Choosing a Livestock Guardian Dog


guardian dogThe choice to use a livestock guardian to protect your stock should be made seriously and with some forethought and planning. Using a living animal to guard your stock is not only a responsibility but also it requires you to gain some knowledge. It will ultimately require your commitment to an animal’s care, your regular attention, and perhaps some careful training. Acquiring this knowledge and doing some prior preparation before your guardian arrives will make the use of a livestock guardian more successful, as well. If you are not sure which livestock guardian would make the best fit for you and your situation, here is a truly honest look at the pros and cons of each potential guardian - dogs, donkeys, and llamas. This first post will look at livestock guard dogs (LGDs)

The pros:

• LGDs can guard a wide variety of animals including poultry, sheep, goats, cattle, llamas, alpacas, miniature horses and other equines. Guarding poultry presents a difference set of challenges than other stock, but it can be done successfully with attention to some training and the choice of a dog. Equines can likewise be problematical since the horse or donkey can have a natural flight or fight response to canines; but again, it has been done successfully. LGDs can also provide protection outside and around buildings or enclosures that house other animals, such as poultry or rabbits.

• LGDs actually bond to their stock and will exhibit nurturing behaviors, especially to young animals.

• LGDs protect stock against a wide variety of predators, both large and small, including the most dangerous such as feral hogs, wolves, bears, bobcats, and mountain lions. LGDs can work in groups together. Owners who face serious threats by large predators often employ two or more LGDs together in a field. In some truly serious situations, owners have used as many as four or five LGDs together. Most

• LGDs actively bark and chase large birds (eagles, hawks, owls, vultures and others) away from their stock.

4/15/2016 6:38:15 PM

Silvia, don't be turned off by the idea of a "shock" collar". I had a rescue terrier mix who wandered, and I finally put a collar on her, set to the lightest setting. When she would get to a point I had in my mind of the limit of where she could go, I buzzed her. The first time she freaked out---not because it hurt, but because she didn't know what was going on. I watched her and when she started in the wrong direction I buzzed her and when she headed home I didn't. I think it took two or three days of watching her carefully and correcting her when she got to a set point and she got it and never took off again. It is far more humane than being confused by being corrected or disciplined for something the dog doesn't know she is doing wrong and a lot better than being shot or hit by a car. A friend tried this on his border collie who was a neighborhood nuisance and he said it took only two or three corrections and she would walk at heel, come when called, and became a wonderful dog. And he is a softy and hated the idea of one of these collars till he tried it. My dog was very happy in her territory once she understood what it was, and once she started to believe in God.

4/14/2016 11:25:16 PM

We were given a year old male LGD- they said Komodor, but I believe he is Marema. He was a chronic wanderer and was going to end up being shot. We took him and have him with our horses but he continues to wander- and we have been warned by neighbor that he would end up shot if he continues to cause trouble. Any ideas of how to cure this? If no cure, he will be rehomed, but I love the dog and don't want to see him go/ but I also don't want him hurt or killed.

3/28/2016 3:39:19 PM

Great article on LGD's We're in the process of locating a puppy now.

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