Saturday, February 12, 2011

Livestock Guardian Dog

Hubba and I have been talking about Livestock Guardian Dogs (LGD) for a couple of years.  With the biggest part of the conversation being educating our family and friends about the difference between guardian and herding dogs.

I was surprised by how many people suggested a Blue Heeler as a good solution to the statement, "We're looking for a guardian dog."

Since our herd and property are both relatively small, we do not need to drive our alpacas from one pasture to another and therefore do not need a herding dog.

Our need is for protection from predators such as neighborhood dogs, coyote and the occasional mountain lion or bear.

We hear coyotes nearby but haven't seen them... yet. We have friends who live closer to the mountains that had a mountain lion in their alpaca yard a couple of years ago and another had a bear destroy the hot tub on their porch last summer.  We also hear of elk and moose coming into town occasionally and know two breeders who have lost alpacas to neighborhood dogs.

I have no doubt that The Alpaca Dog would do anything to protect me or Hubba given imminent danger, but when it comes to strange dogs in our pasture, he is excited to make new friends.

So the conversation has continued.

We've talked about different breeds, whether an older dog with experience would be better than a puppy and whether males or females would be a better choice.  We've met and talked with a few breeders and have finally made a decision.

This precious Tibetan Mastiff will be coming home with us in a few weeks.

It will be a while before she's on full-time duty.  We first need ensure she and the alpacas are comfortable with each other and that she knows her territory.

While she's a very big puppy, she's too small and young to be left alone with the alpacas for now.  We also need to make sure she knows that she can be rambunctious with The Alpaca Dog, but not with the alpacas.

We will be puppy-proofing a few things before she comes home as well as settling on her name.


AllyB said...

Oh, Kathryn, she's adorable. And will grow to a nice large guardian size dog. You must be so excited! I know I would be...then I'd be making a list...front loader for cleaning up the yard, extra large food & water dishes... congratulations! LOL My neighbor had a Mastiff and she cleaned up her backyard with a shovel and a 5 gallon bucket, it was pretty funny to watch while I was wandering around my own yard with a tiny rake and shovel.

Spinster Beth said...

She's squeefully cute! Looks like you could shear her and spin up her coat ;-)


Kathryn Ray said...

@AllyB - The Alpaca Dog is a 100# Rottweiler Mix, so we already have the shovel and bucket. lol.

@SpinsterBeth - I was thinking the same thing. ;-)

Oak Haven Alpacas said...

How cute!!!

We started with a 3 year old Great Pyrenees, who had already been on an alpaca farm. He came trained and ready to go. I was worried if we got a puppy, I'd be too tempted to let the dog in the house. He's worked great for what we need, the only problem we've had is running away. Not only does he get bored sometimes, but if we take any of the alpacas anywhere, he goes into a panic and will do anything to get out (I think the get the alpacas back).


Kathryn Ray said...

We have been working on getting the garage super comfy and safe, so we're not tempted to bring her into the house on the cold nights.

We're also looking for things to give her so she doesn't get bored and decide to go out on an adventure.

Kristi aka Fiber Fool said...

What a cutie! I bet it'll be a great fit!