Comment to 'LGD's and obedience'
  • gsicard: I have never seen a full defense reaction but I saw what could happen when Kodi is upset and that was enough. I might have mentioned the incident in an earlier post. We were at the dog park and an unneutered male dog was pestering Kodi; he was tolerant of it for a while but the other dog wouldn't stop and tried to follow him. Kodi suddenly changed instantly; this seems to be the pattern; if he doesn't like something he tries to leave but if he can't leave he gets growly and makes menacing sounds. When that didn't work either this particular time Kodi suddenly went at the other dog very fast and seemingly without effort flipped it over on it's back and sort of stood on it's chest for a moment. He growled at it and leaned down at it with all his teeth showing. The noises were awful and I was afraid he would hurt that dog, could have done so very easily. Just as suddenly as it happened Kodi stopped and just walked away. I've never seen him react like that again, since then we proactively remove him from any situations where he seems to feel harassed by another dog. It just changed so fast, almost no time for anyone to react in any way at all. I am grateful that Kodi usually gives off obvious signals when he doesn't like something and gives me time to remove him. I try to never let anyone put him in a position where he feels he has to defend himself. acamper: I don't know if "hard" is the right word; it's more like gentle consistent effort to socialize him and give him more understanding of the world. There are so many things Kodi doesn't seem to have experienced when he was younger; the people that had him when he was very young kept him alone in an outdoor dog house till he was seven months old and got too big for them to deal with. I think he was about 90 lb. by then, he's 135 now which is bigger than me so I know I can't make Kodi do anything. He's bigger and stronger but I have the advantage of knowing his triggers now and I can anticipate problems ahead of time and change the environment to prevent them. Having a second dog has always been very helpful since the second dog can role model things. I am lucky with this dog in two ways, he is not by nature very dominant, prefers to be a follower so if he trusts my other dog he will take it's lead. Second advantage is that he is fearful in many situations that a typical CO might be aggressive. I hope you don't take my words as applying to other LGD's specifically because my dog really is unusually fearful. Kodi is so fearful it takes two people about 10 minutes of consistent effort and persuasion to get him to enter a building like the vet's office. Sometimes we have to ask the staff to send someone out to get on the other side of him so that his own need to evade the stranger prompts him to move closer to the building or even go inside. Yet, still it is easier in my opinion to manage a fearful dog than an aggressive one. If we are walking and encounter a person walking towards us my plan is always to let Kodi retreat a bit from the sidewalk to allow the person to pass at a safe distance. If he were the type to attack instead of withdraw I don't know how I would be able to even walk him in our neighborhood at all. For an LGD a sound temperament would be very important, ours is much more fearful than the norm. I wish he could judge "threats" better; for example I have occasionally been half dragged into the street by a frightened dog fleeing the sound of wind-chimes on a neighbor's porch. One day he wouldn't walk up the street in a certain direction because a trailer was parked there that hadn't been there the day before. He literally wouldn't walk past it so we went the other way down the road. I know now that what would have worked better is to stay still and let him watch the trailer to see that it wouldn't harm him, and have my partner and our other dog approach it closely while Kodi stayed twenty feet away watching. This approach has worked well for me, he learns so much just by watching our other dog interact with objects and this has gradually broadened the things he can tolerate in the environment. If you are getting an LGD make sure that you trust the breeder and have some idea from them about the dog's temperament. It has taken us almost a year to get Kodi to go on regular morning and evening walks without some terror somewhere along the route. Even now it is better when it's all four of us, two people and two dogs. I don't think I could take Kodi more than six blocks from home alone by myself; when we reached the edge of the "safe" zone he would just refuse to cross the street and I'd have to turn around and we'd go home, no other options. It's frustrating but he is such a sweet and lovely dog at home so I consider it is well worth the trouble I have to take to manage him in the larger world. I figure that dogs historically bred to guard livestock while living on their own out in the hills will need a fair bit of help to live comfortably in a crowded suburban community You mentioned that you were interested in getting a Kangal dog, I don't know much about them, is it for a working dog or a pet? There are some LGD's that seem more commonly available in North America if you are drawn to this type of dog, (e.g.,a Great Pyrenees or Maremma, at least where I live) If it is for a pet it might be possible to get a dog like this much more easily than one of the rarer LGD types. I have tended to always adopt rescue dogs myself. If the one you are seeking is to be primarily a a guard dog then a more people-oriented and obedient dog that would listen to a person preferentially might be easier to manage than an LGD, but that is just my opinion. I am no expert on such matters; I only keep dogs for a companion myself. Best of luck in your search for the right dog, Karen
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