Determining Working Traits in an Outcross Puppy
By Erick Conard, July 2, 2021
THE FIRST WEEK AT DIKKAT'S NEW HOME AT LUCKY HIT RANCH
I first saw DIKKAT sitting quietly in her crate as the shipment handlers brought the crate to the office. As my friend Dan carried DIKKAT'S crate to the back of my pick-up, DIKKAT watched everything that was happening. She didn't show fear or apprehension of any kind... she just observed everything with interest. I liked her calm and self-assured demeanor.
I had the lead ready and opened the crate door. DIKKAT stepped out confidently, allowing me to place the lead on without hesitation. I picked DIKKAT up and set her on the ground. She moved beside me eagerly toward the grass and immediately peed when we reached it. Shortly after, she pooped. Her crate was spotless even though she had needed to do her business with some urgency!
Dan drove, allowing me to pay attention to DIKKAT. She sat quietly behind us in the extended cab watching everything with calm interest. She appeared as calm and at ease as if she made this trip every day. I value and look for this type of calm, observant behavior in Anatolians. DIKKAT'S calm nature reminded me of her sire, CHAMPION LUCKY HIT Sonra GAZI of CEDAR RISE (GAZI).
TIMARU DIKKAT of LUCKY HIT (DIKKAT)
DIKKAT on her way to LUCKY HIT RANCH from the airport on March 15, 2021!
THE INITIAL EVALUATION
When we arrived at Lucky Hit, I walked DIKKAT around a bit and introduced her through the fence with some of my other Anatolians. I wanted her to begin learning who else lived at Lucky Hit. As is correct for an Anatolian pup, she was sweet and submissive to all my adults. Seeing she was with me and hearing my baby talk (my cue that all is well), my dogs eagerly greeted her with interest.
We entered her new area, populated by twenty yearling female goats (see top picture above) and her father's brother, LUCKY HIT SONRA GENIS OF CEDAR RISE (GENIS). I had specifically picked GENIS to be with DIKKAT so her initial impression of Lucky Hit was a good one. GENIS had already proven his superior nurturing ability both with puppies he sired as well as puppies from other males. DIKKAT initially explored her area and came back to check on me every few minutes. She seemed calm and at ease with her new environment. It began to get dark so I left her area. DIKKAT lay down by the fence and watched me walk away.
The next morning I saw DIKKAT had become quite comfortable here, especially with her Uncle GENIS. While she maintained excellent interactions with the goats, her focus was GENIS. Whenever I looked for her, I found her laying near GENIS. Whatever he was doing she seemed to be doing also. Since GENIS is an excellent Anatolian guardian, most of the time he lay around watching the goats. Occasionally, he'd jump up, run to the fence, and bark at something he saw that worried him! DIKKAT also ran to the fence, sometimes barking with him and sometimes just looking to see why he was barking. DIKKAT was GENIS's little partner. However, when I came out to feed her, DIKKAT ran to the gate with excitement and animation, very much the puppy.
Goats don't care for excited behavior so neither do I. While this excited behavior is cute, I don't want to encourage incorrect behavior that the Anatolian might engage in for years to come. So at the gate, as DIKKAT excitedly jumped around greeting me with excess enthusiam, I simply said "Back Off" and swung the gate open a couple of feet. After I stepped in and shut the gate, I stroked her head and spoke to her calmly and sweetly for as long as she stood still. The moment she moved, I moved on. Over time, this calming method has modified her behavior (or perhaps she would have changed anyway?). Now (at 4 months) DIKKAT comes to the gate, stands quietly about six feet away so I don't have to ask her to back off, and waits for me to come in and stoke her head. In dealing with puppies, my behavior is designed to encourage calm behaviors. By ignoring and discouraging excitable behaviors, over time correctly bred pups easily develop the calm demeanor required in excellent working Anatolians.
During this important developmental phase one must always remember that the pup IS a pup! Be Patient and be Calm! If you can't remain calm how do you expect your young pup to remain calm? And if something happens that results in you becoming angry just walk away and calm down. Do not interact with your pup when you are feeling any anger!!!! If you aren't in control of your emotions DO NOT WORK WITH YOUR PUP!!!
TIMARU DIKKAT of LUCKY HIT (DIKKAT)
On March 16, 2021, after spending her first night at Lucky Hit Ranch with her uncle,
LUCKY HIT SONRA GENIS OF CEDAR RISE (GENIS).
DIKKAT already loves GENIS for his kind and protective manner and shows him so with a sweet lick!
GENIS watches over DIKKAT as she eats her food, making her feel safe and secure!
I believe that raising pups with their dad (or another male) as well as two or three other females (all carefully selected for excellent temperament) helps expand the pup's understanding of "dog language." Pups raised this way seem to be able to interact with other Anatolians more peacefully and settle disagreements with fewer holes!
Another important thing they learn is that they are not always in total control of every aspect of their environment! Sometimes when an Anatolian pup is raised alone the pup becomes "too full of himself!" And especially if the owner is less than correctly alpha, the pup will grow to be an adult intolerant of any disobedience to his rule!
You might want to look at my article, TESTING NURTURING ABILITY to see more about pups being raised with adults.
TIMARU DIKKAT of LUCKY HIT (DIKKAT)
On March 16, 2021, already in love with her uncle,
LUCKY HIT SONRA GENIS OF CEDAR RISE (GENIS),
In order to make DIKKAT's introduction to Lucky Hit Ranch a good one, I picked GENIS to be DIKKAT'S adult Anatolian friend. GENIS has amazing nurturing behavior with both pups and kids. However, one must never believe that the Anatolian's nurturing side is all there is to the Anatolian's temperament. Correctly bred Anatolians must also have a fiercely protective nature as well! Both nurturing and protective aspects are required in all correctly bred Anatolians and GENIS has proven that he has both!
FEEDING THE PUP AND EVALUATING THE PUP WITH GOATS
When I have a litter, until my puppies are eight weeks of age I add goat milk to Blue Buffalo Large Breed Puppy "GRAIN FREE" to soften and warm the Puppy Food. I also add duck eggs occasionally. I taper off the goat milk when they turn two months old.
At two months I feed my puppies three times a day. I feed Blue Buffalo Large Breed Puppy "GRAIN FREE." They have always done very well with this dog food. I add a small amount of water to the feed so it is easier for the pup to swallow the dry kibble. I tend to feed twice a day when they turn four months but the rate I taper off to a single feeding a day (generally by a year) depends on each individual pup and what that pup seems to need.
I allow them to eat as much as they want at each feeding. Because I feed the same food at each feeding and it gets a bit boring, they don't seem to over-eat. It is important to not overfeed your pups. Lean but healthy is what you look for! Always feed the highest quality puppy food that you can afford!!! The first year is the most important growth phase in a puppy's life and the quality of the food in this year has a great impact on the rest of the puppy's life!
