Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Mind of a Young LGD

As I have been learning, it takes about two years or so for a young Livestock Guard Dog to mature, both physically and mentally.  It is often difficult to remember that the 90 pound dog trotting along beside me is still basically a 15-month-old puppy.  The instincts are there however.  Today, I heard Heidi barking and saw her get up from her perch in a small shed adjacent to the goat pens.  From her resting spot, she has shelter from the wind and snow but has a good view of the house and if she moves to the front of the shed, she can see down the hill toward the garden.  After getting up, she positioned herself in front of the gate to the Nigerian Dwarf pen.  She sat there for a short while all the time intently peering across to the far hillside.  Now it could be she was just hiding behind the wheelbarrow that was parked there but I think she was instinctively moving closer to the little goats.  After a minute or two she started to growl and moved down the driveway but turned around and came back to the goats.  Suddenly she took off running toward the far hillside to look for the "predator" which in reality turned out to be our big male cat lurking in the brush. 

Maya "the predator".

Even though this was a false alarm I think her protective instincts are kicking in and she is starting to demonstrate signs of maturing mentally.  In areas where there is a heavy predator load, livestock guardians often work in pairs or more, with one dog staying with the herd or flock, and the other dog going out to deter the predator.  Otherwise, one dog can be overworked and overstressed trying to defend their territory.  Since our "predator" today turned out to be the cat I think Heidi will be finde handling both roles.
It's okay.  I handled it.

1 comment:

  1. As I was reading along, I felt sure that were going to say that you were getting another LGD.

    It's been fun to watch Heidi develop. Keep us updated.