As usual I am up to my ears (or is it Sophie's ears?) and this time it is training the newest resident here at the ranch - a brand new livestock guard dog. Sophie is a six month old Anatolian Pyrenees and the smartest dog I have ever encountered - thank goodness because that means I will be able to get her trained fast. It is very time consuming to train a young guard dog with no mentors to show her the ropes. Both breeds are very instinctual to the job, but must be socialized not only with the animals but with family and neighbors, because she will be a very very large dog, that can be agressive if not socialized properly since it is her job to protect her flock family. I have to monitor her constantly while the training is going on. She has been trialed with ewes and lambs, the main flock and finally the rams and male alpacas and all have accepted her so far. She is so young that I have to be extremely careful that she does not chase the lambs or the small shetland ewes. Now we just have to be sure she stays with the flock and within the fences. Since its such a large area, that is a bit of a challenge for training but she is so smart that it won't take long and she is very well behaved so far, smart as a whip and very sweet.
In the long run, she will be an invaluable protector for the flock as well as me. She is a very beautiful girl that I am trying desperately not to spoil too much so that she keeps her mind on her business, but its very hard - look at that sweet face!