Introducing a New Guardian Dog

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Maremma Puppy photo by Windance Farm
Maremma Puppy  Windance Farm  

Guardian Dogs know what their work is about. They don’t need the farmer to teach them that.

BUT ~ when they are new to your farm, there is much for them to learn about the specifics of YOUR farm. It is exremely important that you take the time to teach them…..if you want them to be successful guardians.

The following is shared by Jackie Church of Windance Farm in Upper State New York. She is a responsible breeder of Maremma Guardians, and shares her knowledge and experience in a Manual she has written for farmers. Here is one section on introducing your guardian to your farm.

Setting your Dog up for Success

You must set your dog up to succeed. This applies to a new adult dog, and to the brand new young puppy that arrives at your farm.

You need to know what to expect from your dog and what ages you can expect it. Some dogs are exceptions in both the negatives and positives. You may have a dog that could never fail, no matter what you did. Then you have others who take longer to mature, and make you scratch your head more than anything in your life.

Again, what you put into this dog – is exactly what you will get out of this dog. If you toss a dog in the pasture alone, then you will get exactly what you are putting into it. Yes, the dog may (and an adult should) know how to keep predators out, mark the boundaries and bark.

But all the rest? The relationship it should have with the stock, with you, what the boundaries are, where and what – all that the dog does not know.

In all of the old world countries that use guardian dogs, they do not run just one dog. They work the dogs in teams. There is a smattering of ages –from some old dogs to very young dogs.

The older mature dogs that know their jobs are the teachers of these young pups. This is done by example and correction.  If you take a young pup and place it in the field without an adult dog who knows the ropes –then YOU become the teacher. YOU become the mentor. YOU become the one to provide the instruction. If you do not, any failure of the dog is not because of the dog, but because of the lack of guidance and training.

Contributed by Jackie Church of Windance Farm in New York
www.windancefarms.com
Jackie breeds outstanding old world Maremma guardian dogs
Material from her Training Manual ©

Crisco, Adult Maremma, Windance Farm
Crisco, Adult Maremma, Windance Farm

Raising Successful Livestock Guardian Dogs

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photo by David Kennard
photo by David Kennard

 

A successful livestock guardian dog, like this adult Great Pyrenees, is an invaluable member of your farm. There are important actions that you can take to help them be successful. In the link below, Cat Urbigkit, a successful rancher in Wyoming, who uses guardian dogs to protect her sheep, offers 12 of those key factors. Valuable information coming from years of experience!

12 Keys to Raising Successful Livestock Guardian Dogs

 

Livestock Guardian Dog Grant

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Bulgarian Karakachan
Bulgarian Karakachan
Bulgarian Karakachan puppy
Bulgarian Karakachan puppy

Our Chickens are by far the most vulnerable to predation by our carnivores,

especially when the carnivore in question is being subjected to human persecution.

HERE IS A GREAT OPPORTUNITY TO OBTAIN A VALUABLE GUARDIAN DOG

THROUGH THE FOOD ANIMAL CONCERNS TRUST

 

FACT | Food Animal Concerns Trust

  • FACT is delighted to announce another free opportunity for poultry farmers — the chance to receive a Livestock Guardian Dog (LGD) puppy and participate in an immersion training session! New this year, FACT is partnering with a current Fund-a-Farmer grant recipient to place four LGD puppies with selected poultry farmers who raise their birds humanely (one of seven certifications is required). These selected farmers will receive a LGD puppy and attend a free weekend training session this summer in Wisconsin, along with additional educational resources and expert technical assistance throughout the year. FACT’s LGD webpage for more information.

Kangals ~ Guardian Dogs

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Introducing Otto
Introducing Otto ~ He loves meeting everyone

On May 20 of this year, some very fortunate people came together in Rockport, Massachusetts to learn more about these amazing Guardian Dogs ~ the Kangals. They are an ancient breed in their homeland of Turkey, and have been protecting the shepherds flocks from predators for centuries..Now we have them here as well.

We were all so fortunate to learn from Stuart Richens of the Banks Mountain Farm in North Carolina. She and her husband Bob, carefully breed these amazing Kangals. She shared that Temperament and Health are what they are selecting for, resulting in a trustworthy and stable dog.  When their pups are 6 weeks old, they go out to pasture with their goats, and are carefully watched over. They want their dogs to not only be great guardians, BUT also to have a HAPPY AND HEALTHY life. They are very careful as to who is “worthy” of purchasing one of their dogs..Any responsible farmer also would have it no other way. To learn more about them, you can go to their website: www.BanksMountainFarm.com

HERE ARE A FEW MORE PHOTOS OF THE KANGALS THAT WE SHARED THE DAY WITH ~

MAY 21: Kangal Club of America Dog Show, Windhover Center for the Performing Arts, Rockport, MA. (Photos by Tsar Fedorsky)
SLEEPY 4 MONTH OLD PUPPY   Kangal Club of America

 

MAY 21: Kangal Club of America Dog Show, Windhover Center for the Performing Arts, Rockport, MA. (Photos by Tsar Fedorsky)
SHEEBAH WITH CONNIE AND  MEETING A NEW FRIEND  Kangal Club of America

 

 

MAY 21: Kangal Club of America Dog Show, Windhover Center for the Performing Arts, Rockport, MA. (Photos by Tsar Fedorsky)
 Rheanna and 12 year old Vasi  Kangal Club of America  (Photos by Tsar Fedorsky)

 

Great Pyrenees on the Move!

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Betty

Mary McGuire, an experienced and excellent breeder of Great Pyrenees Guardian dogs shares this night time event on here farm. It is actually an excellent time of the year to share this event, as Coyote pups will be born soon in April and May….Spring time. Listen carefully to her words ~ she is successful and happy in all she does, because she understands the world of the Coyote, and respects it. Life is good OR  as we say in Maine “The way Life should be!”

I just spent the hours between 3AM and 5 AM listening to a couple of my Pyrenees kicking up quite a ruckus. It is Spring and time for all good coyote parents to hunt for their new pups. Of course this can at times really anger the Pyrenees who are in charge of our south barn and pasture.

There is a nice little stream that runs thru the pasture on the other side of their fence and many nights the coyotes travel down that stream looking for late night snacks. Since their hunting duties are much heavier during this time of the year it can cause them to take more chances than usual. Most of the time the coyotes stay far away from that area but hunger does cause the predators to gamble a bit.
 On this particular night,  I got the chance to hear Justus and Kate (my Great Pyrenees Guardian dogs)first warn the coyotes to “get away” and then go into full voice “get the heck out of here” mode as the coyotes came closer. The yips of the coyotes seemed so tiny when compared to the huge full throated barks of this pair. They would run from one end of the field to the other up a big hill and then down to the bottom that borders the creek quite closely.
I could almost hear their huge feet pounding the ground as they ran barking right past my bedroom window. This is the closest field to the house so it does give me the chance to observe these two patrol, and then go into full defense voice. It is so nice to just listen with no fear of any loss of sheep or chickens. They are an intact breeding pair, who are quite devoted to each other. Each Pyrenees works very hard at their job but also loves to play with their partner and then lay quietly with the sheep in the afternoon sun.
    This is a much nicer way to protect my livestock and also enjoy a beautiful dog do the job they were bred to do. It certainly is better than trying to shoot or trap or poison the coyotes. Meanwhile the predators can keep the groundhogs in limits along with a few other “varmints”. Nature can do the job if we just allow it to do so.”

Photo: one of Mary’s Great Pyrennees on the move