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Livestock Guardians need love too!
Goat Gossip by Fred Vandermartin
clwyer@gmail.com

You’ve seen the ads in your favorite local, agricultural, or want-ad newspaper, “Livestock Guardian Puppies of Such-n-Such Breed, Raised with goats, shots, etc. 8 weeks old, $150”. One month later and they’ve gone down to $100. One month after that they’ve gone down to $50. Finally they go for FREE.

As the purveyor of goat gossip, I get many calls about various folks wanting to sell goats, equipment, and other varieties of stuff including Livestock Guardian Dogs. With the drastic increase in basic inputs such as feed, fuel, and fertilizer to keep an agricultural operation going, many folks are choosing to fold up their tent and get out of the business. I have received an extraordinarily large amount of calls from folks needing to find homes for livestock guardians. Either they have puppies or LGDs to sell or give away.

Five to ten years ago when these folks started up their herd, owning a LGD was a good idea. Many of them figured that since one was good, then two would be better. They also thought that since they paid so much for each dog, then they could get a male and female that weren’t related and breed them and make a small mint off of the puppies. These are the same folks that are putting ads in the paper now-a-days trying to find homes for them.

Many folks are under the illusion that a LGD won’t do a good job unless it’s sexually intact. They feel that those extra hormones will make them guard their herd better or be more willing to kill a predator threatening the herd. Folks, I have had my two female LGDs for seven years, and not being able to reproduce has not made them any less vicious to other canines, including each other although they are blood sisters, than if they were intact.

How many times have you all been to a gathering of goat ranchers and there was always someone with a big Anatolian Shepherd male that was always going over the fence with the wanderlust or was killing the neighbor’s dogs? Our Anatolian male, Thomas was fixed when he was 6 months old and he has always stuck to his herd like he was glued to them. Our Pyrenees male, Sam had his doggie vasectomy when he was 6 months and has never cowed to another canine except his momma, Blinkie.

Gwen and I learned from experience that you can’t just adopt a mature Anatolian male. These dogs are a one herd or family dog. You cannot expect to raise them and then just give them to someone else because they are bonded to you and yours just as surely as if you had birthed them yourself. It’s just the nature of the breed of dog. The bond that makes them willing to sacrifice their lives to protect your family or herd makes it impossible to make them accept another owner.

Lets all share Bob Barker’s philosophy in life and get our dogs spayed or neutered. Since LGD puppies are valued the same as Jack Donkeys, which is practically nothing, please show a little restraint when it comes to populating the world with even more dogs that aren’t needed or wanted. If you keep an eye on the news, many animal protection shelters and such offer low cost programs to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

Getting your LGD fixed WILL NOT make it want to do its job any less than if it is intact. It has been my experience that it makes them stay with their herd and guard it better. Your LGD will be just as fierce in protecting the goats, sheep, your family or what ever it has bonded with as a whelp. Try to keep your LGD with the same amount of faithfulness as they have given you even if they’re retired from the livestock protection business.

Bye, for now.


 

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