Several times a day I stop what I'm doing and watch the pup from a distance. It is important to maintain a pup with the correct level of training goats... not too strong, not too weak... look for goats that have the right balance of strength and an amenable nature! It's vital that an Anatolian pup lives with goats that can't be intimidated by a pup and also goats that aren't bullies! The balance of goat power must be checked daily at a minimum, since the pup is developing and becoming both larger and more internally powerful each day. At the first sign that a pup isn't with goats who have the correct level of internal strength for that pup, a responsible owner will remove the improperly weak training goats and replace them with goats capable of asking for and enforcing correct responses from the pup without becoming mean and/or a bully!
If this sounds like too much work or trouble, please don't purchase an Anatolian!!! Especially during the first year, the training environment is crucial and as the owner you are completely responsible for providing an excellent training environment for the Anatolian pup!
If you are not willing to test the working ability of your Anatolian pup and fail to raise the pup in a true working environment (with sheep and/or goats in a predator rich environment), PLEASE do everyone a favor and DO NOT BREED THAT UNPROVEN ANATOLIAN!!!!! In my opinion, an Anatolian "breeder" who fails to test their breeding Anatolians for the essence of the breed (superior working ability) is just an Anatolian puppy mill! Frequently they talk about how responsible they are because of all the health testing they do and/or show wins they have. Those are good things... but without testing for superior working ability these "breeders" are demonstrating their lack of concern for actual Anatolian Breed Preservation! I can't imagine how they even know what traits to look for in their breeding Anatolians if they haven't raised Anatolians in a true working environment!
TIMARU DIKKAT of LUCKY HIT (DIKKAT)
On March 16, 2021, feeling safe and secure with her uncle,
LUCKY HIT SONRA GENIS OF CEDAR RISE (GENIS),
It is important that a young pup has a place to go to feel completely safe and secure, even from the goats! In DIKKAT'S situation, her safe place seemed to be beside her Uncle GENIS!
ADDITIONAL EVALUATION WITH GOATS - DONE DAILY
Over DIKKAT'S first few days here, I noticed that DIKKAT moved easily through the goat herd (at this point about 20 yearling female kids). They grew up with Anatolians and her presence and movement didn't disturb them. However, I saw that DIKKAT didn't appear to understand that her rate of speed or her somewhat level head position might cause a goat to butt her and since these goats weren't bothered neither was she.
Goats have behaviors they like to see and if they don't see them, they use a swift head butt to teach proper goat herd ettiquette. I wondered if DIKKAT'S less-concerned behavior was a genetic difference as a result of the outcross, training methods before she arrived here, or my goats easy acceptence of Anatolians. If her behavior was the result of training methods, was DIKKAT not placed with training goats as early as I place my pups? (Mine are moved to a pasture with their training goats at three weeks.) I suspected that a difference in training methods might be the causative factor.
On the positive side, as I watched DIKKAT trot across her pasture I noticed how fluidly and effortlessly she moved. She seems to be floating across the pasture without effort. She is beautifully built with an exceptional and correct front and rear assembly and she has perfect angulation. I was confident that with the right level of "goat correction" DIKKAT would quickly learn that her lowered head would signal her tranquil mindset and that a slower rate of speed would reassure the goats of her peaceful intent. All DIKKAT needed was the right training goats for her to modify her somewhat cavalier and free-spirited attitude. A cavalier and free-spirited attitude is unpopular in a goat herd.
DIKKAT seemed to enjoy her yearling girls and they seemed to like her, so I decided to wait several more weeks before exchanging the girls for more powerful goats. I wanted to be certain that DIKKAT enjoyed being at Lucky Hit Ranch before placing more dominant goats with her. (It is important to create an environment your Anatolian pup enjoys so who you place the pup with initially is crucial!) Since DIKKAT didn't chase or harrass her goats in any way, the more dominant and insistent goats could wait. However, if any chasing and/or grabbing appeared, I would immediately make the change to more dominant goats!
TIMARU DIKKAT of LUCKY HIT (DIKKAT)
On March 16, 2021, hanging out with her uncle,
LUCKY HIT SONRA GENIS OF CEDAR RISE (GENIS),
and about 20 yearling girl kids.
GENIS is amazing with pups and newborns.
TIMARU DIKKAT of LUCKY HIT (DIKKAT)
On March 17, 2021, hanging out with her uncle,
LUCKY HIT SONRA GENIS OF CEDAR RISE (GENIS),
and still hanging with the 20 girl nannie kids.
GENIS consistently displays extreme tolerance and patience with DIKKAT.
His exceptionally good nature certainly has allowed DIKKAT to feel good about being here!
CHANGING OUT THE GOATS
One day I noticed DIKKAT joining the yearling goats as they ran for fun. She made no attempt to grab or bite as she ran with the goats ... but "running with" is step one and can lead to step two, "grabbing and biting." While some grabbing and biting isn't unusual in young Anatolians, it is something I don't tolerate. I correct this undesirable behavior by switching out the weak goats for stronger goats.
DIKKAT had already shown her confident and secure nature around goats with a less than submissive response to the head tilt than I like to see. This response is common with pups placed with less than dominant goats and can mean the pup had not learned to be correctly submissive to goats. A lack of submission and respect for the goats cannot continue.
So after seeing DIKKAT run with the yearlings, I kept a much closer watch on DIKKAT. When I saw DIKKAT the next day again running with the goats, I immediately moved the yearling girls out and moved my young males in (five goats from seven months to three years of age). For a few days DIKKAT was very respectful of these young males, probably because the three year old boer is an aggressively dominant male. However, I watched DIKKAT closely because one of the males was quite young and therefore likely to be easily intimidated by a dominant and confident young Anatolian.
It didn't take long before I saw DIKKAT run alongside the youngest male. Seeing this behavior, I immediately removed all the males and brought in two of my largest mature and DOMINANT female Boer goats. These goats had an attitude and great horns. DIKKAT needed to learn that goats must be respected and she must demonstrate that respect with a submissive demeanor! These dominant nannies were great with DIKKAT as long as she observed correct herd ettiquite but they didn't tolerate any improper herd behavior. The first day DIKKAT was on her best behavior. However, on day two I noticed that DIKKAT had stopped caring about demonstrating respectful demeanor as she trotted by the goats. They noticed this change in attitude also!
DIKKAT appeared to see something in the big pasture she wanted to check out. She trotted right by the two nannies without any sign of respect. The goats clearly didn't appreciate DIKKAT'S lack of deferential respect and followed her to the corner of the pasture, so I started filming!
DIKKAT moved into the corner and looked with interest across the big pasture. Seeing nothing significant and completely ignoring the two nannies who had followed her, DIKKAT put her head down and begin digging a resting hole. The head down position calmed the nannies a bit. However, working together, the Nannies had trapped DIKKAT in the corner. DIKKAT didn't even notice she'd been trapped. She continued to ignore the indignant goats without seeming to notice the goats were unhappy with her, a failure in observation none of my pups raised with goats from three weeks would have made at this age. Early experience with goats teaches Anatolian pups that ignoring an annoyed goat is a really bad idea!
