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Newest members of the family

posted Feb 25, 2011, 8:02 AM by Caroline Swansey   [ updated Mar 24, 2011, 6:40 PM ]
Laskah and Duke

Our two new LGD's (livestock guardian dog), Laskah and Duke became members of our new farm family this past week. Caroline and I, drove about 5 hours to Susanville (70 miles north of Reno) to take a look at a sister and brother duo for watching over our sheep, goats, and chickens on our new farm.  Upon arrival, Laskah (formerly named Daisy) was first to greet us by the vehicle.  My first impression was that she really wanted to say hi but was cautious until she knew we were not intruders. A very friendly girl (8 months old and about 65lbs) full of energy and love for life bounding around. Suddenly, Duke (brother and about 75lbs) arrived full of energy and then cautious as he sniffed to see if we were okay or not (also a very friendly dog).  Both, then took off full of joy and excitement, playing, running, and jumping on one another.  Linda, the owner of the dogs, then walked us over to introduce us to the goats. Once we were in the paddock,  Laskah came running in  and felt at ease with all of the goats ( est of 30-40 goats in the paddock). I wanted to pay particular attention to how the goats reacted to her presence. From what I saw, the goats felt at ease with her around. I didn't see any anxiety or excitement amongst any of the goats (bucks, kids, doe's). It seemed on the visit that Duke was the one that kept checking in and Laskah was a little tougher to get to "come". From what I gathered, Linda, definitely has her hands full with 100 head of goats and trying to raise these two pups was a bit of a hand full.  Today, is day three,  with our newest members to the farm family and already we have seen a tremendous amount of improvements and potential.  Through my research on LGD's, buying litter mates makes it tough to train because its more difficult for them to develop individually. However, we plan to keep them a bit separated ( some play time together) so that we can train them as individuals. I have already seen that when I have taken them separately for training sessions they have done remarkably well (only day three). They had not seen a leash before (to my knowledge) so, at first, it was kind of like putting a wolf on a leash, unsure, unwilling at times, and nervous. We have been breaking them to the leash.  Now, on leash, they walk a step behind us, and constantly look for direction and to please. I have also been doing some dominance training with them by having them, separately, (during individual training sessions) lie there on the ground on their side (submissive position) for about a half hour without moving until I say come. I have wanted and shown these dogs from the first time we met that I respect them but I am alpha not them.  So, far it has shown. We continue to work with the command come (which is a challenge) and have seen improvements. We are really pleased with these dogs. They are only 8mos and are still pups but they both show great potential.  We plan to spend a lot of time training them and are excited about the newest additions to the farm family. We  look forward to keeping updates on the progress of training and their developments.