Killer Kita – Training the Untrainable


Over the years we have had four generations of working dogs here at Sugar Mountain, starting with our grand-sire Coy. They guard our livestock, herd, provide companionship and ride shotgun in the car – at least the ones who are small enough. People often ask what breed the dogs are. Mostly they are “Other” mixed with a tiny bit of German Shepherd and a pinch bit of Black Lab. We raise them with the livestock and train them from a young age. It takes about a year to two years to train a dog all the way up, although they do useful work from a young age. Much of the young dog’s training is working with the older dogs. Most of our dogs are easy to train and it is a joyful process with them.

Then there is Kita. Kita was my problem child. Frankly, it was not her fault. She had left us to go to another family at three months of age. She was returned to us nine months later when the family that had her moved to an apartment. She then went almost immediately to another family but it didn’t work out and she came back to us. I soon discovered why she had not worked out at the second family.

On the one hand she was delighted to be home but Kita was a disaster because the first family had left her chained most of the time with no contact with livestock animals. Kita was spastic. She was full of energy and didn’t know how to channel it. As someone who tried to work with her commented, she was a 150 horse power dog. She was totally inattentive. She had no training. She was easily distracted and as I soon discovered, a livestock killer who’s instincts had not been sublimated into herding and guarding. It took me 18 months to just get her undivided attention. She wanted to be good and help with the animals but it was like she was ADHD. She was not like that when she left and none of her family has ever been like that – I think this was caused by her being chained so much of the time. After 18 months of failing to get her attention I was at my wits end. Her training was not progressing.

I have trained a large number of livestock guardian dogs with positive reinforcement to voice and hand sign command. I train for guarding, herding, house and car so the dogs are cross trained which gives them the maximum working life and a better quality of life for both them and us since they are more flexible. I have always been able to reach a dog and get its attention so that it becomes trained as I wanted. Dogs want to be a part of the pack and have a job to do. They love their work. I have successfully retrained two other adult dogs that were killers and one huge puppy that was also a chicken killer. But with Kita I could not get her attention. She loved me. She wanted to please me. She wanted to behave, but her attention was too scattered and she could not resist killing. She had killed many chickens (the hardest livestock animal to train dogs for) as well as an adult sheep. Being tied up for nine months without training or exposure to working conditions and livestock had virtually ruined a wonderful dog.

In desperation, after 18 months of my normal training methods, I finally I bought a radio shock collar for her. This is something I had never used and I had a lot of misgivings about. I spent a month researching the collars. I hated the idea but concluded it was no worse than an electric fence and it could save her life. I first tried it on myself. It gets your attention but is definitely not worse than an electric fence. If anything the collar is mild compared with the fence. I let Kita get used to just wearing the collar for several days before we started working with it. When I was ready I set Kita up in a situation where I knew she would run – one of her issues is, when let off leash, she would become an almost instant blur on the distant horizon – we’re talking very fast dogs.

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It took one training session – vibrate followed by a single shock coupled with my shouting a loud, deep “NO!” Suddenly Killer Kita became totally attentive to me and staying right by my side. She continued to wear the collar for about four months as I trained her with my normal positive reinforcement techniques and in that time I only used the shock four more times, on mild, when she went for a kill and once when she did her blur on the horizon trick. The rest of the time I used the vibrate setting which makes a soft sound and shakes the collar like a phone pager – no shock. This is an “Attention!” cue. From the moment I got her attention it took another several months before Kita was fully trained as a guardian. She progressed very rapidly eventually catching up with her father, her sister Kia and her nephew Saturn who were naturals from birth – they have the advantage of having always lived here at Sugar Mountain.

