Sunday, March 18, 2012

LGD: One Year Together

This month marks one year of living with Livestock Guardian Dogs (LGD).

A little more than a year ago, we picked out a pair of Tibetan Mastiff Half-Sisters... Wonton and Noodle.

Noodle (L) and Wonton (R) - April 2011

Our girls turned a year old in December, but like most large breeds, they wont be fully mature until they are closer to 2 years old.  So imagine, if you will, a home with two teenage girls.  ;-)

Noodle (L) and Wonton (R) - February 2012

They are the best of friends.  They love to chase and wrestle with each other... as they have since the very beginning... and I've (apparently) commented on it in each and every post I've made about them.  They occasionally have big disagreements.  They will fiercely protect each other, the alpacas and us... and they both have a big crush on the handsome Rottweiler that lives next door.

They are not on full-time duty yet since there are a few things we are still coaching them on:
  • It's ok for the neighbor and his dogs to be in their own yard
  • People walking down the street on the other side of our neighbor's property are not a threat
  • Hot Air Balloons are not a threat
They have learned a few things on their own though:
  • Rabbits, Cats and Squirrels are not a threat
  • Raccoons are very much a threat
  • Stray dogs and people on our property are a threat
  • People who are introduced by us are friends
  • Dogs and People they meet on a walk are also friends
They have different roles when it comes to protecting the herd.  Noodle is always on the front line.  Wonton is always the one to round up the alpacas.  She then backs up Noodle but continually checks that all of the alpacas are herded up and fully accounted for.

It was actually a little entertaining the first time they did this, because Keyla (our oldest alpaca) did not want to be rounded up.  Wonton gave her quite a scolding until she got up and joined the other alpacas in the loafing shed.

The good thing is that since we got our girls, we have not had any issue with stray people or dogs on our property.  Which means the alpacas are safer.  Which is the point.


Voie de Vie said...

My goodness, what a difference a year makes! They are impressive dogs now, and cute as buttons back then. :)

Anonymous said...

Love the pix...

Margaret said...

Love the pix...

oak haven alpacas said...

Cute cute!!!

I loved your description of how they work together. We have only 1 guardian dog, a Great Pyrenees. While I know they do work better in pairs, he was already guarding an alpaca herd on his own. And I worried we have such a small fenced in area that 2 dogs wouldn't have enough room (as it is Spot gets bored and has escaped). Plus, we don't really have an issue with predators/people. I wanted him more to make me feel safe ;) But hearing how yours work together makes me wonder if we should have found another. Our GP does both the rounding and barking/chasing. He actually gets in quite a frenzy, which i didn't realize some of that might be him trying to round them up to safety and seek out the danger.

Its_Lily said...

"It's ok for the neighbor and his dogs to be in their own yard" - that's funny.

Melissa Plank said...

I'm so interested in this, it seems like it would be difficult training work dogs like this. Did you have a lot of people randomly coming on your property?

Kathryn Ray said...

Mostly it was a neighbor's kids and their friends hitting their baseballs into our pasture. Then hopping the fence to retrieve them.

I'm a fan of kids playing baseball, but not of baseballs hitting alpacas... which did not happen, but could have.

Regarding the training... it's much more about respect and leadership by example with LGDs. They like for their people to be happy, but they aren't motivated by making their people happy.

Anna said...

Well there you go, morning giggles with my coffee!