When does training begin for our LGD’s at Oasis Homestead?
Why it starts the moment momma and I have a little “conversation” about moving her pups to the training pens at 10 weeks of age. It is very important to me that momma dog and I keep a trustworthy relationship. I would never move her pups without her involvement and consent.
I begin with a bi-weekly visit to her den after their 3rd day in this world, sitting on the ground just a few feet from the curious pups. I always call momma to come with me for our visits. I never sneak up to her den without her permission first. This helps to build security and trust between all parties.
Gradually momma nudges her pups towards me in a way they understand says: “go see her, it’s safe.” Mostly it’s a lot of sniffing and curiosity but very little hands on contact after the pups eyes are open. The less I handle them, the more naturally leery they will be of strangers. This makes better guard dogs for your livestock, your family and your property.
Of course over time, the pups learn to trust those they are regularly in contact with. The members of your family should be feeding and attending to them often, to ensure a close bonding. Eventually, these pups will be bounding towards me every single feeding, anxiously awaiting their vittles!
At 10 weeks of age the first thing I want to establish with these babies is a mutual trust and respect. Something I count on their mother to help secure. The second thing I want to start instilling in them is a respect for fencing, pens and gates.
To accomplish the second part, it is necessary to move the pups from an open setting to a confined one. Since momma can safely wean them at this age, her pups will be removed from her and she will get twice daily visits with them for the next couple months. The pups along with watchful momma are carefully and lovingly moved into a special pen inside the animal barnyard area.
This pen is restricted to use only for the pups and visits from momma twice daily, as well as myself. The pen has both an outside area of at least 10’x 16′, an outside dog house and a stall inside the barn of at least 5’x10′. They will have access to both the inside and outside sections at all times.
The entire pen is built using concreted 4×4’s, 3-5 horizontal 2×4’s on each 8′ section that is holding up 2″x4″ vertically spaced goat wire fencing. The wire fencing is connected to the horizontal 2×4’s using 2″ or longer steeples spaced every 12 inches on every board.
While in this pen the pups will learn to respect a stationary fence. They will be taught not to climb it or dig out under it. They will be taught how gates work and to move swiftly out of the way as they open.
They will begin to learn the sights and sounds of the barnyard. What animals they will be working with and be able to watch the adults through the pen fencing while they perform the daily tasks of guarding the Homestead.
I will begin interacting with the pups inside this pen. At first simply at feeding times, then they will learn the call to come eat and how to keep out from under my feet while I work to clean their pen. Later, they will learn simple grooming and health care steps and commands.
The pups will remain inside this pen until they are roughly 3-4 months old. At which time we begin introducing them to the farm animals gradually.