Irritated at being ignored, one of the nannies lightly butted DIKKAT in the rear. DIKKAT didn't acknowledge the butt in any way and continued digging. Big mistake! Another butt a bit harder. Still no response. A third and harder butt moved DIKKAT'S rear around a bit, making DIKKAT finally halfway face the nannies. DIKKAT still didn't lower her head or show any respect the nannies required. Four more light shoves occurred in quick succession.
After each shove DIKKAT moved her head toward the goat somewhat warningly but without any real aggression. All she needed to do was display the respect and submission the goats wanted to see and the goats would calm down. Perhaps because her lack of experience with goats who are truly dominant, DIKKAT appeared somewhat confused about what was happening and why. I assumed her confusion was a lack of sufficient early training. The training these goats were providing are given to my pups somewhere between three and five weeks!
Concerned by the aggressive and confusing behavior on the part of these nannies, DIKKAT still remained calm but now kept her head slanted toward the goat as the nanny made several more aggressive head tilts. I'm certain DIKKAT was confused because this was the first time she'd seen this level of goat dominance! I was happy to see she remained so calm and seemed to be trying to figure out the best way to calm down these "crazy" goats!
To avoid all confusion, the nanny hit DIKKAT's side hard enough to slam her into the fence. It wasn't vicious but it was far more than just a shove. I found it shocking to watch! The hit picked DIKKAT up and moved her about three feet through the air and into the fence! DIKKAT seemed unafraid and unhurt but still didn't respond with a respectfully lowered head, as the nanny insisted she do. DIKKAT seemed even more confused by this new goat behavior and uncertain what she should do next.
She seemed to be thinking "What does this angry goat want?" The nanny tilted her head, again asking for respect.
In response, DIKKAT briefly put her foot on the nanny's head self-protectively. She seemed to realize her foot wasn't effective at calming the nanny either and only did it once. This confused behavior is why I place my pups with my training goats at three weeks. A goat will shove a young pup to the ground if it doesn't show the proper respect, which greatly increases the pup's learning curve! This goat's reaction is also why you don't want goats that are actually mean. The goat's behavior wasn't actually mean. It was her method of communicating the behavior she expected from DIKKAT.
DIKKAT now wanted to move out of the corner to get away from these disturbing goats. I could see DIKKAT thinking "What's going on here? This goat's out of control!" DIKKAT had clearly never before been with a strong mature adult goat who insisted that DIKKAT respond with the correct level of respect to a goat head tilt. In spite of DIKKAT'S lack of the proper demeanor with this goat, I was happy that DIKKAT didn't feel the need to respond to these insistent goats with aggression. She seemed to be trying to figure out exactly what they wanted.
DIKKAT decided that her best move to make the goats happy was to get out of the corner and away from these pushy goats. As she moved past the goats, she cleverly avoided another butting. They might be disturbed but she wasn't! Once past the goats, DIKKAT moved quickly and happily to her faithful protector, GENIS! She knew she was safe with him!
That was a couple of weeks ago. I don't know what happened through the night, but since then DIKKAT has been great with these dominant nannies and I haven't seen any more confrontations! However, DIKKAT is careful to keep from being cornered by them!
TIMARU DIKKAT of LUCKY HIT (DIKKAT)
On April 8, 2021, hanging out with training goats,
DIKKAT clearly has an exceptional conformation.
Since DIKKAT was settling in so well and seemed quite happy here at LUCKY HIT, I decided it was time to remove the nurturing and sweet GENIS for two excellent puppy training dogs, SONRA (Genis's mom) and CAS (Genis's full sister). What I generally see in my Anatolians is that my females tend to insist that puppies behave in a more adult manner than my males. These females will enforce their requests for adult behavior in an escalating fashion. I was certain SONRA and CAS would not accept DIKKAT'S overly-insistent mouth licking. A quick lick is OK and shows the pup is being submissive but licking must stop immediately when the licking becomes irritating. And licking cannot continue as the pup matures!
I reminded myself that DIKKAT was only four months old and was actually still just a young puppy! She weighed around 50 pounds so that made viewing her as a pup a bit more difficult. No matter how large an Anatolian pup is, it is important that the owner treat and interact with the pup as a pup... not as an adult dog. While their body might be quite large, their mental development progresses at a certain rate that isn't changed by the overall size of the pup!
To begin the change in adult supervision, I brought SONRA in with DIKKAT for about 20 minutes of supervised interaction. SONRA raised two litters and while she doesn't tolerate excess puppy-like behaviors as the puppies age, she is excellent at an increase in force when she disciplines. DIKKAT ran up to Sonra and started excitedly licking SONRA'S mouth. SONRA just turned her head away, a clue that she was ready for the licking to stop. When DIKKAT continued licking with enthusiasm, SONRA curled her lip and growled quietly. Wanting SONRA to accept her, DIKKAT continued licking, ignoring the curled lip and the quiet growl... a mistake.
SONRA grabbed DIKKAT'S muzzle for just a second with a loud growl, then released it. DIKKAT stopped the licking for a couple of minutes but still danced around SONRA in a submissive puppy-like manner. When DIKKAT started the licking again, SONRA grabbed her muzzle with a growl and pushed DIKKAT to the ground with force, held her down about three seconds, and then released her. DIKKAT didn't have any punctures but two spots on her muzzle had the hair removed. DIKKAT seemed to get this message and, although she stayed near SONRA, there was no more licking. I moved SONRA out for a couple of days for DIKKAT to think about what happened and absorb SONRA'S lesson!
LUCKY HIT DivaKiz SONRA of CEDAR RISE (SONRA.
A couple of days later I moved both SONRA and CAS in and GENIS out. This time, when either SONRA or CAS curled their lip and growled, DIKKAT stopped the licking and moved away! Over the next couple of weeks DIKKAT seemed to mature greatly. She rarely engaged in puppy-like excitement. Instead, she exhuded a calm demeanor, a demeanor appropriate for a goat guardian! After about a week, she and CAS began playing together a bit... but I noticed that DIKKAT was always respectful of CAS even when playing! I liked seeing that!
In addition to these two adult Anatolian females training DIKKAT, she was also being trained by the two dominant boer females. All of this training has worked together to make DIKKAT a calm young Anatolian puppy!
DIKKAT still hasn't shown the extreme lowered head I prefer in my dogs that indicates respectful submission to goats but she hasn't been aggressive or abusive to them either. And best of all, she seems to genuinely like goats. What DIKKAT has that I really like is an even and steady temperament and very tolerant nature. She is quite fearless and I do like seeing that! She has a cousin that is also an outcross to my lines with some of her fearlessness and an even greater love of goats. He always wants to be in the middle of a group of goats and will stand still with his head lowered until even the tough goats accept him. In some ways they have similiar styles. However, this boy was raised with livestock since he was quite young. I believe it helped him understand that when he "bows his head respectfully" his goats feel much more secure and comfortable!
