Kangal Dog Puppy

Kangal Dog Puppy

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sarah's getting adjusted


I've been taking it slow with getting Sarah integrated with the farm not giving her too many new experiences too soon.  The other day she got to really meet the whole family for the first time.  She did very well and was a perfect lady. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Introducing Sarah

By God's providence we were recently able to acquire another Kangal Dog, a female named Sarah. 

Her owners Donna and Mark were unable to keep her due to a job change, so last weekend we drove over 700 miles one way to go get her from them in Kansas. 

Sarah was originally from Misty Acre's.   Her sire is Majestic Sampiyon Misty Acres and her dam is Odaci's Hediye.

After losing Arie there was no longer any reason for me to keep making posts to this blog but, now that we have Sarah I will use this space to chronicle our experiences with her and any other livestock guardians we might acquire in the future for that matter.

It was a fast trip to go get her and we did not have a lot of time to get introduced having a short visit with Donna and Mark, very nice and pleasant people by the way, and we were on our way back to WI with Sarah securely stowed in the back of our Chevy suburban.

 Since Arie was the only Kangal Dog we have ever been around it was natural to immediately start seeing the striking similarities and also contrasts between the two dogs.

Understandably it was asking a lot out of Sarah to be whisked away into the night by two total strangers in a totally foreign vehicle.  At least she had her own dog bed to lay on that Donna had sent along which was something that was familiar for her. 

After some time along the journey we attempted to make contact with Sarah during our first stop by getting close to her and talking to her.  She replied with a growly disposition towards us which gave us a clue that she wasn't very happy about this sudden relocation.  In fact the entire trip back to WI she would growl out her displeasure every time we attempted to get her to warm up.  This was very understandable since Kangal Dogs are bred to be guardians and she was only doing what comes natural and was guarding her space against these two total strangers to her. 

Finally Kelli got the idea to share some of our lunch meat with Sarah and that did the trick it began the warm up which we needed to effectively interact with her along the journey to her new home in  northern Wisconsin.  I told Kelli, "she's just like me, the way to my heart is through my stomach and she's exactly the same"!  My wife of almost 28 years heartily agreed.

We arrived at our place by around 5 pm Sunday night which didn't leave a lot time to interact with Sarah before having to turn in for the night and get ready for my work week the next day.  But with treats we were able to get Sarah to do what we wanted and get her safely secured for the night in Arie's old house.  I had built a hoop style addition just for Arie on what used to be a horse shelter.  It was pretty much ready to go for Sarah, so that is were we put her for her first night, and closed her in.  I did not want to take any risk of Sarah taking off since she had no attachment whatsoever to her new home.  She had no idea at all that this was her new home and we were her new people.  I did make sure that she could see and hear some sheep and goats that were in close proximity so that she would not feel isolated and alone.   And since those particular livestock where used to spending time in that building it is very likely that they might have even touched noses with Sarah during the first night.

Sarah took up her guarding duties right away.  She barked at another dog which was barking at a neighbors down the road and she barked at some coyotes that were yipping out in the woods.  And she would bark at any of us as we approached her house, but then she would stop after we went in an she assessed that we were OK, especially when we gave her a tasty treat, then she really knew we were fine. 

Yesterday which was Tuesday, was day two, I don't really count Sunday because it was in the evening when we got home and she never left the shelter, I brought her out yesterday for the first time to go on a family walk so she could get to know the rest of the family better.  We figured on taking a lengthy hike which we are accustomed to doing but, once we got out of sight and scent of Sarah's new home she all but dragged me right back to her house.  She did a complete 180 and was going back with or without me!   Not wanting to freak her out I obliged her and we went back.  I was very impressed with this behavior.  It means she is a real homebody.  Sarah has a very distinct awareness of her territory.  She doesn't realize right now that there is WAY more to her new domain than just her little place that she is currently getting used to.   But I reckon that will come with time. 

 On that note I'll mention some of the similarities and dis-similarities between Sarah and Arie.   From a distance they look almost identical.   But, up close  we can tell that Sarah is slightly taller at the withers than Arie was.    Arie was thicker.  She had a thicker neck and broader head than Sarah.   However Sarah's front shoulder is way larger than Arie's which might account for the extra inch or so in height.  Also Sarah is a little longer in the leg, but with smaller feet.

 Physically it is uncanny the similarities.  And some of the personalities are similar.  Sarah loves a good petting just as much as Arie ever did which is remarkably the same.  Perhaps this is a strong trait in Kangal Dogs , but I don't know.

On the opposite end of the spectrum Sarah is WAY more mild in her guarding than was Arie.  Arie was a hunter.  She was born a hunter and died a hunter.  In my opinion Arie was on the extreme, very gamey.  I strongly suspected this before, but now after observing Sarah I am completely convinced that Arie had a very strong prey drive.  Sarah is a lot more mellow in that regard, which makes her much more trustworthy and reliable.  So far, when Sarah sees something to bark at, she does not throw her weight against the fence, she just stands there on all fours and barks, she doesn't put her whole body into it like Arie did. 

If I had wanted a hunting dog Arie would have been without peer.  She was indeed a natural born "hunting mastiff".  Lived and died to hunt.  To Arie even white tail deer was fair game even though they are hoofed animals like what she was supposed to be guarding.  Arie  went after the deer with the same ferocity as she would with any varmint, which is what I am convinced she was chasing the night she was killed in the highway.   I think she was chasing deer. 

For a livestock guardian, as far as I understand this was an undesirable trait.  I know I've read in a couple different places where balanced LGD's  will pretty much ignore deer as they graze amongst the livestock being of similar kind of animal to what the dog is guarding and is bonded to.

Now Sarah is opposite in regards to Arie's intense killer instinct, which I am very glad for.  Sarah's personality is what I would deem an ideal LGD.   As far as I know she has yet to bark at the white tail deer that frequent our fields.  Sarah is highly observant and intelligent so I'm sure she has seen them even already.  Arie went berserk when she'd see a deer.

 In fact I am so confident of Sarah's temperament, that she has a strong sense of where she belongs that I did not lock her inside for the night last night.  However about 3 am I kept having flash backs, sort of, of the morning we found Arie dead next to the road that I got panicky and went out and checked on Sarah.  Of course my fears where unfounded and I found her happy and content to be where she was.

 I strongly suspected that Arie was not a typical Kangal, that her personality was strong in prey drive and now that I am getting to know Sarah I am completely convinced.  Sarah is a balanced and stable dog.  Measured in her response, as I have so often heard about Kangal dogs being.  "Measured" is the key word here.   Arie was anything but, measured.  Arie went from zero to kill in a split second.  Not so with Sarah, she takes a moment to assess the situation and of course uses an appropriate response.

Sarah is just a little older than Arie would be now so with the acquisition of Sarah I feel like we have not lost much ground.  It almost feels like Arie went away for a time and is now back, but way more managable and mellow.

Well, I will finish this post with a few pictures of us integrating Sarah to her knew home.