Young LGDs & Lambing

Discussion of the training, use, and management of guard dogs, guard llamas, guard donkeys, guard goldfish, etc.

Young LGDs & Lambing

Postby gail » Wed Mar 21, 2007 9:52 am

In a previous topics (Guard Dog Price), Janet had stated:

"I do leave the old dogs out, and the odd super trustworthy youngster. At the end of the first week of lambing, after the young dogs have been watching the process through the fence I begin to turn them loose while I am supervising so I can admonish them for disturbing any ewes. By the third week I can usually let them return to the flock full time."

I was curious as to what characteristics & behaviors define an "odd super trustworthy youngster". I have a 8 mth old pup who has been very good & what I would call super trustworthy (so far anyway). I am about a month away from lambing & deciding what to do with him. He has been with the ewes during breeding and has been with the same group of ewes during gestation. But, he is also the first LGD that I have raised from a young pup. So, maybe I don't know what I am looking at! He is a Maremma-Tatra-Spanish Mastiff cross. There is also a 3 year old female Maremma with him - I did have issues with her during lambing last year, but have hopes that those are resolved this year. She has certainly matured significantly over the last 6 months or so.

He is very respectful of the ewes and very submissive to most of them. I will catch him licking them around their mouths and he submissively approaches them to curl up on cold days. The only thing he has done which I don't care for is he will bark at a ewe who is standing where he wants to be. If I am in the barn (the back of the barn opens up to their field), and the ewes are standing at the door, he may bark at them if they won't let him get to the door. This is his puppy barking though - not the same bark he uses for threats. I have never seen it progress past this - he will bark for a couple minutes & the ewe either butts him away or he gives up & leaves on his own. The ewes also seem to trust him completely - only the couple of oddball skittish ewes are at all startled by any of his movements. Are these characteristics of a LGD that you would call a super trustworthy youngster? If not, what else?

I'd appreciate any thoughts from those with more LGD experience than me.

gail
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Postby Janet McNally » Wed Mar 21, 2007 4:16 pm

Hi Gail,

Well, so far so good. If pup has not shown a great desire to chase and play with the adults, you are off to a good start. I'd just be sure you can supervise the first few births and keep an eye on jr. Sounds like he is the kind of dog that will respond real well to your admonisment if he was to get too close. But at the first sign of trouble, either too intense an interest in birthing ewes, or not enough respect, tie him up when you are absent (or move him to another place where he cannot access the birthing ewes). lambing is pretty exciting for a young dog and all you are trying to do is make sure the first lessons learned are the right ones.

You will quickly know if he is one of the rare few that can be trusted.

As to his barking at the ewe...that made me grin, as I have his grand sire, and that is exactly what grandpa will do if he thinks the sheep are in the wrong place, he barks at them. It is pretty handy because it will serve to alert you when they get out, other times it will annoy you when pup decides the sheep should not go through a certain gate. In the bigger scheme this behavior will be very important when a predator arrives and the dog attempts to round up the flock and take them to safety.

You may never know exactly what it is that triggers the barking, but as long as the sheep and the dog resolve the issue peacefully is all that matters.

Janet
Janet McNally
Tamarack Prolific and Ile de France crosses
Minnesota
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Postby gail » Fri Mar 23, 2007 8:16 am

Thanks for the info Janet.

I really like this pup. He is so good natured and easy-going. Nothing seems to phase him. He works very well with my other dog too. When they perceive a threat, she will run out to it while the pup goes 100 yards or so from the flock and watches. He then decides whether to return to the flock, stay where he is in between the flock and the threat or run out with the other dog.

Is his grandsire the sire of the litter you had advertised? While my pup is still young, I think this breeding is great. If anybody is looking for a LGD, I would strongly recommend this breeding.

Thanks again for the info & I'll let you know how he does in a month or so when I start lambing.

gail
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Postby Janet McNally » Fri Mar 23, 2007 5:34 pm

Hi Gail,

I'm guessing you purchased a pup from Mary of Lovetree? If these pups were out of her Spanish stud, and a Tatra x Maremma female, then yes, Koci is the grand sire (Tatra) and he is the sire of the litter born March 6th.

The Spanish Mastiff Ranch dog (so called to distinguish them from the show and pet dogs as Mary aquired these directly from working farms) are the most trustworthy dogs I've ever reared. the Tatra/Maremma breeding Mary has (came from here) are very close working dogs. should work out to be a very nice combo for you.

janet
Janet McNally
Tamarack Prolific and Ile de France crosses
Minnesota
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