for next year when the goats are fresh and more people are coming in.
 

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Redgate, that may actually be your solution, i.e. put up some signs letting the parents know their children are not to attempt to pet the dogs. You might even place signs on certain fences in strategic locations telling people NOT TO GET WITHIN A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF FEET from that fence. If anyone asks why, you can brag on your LGD....:) :) (This might also help should any liability issues arise.)
 

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the 1st time she bites some one the state can make you put her down and that would be a sad day, you need to think what is best for the dog and that may be a new home or it may not
 

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HOW do they DO that?
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The signs I would think are a must(children must be leashed?haha), as well as maybe segregation of the 'public' part of the farm from the private/working part of the farm.

Maybe set up a 'petting' and/or demonstration space where you can bring a few animals for the public to interact with that the dog knows is OK with additional training to the new situation?

Scheduled tours of the private part of the farm with strict rules, signs and maybe even a release form to CYA?

I know you and your pup will figure it out.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
We don't have the option of segregating the farm. Either you are outside the fence or inside of it. Over time, as we clear more land, it will become more feasible, but for now, our pasture literally sits in the middle, with the driveway wrapping around almost 3 sides of it, and the house and barn on one end. There is only one side with no exposure, but it is woodlands. Everything is literally used on an almost daily basis.

I have a degree in farm management, and one of the think that was pounded into us was liability. One of our sessions discussed the importance of carefully worded signs. There have been previous cases where the dog owner LOST the case due to a sign stating "Beware of Dog." Whether the dog had a history of biting or not, didn't matter. The courts ruled that the fact they hung the signs meant they were aware of the risk and "should have fixed the risk." Sometimes you have to wonder who comes up with this stuff! In any case, we are liking the idea of signs, but need to come up with something other than "Beware of Dogs." Something more educational in nature might be an idea. We have a local sign maker that can do it for us. We just need to come up with the wording. Any ideas or anything you have seen/used? It should probably be quick and the the point. We are thinking something along the lines of "Working Livestock Guardian Dogs: Please Don't Pet." That way, we aren't claiming any risk of aggression, simply asking folks don't pet. Do you think it would get the message across?

I have one other question, I would love some thoughts on. The final "straw" in this issues happened last week. My brother-in-law lives next door and often helps us out on our property. Our dogs know him, and are totally used to him coming in to the pasture to clear an area of timber we have been working on. He is accepted, and they have never given him a problem. Then, last week, as usual, he came into the pasture, this dog ran over to greet him as normal. He petted her as usual, then set to work. He turned around, picked up a branch, and the dog suddenly lunged and grabbed hold of the seat of his pants. He spun around and she grabbed the sleeve of his shirt. He says he felt her teeth oh his arm at one point, but she didn't leave a mark nor break the skin. He probably yelled at her, and she backed down, laid down in front of him, and he froze. She wouldn't take her eyes off him. Right then, another neighbor came walking by with her dog, so Athena ran over to the fence and my BIL made a hasty retreat out the gate, leaving his tools behind. I am baffled by what would have caused this. Again, she clearly COULD HAVE bitten and attacked if she'd wanted to, but she didn't. She was obviously warning him off. There is more to the story, and I suspect he isn't telling us something. He is a drunk, and when drunk, he is not supposed to be on our property. Everyone agrees he was not drunk that morning (we spoke with him and saw him in person). But, I would not surprised if he has taunted her from his side of the fence while drunk. He's already confessed to letting his dogs taunt my dogs by running up and down the fence line barking (yes, this has been a problem. Family is our worst and most troublesome neighbors. I think they feel entitled to do what they want when they want on our property--which is one reason I am glad he now has a healthy respect for my dogs). Nonetheless, it caught me off guard. The only thing I can assume is maybe he had taunted or threatened her with a stick at some point? So that when he picked the stick up she said no more? I realize I may never know the answer, and he now, finally has a enough respect for the dogs (he's literally terrified of them now) that he will no longer go in the pasture without calling ahead and letting us get the dogs first (a request we've been trying to enforce for some time). I'm just wondering if any of you have seen or experienced your dogs turning on someone they know like that. She clearly doesn't like him anymore. Watches him closely through the fence, so I HAVE to assume he has done something he isn't telling us.
 

