Ugh. So upset over this.
So...is there any way I can protect my small herd of goats and chickens and ducks without giving the job to an animal? I just don't know if I want to deal with animals wandering/disapppearing or being so much work to train that they end up being more work than the jobs that I gave them to do.
This is a puppy in a totally new place with new people. Not to mention a puppy not very well socialized. Fear is a big thing with him now. He has a lot to learn. You will need to teach him not to eat ducks for example and to not snap at people. A trainer can come out and help you with all of that and give you the skills to help him learn.
I highly, highly recommend getting on a yahoo group for LGDs, I think one that I'm on is WorkingLGDs with lots of people with far, far more experience with LGDs than I. I wouldn't call the local dog-trainer though - they have zero experience with LGDS, and thus don't know how to properly train a dog as such. Good luck!
I've got him in the greenhouse until we can build him a house and pen (our goat house is too small to make him a special place), which I'm hoping to do this week. He is slowly warming up. He still peed when my husband picked him up last night, but today I spent a lot of time in there petting him. He only has snapped the once right after he came back and I think it's because he felt threatened (and was not used to kids at all). He has been very "old man dog" like, but today he started acting like a puppy. He wags his tail and hops around (calmly, but he is doing it) when he hears and sees me. I have to sit down and talk him into coming to me, but occasionally he will. He's been licking my hand and appears to love being pet. He leans into my hand when I'm scratching behind his ear. He is a big ol' love.
I will join that yahoo group - thanks! I'll see if I can't find a good book on the Akbash as LGD. He'll be good at his job, I think.
Also, I have goats (and he came from a sheep farm). I've introduced him to my goats, but the head goat just started butting him. I realize the LGD have to be submissive to the goats, but I'm worried the goats will hurt him at some point. Thoughts?
Thanks a ton! You all have been so helpful and kind!
I think the poultry issue necessitates that he love you guys, but don't knock him for preferring sheep. It's all he knows. I would put him in with the goats... Closest to the sheep he knew. Yeah, they knock him around, but that is THEM training him. Don't make it hard on yourself when the goats will do it. They won't hurt him badly, just be sure to mediate for the first few days. You'll have to stay on top of the bird thing... That can be rough, but stick with it. You really can not beat a good dog for whole farm protection. Just like anything else worth having, the initial rough spots and tough times will pay off in the end. Invest the time and energy, and you'll have years of peace of mind. I am not what you would call a dog person, but I was committed to doing what I signed up for when I got my gal... And to tell the truth the dead chickens and tears and trouble are all worth it. I love my dog, hugely. I might not have said that a year ago. It takes time and patience. Hang in there!
That said, I just ordered the only two livestock guardian dog training books that I could find online. He's become very human socialized now, and is running up to almost all of us and grabbing our pants with his teeth and just being all-around playful. He has completely come out of his shell and is a total puppy now (albeit a much calmer one than the breeds I'm used to!!). He's stealing clothes off my clothes line, and being pretty funny (he hasn't done any serious damage to anything, so it's still funny ). He still loves running around the duck pen and making them run to and fro, but I think there is still enough fear in him of my authority that he is witholding himself from doing any serious damamge. One of my small people left the chicken coop door unlocked the other day and I caught him (just in time!) in there chasing the chickens. He didn't seem to want to eat them, just chase them (like a playmate). Of course, I was very verbally clear with him that it was not okay to go anywhere near the chickens. Some of the chickens had escaped at that point and we had chickens running everywhere. He went and laid down and behaved himself while we caught them. I think it should be easy enough to make sure he understands that chasing poultry is a negative in my book.
As far as the goats go... now he's terrifed of them. My herd queen is all about butting anyone who seems to threaten her (but she's awesome with humans, go figure) and everytime she is anywhere within 30 feet of him, she stops, stares for a bit and then full-force runs at him and butts him. It scares him and he always yelps. It makes me sad, but I try to remember that this is what he was made for and it will work out okay. Right? Looking forward to getting those books so I can figure out exactly how to get the two of them together and living peacefully, each doing their jobs.
I had decided to take him back to the farmer on Saturday, but then I decided to give him one more chance in a different arrangement. I hadn't put him with or even near the goats since I have one goat that is very bossy and mean to other animals (and the few times I've introduced the two of them she has continuously head butted the dog over and over and scared him to death, to the point where I had to pick him up and move him myself). Well, I forced him out there and tied him up (with his dog house and food/water, of course) right next to the goat pen. He was petrified and fought me all the way out there, but now a few days later he seems very comfortable. The bossy goat has even quit being such a hound - the first day she stood on guard with her hair bristled nearly the whole day!
However...his behavior today is making me nervous. When I was milking the goats I noticed that he was digging under their fence and would get really excited and run about when one came near him. I realize that is probably normal behavior, but it made me nervous because it was exactly the same behavior he exhibited toward the chickens and ducks. And those he killed (and would have killed the whole lot of them had we not found him and stepped in!). I know for sure that he could hurt my baby goats, and kill them most definitely (they are Nigerian Dwarfs and not much bigger than my ducks were). I moved his tie-line so he couldn't reach the fence anymore (but he is still right next to the goats). I was sad when my ducks and chickens were killed, but I would be downright devastated if he killed any of my goats.
I'm not sure he is a good fit for us. What do you LGD experienced mamas think? This has been hard for me because I'm such a dog lover and have always viewed them as pets and something to be respected and cared for. It's not been easy for me to tie him up, but I also don't like animals being killed needlessly, so it has become a necessity for now.
Happy mama to L (Sept '06), R (Apr '08), R (Apr '10), and G (Mar '12)! - Homemade , Home birthed , Home schooled , Home grown
It took about a week and he hasn't touch another live animal at all - dead is another matter - if I have something die and carry it out to the wheel barrow to go buried he will often grab it and eat it.
Today he was in my bad books though - he grabbed a steak, off the picnic table as I was getting the BBQ ready - NOT HAPPY. Tonight he is on his chain Sadly this is the first time he has done something like this in about 5 years.
My goat/ sheep/ dog mentor (GET ONE OF THESE!!!) told me when she jumps up (our main trouble) or misbehaves seriously, to flip her on her back w my forearm across her throat as if about to throttle her-- then in this position tell her no in a firm low voice. The alpha female of the ranch-- that's you-- needs to do this first, then one family member at a time til he/ she knows he/ she's head of the goats, but bottom of the human pack. Good luck!
The fence digging problem I CAN help with tho-- we ran a single strand of barbed (the cheap stuff'll do fine) right on the ground around the perimeter of the fences-- she tried once, and bloodied her paw pads, and has not tried since.
The poultry eating problem has been adressed by a pp and I like her method a lot, but some dogs are far more stubborn than others; if it should fail-- I have heard another way is to tie the dead bird to the dog's collar in such a way that they cannot chew it off (wrap w wire??) and leave it. When it rots, the dog will never touch another bird. (Have not had the *pleasure* of trying this one, but many friends and neighbors do with each new dog)
blessings-- let us know how he does
One thing you can do if the dog digs is to put empty gallon milk jugs on it's collar. It won't get thru a fence w/that on. My parents have always got a dog w/milk jugs on it, lol.
I hope you resolve all your problems. The advice to flip the dog on it's back and make it know it's at the bottom of the human pack is really good advice.
Happy Homesteading Homeschooling Homebirthing Beekeeping Dready (& a bit redneck even) Mama to 4 fab kids : dd (23), dd (13), ds (11), dd (5)
Those two blog entries might help.
Alot of people use donkeys to guard animals too.