After she had returned, the other guardian dogs would not let her near the livestock because they did not trust her. By the end of the training even they recognized her new status and worked with her in the fields. Eventually Kita became our lead livestock guardian dog. She is on free roam which means she can be out alone without any human supervision. She patrols our local field boundaries, stays with the livestock, herds and does chores in the morning with me. Now she even trains younger dogs, like Napoleon. I trust Kita completely with ducks, chicks, hens, sheep, pigs, piglets, puppies and all other animals. She even is able to be a car dog for short trips, part of her training, and be around people. The key to turning Killer Kita into a wonderful guardian obedience dog was getting her attention. After that it was just a matter of using standard positive reinforcement techniques to shape the behaviors she needed to do her job.

Shock collars have a bad reputation and I cringed at the idea of using one but nothing else was working. It is not as strong as an electric fence – I used it on myself to know what I was doing. What it did for her was get her attention and in an amazingly short period of time. Most importantly it gave Kita her freedom. She no longer has to be on a leash, chained or fenced. She is now a free roaming dog who gets to do what she wanted all along, to work the animals. If I tell her to stay inside a fence she does. If I tell her to jump or something comes up where she judges it necessary, she jumps the fence. The radio collar probably saved her life – people shoot dogs they find on their property. Now Kita stays home, does her job and is a model citizen.

The kind of remote I got is a “DT Systems Radio Training Collar EZT plus.” There are a number of less expensive brands out there with ranges of only 50′ to 100′. After doing a lot of web research I settled on the DT EZT+ as being the best buy with a reasonably long range of about 1/2 mile in most actual use and up to a mile under ideal conditions according to our tests here. And no, I don’t own stock in the company, get paid for an endorsement or have any other association with them other than having bought one of their products. I’m just glad it worked for Kita, gaver her her freedom and me back the dog I loved.

23째F/14째F, 4″ Snow

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About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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49 Responses to Killer Kita – Training the Untrainable

  1. Urban Agrarian says:

    Walter,
    Good for Kita that you did not give up on her, and it sounds like she’s rewarded you for your all your work. I wish I lived near you and could watch you work your dogs. I think I’d learn so much.

    Did you try the collar on your neck or hand? I’ve zapped myself on a fence a few times, and I don’t think I could actually make myself get a shock on purpose. I do respect the fact you wouldn’t use a training method whose effect you didn’t know.

  2. karl says:

    nice,

    warm fuzzy success. we are about to get a farm puppy and want a dog that will watch the chickens and cow, guard the homestead and generally companion the kids.

    the parents are working dogs of the “other” variety. i am excited to have a new family member and working companion.

    i might have a question or two as the need arises and would appreciate an occasional bit of advise?

  3. RL says:

    Walter,
    I’m glad you shared this. I had given up hope on ever reforming my Husky. I figured he was a lost cause. Maybe there is hope for him after all.

  4. Lynn Bartlett says:

    Thanks for sharing this. Maybe there is hope for our Border Collie mix after all!

  5. pablo says:

    That is an excellent and appropriate picture of Kita. Do you think if you had been able to train her up from a pup that she would have been a problem child as well? I guess I mean was it her nature or her nurture that caused her condition?

  6. It is nurture, or the lack there of, that caused Kita’s in ability to focus, to pay attention. It was her being left chained so much of the time by the other family when they had her and the fact that she lost contact with the livestock and no longer got any training. I think her nature is the same as that of her other family members. She is highly intelligent and focused now and she was that way before she left us at three months of age. When she return she was a disaster while her twin sister Kia who stayed here was fantastic. Kita’s bad experience left me feeling very guilting about having let her go. If I had kept her she would have had a much better life. I am glad that she returned and was finally able to start learning. Now she is a wonderful guardian and friend.

  7. Walt, we need you to blog a guide–quickly–on dog-training. Our 15yo daughter has a pup–already 4 or 5 months old–that needs training desperately. She knows sit, stay, and come (when she’s paying enough attention). However, she’s a bull in a china shop wherever she is, and, as it was with Kita, it’s very difficult to get her attention. But then, we don’t really know where to go with the training if we do actually get her attention.

