Livestock Guardian Dogs in-training should always start off on a leash. It doesn’t matter whether they are an adult LGD that’s been rehomed or rescued, or if it’s a brand-new puppy. Having your LGD on a leash to start out allows you to be in control of the dog. Animals can react fearfully at times, particularly prey animals like livestock. If for some reason the livestock act out you can at least control your LGD.
In this video we demonstrate the calm behavior we desire from our LGDs. Rooster is a good sport and remains calm and sits on command. Our alpacas take on the role of our livestock in this video, but the same rules apply whether you are introducing sheep, goats or cattle. We used Rooster in this scenario because the alpacas have shown that they are not a fan of our adult dogs yet and they feel the need to defend themselves against our other LGDs. Rooster, in contrast to the adults, is smaller and less threatening. He is a puppy and is easily excited, but he was a good sport and remained calm.
Positive interactions between LGD and stock are important for a strong relationship. If your livestock is afraid of your LGD you will most likely have problems. When training a puppy it’s also a really good way to reinforce calm behavior. This can help when introducing new livestock to already established stock and help with livestock that have not been raised around dogs and are not dog-broken. If you have treats, reward your LGD when they display the correct behavior. Remember, dogs are not mind readers, you have to demonstrate exactly what you want from them. Don’t just tell them what not to do, show them what you want them to do instead.
At some point we’ll do a follow up video showing how NOT to introduce your LGD to livestock. For now, here’s a short video on how we like to introduce our LGDs to our livestock.