Kangal Dog Puppy

Kangal Dog Puppy

Friday, July 30, 2010

Working Dog In Progress

Ariella is showing so much promise it is hard to keep up with it all. We have now had her almost one full week. Every day she shows me some new trait. I may have jumped the gun with giving her so much alone time with our two orphan lambs but it seems to be working out. On the second day she began to play with them and run them. I immediately discouraged her from doing that. It has not taken many scoldings for her to stop from doing it. I have yet to catch her in the act ever since. I have given her other things to do besides want to "play" with her mates. At first I gave her an old knotted up sock to play with. Then today I gave her a raw beef bone to chew on.

Since day two of Ariella being here I have taken her with me to do my chores. She rides in the truck next to me. Kelli calls her my "side kick".

Today she went to town with me to pick up sweet corn for our farm stand. She met many people and I got the opportunity to educate curious folks as to what exactly a Livestock Guardian Dog is. And "what kind of dog is she"? People thought I was saying "Congo" instead of Kangal. So I found that if I told them she was a "Turkish Kangal"rather than just Kangal, they understood better what I said. One lady who was from Chicago new her name Ariella was Hebrew. I thought that was interesting.

Every day I take Arie out to see the main flock. 18 sheep in all. At least once a day, depending either how busy I am or whether or not Arie is up to it. She is still quite young and she gets tired out easily.

In the picture just below an adult sheep charged the fence and you can see that Arie made and evasive maneuver. She is very alert and on her toes. By seeing the way the adult sheep act towards her I believe that predators make frequent visits to the movable pen trying to figure out a way in.

I'm beginning to think that the biggest challenge to introducing Ariella to the main flock will be their aggression toward her. I believe that predators are numerous and that they are always looking for a way to get an easy meal as proven by the big loss we had in poultry last year. So these sheep are wary of four legged critters with sharp teeth. They see Arie as a predator right now.

I think that my main challenge in the months to come will be to convince these sheep that Arie is part of the flock.
In the posts to come I plan to show how Arie is already a fierce guardian. I hope to capture some video of how she is protective of her little pen and of her lambs.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

After many weeks of correspondence with Pat Russell the day finally arrived that we would pick up our puppy at the Minneapolis St.Paul International airport. The Russell's use Continental Air Cargo for shipping puppies because they specialize in pets. And this airport, a 4 hour drive, was the closest to us that Continental uses for shipping pets. The date was set for us to pick up our female puppy on Friday the 23rd at 10 pm. Little did we know that my mother in-law would pass away on Tuesday of that week. The funeral was on Friday earlier in the day. after so many weeks of planning we certainly did not want to postpone acquiring our new Kangal Dog puppy.

We chose a female so that we can breed her, something that has been a personal life long dream of mine. We have bred and raised many animals over the years but, never dogs. Plus we would like to have more than one Kangal Dog and breeding would be a good way of achieving that.

The funeral turned out to be a rather large undertaking requiring the team work of many people. So I would be driving to Minnesota on my own. Later my dad learned I was going by myself and offered to go with me and help navigate the highways.

It took exactly 4 hours to get to the airport terminal. We waited about 35 minutes for the puppy to finally appear at the large item department. I was very anxious to see how she fared the trip. When we finally saw her it seemed she had done fine and she did not seem to have any ill effects from the trip.

We wheeled her to our vehicle and I too her out of her crate just to give her a quick look over. Other than having some poop on her from soiling her crate she appeared to be in excellent condition. At this point we had not picked a name for her, all we new of a name at this point was what the Russell's used to identify the pups. They called her Miss Pink. After putting her in her crate and getting back on the highway heading back to Wisconsin Miss Pink let out a mournful series of yelps. I think she was quite tired of traveling and wished she was back home with her litter mates. After that short bout of crying we never heard a peep from her the entire way back.

Once we finally got back to the farm at around 3:40 am on the 24th I did not waste any time removing the puppy from her crate. I was immediately impressed with her intelligent and attentive disposition. It was still dark out and she was instantly taking it all in being very watchful and alert. I have never seen such a thing in a 8 weeks old puppy. I was so impressed I wrote the Russell's an email the following day about how impressed I was when we got home and later in the day after I got some sleep and was able to spend more time with her.

Here is the email I wrote to the Russell's on the 24th:
7-24-2010 5:08 pm
Hi Pat,
I am very impressed with Ms. Pink. Still haven't picked a name, but we might name her after Kelli's mom who passed away this week. We had her funeral yesterday.

I'm already seeing excellent characteristics in the puppy. Even when I first took her out of her crate when we got to the farm this morning. She was not at all shy. It was still dark out and I took her on leash and she led very nicely and did not fight the leash at all. I took her to visit the poultry yard. She was very curious and very attentive as she listened to the sounds of geese softly honking. Then I took her to see the two lambs and she was very inquisitive and they sniffed noses through the fence. Even in the dark she spotted some of our cats as they came to see the new comer. The puppy was taking it all in and was being very observant. I have never in my life seen a 8 week old puppy more observant than her.