    We also have a 4yo dog who is great, but not well-trained. I was working on basic commands with her when she was 12-14 weeks old, and she was doing great. Then I got pregnant and was confined to bed for a week or two, and had some minor difficulties the first three months. The dog-training fell through the cracks. Is it possible to train a dog at this age? She’s a heeler and would be helpful with cattle, but at this point, she’s no help. And she loves chicken. And as with the other dog, we simply have no clue about training a dog to be helpful.

    Mary Susan

  8. Peter comly says:

    I’d also be interested in your take on dog training. But my problem is I have a dog who doesn’t seem to have that killer instinct to moderate. Any luck with inspiring dogs to work instead of redirecting an already eager dog?

  9. Maria says:

    This is great info! I have a dog with a similar background. Suki (an akita) bounced from house to house until I finally got her from a rescue at ~1 1/2 years old. I have tried all methods of training and she really wants to be good, but her curiousity always gets the best of her and off she goes. I have been weary of the shock collars, but after hearing your experience, this might be the answer. We are about to start our little homestead and would love if Suki could help on the land and not have to be fenced in! Any recommendations on where to learn more about dog training with positive reinforcement?

  10. Leslie says:

    Kita is my favorite of your dogs.

    I’m telling you, you should write a book and get Holly to do some illustrations and photographs. There are tons of books out there on training dogs to do the basics (sit, down, stay, come) but training a dog to be a livestock guardian, or to quit killing chickens – well, that kind of book is hard to find, and I think there’s a market for it.

    I searched amazon.com for books with the keywords “livestock” and “guardian” and came up with only one hit and an article from Coutryside magazine.

    You certainly have the experience and writing skills to pull this off. Think about it.

  11. Urban, I first zapped my finger tips. It certainly got my attention. I also tried it on my lower neck. I don’t have the thick padding of hair the dogs do so a lower setting is noticeable. It did prove there are more nerve endings in my finger tips… :)

    Karl, one trick for training a puppy not to go after chickens is my electric chicken technique. Sometime I’ll write up all the details but the basic idea is you take a dead chicken and wire it to the electric fence. Dog tries it, dog lets go. This is very much like putting peanut butter on the electric fence for deer and sheep to train them. They tend to learn quickly and it does no harm.

    As to writing a book, maybe someday. Right now I must stop the government in its tracks, build a new house, plant a garden and climb a mountain. Maybe not in that order. :)

    Update: See here.

  12. Crystal says:

    Walter- Thank you. My dog Neiko killed a duck & a sheep. I am encouraged that with lots of work he can learn. Thank you.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I don’t know how I got here last night but so far this is my second post! I have spent WAY too much time reading instead of tidying up the house today. The Kita article is the best thing I read. I also have an adult Akita who loves chicken. I got her from a shelter almost two years ago. She is very good at staying here but really hard on the chickens so she’s been confined to a fenced area for nearly a year. I really, really want to have her go to the barn with me to do chores. She will take on a possum and I don’t like to. I have looked up the collar you used. I hesitate to spend money on a collar when there are so many other things I could spend it on…..like food! But she will never be useful the way she is. I also ended up with a GSD pup a year ago who either wants to kill chickens or has learned it from the Akita. Tell me more about attaching a dead chicken to the electric fence. I have both at the moment. How do I put the chicken on there without shorting out the fence?

  14. Anonymous says:

    Walt, is it possible to have your blog emailed to subscribers? Another blog I read sends it out every day as an email. VERY convenient for us folks with no memory remaining.

  15. Attach a stick to a fence post sort of like a fishing pole. The wire from the fence hot wire goes to the tip of the fishing pole and then down. The (dead) electric chicken hangs from the end of the wire. It looks like it is dancing around. Tempting…

    You can put an insulate on the end of the fishing pole if you find it is leaking energy.

    On the email, not with blogger.com which is where this blog is. When I move it to WordPress, where my other NoNAIS blog is, it will be possible.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Walter,
    You have mentioned one of your dogs that will eat any dead piglets at birth, but will guard and protect the live ones.
    Isn’t there a way to train a dog not to kill chickens, without training her not to eat them? I mean, isn’t there a difference in the dog’s mind between chasing and killing a live chicken, and eating a dead one?

