A Predator’s Nightmare

A Komondor/Pryranees Livestock Guarian dog. Llana is our big, gentle, babysitter.
A Komondor/Pyrenees Livestock Guardian dog. Llana is our big, gentle, babysitter.

One of the things that people first notice if they even drive past our farm, are our big fluffy yellow and big fluffy white dogs. I’ve talked to a few people who have put two and two together that I’m from that farm. Most of them sadly have no idea exactly what those big white dogs are for. I’ve even talked with a few who have admitted to trying to hit big white dogs when they see them out on country roads. That really will make me mad. I have to admit that those people got an education and scolding on the spot! Those dogs have a special job to do on a farm and they take a long while to get fully trained and trust worthy despite being bred to do that job. It takes from 8 weeks old until 6 months old for them to begin to really take an interest. Then, they really start to be a help on the #homestead at 2 years old. They are in their prime at 4 and unfortunately, they don’t live long. Sadly dead by 5-7 years old.

My family’s big white dog is a great Pyrenees and Komondor cross. The big yellow ones are Anatolian and Pyrenees crosses. They are breeds that are specifically bred to protect the animals from predators.

One of the Anatolian crosses doing what livestock guardian dogs love to do! He watches everything.
One of the Anatolian crosses doing what livestock guardian dogs love to do! He watches everything.

We originally bought our first livestock guardian dog because one morning, my dad went out to the barn to feed the goats and there was a coyote staring into the barn, just drooling over the goats. After that, we decided that for the protection of the goats, we needed at least one livestock guardian dog on our #homestead. Now, where we live, we have more predators than coyotes. We also have bears, mountain lions, hawks, owls and eagles.

This young fellow was our very first Livestock Guardian Dog. He was a purebred Great Pyranees.
This young fellow was our very first Livestock Guardian Dog. He was a purebred Great Pyranees.

Later, after our first dog was dealing with lots of big predators, we decided that we needed at least two livestock guardian dogs because our local mountain lion started visiting our farm regularly.

The dogs are a good way to protect the flock, especially with two or more dogs. After we had a pair of livestock guardian dogs, the pup we acquired, found a big kitty to chase. Thankfully, the older livestock guardian dog wasn’t too far behind the pup when it caught it’s big kitty. The poor pup still ended up really beat up by it’s encounter with the mountain lion. That was a visit to the vet for our puppy. Poor fellow got a broken leg in the fight. He had to be kept on rest for a while and his leg had to be checked every bit to make sure that it was still ok, not too cold to touch.

He healed up nicely though and he’s back out in that field with the older dog and the Komondor mix, doing what they love. They do have access to several buildings on our property but usually prefer to be where they can see the flocks of animals.IMG_5889

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4 thoughts on “A Predator’s Nightmare

    1. Hi, sorry that it took me a while to answer you. Life has been crazy with harvesting some crops. I’ve heard that a certain a certain percentage of livestock guardian dogs don’t work out; which is to say, that they probably harm the animals they are supposed to protect. But having said that, our experience has been that none of our five turned out badly. One, did kill at least a dozen chickens, as a pup. He played with them and then, when they died, he would “eat the evidence.” But he wasn’t hunting chickens and, after a rough spot in his training he actually became one of the best. He would intercept hawks as they dove after a chicken, chasing them away!

      Since that one dog, we have learned that it is generally a good idea not to leave a livestock guardian dog alone and unsupervised with the stock, until he or she has shown himself trustworthy, over a length of time. This varies with the dog. Our first livestock guardian dog (a Great Pyrenees), at four months of age, “bounced” on a chicken in play, killing it. When my father reprimanded him (words only) he NEVER did such a thing again! In fact, a month or two later, my dad walked up to the dogs pen and discovered that a mother hen had led her clutch of newly hatched chicks right into the dog pen. The chicks were playing “king of the dog,” climbing on the Pyre’s side and running around on him. The dog was laying there, afraid to move! He was rolling his eyes as if to say, “Help me Pop! I’m afraid I’ll hurt them if I try to get up!”

      Now, when we get a new pup, my dad keeps it penned and only takes it out to have it accompany him while he is doing chores with the animals. He makes the time special, playing with the pup and showing it how to behave around the poultry, sheep and goats. After a couple of months of this, the dog will be pretty trustworthy around the animals.

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      1. Thanks so much for all the help! If we did get one it wouldn’t be until next year because all of our livestock are right now sold to leave or are gone already 😦 do you have goats? Do they dogs do well with the kids?

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  1. You are welcome! Yes, we raise sheep, goats, and a calf. We also have chickens, turkeys, and ducks. Our dogs took a little training even with the goats. They do great when you train them. What we do, is take the puppy with us during chores. That way, the playful growing up years are supervised when they are around animals, and we can teach them what not to do. They do have a strong protective instinct naturally, but as puppies, they are playful and while they don’t mean harm, they can hurt or kill an animal if left unsupervised because they don’t understand their power as pups, and were just trying to play with the other animals. We regularly have friends with children over at our farm and we have found that livestock guardian dogs are big, gentle giants when it comes to children.

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