The success of any LGD is largely dependent on a combination of genetics and management. For thousands of years, LGDs have been selected solely on the basis of working ability, with little attention to phenotype (outward genetic expression such as color, markings) Our foundation LGDs come from working stock and have been with sheep or goats since birth. CreekSide puppies are exposed to sheep and goats from birth, allowing the best opportunity for the genetic potential of each puppy to come through.
LGD puppies are raised with sheep and goats from the time they are born. Once they are weaned, puppies are placed in a pen with sheep/goats where we can observe them. LGD puppies typically have a teenage stage, at which time the first-time owner will wonder why on earth anyone bothers to raise one. But with some information and guidance about this stage, LGD pups come through this stage and become reliable stock guardians.
Many people, including other farmers in the area, are surprised to learn that coyotes are well-established here. However, coyotes are well-established throughout the United States. True to their cartoon nemesis, they are indeed wily, which presents us with quite a challenge. They live in cities, country and in between. They dine on fruits, berries, small wild animals. Unfortunately, they also have a taste for young lamb.
Coyotes typically have a litter of pups at just about the same time as our young lambs arrive. A mother coyote with 5-10 hungry mouths to feed.
To keep our flock safe, we rely on livestock guardian dogs that live with the flock year-round.
Livestock guardian dogs (LGD) have been used for thousands of years in European countries to protect sheep and goat herds from bears, wolves and other critters. Their use almost died out but thanks to the efforts of some people, LGDs are revived and now being used on farms and ranches through out the US.
The most common breeds used to guard stock include Great Pyrenees, Anatolian and Maremma. Some people have experimented with crosses of these guardian breeds to develop dogs with traits suited to certain situations.
In general, LGDs are large, have a low prey drive, have an independent nature and____
Although some people keep them as pets or service dogs, the LGD on a farm or ranch is not a pet, but a valuable member of the farm protection system. They are on duty 24/7, in all kinds of weather, and require just a little attention from humans.
There is controversy surrounding the way in which a LGD should be raised (no human contact vs full obedience training) but in any case, the goal is the same: to protect the animals to which it is bonded.
Bonding occurs easily when the pup is raised with stock from the start, preferably with a good female guardian and sired by an equally good guardian. LGDs are not watch dogs, but guardian dogs.
The LGD usually becomes active at dusk, and begins a full night’s work that lasts through dawn. To the untrained eye on a typical late morning, a LGD might appear to be lazy. But chances are, that dog has been working all night and is catching some well-deserved rest.