  17. Yes, you can. Sometime I’ll write a detailed description of the training. Basically it comes down to a combination of positive reinforcement, behavior mod and aversion conditioning.

  18. Sailor says:

    A great story, and a happy ending. I was worried there for a few minutes that this might be a sad regret. Thanks for sharing.

  19. ~annie says:

    Your description of Kita having been chained and therefore having a excess energy she couldn’t channel toward paying attention made me think of children confined to the indoors and then being label ADHD because they can’t seem to learn. There’s a lesson there, one you’ve already learned!

  20. Aye, the experience made me very reluctant to let a dog leave our farm to a new home. Once they are gone I have no way of ensuring their welfare. This is not the only case where I was dismayed. Fortunately most of the dogs who have gone to other families and farms had far better experiences than Kita. I am glad I they brought her back to me when they decided to move to an apartment and glad that I was able to help her.

  21. Saras says:

    I wanted to thank you for this most excellent article about training your dog. Too many people say shoot the dog but you have proven that a totally disobedient dog can be brought back with proper conditioning. Bravo to you. I am sure kita loved you for your strong hand.

  22. Annie Potter says:

    Thank you, Walter for your blog. We have recently adopted a puppy lab/Golden Retriever and he is great. The only negative point here is that he keeps going after our chickens and today he got a mouth full of feathers(at this point I freaked out). I am going to try your method as soon as possible. My only question is what kind of positive reinforcement do you use?

    • Lots and lots of positive reinforcement. Everything from pets to “Good Dog!” to food treats. Anything the dog finds positive is a treat that can be used to reward. One of the earliest things we teach is “Good” for being able to give verbal positive reinforcement.

  23. Patricia says:

    Definitely, I am looking forward to the info on dog training. I did basic obedience with my other dog (a female Sharpei mix) and when she went to her new home, she could be at my side without a leash. I now have adopted a grown Lab Rott mix, and she had puppies. I kept one of her boys, mix of Husky and the above, we think. So Jinks and Tess are somewhat well behaved, and they know the basic commands but lately it’s deer season and they just take off. Irritating. Tess always did leave the chickens, and ducks alone. If we had rabbit babies escape from the freerange pens (I had a very expensive learning process. Sigh…) they were free game to both dogs, unfortunately. I still can’t get them to not chase the rabbits if they get loose, BUT if Jinks sees me, he will not take the rabbit, so I guess that’s improvement. He will wait until I kill it, and tell him it’s ok. If I’m not present, all bets are off, understandably. We lost a Flemish Giant that way, and a couple of does. Jinks also thinks that baby chicks and baby ducks are neat squeakie toys. He has left the bigger chickens alone. He also had a problem with small kittens for a while, same as ducks, he played with them to death. Now the kittens all sleep on him and keep him warm. One thing I did try was tying up a dead rabbit with electric fence wire, then connecting the two ends of the wire to the existing fence, near the freerange pens. Jinks got close, felt the electric current and shied away, apparently he had gotten a good zap on his nose. But later, I found a leg missing. Apparently the zap wasn’t good enough, or I didn’t wrap good enough. He worried that carcass until he got it loose and then dragged it off. Mission NOT accomplished. The best I’ve gotten with them is that when there’s something he’s not supposed to have, I can tell him “Drop it!” and he will, sort of, after a while, but then he will run off and not come back because he knows he screwed up and is in trouble. Both the dogs will NOT come back when I let them outside to pee now. Ugh. I don’t want to have them on a leash or a chain all the time, and we haven’t finished the perimeter fence yet, either. They go over to the neighbors and beg their dogfood and scratch at their door, like they live there. Apparently raw pork and rabbit and raw bones aren’t good enough food, they gotta have the storebought stuff, huh? LOL Everyone tells me not to feed them raw meat and not to feed them the same meat as my livestock because they will develop a taste for it and never stop killing. I’m thinking it’s possible to train them, but not very easy. They are both highly intelligent, and I got Jinks to take cans and put them in the trash within an afternoon. He learns quick, but at the same time, he seems to have his own will.

