Return to Maremma Pyrenees (LGD) Puppies

Training & FAQ

Old 300 Farm LGD Training

Old 300 Farm puppies receive intensive training on migrating with livestock, livestock bonding, food aggression, & predator identification. They also have the privilege of working along side a team of experienced LGD parents. The most important time in an LGD’s life begins very early at 4 weeks old. Therefore, puppies are quickly immersed into their training to give them the best head start possible. At 12 weeks old your pup will come home with you and be ready for work as a livestock guardian on your farm or ranch. You will be amazed at how capable your little guardian puppy is at such a young age. Puppies are also exposed to a wide variety of livestock including, chickens, ducks, pigs, cats, sheep, and cattle. So long as you follow our recommendations in the FAQ section during your pups first few months at home, you will be the proud owner of an well rounded, confident, and loyal guardian.


Livestock Guardian Dog FAQ

 

What is the best composition for an LGD team?

LGDs will always be more effective at their job when they are part of a team. A single guardian may be in danger if they were to encounter a large pack of coyotes for instance. Therefore a team of at least 2 guardians is always recommended. Both male and female dogs make excellent guardians and we generally recommend employing both sexes. Males tend to be physically stronger and more capable in predator encounters, whereas females tend to be more alert. This does not exclude males from exhibiting alertness, nor females from exhibiting strength. These are just generalized tendencies that go hand in hand with each sex. A team comprised of 2 males or 2 females can be very successful as well.

How do I select the right puppy for me?

Once you have put down a deposit on a puppy, you can begin following the progress of the litter on our YouTube Channel where we post weekly videos of the puppies. Puppies will be exposed to chickens, pigs, and cats from the moment they are born.  Between 4-8 weeks they will receive supervised exposure to sheep and cattle. Based on our observations, and puppy performance with a variety of livestock, we will make recommendations on which puppies seem best suited for your needs. Puppies are selected in the order we receive your deposit. You can typically begin selecting your puppy around 8 weeks of age when they begin to show their personalities, strengths, and weaknesses.

Will my puppy receive training before I bring them home?

Your puppy will be exposed to chickens, cats, pigs, sheep, and cattle. We supervise their interactions with livestock and discipline them as needed. Puppies also receive food training to prevent food aggression & puppy rivalry. We will place your puppy with the type of livestock they will be guarding during their last 4 weeks on our farm. This will help to start the livestock bonding process while they are young and still have their parents to help guide them. As long as you continue this training and discipline, you will have the privilege of owning a wonderful and loyal guardian. Once you receive your puppy, we recommend getting them accustomed to a leash so you will have an easier time taking them to the vet for health check ups. Perform leash training while walking with your pup throughout your property. This is a great way to help them establish their territory. However you should avoid walking your pup too close to the property line because this can create a temptation to explore uncharted territory.

How should I help my puppy bond with my livestock?

Your puppy should live with their livestock 24/7. The more time a puppy spends with their livestock the more closely they will be bonded to them. This gives them a chance to learn their livestock’s social rules and behaviors so they can become part of the flock/herd. We recommend confining your puppy with their livestock so they will become well acquainted. Make sure the pen is spacious enough to allow the puppy room to move out of the way of disgruntled livestock. Also provide them with a space where they can retreat to safety if need-be. If you do this early in a puppy’s development they will establish a strong relationship with their livestock. While you may be uncomfortable with placing your puppy with livestock on a full-time basis, you’ll be happy to know that our puppies are born and raised with livestock and have never been separated from them. They love spending all of their time napping and socializing with a variety of farm animals so your puppy will likely seek comfort in the presence of your livestock as they are settling in to their new home. If your puppy is destined to guard chickens you may have to separate your pup from their chickens in the morning and early evening when puppies are full of energy and most likely to play with a chicken.  Since chickens are fragile this can help avoid playful mishaps and set your puppy up for success. Take the time to observe your pup so you can act accordingly. Puppies will receive this type of training before they come home with you so the transition should be seamless when they arrive to your farm or ranch. You should refrain from overly socializing  with your pup during the initial livestock bonding period, but keep an eye on them so you can correct them for unwanted behaviors. Over socialization with humans can cause a dog to bond with people and can leave their owner frustrated and livestock vulnerable. Spending time with your pup doing their job with them is a great way to set an example and show them you are on the same team. However, don’t make the mistake of distracting your pup by indulging them with attention while they are supposed to be working. The best time to show your dog affection is when they have done something you asked them to do or highly approve of. This is how they learn and gain respect for you. Everyone wants  to know when they have made their parents proud! Just don’t over do it. Constant free affection for no apparent reason is a pathway to becoming a pet. The most appropriate time to freely socialize with your LGD is just after you feed them.  These recommendations will help to ensure the long term success/employment of your LGD.

How should I establish a respectful relationship with my dog?