After I got a few hours of sleep I got up and showed her around in the day light. She loves people and has no fear. We introduced her to our golden retrievers. She had no fear of them either. She went up and began nibbling on Ben's mouth in an assertive fashion which I was surprised of from such a young pup but, then Ben gave her a sudden and sharp rebuke and she yelped for a little bit. She gained instant respect for Ben and from then on would not even look his direction. I was quite surprised that upon her initial introduction to the two adult dogs that she did not adopt a submissive posture. I expected her to roll over but she did not. Instead it seemed she was attempting to be dominant to the adult dog. But, she is a extremely fast learner and respected Ben's sharp rebuke.

It was after that when we first put her in with the lambs. The puppy was still feeling a little wounded and you might see it on her face in the pictures. The lambs were curious about her but she had little interest in them at that point. Finally I gave her some food and closed her in the crate, with the crate being in the small sheep pen. After she had a nap I went back out and introduced her to the lambs again and she was more curious about them and would lick them around the mouth and ears. It is now after 4 pm and they are getting along great. Her instincts are fantastic. The lambs may come up and give her a little butt, but she easily deflects it and is quickly bonding with them.

Many family members are still here staying with us from the funeral and she is being exposed to lots of people. I have the book Livestock Guardians by Janet Vorwald Dohner which might recommend not bonding her with that many people so that she will be more inclined to bond with the livestock but we want her to be friendly with people who go to and fro from the farm so I don't think it will hurt. What do you think?

Another interesting thing I saw, was earlier when she was still closed in her crate, I had left her baggy full of food on top of the crate and one of the lambs began to get into it. I didn't want the baggy torn open so I quickly ran out to retrieve it from the lamb. I startled the puppy and she actually barked in a defensive nature. She did not act in fear at all but gave a single decisive bark. This too impressed me as I have never seen that in an 8 week old puppy either. Not even from the Rottweiler I had when I was young. She will be an excellent guard dog.

My whole family is very impressed with her, even our out of town guests. She is a fine animal and seems to be very well bred.

I'm looking forward to the days ahead when I can eventually introduce her to the whole flock.

I'll keep you posted with more pictures and tidbits in the coming weeks.

Russ Nellis
Below are some pictures we took that morning of our first interactions with our new Kangal Dog puppy.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Livestock Guardian Dog Breed Research

After the passing of Apollo our Siberian Husky we noticed that the wild life was venturing closer and closer to our homestead. Apollo lived outside and in his younger days he was ever alert to cars pulling in or what ever animal might wander by. After a short while of him being gone deer even began getting into the nearby garden wear as they never used to.

There are many predators in the north woods and from time to time we would lose our poultry to them. We raise chickens, ducks, geese and guinea's. We never lost anything bigger than that but, there has always been the potential for it. We have been fortunate.

In our region we have birds of prey, eagles, hawks and owls. Black bear are prolific. Coyotes and fox are common. In recent years the wolf population has exploded. And from time to time you hear a report of cougars being spotted and or their tracks being found. Cougar sightings have increased over the past two years.

Over time I have entertained the notion of getting a livestock guardian dog and began to research the various breeds. Great Pyrenees are fairly common in Wisconsin but with the caliber of predators we have around here I leaned toward finding a breed of greater stature and more athletic. As far as I could tell Anatolians and Akbash were the closest to what I was leaning towards. We were able to see a pair of Anatolians up close a half dozen years ago or so and I was impressed but, I did not care for the variety of type. The ones with the tan bodies and black masks are the ones I was attracted to most but I was worried that if I got into them then I might not find the ones with the appearance and build that I liked. Later I came across the Kangal Dog which had the exact look and stature that I desired in a LGD.

Last year in one night we lost many chickens and turkeys to coyotes after a couple of our movable pens blew over in a strong wind. I also wonder if wolves got into the action as well because there were many wolf sightings in the area at the time. The amount of meat consumed made me wonder that as well. Wolves are becoming an increasing problem in that they are killing or injuring hunting and pet dogs. Click here to see a news story titled "Wolves kill five more hunting dogs in northern Wisconsin".

We began to worry about our growing flock of Shetland Sheep and figured it was just a matter of time until something bad happened. So from then on I began doing a more serious research of LGD breeds. In my opinion the Turkish Kangal Dog came out on top for what I thought we needed to keep the wolves and coyote away from our livestock. Plus we know that cougar are in the area as well.

The Great Pyrenees breed would have been the easiest to acquire near to where we live but, I kept going back to the Kangal every time. What began as some research turned into almost an obsession into the Kangal Dog breed. The more I learned the more I was convinced that this was the breed we needed here.