    I look forward to your info on dog training, especially if you write about training them to be livestock guardians. I’ve always thought it would be way cool to have the DOG round up the errant critters instead of me. LOL Because I’m always thinking up ways to get out of work, right? LOL

  24. alicia says:

    I love your ideas, we are having hard feelings for our pyrenese/collie. She is starting to pack with our neighbours dogs and yesterdy they actually killed another neighbours 550 pound calf. He called and said he will shoot any dogs on his property next time. We don’t want that or to keep her tied in the country, and suggestions on keeping her near? Or would kenneling be the best idea?

    • Sorry to hear of the trouble. You might want to get one of the electronic boundary collars for her like the Innotek ones. They feel like touching an electric fence and she’ll quickly learn to respect the boundaries. It does take some training.

  25. CarolG. says:

    I had a Siberian husky that could never be taught not to kill chickens. Fortunately, he had to LOOK at the chickens before he could chase and kill them. I was able to teach him not to look at chickens. The final proof was the day he was tied by a leash in the back yard – I waited until he lay down and then poured chicken feed over and around him. He stayed there for 3 hours while the chickens got all the feed with his eyes closed tightly most of the time. No more dead chickens! Sometimes you can stop the precursor behavior in a chain when the behavior is highly ingrained. I used verbal positive and negative reinforcement and a lot of treats for exceptionally good behavior. On the proof day he got very large amounts of high value reinforcers and praise.

    • Laura Neacsu says:

      Carol, I know your post is quite old (hopefully you get email notifications of replies :) ) I am interested to learn more about this technique – did you blind folded just the ONE time or progressively? … and how did you do it so that the dog does not take the blind fold off?

      Thanks.

  26. Minos says:

    She is a beautiful dog. I wish I could have one like her but she would never be happy in my city apartment. I really need to get out of here and start life. Reading your stories makes me realize that chasing the dollar like I am is not doing me any favors. I am locked in a cycle. Maybe I need a collar to train me not to buy stuff so I start saving. I could press the button every time I reach for my credit card ha-ha!!!!!! Keep up the great stories and give me insperation to break out of the cycle!

    • What an interesting idea. A collar hooked up to your credit card. Maybe the higher the amount the higher the, er, correction level. You gotta really want that bauble to buy it. It certainly would put a sharp halt to impulse spending…

  27. Leigh says:

    Thank you for your advice!
    There is another dog I’m looking at that has been trained to guard goats. She is about two years, her problem, she is not safe around chickens. I’m really excited to try your ideas. Would you mind helping me with a couple questions? Would one dog get lonesome? Do you train your guard dogs to herd?
    Thank you!
    Leigh

    • Yes, you can retrain a dog to be safe around chickens and even to work them however it is a significant job of training.

      Dogs are pack animals so all alone they do get lonesome.

      Yes, we train our dogs to herd. It is actually a natural hunting instinct. We shape it just as adult dogs teach their pups to hunt. Having older dogs who know the ropes helps a lot as they do much of the training.

  28. Phil Bowman says:

    We have a 1 year old lab/brittany mix who is incredibly full of energy. We have a 2-acre property that is filled with songbirds and hummingbirds. Our problem is that we cannot stop him from killing our song and hummingbirds. He is so fast. What would you suggest? My joy of living here is watching and listening to our birds. It just never dawned on us when we adopted him that he would be killing all of our birds. In hindsight of course he is a bird dog and it is in his nature. I know this may sound foolish but is there any way to train him where we can all live peacefully together?

  29. Hannah G says:

    Wow! What a story. Is Kita still on the farm?
    We have a small farm in Maine and Great Pyrenees guard our goats and chickens.

