Wednesday, February 13, 2008

LGD Puppy Love

I know people love pups, so do I. There is nothing cuter than a puppy. But my Livestock Guardian Dog, Angel, is just about to drive us crazy. I have talked to other LGD owners and they have had the same problem that I am having with my Great Pyrenees pup.

She is a kleptomaniac, a pack rat, a thief and a part-time chewer. She is making off with everything that she can carry in her mouth. My husband changed the brakes on the car and we ran to town to get something, when we came home the brake pads and some of his tools were gone. At first we thought someone must have stolen them, we couldn't figure out why anyone would have taken the pads except as a joke, but then we started finding everything in the goat lot.

If I put a cover on the swimming pool filter, she takes it off and carries it away. She doesn't necessarily chew everything up, she just carries it off to her area.

My husband was really upset the other night because he laid his hoof pick down for just a minute and it disappeared. Water hose ends, sprayers, cardboard boxes, feed and water dishes, sticks, ropes, she just steals whatever she finds. So far, she is just stealing our stuff and not the neighbor's stuff.

We can never catch her in the act and we cannot even catch her with the goods. She will be sleeping somewhere with the stolen items yards and yards away from her. I didn't know how to discipline her or stop her.

So I consulted an expert on a message board that I frequent, she raises and trains Great Pyrs. She had already recommended a BB gun to keep her in the goat lot since the electric fence doesn't affect her because of her thick winter coat. But then she said that these dogs are smart and you can usually correct them with just a couple of scoldings.

Sure enough, if we find stuff in the lot, we scold her and she never bothers that item again. Of course, sometimes it is already ruined and chewed up, unless it is hard rubber or metal.

The problem lies in figuring out what item she will steal next in the dark of night and telling her, "NO", before the crime is committed.

Keeping her in the lot is the real answer but that isn't easy either. The Crossman Pumpmaster BB Rifle is very nice and my husband has hit her with a BB a couple of times and she has yelped but for some reason I just can't hit her. I find it hard to pump up and can only pump 3 to 4 times, he does 7 and I think it is more accurate at 7, the limit is 10.

We only shoot her if she is not looking at us, to make sure we don't hit an eye. It hasn't taken her long to tune in to the sound of that gun being pumped, so she is usually running for the hills by the time we pull the trigger anyway.

So, it isn't that I don't think puppies are adorable, I just wish that this one would grow up. My husband keeps telling me that she needs to grow up and my LGD friends keep telling me to bear with her because she will eventually get past this stage.

She also barks a lot but I knew before I got her that was a characteristic of a Great Pyrenees, that is all a part of the guarding and protecting, which makes sense because most predators and not going to go into a pen with a barking dog, she sure doesn't sound like a puppy, she was born with an adult voice.
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