Food is they way to most animals hearts. If you are their provider then you and the leader of the pack. In the wild, the alpha dog always eats first and tells the others when they are allowed to eat. The concept of of being an alpha has nothing to do with constantly dominating your dog. It has to do with you being a leader who reprimands when necessary rather than being a tyrant. Implementing a feeding routine is a great way to connect with your dogs and lay out behavioral rules. Make sure to separate your pup from the livestock when you feed them. When they are youngsters, sit down and act as though you are eating from their food bowl. Only allow your dog to eat from their bowl when you place the bowl on the ground and politely say their name. If your pup attempts to eat from the bowl before you are “done eating” reprimand them by giving a quick sharp sound of disapproval. Don’t make your puppy wait too terribly long for their food either. These pups are fast growing and have big appetites. Practice putting your hand in your puppy’s bowl as they eat and reprimand them for exhibiting any amount of food aggression toward you. We like to say “Aaahhh!” sometimes in conjunction with a quick pop on the butt to snap their attention. You can also push them on their back into a submissive position; but this should not be necessary by the time your puppy is a young adult. Make sure you don’t take this too far by constantly antagonizing your puppy while they are eating. Your dog needs to be able to eat in peace and by over doing it you run the risk of causing food aggression. If you have multiple pups, it is best to allow your pups to eat in the same vicinity as each other, but not right next to each other. Remember that your role as alpha is not just as disciplinarian, but as a provider and leader. Your puppy needs to know when they are doing a good job so they can understand what behaviors you approve of. This is how you gain respect from your pup and produce a loyal well rounded guardian. After your pup has eaten and displayed appropriate behavior, take the time to praise them and show them affection. If you are struggling with food aggression or any other behavioral problems with your pup, there may be other factors at play that you are unaware of. For the pups we sell, we always ask that you call us immediately to get some guidance. Don’t wait until the problem has become so serious that you are ready to give up on your pup. We want all of our puppies to be successful and sometimes a little bit of help from an experienced LGD owner can go a long way.

When can I trust my puppy with their livestock?

With proper training, we normally expect to trust a puppy with livestock within the first 6 months of their life. However, inexperienced LGD owners may experience a longer time period before they are able to trust fully their pup to channel their energy appropriately. Chicken guardians can occasionally require more patience since their playful puppy nature can inadvertently injure a chicken. Every puppy personality is different, so it’s always best to observe your puppy throughout their development so you can quickly intervene when bad behaviors arise. Just like children, you can read you puppy’s mind! If your pup even so much as looks at their livestock in the wrong way, use a sharp quick verbal command and a quick pop on the butt to break their attention. Never remove a puppy from their livestock when they have misbehaved. This is a great opportunity for your puppy to learn! Once you have reprimanded the pup, keep them right there with the livestock and reprimand them again for bad behavior. Once they show a lack of interest or begin to act calmly with the livestock give them praise. They will soon learn that aggression, or rough housing with livestock is no fun. Pups tend to be curious and adventurous, so the possibility your pup may roam is greatest during their first year of life. If you have taken the proper steps to bond your pup to their livestock, you may not experience problems with roaming at all. Any roaming propensity you experience tends to taper off with positive reinforcement paired with a shock collar. Although a shock collar may seem harsh, this is an effective method for keeping your dog safe and within your fence line. Anytime your dog trespasses into neighboring property, their life is at serious risk. If you have secure impenetrable fencing, this will solve most of your headaches during your pup’s formative years.

Should I be worried about sibling rivalry?

In our experience, most problems involving sibling rivalry are due to a lack of discipline on the owner’s part. You must establish clear rules in order to quickly solve any problems of rivalry and dominance. If puppies seem to become aggressive with each other you must quickly and sternly snap them out of it.  If your puppy seems to always cause problems during meal time, it may be an indication that you need to increase you puppy’s food intake. Puppies require abnormally large amounts of food to support their growth. Once your dog is mature, they will consume a lot less food.

What is sibling syndrome and should I be concerned?

Sibling syndrome is characterized by a pair of litter mates that become bonded with each other rather than their livestock. If your pups are too busy playing, then swiftly reprimand them for not focusing on their surroundings and job. Also remember that puppies are full of energy, so a certain amount of play is a great way for your pups to burn off energy. You’d rather your pups rough house with each other than your livestock. If rough housing is profuse then you can place your pups into separate pens with their livestock to prevent this unwanted behavior. You should still allow your puppies time to socialize for a couple of hours everyday so your pups stay well acquainted and do not perceive each other as an outsider or threat.  However, I rarely find that it is necessary to separate your pups.  With a sharp verbal reaction to excessive playing, you can avoid separating your pups.

Why is my puppy sleeping all day long?