  30. Jodie says:

    I really like the way you work with your dogs. I have a Karakachan I’m still learning about. She is going thru an adolescent stage at this time, yet is making a fine guard dog for my goats/fowl; and she will be introduced to American Guinea Hogs this year. I want to stay aware of the way she thinks as she complies with what is expected of her; and this experience is such fun because of the fact she DOES think so well. Your posts have been helpful. Thank you

  31. Laura Neacsu says:

    I love your stories and the comments are so helpful too! I have 2 Great Pyrenees twins (boy and girl) and a girl Great Dane. The first time the Great Dane was in the backyard with the chickens and she grabbed one to run away I firmly said NO and STOP that she dropped the chicken and stopped. I learned about a “roll-over” technique that gets the dog to know what they JUST did is utterly bad and not to do it again – basically to flip the dog over on their side, get on top (somewhat lightly, but firm) and wait through the struggling until they calm down and sigh; only then you know they have your full attention and you get release them. She’s never touched a chicken again! WELL, this never worked with the GPs and they have a huge pray drive… if we are around they will not pickup the chickens, but they will chase them and harass them any chance they get. If we are not around, all hell breaks loose – I had the male break out of the enclosed fenced area and destroyed 7 chickens and completely ate 2 in the span of 9 hrs while we were at work. Many days, the chickens will nonchalantly walk into their fenced area and that was the end :S we would not find any traces of the chickens – they eat them to the last feather… I would only know they are missing because I would be short when counting at night time. They are just over 1.5yrs old and I don’t want to give up on them – we have no coyotes, no possums, no fox, no owls, no vultures attacks because of them, but I have to watch my chickens against them :S Your story inspired me to get a shock collar and start with re-training them… I will let you and everyone here know how that goes.

  32. Kristen says:

    Dear Killer Kita meet Savage Sage,

    I was elated to read your post on Killer Kita. My own Savage Sage is breaking my heart. She was 1 when we moved on the farm. She does not bother the chickens, feeder size pigs, mature sheep and goats or horses. But her wolf nature cannot resist piglets, and new-to-farm or baby goats and sheep, who wander off alone from the protection of the herd. A natural culling urge.

    We have lost 5 goats (baby and adult) also 2 piglets in one year. She had lived with 2 goats before we bought the farm, the buck a Nigerian dwarf, still is herd sire. So she has the ability to be friends. Just conflicted.

    My husband wants me to get rid of her. My farmer friends want me to shoot her. She is great with the children (house, car and protection trained) and I cannot give up without trying to retrain. She is my 4th wolfdog (all previous dogs were raised with positive techniques) and we also have a pyr x lgd. I will try the radio collar as a tool and see where we go. Currently she is either chained, or in the house, or off leash under strict supervision.

    Thank you for giving us hope.

    Savage Sage in Canada

  33. Rebecca says:

    I stumbled on your page while searching for ways to deal with untrainable people. But at home I have Jade the Terrible, a chicken killing husky. So, of course, I clicked your link. I actually bought a collar already but have been unsure about trying it. Thank you for the advice! I will give it a try, I really can’t afford to lose any more chickens.

  34. Beth says:

    Like the others I am searching the internet for stories about dogs who stopped killing chickens. Griffin is a big galunking pup who just turned one year. 1/4 GreatPyrenees and 3/4 Anatolian Shepherd. I have succeeded only in training him to ignore chickens in my presence. But he loves to play with them and at 100 pounds they don’t live through it. He doesn’t eat them. He can be called off a misbehavior with the softest “anh” sound. Hilda, my Anatolian loves him. I’m trying to say he is a good dog and I want to keep him. But the only reason I have LGDs is to guard the chickens.

    So I bought a collar. It hasn’t arrived yet but I feel encouraged to try it. I want to stay out of sight, he won’t even look at them if I’m around, and correct when he goes after them. I hope it will work.

  35. Paul says:

    Good information you have provided within the post. You can locate similar information at a website such as one shown above. That type of website will be helpful for individuals looking for marital aids.

