A livestock guardian dog is essential when homesteading or farming. The key to having a loyal, hard working adult LGD is the ongoing training which occurs as a pup.
Raising livestock is an investment, one which must be protected. This is especially true if you will be raising livestock on pasture or in a rotational grazing system. Many homesteaders and farmers find having a livestock guardian dog on the property prevents the loss of livestock such as goats, sheep, even cattle.
“Livestock guardian dogs require a lot more work upfront than say a donkey or a llama. If you buy a donkey or a llama and raise them with your animals, it is their instinct to protect those animals; end of story. This may not always be the case when you go the route of bringing home a livestock guardian dog (LGD). ”– Chelsea Van Roekel
Working dogs, aka livestock guardian dog, have an inner depth of knowledge for what they were created for, guarding. With this in mind, not just any dog will do. Find a rancher, homesteader, or breeder which raises working dogs. Also, make sure to see the parents in action prior to purchasing a pup.
Training a Livestock Guardian Dog Puppy
Many livestock guardian pups come from great working lines. However, continual training is necessary prior to leaving the dog with livestock.
Before we chose our livestock guardian pup, I had done a lot of research into different methods of training LGDs. It was always my hope that we would be able to bring this animal to the farm and that it could be both a guardian to the livestock and a friend to us. There are many people out there who believe that a livestock guardian dog can only be an LGD and that trying to ask them to be that in addition to your friend can create issues. I am sure this may be true for certain types and personalities of dogs, but we have been fortunate enough to have a dog that seems to have the ability to balance both.
With each phase of maturity, young dogs are introduced to various types of livestock. Only once trust has been established between the dog, livestock, and its handler should it be left for short periods of time to guard.
Visit the Texas A & M Agrilife Livestock Guardian Dog Training Program on YouTube! It’s a great resource for LGD puppy training!