All animals have to sleep at some point. Both Maremma and Great Pyrenees are generally nocturnal breeds. Since predators are most active during the cooler hours or the day & in the evening, this is when your dog will go to work. Your dog will become a bit more active in the daytime as temperatures drop in the winter months. The more active predators are, the more active your dog will be as well.

Why is my puppy barking incessantly?

When puppies are young and inexperienced they may bark their heads off! Once a puppy finds the full power of their vocal chords they will put them to good use. You must teach your dog to bark when it is appropriate rather than allowing them to bark incessantly. Once you have determined that your puppy is senselessly barking at the moon, you must reprimand them so you and your neighbors can get some shut-eye.

Do Maremma and Great Pyrenees make good pets?

The Maremma-Great Pyrenees breeds are loyal, confident, and gentle natured pets. Without livestock to care for, they will put all of their dedication and attention toward their human family members, including children. In public, people are always enamored with the physical beauty of the Maremma-Pyrenees breeds. Nonetheless, we only allow our pups to go to a limited number of pet homes. These dogs are descendant from ancient working bloodlines. They are strong-willed, independent thinkers who are not like normal pet dogs. Unfortunately’ working dogs are often misunderstood in a non-working home which puts them at risk of being perpetually rehomed.

How should I establish an appropriate relationship with my LGD?

To help your pup fulfill their purpose in life as a guardian, you must train yourself to recognize your dog as a worker. Don’t treat them like a baby, and don’t bother teaching your LGD to perform tricks.  From the very moment your pup arrives to your home, you must abide by these 3 simple rules:

  1. Don’t give your puppy attention for no reason
  2. Don’t spend time socializing with your pup unless you are feeding or training them
  3. If your puppy does something wrong, quickly reprimand them and then put them right back into the situation again. Do not remove them from that learning experience! Reprimand them again if they do the wrong thing again. Once they do the right thing show them approval and affection.

You should expect your dog to quickly become self-sufficient and act responsibly without your constant guidance. Here are things you CAN do to establish an appropriate, respectful, & loyal relationship with your dog:

  1. Establish a feeding routine rather than free feeding your dog. Sit down and act as though you are eating from their food bowl before allowing them to eat. Only allow your dog to eat from their bowl when you place the bowl on the ground and say their name. Periodically practice putting your hand in their bowl while they eat and quickly reprimand them for show any aggression. Praise them after they are done eating for doing a good job at peacefully following the feeding routine.
  2. Periodically, spend time with your dog & their livestock in the field. REMEMBER: Don’t give your dog attention in the field; instead set a good example by calmly doing their job with them. Sit near the livestock and walk with the livestock as they migrate through the pasture. This gives you the chance to observe any behaviors you need to correct. Just remember; a playful pup is not an aggressive pup.
  3. Every so often, if your pup tries to show you affection, you can MILDLY reciprocate for just a moment, but then you must ignore them. If they seem enamored with showing you affection, you must eventually verbally reprimand them for bothering you and not paying attention to their job.
  4. Spend time barking at the sound or sight of a predator to help your pup identify their enemies. This lets them know that you part of the team and share the common goal of protecting the livestock.
  5. Periodically practice recall training by giving a command and rewarding your pup with a delicious treat & momentarily praise them when they come to you. Your pup will understand the concept of recall quickly, so you should eventually cease recall practice as it can cause your dog to become distracted from their job.

Do not expect your dogs to come to you if they are concerned with the presence of a predator. Their instincts are very keen so their job to investigate and protect will take precedence once a threat has been perceived. LGDs may seem stubborn and unresponsive at times but they are really just doing their job.

How often does Old 300 Farm breed dogs?

Our LGDs are so much more than breeders, they are diligent workers who are deeply dedicated to the safety of their livestock. They have been carefully selected for their proven guardian bloodlines and unbreakable bond with their livestock.  It is customary for responsible breeders to only breed a dog once a year up to 6 to 8 years of age depending on the breed and health of the dog. However, we approach breeding differently. The bond our dogs share with livestock makes it untenable to confine our female LGDs in a chastity pen to prevent breeding. It creates a far more stressful situation since the dogs become a bit frantic when separated from their livestock for too long! Therefore, our breeding program follows a different philosophy that is more conducive to the mental and physical health of our LGDs. Our dogs are allowed to decide when their bodies are ready to produce a litter. We do not prevent pregnancies in our females, but we do prevent pregnancy during their first year of life. We also choose to retire our breeding females very early in their life; approximately 4-5 years of age.  This decision is made based on health considerations for each individual. The number of litters a female will produce ultimately depends on our observations of her body score during motherhood and how well she recovers. This breeding regimen allows their bodies to produce healthy offspring throughout their most fertile and vibrant years. This promotes the health of our dogs so they can  continue working as a guardian into their older age without the physical stress of motherhood. A good LGD will never choose to fully retire from their job as a guardian, so it is imperative to fully support their health during their golden senior years.