    • That was spam from “Paul”. I castrated it by removing the links. I find it ironic that “Paul” chose to talk about ‘marital aids’ on Killer Kita’s blog post. She was highly sexually aggressive to all comers and needed no ‘marital’ aids. She would hump the ram, the boar, anything. The only problem was she was spayed so it was all to no avail. She also always wanted to be in the dominant position and didn’t take no for an answer.

      I’ve added “Paul” to my blacklist.

  36. Thank you for giving me hope that I can train my Akita/doberman to not kill my neighbors chickens or, mine because I want to get some chickens.

    He is a beautiful animal. I think he has the best qualities of both breeds. He is smart and he is obedient but I have to keep my eye on him at all times when he is outside. I don’t have fences but I do know that I must do something to train him to stay in his yard if I am going to keep him.

    He is a rescue the people who owned him first were taking him to the pound. I would hate to have to give him up because I know it messes them up. He is so smart and pretty sweet he just needs to learn he can’t eat chickens or other live stock.

  37. John and Frankie Bockman says:

    Thank you Walter for your much-needed/wanted info!! We have 3 LGD (adopted 2 years ago – a 3-1/2 year old brother and sister Great Pyrenees/Anatolian Shepherds and one male 3 yr old Great Pyrenees we recently adopted from a Great Pyrenees Rescue Group out of Dallas, Texas). We have problems with the Great Pyrenees male – he’s a really great LGD with out goats, however, he kills our free-range guineas. Our chickens we have large housing and fenced area for sunning, feeding, etc., so there’s no problem losing our chickens. We are animal lovers and have talked it over and decided that the collar you have used on your Kita is the answer hopefully. We had talked about wwhen we catch Mr. Goose in the act of killing a guinea, scolding him severely and then kenneling him for a 24-hour period. Our female Great Pyrenees/ Anatolian Shepherd Mix we named Kika; her brother is Barkley; the male pyrenees that kills our guineas is Mr. Goose. We adopted Mr. Goose because Kika damaged her left rear ACL and we are restraining her activities for a 12-month period with the hope that it will heal with rest. Our vet has told us surgery on such a large dog (she is over 150 lbs) is very costly $6,000 -$8,000 with not a great successful result. After research, we chose to try the restraining method. Anyhow, Mr. Goose works outstandingly with Barkley guarding our animals – except for our guineas. Any suggestions?
    Thanks, John & Frankie B, Stockdale, TX

  38. Andre L says:

    Walter,

    Thoroughly enjoy your site and all of the knowledge it has to offer. Frequently I search a topic on the internet and END UP at your site based on the search results.

    I have 3 unrelated questions, so I figured this post was as good as any to ask them.

    1) We are new to our farm and want to think about getting one or more LGD’s because predator pressure is very high here (Wolf, Bear, Coyote and down…) We already have 2 pet dogs that will not work as LGD’s. Any ideas of if we could have LGD’s with our livestock and the pet dogs at the house? Or is that too much “have your cake and eat it too”?

    2) My pigs (8) just reached 90-100lbs and I am now just starting to leave them outside 24/7. (I had been moving them in at night since they were piglets, scared of the risk of predators). Do you have an opinion on if they are still susceptible to predators? My main concern is bear and wolf, we have both.

    3) I saw a post about water line installation, but didn’t find any more. Do you have anything on your website about your water systems on your farm- for pasture waterers and winter (below zero) waterers?

    Thanks and keep up the good work!

    • 1) There are many breeds that can do the job. The most important thing is to get actual working dogs from working parents on a working farm rather than pets. You can have inside and outside dogs. It does work. You have to manage the group. Understand that the working dogs rule in their domain.

      2) It was wise to move them in with high predator pressure if no working dogs. Even at 100 lbs predators can take them. Remember that wolves can pull down 1,200 lb moose.

      3) See this search pattern for articles about the water line. We use flowing water, shrouds, microclimates and earth heat to deal with winter.

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