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I would much rather trust the judgement of my LGD over the judgement or word of a known drunk relative. I've never known Batt to be wrong about someone. Sam either, and Sam is the house dog.
 

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We live in a time and culture that does not protect us regardless of carefully worded signs. It is unfortunate, but sometimes we have to asses the liability vs the need for a guardian that potentially bites people. The damage of an injury to an innocent child vs the loss of livestock to a thief. Sure it is hard to get a truly good lgd but that is because everybody that has a hobby farm with $2000 dollars worth of goats is breeding $100 dollar dogs and turning them loose at 8 weeks old because they were born in a goat pen. A law suit will cost considerably more money than driving across the country and buying a proven guardian if you need another. Most of us do have a threat to our livestock in some form of predator but it is seldom human. If the case is human set up surveillance cameras and let law take care of it.
 

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Redgate, I would suspect that sending this dog to a new home (which may or may not be the best thing for her, I cannot advise on that aspect of the situation) will not solve the problem you most recently posted. If you bring in another dog and spend the time to train it, what is to stop this drunk idiot from repeating his bad behavior and perhaps ruining another perfectly good LGD? Sure he is terrified of them now, but a little time, a little alcohol, and will he still be smart enough to leave them alone?

DH and I deliberately made the choice to leave family land and business almost a year ago. The problems were not exactly the same as what you're dealing with, but I can tell you that after living with them for 9 years they didn't improve over time.
 
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Discussion Starter #18
hmmm....good point. I didn't even consider the same result with a new dog. This BIL has been nothing but problems. Here's the clincher....We intentionally bought land/farm almost an hour away from all family members because it seems everyone always has drama in families. Lo and behold if MIL and BIL didn't buy the land next door! AAAGH! This place has been our dream for 12 years--blood, sweat, and tears to set it up, and now we have regular issues with their drunkenness. Please don't get me wrong--they have in no way ruined a good dog!! If anything, they have made her a better protector and just somewhat less trusting of the 2 legged potential predators. Personally, I gloated inside knowing he probably got what he deserved when my LGD told him his place! Nonetheless, I just have to hope it was directed at him for a reason. We have been trying to get him to stay off our property since we moved in, with exception of when hubby gives explicit permission. He has refused to abide by that rule, and the sherriff's office (yes, we have even had to get them involved!) have said it's literally all or nothing. If we have any relationship with them (i.e. have them to dinner, let the kids visit, allow him to walk down to pick something up from hubby, etc.), then we can never report him for trespassing. If it were just him, it'd be easier, but both hubby and BIL are trying to take care of MIL, so that adds a level of difficulty. So far, hubby is trying to avoid starting a family feud that could result in who-knows what kind of trouble for us and our farm. He is planning a big talk with them both, but we haven't caught both of them sober and home simultaneously in over a week now. SOOOOO frustrating, but that's a whole other can of worms!
 

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I don't care if it is a LGD, personal protection dog, working dog, pet or what, I find very little lenience for dogs snapping or biting children. Children are not able to make mature decisions, if your inviting them to your property with a dangerous dog (yes your dog is dangerous, next time it could be the kids face and not hand thats "snapped" at) its your responsibility to keep the kids safe. There is no proof the drunk has ever taunted this dog, or that he struck it with a stick, excuses and assumptions are being made in an attempt to justify unprovoked bites. The fact is the dog has learned now that snapping, nipping or biting people gets results and it has little reservation about do it. It may not have broken the skin yet, but its just a matter of time before it does. A sign is not going to protect you from a law suit.
 

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If it were me in that position, I would not hesitate to let those relatives know they are not welcome on my place any time. I would tell them that it is because of their drinking and possibility of liability issues. I would not back down but stand my ground!

You have enough to be concerned about in the development of your homestead with the public aspect and the LGD. Since you don't have an internal fence/structure that can help you protect your LGD, you could get a kennel for for when public guests are on grounds. Or you could get a strong chain for your LGD. However, if I'm understanding your situation correctly, you are letting strangers around the stock your LGD is guarding; so whatever way you stop your dog from taking care of its charges, that is not good for your LGD.
 
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