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Livestock Guardian Dogs | Karras

Livestock Guardian Dogs

Feb
20

Livestock Guardian Dogs

I (Andy Karras) had the pleasure to attend and speak at the NC Sheep Producers Annual Meeting on February 11th. One topic that most had and found interest in was my take and opinion on LGDs for each persons (sheep) flock. Like I stated at the meeting, “We all have our own opinions on which dog breed is the best for us”. I have found over many years of raising sheep and livestock guardian dogs, there have been a few breeds that (I) prefer for my personal use. The main thing for any of you that have LGDs or are looking into getting a LGD for your animals is attention to your dog. If you have a puppy, the first year is the most critical. Attention is the key. Be there with the puppy at all times that you can. If you work during the day, have your LGD confined to its own area whether it is a dog pin or a seperated living area you have for him/her. When you are home and can release the puppy, be with the puppy and your herd. Be attentive to the way he is with your animals, the way he is listening and reacting to different sounds and to a stranger (to him) that may come up when you are with your flock. Your LGD should always be on guard. When lambing season is taking place, keep your LGD close by with you and the sheep but never alone when ewes are lambing. (I) never let my LGDs eat the after birth. It is critical the first year, your LGD never eat the after birth. If you have another LGD working for you, the puppy needs to be with it to learn. This is his teacher. The first year, if not before, you will know if this LGD is going to work of you and your flock. If you get a LGD older in age, make sure he is coming from a reliable breeder that has been trained with a flock and is ready to be with your herd. A bigger dog, new to your flock can do much damage in a short amount of time if he has not been trained to be with sheep. When you feed your LGD, I recommend you feed him separately from your herd. Let your animals eat without being concerned with the dog, and let your dog eat away and not be concerned with the sheep. The worst thing a sheep can get into is the dog food. Clean up from your dog. Also, make sure your dog never gets into the sheep feeding area. You do not want cross contamination of any sort. Your LGD is the main ingredient to a healthy, surviving flock. Without a good LGD you, in my opinion, you will have a lot of loses if you have threats around. We also have protective collars for your LGDs. We recommend these when your dog is older and has shown there are predators around. These will protect their neck from danger. We do not recommend the dog wearing this at all times. And never when left alone with the herd. I hope you find this very helpful when purchasing and/or raising your LGDs. I will be posting our LGDs and puppies we have available on the blog also. I always wish you all the very best success in any of your work with your sheep and LGDs. It takes us all as a family to continue to grow in the sheep industry for the US.

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