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  1. #1
    Old Dawg (Senior Member)

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    Default Training an Adult Pyr to be an LGD

    Hi everyone,

    I am considering adding some sheep to our little herd and was hoping they could stay with my Pyrs. My question is, can my two adult pyrs be trained to act as a guardian to the sheep? Both dogs came from guardian stock (both parents of each dog were livestock guardians), but since we got them they have not been around any livestock animals. We are not planning on getting any poultry/chickens, only sheep. If they can be trained, any info on how to go about it would be appreciated.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) SebastiansMom's Avatar

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    Welcome back, Tessy!

    I think a lot depends on how they respond to being around sheep. Sebastian has pretty decent Guardian instincts, but he didnít have a lot of early exposure to Livestock, and seems not to like the Livestock animals he has met.

    If, for instance, your next-door neighbor has a flock of sheep that your dogs are able to interact with on a regular basis, and you know for a fact that the dogs seem to like the sheep, then thatís a really really really good sign. If not, I would try leash walking them past a fenced sheep pasture a few times to see how they respond. You definitely donít want to go through the process of bringing home animals that your dogs arenít going to respond well to.

    If they do well with the sheep, then you would go about the socialization process the same way you would with a puppy. House the dogs in an enclosure where they can see and smell the sheep, but not interact with them directly (they can interact through the safety of a fence, but not have full bodily access). Give them full access to the sheep only when you can be there to supervise the dogs and the sheep to see how they respond to one another. Redirect any inappropriate behavior.

    Donít let them be unsupervised with the sheep until you are absolutely, positively, 100% sure that it is safe for everyone involved.

    Iíve found that the homesteading website Mother Earth News has some really good information about LGDs and getting them acclimated to a working situation. I would recommend checking them out!

    Please let us know how it goes!
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  3. #3
    Old Dawg (Senior Member)

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    Thanks for the tips! No one very close by has sheep, but perhaps we could try leash walking our pyrs at the place where we would buy the sheep? We would probably have to come by a few times to see how they react to them, but maybe that is an idea? We have a split fence set up where the pyrs could stay in one side, and the sheep in another, so that would work for the socializing part later.

  4. #4
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) SebastiansMom's Avatar

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    I am excited to hear how it goes! Please keep us updated!
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  5. #5
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) Antonia's Avatar

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    Sheep are pretty defenseless creatures so you want to be sure you can securely keep them separated from your pups until they are trustworthy around the sheep. It can take some time if they are not accustomed to livestock as many dogs find the stock unbearably exciting. Good luck and let us know how it goes!

  6. #6
    Old Dawg (Senior Member)

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    Thanks everyone! Now, I have a plan on how to move forward! I will let you know what happens from here.

  7. #7
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) mikelg84's Avatar

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    Saw this video today and immediately thought of this thread.

    https://twitter.com/SCalliss/status/1102101416091344896

    By the way, this is what Pippa would do if she had to watch sheeps lol

  8. #8
    Puppy (New Member)

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    I see this thread is a month or so old, but I'm sure y'all come back to the old posts for reference. Our dogs are working LGD's, and we found these tips to be most helpful in training. We also have taken in an older dog that our neighbor did not know how to train and gave to us for training on our farm. After six months, the dog went to her original farm and had no problems, after we taught the dog a routine, and helped our neighboring farmer to set up his barn properly for housing LGD's: (this is how we helped out neighbor train his older GP for being with a herd):

    1. If they will be LGD's, then they must be with the herd full-time, no coming inside a house at night, they must stay with the herd.

    2. If your sheep have a shelter/barn, then make one of the stalls for dogs only, no other animals allowed inside. This will be the dog's safe spot for eating and sleeping.

    3. Feed the dog's separately from the livestock, do not allow them to mingle while feeding. This prevents any aggression or hostilities, if the dog thinks someone is taking his dinner, he will defend his food bowl.

    4. Begin your training with the adjustment period. Put the dog in the stall, and let the sheep roam all around the barn. The dog will become accustomed to the smell of the livestock and will eventually calm down. Do not talk to the dog and distract him, just let him figure out on his own that these are his roommates.

    5. Take one sheep into the stall, you go in also. Don't talk, just allow them to smell one another. If the dog shows no aggression, praise him. Keep watching, saying nothing. If he smells the goat and takes no action, praise him more. Don't show a negative response unless he shows aggression, then if he does, remove the sheep and leave him in the stall. Wait 10 minutes and try again. Every time he shows no behavior toward the sheep or accepts it, praise him with words and patting, a good hug around the neck is nice. Give him a little treat. Use different sheep. Sometimes the dog will respond differently to another sheep. Use ewes, not a ram.

    6. If all goes well after that part of the training, let him out of the stall to walk around with the herd. Don't tether him, but be close and alert. Don't talk, just observe. If he mingles with the herd for 5 minutes, then tell him how good he is and pet him, give him big hugs, let him know this is good behavior. If at any time he shows aggression, immediately put him in his stall, but don't yell at him. Let him stay there a while and then come back in 30 minutes and try again.

    (With our neighbors GP, the dog was one year old. We spent many hours with this dog, and after only 3 days of this adjustment training, the dog was happy to be with our goats. In the morning, he'd sniff all the goats as they exited their stall, as if to count them or greet them. We did nothing but praise him, and offered small milk bones when he really did well, like when he learned that the goats are allowed to share the watering trough with him.)

    7. After a few days, we began walking the pastures with the goats and the dog in training. She stayed close to the herd, never more than 100 feet away from them, but would constantly look back when she got too far to see where the herd was. Our goats were already accustomed to the two GP's we already have, and so the dozen goats we separated to be with this dog were already accustomed to having a dog protect them. This dog did not interact with our two guardians, and we kept her separated with 12 goats in a different barn and pasture. She learned everything on her own. Once she barked at a deer that came too close to the fence, and the goats ran to her, out of instinct for protection. We knew this dog was well on her way to doing what her ancestors did for two thousand years, protect the herd. One day, she even chased a buzzard across the pasture, and that is a nice feature of the GP, that she even looks to the sky for predators, and why she is so good to guard chickens.

    8. At evening feed, our goats know to go to their stall. We opened the stall door and they all entered to eat their pellet food. We shut their door. We opened the dog's stall door and ushered her in, gave her food, and let everyone eat in peace without bothering one another. The dog was in her 'safe zone' and enjoyed her quiet-time meal. We did this routine every morning and evening. The dog soon learned what feeding time was all about, and began running into her stall right away while we prepared her food bowl.

    At first we were surprised to how fast this one-year old great pyrenees learned, but our breeder said she always had those traits in her, and she just needed to be reminded of her heritage and duties. She did so well, we didn't want to hand her back to the owner and return her to her farm! When we did return her to her owner, we spent lots of time at their farm and helped out there also.

    We used nothing but routine, routine, routine. That is how we treat all our animals on the farm, by teaching routine. The animals fall in, and they think they are making the decisions, but really they are just following our routine.

    To you, for YOUR training, and this is the hard part, you must:
    1. Have patience.
    2. Spend lots of time with the dog and livestock during the bonding/adjustment process.
    3. Not get angry or punish the dog if it does something wrong.
    4. Give praise, lots of hugs, petting, healthy treats.
    5. Teach the routine, don't veer from it, else they recognize when there is change.

    Good luck, hope this helps you and any others who find this post. you CAN teach an old dog new tricks!

  9. #9
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) SebastiansMom's Avatar

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    For what itís worth, Tessy probably wonít be successful in training her dogs to be working LGDs. She had one neighbor complaint about their barking, and got rid of them.

    http://www.greatpyr.com/forum/showth...ht=#post102485
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