Just a reminder... if you are looking for a pup to protect your livestock it is vital that you chose your pup from two proven working parents. No matter what non-working accomplishments the parents have, only proven excellent working ability is likely to produce excellent working ability in the pups! And it is important that the breeder raise their pups with sheep and/or goats from an early age. If the breeder has been selecting for other non-working behaviors and attributes, the pup is likely to have those same non-working behaviors and attributes the breeder was choosing! If those behaviors were for excellent generic show dog behaviors, their pups will likely have excellent generic show dog behaviors also, which tend to be antagonistic to excellent working ability! And remember, if you encounter an Anatolian that is always sweet and kind to everyone, even unpleasant people the Anatolian doesn't know, that Anatolian isn't a correctly bred guardian Anatolian!
TIMARU DIKKAT of LUCKY HIT (DIKKAT)
On April 8, 2021, a bit too calm and secure around the yearling girl kids.
You can see that the goat on the front left is signaling to DIKKAT that she is uncomfortable with DIKKAT climbing on the feeder but as a yearling female she had no follow-through head butt to back up her head tilt!
I like to see a pup display more respect for the head tilt than DIKKAT is displaying here. DIKKAT has such a secure and confident attitude that she didn't seem to either notice or care about this goat's communication. My ultimate solution for DIKKAT's less than submissive response to a goat's head tilt is to have DIKKAT spend some time with my two largest and most dominant female boer goats. These goats hate being disrespected that way and will enforce correct herd behaviors!
THE IMPORTANCE OF TEACHING A PUPPY WHAT "WAIT" MEANS!
June 3, 2021
After feeding the dogs I came in. About 30 minutes later I heard my other dogs barking in an alarm call. I stepped outside and saw nothing! In a reassuring voice I said, "It's OK. Nothing's wrong." and the dogs stopped barking. I started to step inside and heard a small yelp. The barking began again. All the attention was focused on DIKKAT, who was lying down by one of the gates to her area with her head almost on the ground. The two older Anatolians with DIKKAT, CHAMPION Ashley Manor DivaKiz LUCKY HIT (KIZZIE) and LUCKY HIT Sonra CAS Kizzie of CEDAR RISE (CAS), were standing over DIKKAT, looking quite concerned but helpless to help her!
"DIKKAT, What's wrong? Is everything OK?" I yelled in a questioning voice.
In response she yelped and whined while keeping her head down. She half stood up but kept her head almost on the ground. I immediately ran to her pen. I knew something was wrong but I couldn't imagine what it was! Was her head stuck? Her head seemed in the wrong place for that!
As I approached, I calmly and reassuringly repeated, "Wait DIKKAT. It's OK. Wait... Wait..." DIKKAT lay still, appearing to feel better seeing I was coming. When I arrived I saw the problem. Somehow she had wedged her lower jaw between the gate and a wire that had not been tightened sufficiently around the gate. Now, with her lower jaw jammed through the loop, the wire was quite tight!
"My God, she coud break her jaw!" I thought. If DIKKAT became too alarmed by how tightly her jaw was caught by the wire and began throwing her body around vigorously to jerk loose, breaking her jaw was a distinct possibility!
I needed a wire-cutter to free DIKKAT and had to leave DIKKAT to get it. As I left I kept repeating as calmly with as much reassurance as possible, "DIKKAT, wait, wait!", hoping desperately that DIKKAT had learned the "WAIT" command.
From DIKKAT'S first day here, I made DIKKAT wait for her food. I do this every day for all my dogs. First, I bring the food for all animals in the area. I feed the goats first. The dogs have to "WAIT" and are not allowed to eat the goat food. While the goats are eating, I place a small amount of water from the tank in each dog food bowl. Next, I fill each bowl with the appropriate dog food (adult food for adults and puppy food for DIKKAT). Any time DIKKAT moves to eat from a bowl, I say "DIKKAT. WAIT." (I try to use a specific command rather than always using "NO!") I pick up and hand stir each bowl. I am not rushed so my dogs learn to lay down and watch while I prepare the bowls. When all the bowls are prepared, I pick up a bowl, say the dog's name, and set the bowl down in front of that dog. To help DIKKAT learn to wait patiently, I give DIKKAT her bowl last. As they eat I occasionally pick up a bowl or reach in and move the food around. When I set the bowl down, I always pet and praise that dog. This method gives me a daily chance to teach each dog to have PATIENCE, SELF-RESTRAINT, and the "WAIT" command.
Luckily, for the previous two weeks I had also begun teaching DIKKAT to stand still and "WAIT" for a treat. I first gave her the treat almost immediately but slowly extended the time DIKKAT was required to wait for the treat. As I ran for the wire-cutter, I hoped DIKKAT had grasped the concept of "WAIT" and would realize I was asking her to be still for a bit before freeing her! I certainly didn't want her to break her jaw!
I ran to the storage room but the wire cutter wasn't there; it was even further away. However, I saw a goat hoof trimmer and, certain it would work, I picked it up and raced back to DIKKAT. She had remained relatively still while I was gone. As I drew near, she whined and moved a bit.
"Wait... wait..." I said as calmly and soothingly as I could. I leaned over and smoothly cut the wire! DIKKAT was released! Of course, I held her to me, talking lovingly as I rubbed her body and head tenderly. I was so proud of her for handling this potentially jaw-breaking situation with such trust in me! She didn't appear to have any emotional distress from the ordeal. After a bit, I looked at her mouth and was pleased to note that her mouth was in excellent condition!
DIKKAT is a very intelligent Anatolian. As she has developed, she has been shedding her earlier puppy behaviors and developing into a young Anatolian with a thoughtful and calm demeanor. The overly excited puppy play behaviors she engaged in when she saw me bringing her puppy food is fading away. Her more adult behavior not only is great with the goats, but since DIKKAT weighed 64 pounds at five months, her calmer behaviors a demeanor makes her much easier for me to handle.
I believe that DIKKAT'S excellent temperament combined with the training I gave her regarding the concept of "WAIT" were both instrumental in the successful outcome of this dangerous situation! As Anatolian owners it is our responsiblity to teach our Anatolians as many different useful and practical commands as we can. While our Anatolians might chose to ignore the command when they don't agree, they learn concepts quickly and you never know when a command might prove useful!
TIMARU DIKKAT of LUCKY HIT (DIKKAT)
On May 12, 2021, hanging out with training goats and her granddam,
LUCKY HIT DivaKiz SONRA (SONRA),
SONRA is a wonderful training female... Stern but fair with her granddaughter, DIKKAT.
TRIPS TO THE VET FOR PUPPY SHOTS
Because I have so many Anatolians, for routine rabies vaccinations for my adults I tend have the vet come out for a Ranch Visit. It saves a lot of individual trips back and forth. However, a new puppy requires puppy shots which cannot be put off - puppy shots are on a completely different schedule than adult dog vaccinations.
Pups require the multiple vaccine shots monthly. For the rabies vaccination I keep a two weeks minimum separation between the rabies vaccine and any other vaccinations to ensure the maximum immune response. (When vaccinations are "stacked" together the immune response of each vaccine is reduced. I want to make certain that my puppies obtain the maximum immune response possible when they are given the rabies vaccination!)
