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Livestock Guardians

Below is an excerpt from Livestock Guardians, an informative guide to guard dogs, donkeys, and llamas. It addresses the addition of stock to an existing herd or adding another guard dog to your farm/field, and how it may affect your current guard dog.

Introducing New Stock:

When you introduce new animals to an established herd or flock, you should observe your dog’s reactions and behavior for a few days. Since he will be curious anyway, it is a good idea to introduce him to the new animals while he is leashed or to place the new animals in a nearby area. The easiest solution for you is to pen them for a few days in an area next to your dog and the old stock. If the animals are not used to dogs, the acclimatization will take longer. When the new stock are introduced to your flock or herd, some dogs may be upset at the inevitable squabbles between animals, while others ignore these disturbances. If your dog is upset by them, you may need to remove him for a short time until things settle down.”

Livestock GuardiansIntroducing Additional Dogs:

If you have an adult guard dog already, do not immediately put a new adult dog in the same pasture with him. The resident dog is likely to see the new dog as a threat to his stock. Many livestock guard dog breeds are aggressive towards other large dogs that they do not know. Instead, allow the dogs to get used to each other through a secure fence for several days or more. Depending on their individual natures, it may take several days or even weeks for dogs to become comfortable with each other. Allow even more time for intact adult dogs of the same gender to become used to each other. In fact, intact dogs of the same gender may never get along safely alone.

Most adult livestock guard dogs will accept a young pup with no problems other than an initial “I’m the boss” moment. Moreover, there is no better teacher for a young pup than a calm, working adult livestock guard dog. A pup can be placed with an accepting adult at a very early age, as soon as you feel comfortable moving him away from his  mother. The pup will model his behavior on the adult’s, and the adult will often correct inappropriate actions. The pup will also be able to play a little with the adult dog, rather than trying to play with the stock.”