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Livestock Guardian Dogs

Discussion in 'Dogs, Cats and Other Pets' started by Beekissed, Jul 28, 2017.

  1. Aug 2, 2017

    Beekissed Mountain Sage

    Jul 12, 2008
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    Mountains of WV
    One thing I see over and over on forums and YT vids on training these dogs is the information that the dogs are "independent thinkers" and are difficult to train due to this, that some things we shouldn't even attempt to train them on due to this and that we can't really expect much obedience due to this. I was even told this when I got Ben...not to expect that a LGD would train to obedience training and not to expect him to guard chickens effectively as he wouldn't "bond" with them. :rolleyes:

    What a horrible thing to pass along...it's like some kind of bad rural myth. Nothing could be further from the truth, IME. Not only is it VERY important to train these powerful dogs to live on small homesteads but it's not that hard to do at all. They are intelligent and eager to please, food motivated which makes them incredibly easy to motivate, and very quick to catch on to most things you want to teach.

    Another thing I see passed along as gospel truth is that you shouldn't even expect these dogs to leave chickens alone until they are 2 yrs old or even older, as they don't "mature" until then and are still puppy enough to want to chase chickens. That leads people into not even trying to train these dogs until it's so difficult to do that it takes forever to break their already established bad habits. What's happening up until that age? Yep...he's been allowed to bark, chase, lunge at or otherwise pay undue attention to the chickens in a run without any firm correction for it as a pup.

    What a load of bull pucky!!! Not only is it important to train them immediately on chickens when they arrive as pups but you can also teach them not to play with the chickens then too, just like you can teach them not to jump up on children or put their mouths on children~or adults, for that matter~ you can teach them that chickens are not to be herded, chased, barked at, lunged at or any other unwanted behavior towards the chickens....or any livestock, for that matter.

    The only acceptable behavior around livestock is a calm behavior and that needs to be ingrained in a dog, be he a puppy or not. He needs to be taught there's a time and place for rough playing, but it's never around or with the livestock.

    As with training children, the lessons learned earliest are those that stick the longest and best, so the earlier you can train your pup on chickens, lambs, kids, etc. the better. Establishing your rule over the dog comes first and often simultaneously with training on these things....three basic commands get taught the first week and thereafter~come, sit, leave it.

    For the life of me, I can't understand folks who claim their dogs won't come to them when called...that's the most natural instinct of any dog, to come to the leader of the pack. If you have not established that leadership, then problems naturally ensue.

    I wish folks would stop repeating it as gospel that these dogs can't be taught to behave as a pup, that they can't be taught to come to you when you want them to or leave it. It's just not true and it really sets people up to fail with these dogs right from the start....then you see these dogs in rescue situations because people couldn't keep them from killing chickens, killing the neighbor's ~or their own~dogs, couldn't stop them from running off when called, etc. because they didn't even try to train them until it was too late.

    Most dogs are independent thinkers, as are we...but we can still be taught to obey. Many breeds have been bred for hundreds of years for a certain purpose or job, so what? That's like when people say you can't use a Lab to guard chickens because he's a bird dog and has a high prey drive....such baloney! They are incredibly easy to train to chickens and are among the best of the breeds that make great farm dogs.

    When people fall for that hooey and drop their expectations for the dog is exactly the point when they get what they expect...a worthless(for the job) or troublesome animal.
    baymule likes this.

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