As an additional benefit, these vet trips allow my pups to become less concerned, even comfortable, riding in a vehicle. And I make certain that my behavior only adds to the pup's enjoyment of the trip. No harsh tones and no unpleasantness no matter what the pup is or is not doing!!!! I teach the pup to feel comfortable getting into the extended cab of the pick-up. I break these lessons into "steps."
Step one is designed to help the pup approach the vehicle door calmly. In my pick-up, the extended back seat is quite high off the ground (about 4 feet). If the pup acts apprehensive at being by the open door, we wait there about 30 seconds while I am petting and talking sweetly to the pup. Then we walk away a short distance and return. I repeat the sweet talk and petting. Soon, the pup isn't nervous being at the open door. I was impressed how calmly and assuredly DIKKAT approached the open pick-up door.
Step two is to help the pup feel calm with her feet on the floor of the pick-up. Generally I say "UP" in a strong and certain voice. I lift up on the lead and if the pup doesn't step up I lift the pup's front feet onto the floor board one at a time, praising effusively as I do so. With both of the pup's front feet on the floor board, I praise and pet the pup, making certain the pup hears true enthusiam and happiness in my voice. I am willing to repeat this step until the pup immediately jumps up onto the floor board with confidence. It is vital that the pup understands that this location is a safe place and that the pup is in a safe position before you move on to the next step.
Step three is to teach the pup to move onto the seat. I flip the lead around the headrest of the pickup's front seat. DON'T TIE THIS LEAD. Simply hold it with one hand leaving the other free to help the pup! This time when the pup has her feet on the floor board, I say "UP.. UP" in an urgent and enthusiastic voice. Once I'm teaching this phase, I allow the pup to move forward but not backward. That is why the lead is secured around the headrest (BUT NOT TIED!). If the pup feels too afraid to go onto the seat and pulls back, the slip collar tightens.
DON'T LET THIS TIGHTENING CONTINUE! Immediately move the pup's body through space (pick the pup up and place her onto the seat) in response to your command if she doesn't move. It doesn't matter if the movement is created by you or by the pup - what matters is the pup moves immediately! So if the pup pulls back, quickly reach down, pick up the pups body, and smoothly move the pup onto the seat! (I place my hand and forearm between the pups back legs to lift the pup.) The pup is quickly and easily moved onto the pick-up seat so what the pup realizes is that backing up led to discomfort and moving forward led to comfort. Imagine this situation mentally so you will be ready for what you need to do before actually attempting it physically!
Naturally, once the pup is in the pick-up, I praise the pup enthusiastically and might even give the pup a tasty treat (like a bite of cooked chicken). After about 30 seconds, especially if the pup is acting nervous, I calmly tell the pup to get back out (I use "OK" and a hand gesture.) We walk away a short distance and then return and repeat this procedure as many times as necessary for the pup to feel comfortable in the back of the pick-up. It's obvious that the pup begins to feel much better when she realizes she will be allowed to leave the pick-up at some point!
DIKKAT has seemed completely at ease riding in the pick-up since I picked her up at the airport. However, the occasional "road trip" helps an Anatolian pup stay familiar with a vehicle ride and keeps the level of anxiety down as the pup matures. All lessons must be repeated occasionally as the pup matures to maintain the behaviors the pup has been taught.
If I have another dog in need of a booster, or even just to see how the pup and another dog ride together, I bring another Anatolian. Generally, because I select for off-territory shut down, the two dogs (who have not lived in the same pasture) get along great. They are off-territory and therefore hesitant to make any rash decisions. The off-territory shut down helps them get along. They even seem to appreciate the company of the other dog.
Each time I've taken DIKKAT for her shots she has gotten along beautifully with her companion Anatolian. Her time with SONRA (her grandmother) and CAS (her aunt) has certainly been beneficial, as they both have given clear and measured guidance to DIKKAT regarding what behaviors are acceptable and what behaviors are NOT acceptable. If you only have one Anatolian pup and no adults (or no safe adults), Anatolian ettiquite might have to be missing from your pup's training experience.
If you have an excellent adult, that adult's contribution to a pup's training can be amazing! However, if I were afraid of an adult's potential to engage in overly aggressive behavior with a young pup, I would not only keep that pup away from the adult but I would also NEVER BREED that undependable adult!!!! Anatolians that can't be trusted with young pups are likely to be untrustworthy with young kids and young lambs! Of course, if you don't raise your Anatolians in a working setting, reliability with kids and lambs might not be an issue for you! But I can assure you that it is an issue for those who purchase your pups for livestock protection. Both feriocity and nurturing are required in Anatolians. And guiding those two opposite behaviors is an Anatolian's ability to make excellent judgement calls! So as a pup develops, I pay attention to the pup's ability to correctly evaluate a situation and discern the best response possible.
At the vet, DIKKAT demonstrated a calm self-assurance similar to the behavior I've seen in her dad, CHAMPION LUCKY HIT Sonra GAZI (GAZI). After I opened the door to the vet's office, I let DIKKAT look inside and size things up before I asked her to step inside. This few second pause allowed her to see the situation she was being asked to enter. Then she quickly steped inside. We walked to the scale (at 5 months she weighed 64 pounds) and I stepped on the scale to demonstrate that standing on the scale was OK even though the stainless steel felt different to her feet. Standing there, I asked DIKKAT to step on the scale with me. Once she was on, I stepped off and, standing right beside her, I reassured her so she would stay on and stand still.
It is important when introducing your Anatolian pup to new and/or unfamiliar things that everything is sweet talk and petting. Any harsh tones or ugliness of any kind will be remembered, creating a negative memory that the pup will never forget! My vets and their entire staff know this and help make every experience at their office as pleasant as possible! The entire staff is excellent with baby-talk and petting!
Using these methods, my trips to the vet become a fun adventure for both DIKKAT and me. I have the added bonus of knowing these trips develop DIKKAT'S behaviors in a fashion that will help me with DIKKAT for the rest of her life!
DON'T ALLOW YOUR ANATOLIAN PUP TO FILL THE ALPHA VOID!
Some owners, who don't understand how to be a loving alpha, allow their pup to fill the alpha void created by the owner's failure to be alpha. Almost everyone I talk to who is interested in obtaining an Anatolian pup assures me that they fully understand how be be correctly alpha for that pup. Some do become correctly alpha and some don't have a clue how to be correctly alpha! Those who don't get it but think they do can expect that things might go horribly wrong. DON'T PURCHASE AN ANATOLIAN PUP IF YOU CANNOT BE (OR ARE UNWILLING TO LEARN HOW TO BE) CORRECTLY ALPHA WITH THE PUP!
A puppy from a breeding that produced some of the best Anatolian temperaments I've ever produced was sent to a home/companion situation. The woman had a number of other dogs and an adult female Anatolian so she appeared to know how to handle Anatolians. My pups, sweet and loving as they are with their owner, have the correct level of internal strength that allows them to stand against serious predators to protect their charges.
