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!
Hi there, I’m Chelsea! Midwest girl gone Montanan; living in a town of 400 people, 24 miles north of Yellowstone National Park. Myself and my husband run Parallel 45 Farm; a modern homestead with a Yellowstone vacation cabin. Join us on our website or social media account to follow along with our adventures.
Good job Chelsea! Awesome article!
Getting my first LGD in afew days .Hoping to learn more about the training,I have horses ,geese and chickens. My puppy is 10 weeka
My puppy is Anatolian,Pyrenees,and mastife
My neighbors have an lgd, raised from a pup. Our homes are close together and we share a fenceline with there sheep pasture. The dog has grown up to be very aggressive with us. We have several pet dogs, pigs, goat horses etc. Our riding arena boarders there fenceline and the lgd often runs up and down it barking. The neighbors allow this saving its his job. My granddaughter is training a young horse who has already nearly thrown her because of this dog. She is very good about our dogs being around her while riding. Our arena was there years before the neighbors moved in got this dog.
I took a spray bottle of water and told the dog no and sprayed him. It worked and he left for a long time and when he returned barking I did the same. The next time I just lifted the bottle and he left. They are very angry at me for doing that and said I’m untraining their dog. Is it possible for them to teach the dog that neighbors are not a threat and not to be aggressive toward us and yet still protect his sheep. By the way, the sheep were way on the other side of the pasture, no where near us. Thanks for your help.
Kathi, If the owners have trained their dog with a command that recalls it from any type of distraction then even threats that are big and dangerous it can be recalled from as well as neighbors who aren’t dangerous as well. Having positive control over your lgd is important. These two links have great lgd training tips on them( https://www.premier1supplies.com/sheep-guide/2016/04/12-keys-to-raising-successful-livestock-guardian-dogs/ , https://www.forloveoflivestock.com/blog/training-livestock-guardian-dogs-the-ultimate-guide?format=amp )but unfortunately that’ll be up to the owners of it how well they obedience train and expose their dog to a variety of experiences they may not want to train their dog in how to react to strangers where as I would on the off chance someone strolled into the environment