Comment to 'Do female dogs have a different style of guarding '
  • You know it's funny. When I got my first two Chihuahuas, I had Dobermans, an old German Shepherd, my first Collie. Later we added a Belgian Malinois & our two male Great Pyrenees. The Pyr's were goat guardians, looked after our horses once they convinced them that they were 'good dogs' & would not tolerate the likes of neighbor dogs trying to chase them. They soon learned they didn't want to guard the cattle because our cows had learned to hate dogs due to ill behaved loose running neighbor dogs who would often kill calves if allowed. The Pyr brothers left the cows to their own. They learned very quickly when the Chihuahuas came outside any rough play or bouncing around stopped instantly.  We would point away from the porch & they would walk off like two arthritic old men being sent to bed without their dessert. The little Chis would go out & go to the bathroom & we'd call them back into the house & then we'd say, "okay boys" & here they'd come but at a nice walk. They were bit loves with us. They didn't like strangers yet the first time they saw my 80+ year old grandmother, they went to her, got under each of her arms & tried to be her living walkers (assistance dogs). She is the only person I ever saw them take to. They were natural with chickens, goats, the tiny dogs & horses. I've seen Buddy lick the horse's legs to soothe them if something had them nervous. And my horses were dog stompers until Buddy & Boomer taught them to accept them as 'their' dogs. But these dogs were not whimps. They've killed coyote, small predators. I watched with my own eyes as they nearly tore an adult male bobcat apart. They also regularly dispatched loose dogs who bothered our animals.  They were good about birds of prey too. Not all livestock guardians are good with watching the sky like that. Ours were. The funniest thing in the world was the morning a big feral cat came up. My oldest Chi was barking & advancing. Next thing she knows the cat screams & runs for its life. THe little dog thought she'd really done something. In truth, 6 inches from her rump was two ferocious Great Pyrs were behind her & they were ready to kill  the cat. But as it had since to run for it's life, the tiny dog was left to think she was just soooo scary.  She's 10 years old with I think 2 small teeth left & still thinks she can whip a bear.  (SIGH... it's why I have gray hair).

    I also have a GIant Schnauzer who displays livestock guardian instincts. She's been like this since she came to me. I contacted her breeder stating that if there was no hope of having a Giant with my tiny Chi's, let me know & I'd get a standard Schnauzer. She took the pup & threw her in with a bunch of Mini Schnauzers. At the end of the week, when the breeder tried putting her back with the big pups from her litter, she was so depressed, she wanted none of it. So I have my Giant hairy faced disaster whom I have used to herd chickens, to guard Chihuahuas & was so tuned in to my horses that she had her own built in time table that if the horse laid on the ground too long, she would go wake the mares up & make them get up. Annoyed them but, lol, they just adored her.  That's not to say the small dogs couldn't still be injured. When we lived in Arizona, we had a guy on the public street that would stand & tease my dogs. One early morning my tiny girls were out & the jerk came up. My Giant Schnauzer came roaring around the house & jumped over the small dogs to get between the babies & the bad guy. We will never know if the baby moved or if the Giant made a mis-step but she landed on the smallest Chi, broke her neck & she died instantly. It was devastating but the truth is the Giant was trying to protect her babies. She will protect them with her life.

    My neighbor has a part Pyr/part Anatolian pup. Very sassy pup. Female. She's very good with chickens & has been from day one. She was very loving dog with her chickens & they can correct their pup with pecks or pinching & she never snaps at them. She will take them in her mouth but not roughly & never to injure. It's interesting to watch. This pup plays with the huge cat she has & the cat can correct her quite fiercely with no misbehavior on the pup's part.

    What's curious to me is my Pyr boys were from dogs who worked an 800 acre farm however the mother was a show dog, kept in town in a small apartment. I don't know what happened but the girl I bought my pups from got her & found out very quickly this dog was very good at guarding livestock. The sire had worked the ranch for some time & was a notorious coyote killer. That was the parents of my dogs. My Giant is from a famous show kennel. It's safe to say she had no chicken or horse experience prior to coming to me. I've enough experience in dogs to see natural talent. My three dogs I mention here was born with an innate instinct to protect small animals, to protect their herds & flocks. The other part is how they're trained & handled. I had an old mop with the long strings. Not used to strike but I'd bump a dog on the shoulder or the hip if he got too intense & needed corrected. I had to use it the day we brought in new goats & Buddy got too wound up trying to run off the intruders. I used it once when Buddy was trying to lick feathers off a chicken when he was very young. I thumped the ground & said "LEAVE IT" in a harsh voice. Never had to repeat it. Boomer was the more alpha of the boys & he watched my hands. If I pointed, he either went after that animal & brought it to heel or he drove it out, depending on the hand signal. Awesome dogs. Just awesome. Their biggest shortcoming is they were gun shy. They'd tree coons or possums out of the hen house but once I fired the first shot, they would be found in the henhouse. My old Collie was my gun dog. She'd pinch me if I didn't shoot fast enough & she ensured they were all dead before I was allowed to haul anything off. Then she'd go get the boys out of the hen house, lol.

    I loved my Pyr boys. I trusted them. When my little Chi females were in heat, they would go lay down & look at us like 'not our circus, not our circus monkeys'. They never bothered the tiny females but if any dog came up with other things in mind they were driven off or paid the price for persisting. We weren't careless as we would go out with the girls for bathroom breaks. Too much could go wrong, as did happen with our Giant & the little Chihuahua. This would NOT have happened if my husband had stayed out with the dogs. He stepped inside for just a minute to check the oven. That was our error & the Giant grieved just as hard as we did for the loss of our tiny girl.

    As much as I loved my Pyr boys, the females will always take center stage for me. I like how they work. Always on. Always serious when they need to be. The downfall for many males is they catch 'that' scent & the brain can't compute. The females can be in full blown heat & still get the job done. But the boys put on a good display. I've had my Pyr boys put not-nice people back in their cars & it's an impressive sight to see two dogs that come up under my elbows brace me on either side with a full display of teeth saying back off my Mom. Big dogs & when it came to me, they didn't back up an inch if they thought you were a threat but my boys were backed up by a number of alpha strong females. They never worked alone.