Weak internal strength creates an Anatolian that might bark but if the predators are serious and aggressive the weak Anatolian will fade, allowing predators to kill and maim as they desire. Weak internal strength is incorrect temperament in Anatolians correctly bred for superior working ability. This is a breed that was selectively bred for thousands of years to be superior livestock guardians. Pups that have been correctly bred will begin looking for their place in the alpha heirarchy as early as two months old. Be prepared! An owner must not only be an alpha, the owner must be a LOVING ALPHA, in order to have any chance of the correctly bred Anatolian pup respecting and responding to the owner!
AN EXCELLENT UNDERSTANDING OF HOW AN OWNER AND HER FAMILY LEARNED TO BE CORRECTLY ALPHA CAN BE ACQUIRED BY READING THE THREE PART ARTICLE NIKI DEZEEUW AND I CO-AUTHORED,
A FIRST TIME OWNER'S EXPERIENCE RAISING A WORKING ANATOLIAN: PART 1 of 3
A FIRST TIME OWNER'S EXPERIENCE RAISING A WORKING ANATOLIAN: PART 2 of 3
A FIRST TIME OWNER'S EXPERIENCE RAISING A WORKING ANATOLIAN: PART 3 of 3
Back to the woman I mentioned above with one of my pups! I didn't hear about the problem until the pup was about eight months old. This pup had developed an alpha dominance problem similar to that seen in Niki's dog (in the articles above), except there was never a problem with people... the owner had never correctly checked pup's dominance over all the other dogs in the household, including the adult Anatolian.
As I understood the story, my pup began dominating the other dogs over food at about three months! Naturally, I felt good when I heard my pup's internal strength was strong enough to dominate an adult Anatolian and began emerging at such a young age. It is that same internal strength that allows Anatolians to successfully stand up to serious and determined predators. However, if a pup's internal strength emerges in an unacceptable fashion, such as total control over all the food bowls, the owner's internal strength must be stronger than the pup. It is the owner's responsibility to demonstrate to the pup that improper manners (controlling other dogs' food bowls) will not be tolerated!
The very best time for an owner to call the breeder about any problem is the FIRST TIME the problem appears. Nip the problem in the bud!!! If the breeder doesn't want to help you or doesn't know how to help you, you might have picked the wrong breeder from whom to purchase an Anatolian pup! (Also, you must be willing to accept the help a knowledgeable breeder is providing.) People selling pups sometimes act differently after the pup is sold than they did before the pup was sold, so investigate how interested and able the breeder is after the sale! (Don't just ask the breeder. Check with people who have purchased pups from the breeder!)
If the breeder is providing good advice you might discover that YOU created the problem! Don't be offended if told you are the problem. Instead, listen closely and try to understand how you might have inadvertantly taught the pup the wrong things! Listen even more carefully when advised how to correct the problem. The woman who called me about her eight month old pup kept telling me that she had done everything correctly and the pup was at fault. For me, when an owner tells me they have done EVERYTING RIGHT and the problem persists, that is a warning bell! This owner seemed unable to move past her assertion that SHE wasn't responsible for the situation, the pup was. That kind of thinking will never correct problems! I ask you - who has the big brain? The woman or the pup???? I'd say the big brain belongs to the one who does things their way. In this case, that was the pup!
That pup was finally returned to me when she was almost 1 1/2 years old because her dominant behavior over other dogs' and their food continued becoming more aggressive. I was told that her behavior in all other areas was wonderful. Dispite all her experiences improperly interacting with other dogs, using my methods to teach her proper table manners, after two months and only two altercations this formerly food aggressive pup was eating amicably out of her food bowl with four other Anatolians and a Border Terrier. All the food bowls were placed a foot apart in a semi-circle around me! I took numerous videos of this group eating as documentation that a "highly food aggressive" Anatolian's behavior can be modified successfully using the correct methods. When you purchase an Anatolian, you MUST BE PREPARED to do the work required to modify improper behaviors. Lazy people who want to blame an Anatolian pup when things go wrong should NEVER purchase an Anatolian!
Even though this Anatolian had not been with livestock since she was eight weeks, I placed her with goats, baby goats, geese, and llamas. Her excellent genetics allowed her to demonstrate that she is 100% reliable with all of them. She even proved that she had perfect instincts with a kidding goat. The first singleton kid she watched being born fell in love with her. While the kid's mother grazed, the kid could be found lying with or near the dog and in the first three months the kid occasionally used the dog as a platform to jump on and then leap off!
The down side of recovering a pup that an owner has damaged so badly that he returns the pup to the breeder is that that pup frequently has hidden and unexpected problems created by the owner's initial mismanagement. These hidden problems can pop-up any time a triggering incident occurs. So I never refund anything when a pup is returned (which doesn't happen often to me). They purchased an excellent pup (which I'm certain had I raised would have be an excellent Anatolian). I have no intention of rewarding anyone for damaging a pup!
Once returned I now have a pup I hadn't planned on keeping. Of course, I work with the pup (young adult?) to correct all the problems the owner created. However, I am never certain the pup doesn't have additional hidden problems just waiting to emerge! So I tend to keep those few returned Anatolians for the rest of their lives. I have little respect for Anatolian owners who do not work diligently to insure excellent behavior in their Anatolians beginning the first day they take possession of their Anatolian.
If you fail to become properly alpha to your Anatolian pup, the pup most likely will decide to fill that void and behave as she sees fit! While improper behaviors can be corrected or modified to some extent, it is much better to immediately re-shape improper behaviors as they emerge in puppyhood rather than to allow an Anatolian to develop undesirable behaviors which become a part of the Anatolian's general temperament!
July 2, 2021 (Dikkat turned 6 months old.
I entered DIKKAT (six months) in the National Specialty with two of my other Anatolians, LUCKY HIT Sonra GOLGE (4 years) and LUCKY HIT Behiye NADIR (one year). DIKKAT had never been with the other two Anatolians and none of them had been socialized or received show training of any kind. However, I had worked on their interactions with me and other dogs. And, of course, I had worked on their livestock guardian training every day!
Some might question how going to a dog show has anything to do with raising working Anatolians. Besides obtaining more insight into my dogs' conformation, I also learn a wide variety of useful information about each dog's temperament, level of off-territory shut down, mental stability, etc. When breeding Anatolians, it is vital to learn as much about each dog you own as possible.
The day before the first show started, my friend, Dustin, arrived to drive us to the show. We took the three dogs from the pasture and their goats and loaded them into the extended cab of the pick-up. My Border Terrier, Dustin, and I were in the front. We drove to Oklahoma City without any problems.
Dustin set up the crates in my room and the dogs were happy in them. We met up with my breeding partner, Leslie Ayers of Cedar Rise Anatolians. Taking the dogs through the hotel with people and other dogs showed me they had excellent off-territory shut down and I knew all would be well. Sometimes Leslie and Dustin helped me with them and other times I took them through the hotel by myself - Golge, Nadir, Dikkat, and little Jett - all at the same time! When breeding Anatolians, looking for excellent off-territory shut down is vital to have Anatolians that are able to be taken to the vet and other off-territory locations more easily!
