LGD's and obedience

Yes, but not as easily as other breeds.
  • I'm asking this question for future reference so ANY assistance would be appreciated. Are LGD's capable of obedience training? I ask this because I'm interested in the future of perhaps purchasing one, in particular a Kangal. I've heard they have a mind of their own and their ONLY focus is on the job, GUARDING SOMETHING. Can they be a home, personal protector and can you control them? Once again thanks for ANY assistance.
    • Yes, but not as easily as other breeds.
      • Thanks igmuska, that's what I was hoping to hear. I know this is TOUGH, but how much tougher and WHAT way of training, kinda tough, alpha type approach or treat treat positive reinforcement. I would think you need to be tough.
        • Even when you think you have them trained perfectly - they will still surprise you. You must be always vigilant even if you have spent years training your LGD type dog in obedience. The level of difficulty you may have is dependendent on the breed and the line within the breed. Natural working dogs will be more difficult to train and will naturally be less tractable. However, any dog can be trained to do what you want - just takes much more time and reinforecment with some. If you have the time and patience to invest you could train a good Kangal to do what you stated. Just be aware of the difference between the hardware (dogs instinct and heritage) and the software (what you trained them to do). In a stressfull situation they may revert to hardware and thus endeth the peace and tranquility. Give it a go ... good luck.
          • Ever trained a Chow or Akita? Somewhere in between. They do care about their family more than these breeds, but as far as obed. and listening when something happens, good luck. They are quite a bit of work to raise in an urban setting; socializing btoh human and dog, training with distraction, environmental, etc... If you blow off the formative year training and imprinting, you will have a beast on your hands.
            • Check out the video, so you will see !!!!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKESgHAsq94
              • Thanks everybody, Realname in the video I saw treats being used. Can someone tell me if THAT'S the way to go or more forceful alpha lead? Thanks again
                • Force with these kinds of dogs can lead to a dog that will push back. Unless you are willing to handle an angry 140+ pound dog coming up the leash at you for what was considered a hard, unfair correction, then understanding and leadership are the way to go. Some LGDs are not that food or play motivated, like some Chows I have encountered. These dogs can redirect in a similar manner to a Rotty, if you have ever handled a hot one.
                  • My almost two year old CO is really good at learning obedience commands but will only perform them reliably under certain circumstances. If he believes there is a problem then he trusts his own judgment exclusively and will not budge or do what anyone says. He can reliably do commands like "sit", "stay", "kennel", "down", or other such things under neutral conditions. He is also excellent at coordinating his movements with ours like if I say let's go outside, let's go inside, or let's go upstairs, let's go in the car, anything like that then he just trots meekly along. But if I said let's go upstairs and he had to pass a person, even a friend of mine who was standing in the front hall, then there is no way he'd budge even though he knows exactly what the words mean. It would likely require that I ask the person to move out of the dog's line of vision first. Sometimes I think Kodi is the one training us! This is my only experience of an LGD dog but my strong impression is they are both smart and really independent minded, will tend to trust their own judgment over somebody else's opinion in any situation they consider to be serious or important.
                    • Nice post KJN - I think you nailed it with that explanation for the situations described. Have you ever see an LGD that is in active defense? It is quite a transition and a sight most dog owners would freak about.
                      • [quote1311357318=kjn] My almost two year old CO is really good at learning obedience commands but will only perform them reliably under certain circumstances. If he believes there is a problem then he trusts his own judgment exclusively and will not budge or do what anyone says. He can reliably do commands like "sit", "stay", "kennel", "down", or other such things under neutral conditions. He is also excellent at coordinating his movements with ours like if I say let's go outside, let's go inside, or let's go upstairs, let's go in the car, anything like that then he just trots meekly along. But if I said let's go upstairs and he had to pass a person, even a friend of mine who was standing in the front hall, then there is no way he'd budge even though he knows exactly what the words mean. It would likely require that I ask the person to move out of the dog's line of vision first. Sometimes I think Kodi is the one training us! This is my only experience of an LGD dog but my strong impression is they are both smart and really independent minded, will tend to trust their own judgment over somebody else's opinion in any situation they consider to be serious or important. [/quote1311357318] WOW, THIS is outstanding, a VERY good post it tells me SO much about an LGD breed. Was is HARD to get him to this point? I can live with THIS kind of dog, listening to my commands unless a threat is perceived, NOT A PROBLEM.
