Livestock Guardian Dogs ~ the peacekeepers

           Guarding dogs are useful tools for reducing livestock losses to predators.  Success depends on the inborn abilities of the dog and on proper training.  Training a guarding dog uses techniques that are much different from those used in training a dog for obedience, hunting, or herding.  Training a livestock-guarding dog is primarily a matter of raising the dog with the alpacas, goats, sheep, etc. to estabilsh a social bond between the animals and the dog(s.  

            
Bear and Sophie are the resident LGD's here at Windy Ridge.  They have a vested interest in the alpacas and display vigilant attentive and trustworthy behavior.  Their calm demeanor and submissive nature allows the alpacas to display investigatory behavior and feel comfortable and safe in their environment. 

Basic Guarding Dog Behavior

    
LIvestock-guarding dogs have traits that distinguish them from other breeds.  They tend to retain puppylike characteristics throughout their adult lives--licking the muzzle of an adult, play wrestiline, following parents or littermates, staying near a home or den site, barking when something new or strange approaches, and adsence ofpredatory behavior.
    
      The frequency of display of these behaviors varies among dogs, but it can be encouraged and reinforced in a dog through learning and positive experience.  Your dog will direct many of these behviors toward the sheep as if they were littermates or parents.


      Livestock-guarding dogs also tend to follow a routine.  Establishing an acceptable routine for a growing pup will help to set the pattern of adult behavior.  A well-established pattern or routine often is difficult to change.
        LGD's are trustworthy!  The absence of predatory behavior is the basis of trustworthiness.  LIvestock-gurading dogs are selected to desplay investigatory and submissive behaviors that do not threaten other livestock.

          Puppies


                Last year, Sophie blessed us with a litter of 8 wonderful puppies.  They were a sight to behold.  She became the consummate mother and cared for her charges faithfully.  It was quite impressive and amazing to be part of the wonder of the development of this unbelieveable instinctive, watchful behavior.
They watched became common friends with the alpacas, they watched mom and dad while learning their new roles in life.


They were funny to watch as they rough-housed with each other, practicing important behaviors that they would need later.






They endeared themselves to all of us, and subsequently to their future owners.  Misty Blue (the little girl above) was actually shipped to Missouri to work with goats and sheep there. 


We found that from the start, it was very important to keep the pups with the livestock and to avoid contact with the house.  There is much to be learned in the short time that they have with their mom, dad, and littermates before they are able to be effective with their new responsibilities.

Sophie will be having another littler towards the end of August.  We are currently taking orders from folks who would like to place one of our gentle giants into service.  Call us at (208)571-6738 to learn more about these wonderful guardians!

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