CHAMPION LUCKY HIT Sonra GOLGE (GOLGE) completed her AKC CHAMPIONSHIP. She'd earned two four point majors two years earlier at her only other show. With the two five point majors awarded at the Specialty, Golge's Championship was now complete.
LUCKY HIT Behiye NADIR OF Elkhorn (NADIR) (twenty one months old) earned Reserve Winners Bitch one day.
Another day TIMARU DIKKAT of LUCKY HIT (DIKKAT) (at barely six months) also earned Reserve Winners Bitch! Not too shabby for three Anatolians bred for working ability who had never received any socialization training or show training!
TIMARU DIKKAT of LUCKY HIT (DIKKAT)
being stacked by Leslie Ayers of Cedar Rise Anatolians
Showing off her beautiful build and why she took Reserve Winner's Bitch one day!!!
The most important fact to me regarding this show experience is that my three dogs exhibited excellent judgement and a great deal of mental stability throughout the week. Working Anatolians should always be bred for superior judgement and mental stability, as these traits oversee and balance the Anatolian's unbelieveable ferocity with their deeply nurturing nature! As stated in the temperament section, Anatolians should be "Reserved around strangers and off its territory..." After the wide variation of opportunity to observe my dogs' judgement and mental stability this trip provided, I was confident these three Anatolians had been fully tested for those traits!
DIKKAT'S PROTECTIVE NATURE KICKS IN (August, 2021)
Not long after we returned from the show I made another change in Dikkat's environment. I moved her into a small pasture with my seven year old male, LUCKY HIT Leydi CASE (CASE JR), and two young females, LUCKY HIT Behiye TAVIR (TAVIR) and LUCKY HIT Beton SEVAN (SEVAN). Some female goats were already in this pasture but I added more to have about 35 females, including seven kids that were born in February at the beginning of six days of continuous below-freezing weather (creating all time record lows here).
These two young females' first experience with birthing had been with kids that were born and then froze to death. Anatolians should "clean up" the dead babies to avoid attracting predators and they did. In addition, I was unable to make it to the ranch for about four days because of frozen roads (I'd moved into town temporarily because my electricity went out and my water froze). So these young females, as their first experience with birthing, not only had dead newborns to clean up, they had no other food!
Once the weather got above freezing, all the babies lived. My young Anatolians' excellent adaptation from kid cleanup to kid protection (during their very first experience with birthing goats) is a testament to the high level of working genetics in these young females. They have been with these surviving newborn goats continuously from birth to the present with no chasing or harrassment of the baby goats. I find it rewarding that they have proven their excellent livestock guardian ability through this tragedy.
I am confident that these young Anatolians, as well as LUCKY HIT Leydi CASE (CASE JR), will provide excellent examples of superior working ability for Dikkat, who was not here at Lucky Hit Ranch during that time! I am pleased to report that DIKKAT has behaved excellently, with no chasing or grabbing of goats, since she's been introduced to this larger and more varied group of goats! However, I watch her each day for any signs of misbehavior. Observation is vital, especially during the Anatolian's first year or two, since their environment must be changed immediately to an environment that automatically corrects any and all misbehaviors!
Pictured on August 4, 2021
(Note the tree almost killed by the record low temperatures in February.)
At the front by the gate is Timaru DIKKAT of LUCKY HIT (DIKKAT).
Further back to the right watching is LUCKY HIT Beton SEVAN (SEVAN)
Above and to Sevan's left by the rock wall is LUCKY HIT Behiye TAVIR (TAVIR) and
above Sevan and to Tavir's right is LUCKY HIT Leydi CASE (CASE JR)
Because of it's location, Dikkat's new pasture provides greater opportunities to observe approaching predators. In addition, the pasture is larger than Dikkat's previous location and gives her greater opportunities for exercise, which is vital for young developing Anatolians. As I watched Dikkat over the next few weeks, I could see her behaviors becoming more mature. She became more careful walking through the goats. Some of them would butt her if she didn't move through them with respect.
This correction for disrespect was facilitated because she was surrounded by a large number of goats. Since Dikkat couldn't watch all of them, sooner or later she'd move past a goat who'd come out of nowhere with a punishment butt for her disrespectful speed and/or demeanor! Her goat posturing communications and her respectful demeanor noticeably improved.
Also, she no longer just played like a puppy. She began watching for predators and, even better, began alerting the other dogs when she thought she saw a predator (by barking at the potential nearby predator). Dikkat and her friend, LUCKY HIT Beton SEVAN (SEVAN), were especially observant. They might have been wrong sometimes (barking at my horses in the pasture or my neighbor's cows) but in the learning process it is important that I reward them for alerting on a potential predator! So I do!
When Dikkat runs to the fenceline barking at the horses, I first say, with enthusiasm, "Good girl, Dikkat!" Then more calm and steady, "I see them!" After a short time barking, I say, "It's just the horses, Dikkat! Thank you! That's enough." in a calm dropping voice. If she continues, I never allow any irritation into my voice. I just continue to say calmly, "That's good, Dikkat. It's just the horses. It's fine." And if Dikkat still keeps barking I call her to me and talk to her just like she understands me, explaining to her that the horses aren't a problem. This interaction also helps my dogs understand that "we don't need to be concerned about something" when they hear me have a similar calm lack of concern in my voice.
Excellent working ability requires that your Anatolian know what is and what isn't a problem! It is up to you to teach your Anatolian what you believe is a problem and what is OK! It is important that you are correct every time and behave with enough self-control that your Anatolian can respect you as the alpha! Who can respect an out-of-control crazy person screaming and yelling commands. Besides, if the owner is that out of control, the Anatolian will tend to believe that whatever caused it to bark initially truly is a serious problem. In effect, the out of control owner has cued his Anatolian to increase its level of aggression! And when cued in this way, the Anatolian usually does!
THE GREEN MONSTER, JEALOUSY, APPEARS
. Some Anatolians are happy to share my affection with the other dogs. But other Anatolians are jealous when they are being petted with several other dogs. The jealous Anatolian wants all the love and attention to themselves. You cannot allow any Anatolian to control how you interact with other dogs, goats, people, etc.
Dikkat loves my attention and last night after I fed her group of dogs, I began loving on them, as usual. After a bit the older two went off on their own affairs, satisfied with the love they'd received. I was loving on Sevan and Dikkat when I saw Dikkat look at Sevan with an odd expression. I thought, "Don't like that look!"
Sure enough, in about ten seconds Dikkat snarled and snapped at Sevan and my hand was within a foot of Dikkat's snapping mouth! The one exception I have to ever hitting an Anatolian is when a puppy thinks it can use its teeth on (or near) me in an aggressive fashion.
