Training an Adult Great Pyrenees Livestock Guardian Dog
Do you want to know how to train your adult great Pyrenees livestock guard dog to guard your livestock? Keep reading!
One thing I would never have on my land is an animal that will go after children. No matter how well a dog guards my livestock, it has no place in this world if it tries to harm a child. An even-tempered dog is worth its weight in gold.
If an adult goes in my pasture and tries to mess with my livestock, that is another thing entirely, should my dog decide to bite them. :-)
We got Anna Belle from a friend. Before she came to guard our goats and chickens, she was a big ol' pet. At over a year old, she was a bit old to begin livestock training. We took our chances though. We are glad we did!
My way is just one way to train an adult livestock guard dog; there are other people with their own techniques, too.
Things You Will Need:
A Tie Out or a Portable Pen. Get a STRONG one that is rated as high as possible. Even a cross of a Pyrenees is a large, strong dog and can snap or chew through just about anything.
If using a portable pen, make sure they cannot climb the fence or tear out of it.
"Disposable" Livestock. I trained Anna Belle with old hens. This way if she decided to kill them, I wasn't out my good birds. If you don't have such an animal, you may wish to buy a cheap kind of livestock that you want the dog to guard. Just make sure they are healthy so you don't sicken your other animals.
Shock Collar, Optional. Shave the area around the neck where the working prongs will be. It will ensure the contacts will work should you have to use it.
Time. This will probably take a while so make sure you have time to devote to training your dog.
You must always be firm with your GP. Always. They are strong in mentality and are not the kind of breed that just lives to please their owner. That is not how they were bred and this is actually a good thing for the jobs they are doing.
What you want to do is place the dog in the pasture with your livestock. Make sure the GP cannot get to the animals. Leave the dog tied or penned right there with your livestock for as long as it takes for it to ignore them.You may need to contain your livestock in portable pens for the training as well. This will prevent them from getting to the dog and getting harmed.
This time frame depends on the animal. If your GP is a cross and is mixed with a dog that was bred to chase, you might not be able to train it not to.
Then again, you might be able to.
If the dog is tearing the pen out trying to get to your livestock, shock the living heck out of it. As soon as the dog stops, stop shocking it.
When shocking the dog; hide yourself so it cannot put together that you are the one shocking it. Dogs are smart and they will learn they can do bad things, if you aren't there to shock them.
Do not shock your GP for barking. They need to bark to help run away predators. Only ever shock the dog if it is trying to get to your livestock. Do not shock the dog for going after stray dogs and other stray or wild predators. You are training this animal to keep your livestock safe. They will, and should, kill stray dogs that happen to enter their pasture.
If people don't want their dogs to be killed, they need to keep them in their own yard.
After your GP is ignoring the livestock, the real nail biting-begins. It is time to release it in with some livestock.
Place the shock collar on and hide the receiver in your pocket or give it to a hidden friend and make sure they are paying attention.
In the portable pen, place some chickens, or rabbits, or whatever else you have for her to guard. Use your disposable livestock.
On lead, bring the GP into the pen.
Walk around the pen with it slowly. Allow the dog to come into contact with the livestock. The moment it becomes excitable and wants to bite or chase, punish it. Do not wait--do it right as it is happening.
If the dog sniffs them and lays down or ignores them or is just being a good dog; reward it. I like to use a simple term. I tell Anna Belle this term whenever I introduce anything new to her. I am trying to get that in her head that that secret word is her cue to be good and protect that certain animal. Don't tell people your secret word, then it wouldn't be a secret.
Should the dog continue to try to attack the livestock. Pen or tie it back up and start all over again. Remember, not every dog will make the grade. These are cull dogs and should be removed from the breeding program. This doesn't mean they will not make good pets, they are just crappy livestock guard dogs.
If you have any questions about dog training, shoot me a message. :-)
Enjoy your Great Pyrenees and Happy Farming!