Living Off Grid - Our Livestock Guardian Dog


| 7/25/2012 9:25:10 PM


Tags: off grid, living off grid, livestock guardian dogs, anatolian shepherds, Ed Essex,

snow dogI saw an ad in the Spokane newspaper that read “Do you have trouble with raccoons, coyotes, bear, or cougar? We don’t.” 

That had my attention. We live fairly remote in the mountains. Even though we can see the highway from our place, we only have one neighbor about ½ mile away and we aren’t exactly on good terms with each other. There is no cell phone service except inside our home. We are on our own – completely.

We have two horses and chickens that run free inside twenty fenced acres. There is no one to watch the house or animals when we leave. Two years ago there was a bear breaking into homes and recreational trailers and cabins and really tearing things up and causing a lot of damage. The Game Department gave me permission to shoot it as a nuisance bear but someone else did first, just 2 miles down the road. It had previously broken into our next door neighbor’s recreational trailer twice! They live about 250 miles away and come here a few times a year to camp and relax. Imagine how they felt – twice! That bear just tore their trailer to pieces.
We have coyotes, owls, weasels, and hawks cruising through here on a daily basis. Friends of ours have seen two wolves within 5 miles. Bear, bobcats and cougar are common. In short, our home and animals are unprotected whenever we aren’t home.

We weren’t interested in a dog that was aggressive by nature but we didn’t want one that would run from danger either. We looked around and researched guard dogs, watchdogs, regular dogs and everything in between. Two breeds caught my eye. The Estrala Mountain dog which originates in Portugal and the Anatolian Shepherd which originated in Turkey. When someone local advertised dogs that were 7/8 Anatolian and 1/8 Pyrenees mountain dogs we responded right away.

When we arrived at the kennels, about 2 ½ hours away, we were greeted with a sign that read “Warning, livestock guardians dogs at work. Please do not disturb.” I wasn’t quite sure exactly what that meant so I just drove into the yard real slow. The breeder was dashing around tying up dogs. I didn’t get out until she had them all constrained. They were big and loud. Just a little intimidating. Good so far – sort of I guess.

We looked at all their dogs. One male they showed us was about 95 pounds and had a couple of scars on his face and one ear. He had apparently done battle with a cougar and won! These dogs will defend to the death. A confrontation usually results in the wild animal quitting first because they need to stay healthy in order to feed themselves. If they get hurt they will die.

We were told the sire (father) to the litter we were looking at was 150 pounds. He didn’t look like it. The breeder told me to try to pick him up to see for myself but I passed. He was still barking. The grandfather was over 200 pounds. All I could think about was the food bill.

rob
7/11/2013 2:30:12 AM

This is a fantastic story!  I love real-life stories about Livestock Guardian Dogs.  My family has several.  We have some stories to tell too, and our most recent one is pretty exciting.

 

It all started when we were offered a half Anatolian Shepherd & half Great Pyrenees male.  He was not quite a year-old.  I'm pretty sure his owners thought he would never stop chasing cars.  You see, when he was young, he would watch the dog at the farm across the street chase vehicles that were coming and going from the nearby rodeo grounds.  This was probably because he didn't have any other (of his kind) to emulate.

 

Long story short, he is reformed!  He's now the best LGD we have ever owned.  He has made us love LGDs even more, and more specifically the 1/2 and 1/2 cross.

 

We've since noticed that there is a real need for well-bred Anatolian / Pyr crosses, and have decided to get even more educated and begin offering outstanding working dogs.

 

If you or anyone you know is interested, we can be found online at:

 

livestockdogs.net

 

I think I need to write a story like this one!  It seems a lot of people are interested in hearing about real life experiences with Livestock Dogs.


anna abney
2/15/2013 10:51:47 PM

If you are interested in learning more about LGDs, the breeds, & selecting & training your LGD, please feel free to join my Facebook group, Learning About LGDs. https://www.facebook.com/groups/LearningAboutLGDs/


steve walters
8/2/2012 4:13:02 AM

Great article. About a year ago, someone up here in the Sangre de Cristo mountains in southern colorado had some Anatolian/Pyrenees mix pups for sale. At the time, we didn't have goats, and we had six large dogs. Since then, we got two dairy goats, and lost three of our younger adult large watchdogs to human predation (they wandered together and have not returned). Our 11 year old Rottweiler/Lab mix and 6 year old registered Yellow Lab still make alot of noise (the other is a young, smallish Pyrenees mix), so the coyotes have not been a problem with the chickens and goats. But the clock is ticking, and we're looking into another guardian dog. Good article, thank you.


heather grenzig
7/29/2012 11:27:27 PM

What a wonderful dog Turk is! Our dear old rottweiler, Guinness, is very much the same. Now we are raising a rottie pup similarly. Both of my dogs enjoying herding livestock as well as my five kids! Indispensable :)


rhiana
7/29/2012 5:56:49 PM

Fantastic article, thanks so much. It answered a lot of questions I've had about guardian dogs.


ed essex
7/27/2012 2:08:04 PM

I love black labs. Good for you!


mary moessinger
7/27/2012 4:57:16 AM

I have a great black lab mix I got from the pound 4 yrs ago. She protects my chickens & I haven't lost a hen in years. She has killed 3 possums and I racoon in the past year, they were trying to get at my hens. My chickens are free range and never are caged. Recently the chickens were all raising a fuss & Darla raced to find them & ran off a fox that had grabbed a hen, but only got a mouthful of feathers. She ran it off & it has not returned. Watch dogs are great protectors and love their job.





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