Young puppies great guardians for my goats

by Carol Battaglio
(Powell River, BC)

I just acquired two beautiful great Pyrenees mountain dogs to be guardians for my goats. They are four months old, and beautiful, friendly bundles of enthusiasm.

From time to time I have cougar problems, and the puppies are part of my safety strategy for my cashmere goats. So I was advised to NOT bond with the dogs, but keep them in the field to bond with the goats. This is hard to do, because the dogs want to run about with me. I speak to them firmly and place them back in the field, but they are expert at finding escape routes -- even squeezing through the wire farm fence! After I put them in the field,and speak firmly, they will stay. If one puppy escapes, the other cries -- does not want to be left alone.

Are the puppies too young to be left alone in the field, just outside the goat shed? Is it OK for me to "bond" and visit with them at some time during the day, or do I need to leave them until they are bonded with the goats. Right now the goats run away from them, the billy sometimes is aggressive toward them.

I am not too happy with the situation. Some guidance please. Carol Battaglio, BC

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Aug 03, 2013
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young puppies as guardians
by: Marianne

Well, your instincts are spot on. Young puppies like that are definitely too Young to be left outside to guard.

The normal procedure would be to let them sleep in the barn, safely, and you can take them out on leashes when you make the rounds of the fields so that they learn the boundaries.

They will not be ready to guard on their own before they are about 12 months of age. It is always so much easier for them to learn when they have an adult guardian to show them the ropes but you don,t have that here.

Furthermore, there is nothing wrong with bringing http://www.sonic. net/~cdlcruz/ GPCC/library/ startpup. htmthem into the house to bond with you and the family as long as you make sure they bond with the flock as they get older in their learning of their job.

You must socialize them . How are you going to show them who is acceptable to come to see you and who is not if you don't. At the very least, you will need to take them to the veterinarian or have the vet come to you place to see about their vaccines and care for you animals. I have also seen some of the 'completely natural' ...read unsocialised... not allow their owners to approach the sheep.

Unfortunately the myth that livestock guardians should not have any dealings with people has a hardy life, even though it is completely false, a true old wives' tale. It has its origin in the early farm times of the 20s and 30s and before where the population was sparse and strangers were not necessarily well-mannered. the farm dog was a guardian for the farm animals and for the people who were all part of the same charge.

We have a good book in the Great Pyr list (see Under 'services' on left) that will certainly help you with any questions you may have. there is also excellent infomation at the Great Pyrenees Library at

http://www.sonic.net/~cdlcruz/GPCC/library/startpup.htm

or you can Google the Great Pyrenees Library and it will show you the link.

Good luck and feel free to ask again if you need to.


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