Established June, 2000
Roy Austin El Dorado, CA 530-621-2920
Providing a alternative green method to reducing the unwanted vegetation
for property owners all over El Dorado County and California.
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Mother Nature Approved!
Original American Purebred Genetics!
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I would like to preface this by stating these are my opinions only, based upon my experiences with these magnificent dogs.
I won't discuss specific breeds, or which gender is better. Every breed has good and bad characteristics. When you purchase a pup, understand about the breed, and make sure it is right for you.
We own Anatolians and Pyrenees/Akbash cross dogs. We have 5 adult as of Sept, 2008.
In my opinion, their dedication to the livestock is what gives them the awesome rating. A good dog in my opinion is effective, but not as "dedicated" to the livestock themselves. Good dogs will patrol, or minimize losses by their very presence, but do not "hang" with the mob.
First, is good breeding. The instincts must be there for the dogs to be successful. I do not train my dogs, I advise and facilitate them to success. They must be born with the goat herd, and grow up with the herd. They must have minimal interaction with people to properly establish the bond. It is not fair to the dog to treat it like a "pet" and expect it to prefer to sleep with the herd. We handle them at feeding time, and about 10 minutes AFTER we enter the pens. Interaction is short. Pet them on the head, look into their eyes, rub their tummy and it is over. They learn early on not to expect to play with you. You are giving them just a bit more then the herd in terms of attention. This goes on for at least 6 mos.
Raising pups is not without pitfalls. Sometimes, the maternals can be so strong, a young pup does not realize who the kids mom is, and thinks she is going to hurt the newborn. Expect this! Manage it. Be there as much as possible to help the dog to understand that mama is ok.
Also, remember they are pups for about two years. They do normal, puppy things! If it moves, they want to chase! Expect this and plan for it. Have your pups with goats that are bigger then they are. When they are older, have them in with tough does, or bucks. This way, it minimizes the injury puppy play can have on a goat. Not a dog hating goat, but one that is willing to ward off the advances of a pup. This is how they learn.
Also, manage their views on mating behavior. I have seen young dogs get very upset when the buck courts the doe. This is normal and they need help getting through this. Remember, you are the leader. You have the say in what is right and what is wrong.
If you can, have the pups traveling with the herd. Move them from pen to pen, and from herd to herd. This gives them a comfort in learning that change is ok. You don't want an older dog interfering with your breeding scheme!
Neuter or spay your pup! In the overall scheme of life, procreation is one of the strongest driving forces on this earth. A dog capable of breeding is NOT dedicated, for the female, during her heat. For the male, as soon as he gets a whiff, and that can happen all year long.
Keep in mind, that they do grow up, and if managed properly, are worth every frustrating tear, every hair pulling event, Every time you think "I can't do this" situations. We trust our dogs implicitly. Our herds are as safe as they can be.
The last sentence is so true! In Spring, of 2007, we have had mountain lion around our herds. And not one of our goats or dogs have been bothered!
However, after serious pressure to reduce our dogs in the summer of 2008, we suffered two separate losses of our goats to mountain lions in the fall of 2008.
Shortly after this event, we successfully worked with our county, and began rebuilding our dog base. We have added some outstanding dogs who are working hard to protect our herd. We still have the occasional mt. lion encounter, but it has not resulted in the death of any animal as evidences in January, 2010. This, IMO, is why we have our dogs. Everyone wins.
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