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Question for farming Great Pyrnees owners.please help?

by cattlefarmer on September 3, 2009

Mysti asked:

I’ve been around farming, great Pyrenees dogs, and the goats in which we have them to herd since I was a young child. Recently we’ve had a neighbor move in with desire to get several goats and a Pyrenees just to roam the couple acres on the property. The neighbors in question are from the north, and strictly speaking have never dealt with a farm type environment before.
They acquired the Pyrenees male at nine months of age, but he and his family were raised on a farm with goats, cattle, etc. Now to include in this somewhat motley flock, our neighbors got two just-weaned pygmy goats, brother and sister, and also a full grown pygmy from us.
The latter are doing fine together, but its the puppy nature of the dog in which has them, and in turn, me concerned. The small goats will run from him, triggering the predator instinct to run: a vicious cycle. I have no recourse but tell them to wait until the goats mature, or get a couple more full sized goats to offset his attentions. Suggestions?

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

♥Kansas♥ ♥Girl♥ September 5, 2009 at 8:58 pm

Yes, definately get older goats, and have the dog learn on them, and keep the dog away from the younger ones.

I have no personal experience with goats and dogs, but we have cattle and an Aussie and she was crazy when she started working with them, she would chase the baby calves…..which can also be dangerous.

Older animals often have more experience dealing with dogs chasing them, and this will help the puppy learn and keep those baby goats safe.

Good luck!

dog lover September 9, 2009 at 1:31 am

It is because he was an older dog. They have to be raised with the goats and family for this to work from a very young age. They have to bond with them just like they are a kid or a lamb. If not you will have issues. A nine month old dog is sexually mature. He is not a goat and he knows it. The goats are not his own “flock” or “pack” so he attacks them.

I don’t know if there is any way to fix this issue. That is the problem with pyrs. They do attack, bite, and even kill any animal that is not part of their pack. And that’s why so many of the older ones are not successfully rehomed. It’s just part of their breeding to bond and protect with the pack they associate with from a young age.

Most farmers who use pyrs actually put them in the pen with the flock from about 8wks on. They just learn that the flock is their pack.

Nedra E September 11, 2009 at 1:30 pm

At 9 months, he should be doing a better job of guarding. He needs direction and they need to spend time training him. If they are on the internet, they should join a Yahoo group. There are two excellent ones I regularly recommend. In Pyr Talk there are goat farmers who have a LOT of experience in training their pyrs how to work with the goats properly.

One thing that actually works is to spend time first walking the dog on leash and doing an immediate correction if the dog tries to chase a goat, tugging firmly on the leash and saying “Leave It”. If the dog appears to understand, do it more, to reinforce. If the goats romp and the dog doesn’t chase, you praise the dog.

The next step is to leave the dog off-leash and be there to see how he acts. If he starts chasing, you tell him “Leave It”. If he obeys, you’re ahead of the game. If he doesn’t, put him back ON-leash and work him again. After a while, drop the leash and watch the dog. If he chases goats, he’ll step on the leash and trip himself and he’ll be self-correcting.

Now that may sound strange, but several people in Pyr Talk are very experienced and have found this works well. -!-

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