Monday, July 02, 2007

Tips for the LGDs...

Well, I heard back from our anatolian pups breeder about the turkey killings... here is what she said:

When teaching LGDs to work with poultry it is very important that the pups be put with the birds while the pups are still small enough to be pushed around a bit by the birds and therefore allow the birds to establish their role as dominant. Since we're already past that age, we'll have to go to plan two. You can pick from the following or try them all.

1. Get a large goose with an ill temper and put one pup at a time with it. Let the goose teach the pup to respect birds. Then do it with the other pup. Problems could be that the respect might not transfer to smaller birds.

2. Put the birds inside a pen that is inside the alpaca pasture so the dogs are all around them but can't get at them. The idea is that the dogs will eventually grow bored with the birds and pay them no attention. This will take a long time.

3. Get an electronic collar and use it when the dogs go after the birds. This can be very effective if done properly, but your timing is paramount. Make sure you can "read" your dog and know when he is thinking of grabbing the bird. That is the time to correct him. If he happens to look away at something else and you correct him he will associate the correction with whatever was on his mind at the time of the correction. If ou don't feel comfortable doing this get a professional trainer to handle the correction for you. Set up the event and then remove the dogs and birds from each other until you set it up again with the trainer.

So, with this insight here is our plan: we were already doing number two in that the birds were free ranging on the outside of the pasture near the pups. The pups never seemed excited about the birds, never barked or paced the fence so I thought #2 was going ok. I am leery about continuing that but I don't have much of an option right now so I guess I will. Next, I have tracked down some adult Embden geese in Lexington, NC. Embden are one of the largest breed of geese and the current owner says they should hold their own with the dogs... we will see. Neil will be picking them up on Friday July 6th on his way home from work. If the dogs still play/attack the geese we will move to using an electric collar and possibly a basket muzzle (so they can still drink and pant) when around the geese until they learn some respect. I am hoping by that time our turkeys will be grown up enough that they will be able to hold their own against the pups too.

Pair of Embden Geese

Gosh, I really didn't want to go through all this but the timing wasn't right to have the poultry when the pups were little so we will do what we can. Meanwhile, we are adding animal species number TEN to our little farm by adding the geese! At least the geese can live 100% off of pasture. They do not need extra feed unless they are breeding. So it won't cost anything to have them around.

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