                        • 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
                          • Thank you, Karen? I'm speaking in future reference and the dog would primarily be a guardian of the home and the work he would get would be in personal protection training plus the daily walks/exercise, I'd hope that THAT would be enough. It would be years but I know it takes LOTS of research to make sure you get the RIGHT dog. Great Pyr and Maremma don't interest me at all because their coats are TOO long and I go crazy from the shedding of my 80 pound AB puppy so 40-50 pounds of MORE hair drives me batty thinking about it. My AB is VERY people oriented and he's getting PP training so I have that covered at this stage, but thanks for the suggestion. It's really down to 2 breeds that interest me, the Kangal and the CAO. When I say years I mean years as I also have plans to move to the country. So thank you again for your input, Gary I'd love to hear some personal experiences from you and you CO even the hair on them is too long for liking also.
                            • acamper, let me share a link with you on training Kangals. It can be done, but again they are not 'push button' dogs like a German Shepherd or border collie. The pay off? Well they are a highly sensitive, devoted breed, intensely so. They'd give their life to protect you. As a personal guardian, the breed is hard to beat. I raise mine for work as LGD's, and have raised two litters of half Kangal pups (the other half was 1/4 maremma, 1/4 anatolian) and they all came out with predominately Kangal traits/looks/personality, with added sweetness of the Maremma. Here is the link: http://kangalmexico.wordpress.com/2010/07/15/basic-principals-of-kangal-dog-training/ And best of luck to you in your search for the right dog!
                              • Thank you, I'm REALLY glad you chimed in as the visit to YOUR site peaked my interest in the Kangal. I'd watched them from afar impressed but assumed they would FOREVER be priced out of MY range as a teacher. After a visit to your site and your take on the LGD and your battle against the powers that be intrigued me into thinking it's possible to own one in the future. Thank you again and I'd LOVE to hear more about YOUR dealings with LGD's
                                • Grin such a compliment thank you.... I honestly think for what you want, it is possible. And without costing you an arm and a leg.....and getting a healthy pup with a good start. I'm not the only breeder who is thumbing their nose at the parent club and trying to get these dogs into the hands of the "Average Joe" who was previously shut out and priced out by a few elite breeders, so the floodgates are opening so to speak...finally. When you decide let me know. I know of pups ready to go in the middle of August, in MT. Also some are up in WA right now. Both breeders experienced with Kangals. Also, here is another link on Turkish Breeds and heavily talks about the Kangal. The book mentioned on the webpage, I own, and its a good book, covers all kinds of stuff. Lots of info on the site. So here you go, into info overload!!!! ;~) http://www.turkkarabas.com/english/
                                  • Thanks again, I DEFINITELY have you in my favorites when the time comes, appreciate the info.
                                      • acamper , i have just joined but have years of experience with lgd,s specifically mastiff type,s i currently own a 9 year old bullmastiff girl from one of the only kennels left to breed bullmastiffs true in the sense of what they were bred for protection be it estate or family.she had a litter 4 years ago two of her pups went to an ex army dog trainer whom had won awards for training ,agility etc i recently bumped into him asked how the dogs were and he explained that in his 40 years of training he had never come across a dog that could spend years learning commands understood them carried them out under normal conditions repetitivly many times yet still when out of training enviroment would not respond in anyway other than to stop whatever the dog/s saw as a threat.my girl is 9 yet goes from 0 to 30mph in 0.5 sec weighing 110lb basically what line you get the history of the kennels breeding either showing or for true type etc will effect your efforts , i know somebody who has a 130lb bullmastiff which would not bite or pin a burglar it so happens to come from show lines to me this is a dummy not a bullmastiff would you buy a ferrari that only did 70mph .my experience with dogs such as filas , co,s and the like is you cant have your cake and eat it but that is my opinion and nothing more it seems though as you are putting a lot into educating yourself firstly if more did this then we as humans wouldnt have given some breeds the bad press they get good luck mate hope all go,s well.
                                        • sorry about my grammer the keyboard is useless also i forgot to add i see the moderator has made a comment about people seeing a defensive lgd my girl was due to be put down at two because she was deemed dangerous due to neglect nothing else i was contacted as a last resort and took her into my home with my children supervised over the next few months she became their guardian and has remained so to this day i often witness her in full defensive mode yet in 7 years she has never bit human or dog its management i read in your posts how you would like to hear about this trait i can tell you about many varying from bullmastiff to fila,s if you intrested we can wax about it sometime.
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