New LGD

We’ve been planning on buying a Great Pyrenees puppy to serve as a livestock guardian dog (LGD) on our farm.  Right now we just have horses/donkey and meat rabbits, as we trimmed way back to prepare for moving, but we intend to get chickens, guineas, and dairy goats this spring to replenish our farm population.  The LGD is primarily needed for protecting the young goats from predators.  It will also be nice to have a general security dog here on the farm.

I heard from a friend that her neighbor had developed some long term health issues and was in the hospital, leaving her pack of Pyrenees dogs alone at the farm and in need of new homes.  There was a litter of older puppies and a few adults.  They were in bad condition and the puppies had recieved no socialization and were curious about people, but very skittish and could not be approached.  We drove down there to pick up a male puppy (he’s actually close to a year old).

On the way home

His name is Mud.  He is very sweet natured, but very nervous and is scared of people.  He is coming around quickly, began allowing us to approach him not long after he arrived, and even acting interested in approaching us within days.

We started off keeping him in a stall.  If he got loose now, we would never see him again.

He had no idea what a collar was and even less clue how to walk on a leash.  He is learning quickly.  We’ve been taking him outside on a cable tie under a tree to start getting to know the farm and observing the horses from across the fence.

He met our donkey, Taco, and immediately bonded to him.  Mud grew up with sheep, and was bred to bond to livestock, so it is no surprise that he was drawn to Taco more than us.

Lots of sniffing, greeting, and grooming… and oh look! a treat dispenser!

Taco is no ordinary donkey, and actually likes dogs.  Taco even lets our heeler ride him.

Mud was in need of medical care (fluids, parasites, neuter, vaccines, etc) and is very thin.  He is very hesitant to eat when people are around, but does finish all of his food overnight.

He has been getting more relaxed around people, and even allowed us to start brushing and trimming out some fur matts.  He desperately needs a bath, but we didn’t want to stress him with that right away.

The plan is to bond him to Taco, then fit him with a triangle collar so he can’t climb between the fence boards to escape when we turn him out with the horses (where the goats will live).

Does anyone have any LGD experience or tips?  My biggest concern is keeping him here on the farm until he knows where he lives.  I have read that Pyrenees have a tendency to run away, and with as scared as he is, I imagine it will take a while before we can trust him to stay without containment.

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