We just got back from a trip to NY State to pick up a Livestock Guardian Dog. These are dogs that have been bred over the past several hundred years to protect stock of all kinds. I am already in awe of this pup and her instincts. It was quite a trip to get her, but I think we made the right call getting her from a reputable breeder that will be a phone call or an email away when we need support.
When we went to pick her up I was stunned by the number of dogs on this property. What was so impressive was that they all had their own little area and were each focused on the critters they had in the fenced paddock with them. I can not imagine a more unfriendly place if I were a fox or coyote. When we pulled in we were greeted by about a dozen large white dogs on all sides of us behind their various fences. A word or two from the breeder (aka the alpha mamma, top dog) quieted most of them down, some were there for "reshaping" and they needed a little more talking to... eventually all was quiet.
When the dogs came to the fence line to bark at us, barking is their first line of defense, it was pretty cool to see them constantly checking back behind them to lay eyes on the stock in their pens. It reminded me of playing "D" in lacrosse... head on a swivel. We have worked with Border Collies now for almost 10 years and I have learned a lot about these dogs and their talents and motivations. To now engage with a dog that is just as dedicated and just as devoted but to a completely different job is amazing.
Tess is settling in well. We have her started with a group of our older chickens. Since she is a puppy we can not have her with any young stock, so being in with the lambs and sheep is out till fall. However, she understands the perimeter she is assigned to and that the stock (whatever kind) that live inside are her responsibility. She is a little sad today, its her first away from mom and litter mates.
By the way, we probably lost close to $1000 worth of poultry to predators last summer. Think we are excited for this dog?