Instantly (and it must be instantly or don't do it) I slapped the end of her nose (once only and no more) and concurrently said, "Cut that out!" in a harsh and gutteral voice. Dikkat and Sevan jumped back, startled. I called Sevan to me and continued petting her (she'd done nothing wrong). I looked at Dikkat and said, "You shouldn't have done that." in a even but shaming voice. After about thirty seconds I called Dikkat to me, pushed her head against Sevan with her nose in Sevan's neck fur, and petted on and loved on both of them again. I believe that Dikkat got my message! She seemed a little apprehensive and showed no signs of wanting to make Sevan move away!
Never allow a jealous Anatolian to receive any rewards for their jealous behaviors... and always provide some form of negative response. As the Anatolians get older, I shove them away rather than the nose slap, which I reserve only for puppies. But the response they always receive is a lack of affection for a short time while I keep loving on the other dog! I always end the interaction by allowing the jealous dog back in for the love as long as the jealous dog accepts that it cannot drive other dogs away! This is a trait that creates serious problems as the pup ages if the owner doesn't immediately nip the behavior in the bud!
Generally, this type of jealous dog might exhibit this behavior again. Watch for its reemergence so that you can immediately correct it. Over time, if you do your corrections in the right way, the jealous Anatolian tends to outgrow their jealous behavior!
Two weeks (and now two months) have passed since the jealous incident and I continue to pet Dikkat with Sevan each evening after they have been fed. While Dikkat still doesn't like her head being placed right beside Sevan's (which happens or Dikkat receives no petting), Dikkat has so far made no further attempts to make Sevan leave. This is something I do every day, especially when a pup has shown they might have a jealous streak.
INTRODUCING A NEW GOAT INTO DIKKAT'S PASTURE
I moved goats around to begin preparing the females for the introduction of the male goats next month. Since I had been maintaining a young goat with twins in a separate pasture, I moved her into Dikkat's pasture with all the other adult females. From a distance I watched how the four dogs in the pasture reacted to the new goat. The older two dogs walked up, seemed to recognize her, and walked away.
Dikkat and her young friend Sevan, neither of whom had ever been in a pasture with this goat, walked behind her about 20 feet as the goat walked to the gate, wanting to get back to her twins. The pups were correctly respectful as they followed her and she wasn't the least bit concerned.
When the goat stopped at the gate, they stopped. After a couple of minutes, they started looking around, ignoring her, and then just walked away. They had realized that out of 33 goats, she was a new goat. They followed her to get her scent and be able to recognize her as one of their goats! As soon as they'd done that, they moved on.
This response was as perfect as I could have ever wished for. It is important that Anatolians recognize a new goat, even in the midst of a large herd. It's also important that Anatolians follow the new goat with the correct demeanor in order to keep the goat calm and accepting of them and to be able to identify that goat as part of their herd in the future.
WATCH DAILY FOR ANY PLAY WITH GOATS, AND NIP IT IN THE BUD
Until the end of September, 2021, DIKKAT had never engaged in play with goats. I was feeling great about her excellent behavior. Be aware that from four months to eighteen months or so it is especially important to watch for this negative behavior in Anatolian pups, which I do daily. If it is playful rather than predatory it indicates bonding and, while irritating, if handled correctly (meaning not allowed) most Anatolians will outgrow the behavior.
Since sheep and/or goats don't like puppy play, play of any kind with sheep and/or goats is never allowed - EVER! When I see a young Anatolian engaged in any kind of play, even the attempt to initiate play, I immediately change their situation. Each pup must only be with goats that are strong enough to stop all play (but not goats that are actually mean)! Goats that hit the pup hard to stop the play, but only once, or even toss the pup aside and continue grazing, are not mean! The Anatolian pup learns faster with these dominant and secure animals who enforce herd rules!
In evaluating the playful pup, I also consider the type of play - is it playful bonding or predatory behavior. 1. Predatory behavior is UNACCEPTABLE IN ALL ANATOLIANS. 2. Playful bonding is annoying but acceptable. Of course, the pup's environment must be changed immediately to stop this inappropriate behavior. 3. Anatolians with no play at all (but bonded to sheep and/or goats and protective of them) are the most desirable breeding Anatolians!
Those Anatolian "breeders" who don't raise their pups with sheep and/or goats in a predator rich environment don't know what kind of working behavior their Anatolians have! What would you call a "breeder" who doesn't test for the essence of the breed? Health testing and x-rays alone don't cut it when breeding Anatolians! Breeding Anatolians must be raised with sheep and/or goats in a predator rich environment to test for the essence of the breed!!!
I have rarely seen true predatory play in a young Anatolian. In one case that comes to mind, the predatory pup came from what I viewed to be a "puppy mill." (Not my genetics at all and purchased by a person who had never owned an Anatolian!) Rather than play bows and grabbing (as seen when two Anatolian pups are playing), this predatory six month old pup was trying to learn how to kill the goat! She was grabbing the small of the back and trying to crush the spine! That is predatory... not play!!!! And her predatory behaviors were not easily stopped!
I had three adult Anatolians in a corral with horned Boer goats and this pup. She would patiently wait until a goat had moved around to a blind corner of the corral and then slip away to go after the goat. She knew she only had seconds to make an attempt to kill the goat before my three Anatolians jumped up and punished her for her outragous behavior! They would knock her over, one at her head, one on her rear, and one on her back and stomach, stretching her out and biting her! Even this kind of immediate punishment didn't deter this "puppy mill" Anatolian!
I knew that I couldn't let this kind of punishment continue for long because at some point, even though she was just a six month old pup, they were going to wind up killing her for her predatory behavior! This predatory kind of Anatolian can never be trusted with animals! I believe predatory Anatolians must be neutered to ensure they can never reproduce their predatory behaviors! OF COURSE, IF A BREEDER IS UNWILLING OR UNABLE TO RAISE THEIR ANATOLIANS IN A SITUATION TO MAKE A DETERMINATION IF A PUP IS PREDATORY OR NURTURING, THEY HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TYPE OF ANATOLIAN PUP THEY HAVE - EXCELLENT PROTECTOR OR DANGEROUS PREDATOR! Show wins indicate nothing positive about the working ability of Anatolians! Understanding an Anatolian's working temperament, behaviors, and demeanors can only be determined in a real life working setting - by placing the Anatolian with sheep and/or goats in a predator rich environment!
One excellent way to know if a pup is playing with its charges is to look for goats that are limping, have a somewhat swollen leg joint (from grabbing injuries), or have areas on their legs or necks that look like someone has applied hair gel to the goat's (sheep's) hair. Look for these tell-tell signs in addition to watching for the pup to actually be playing with one of their charges. Actually seeing the play is important. That way you know for certain who is doing the play and just how they are acting. Sometimes a pup knows you don't like the play and only do it when you are not present! You have to get creative to catch a pup like that!
The other day, after a cold front came through during the night and the low was in the 50's (very chilly for this time of year), I noticed one of my youngest weakest goats had a swollen back leg and a noticeable limp! Since DIKKAT was the youngest, I immediately decided it was her and moved her out of that pasture to an adjacent pasture with no animals. Be careful about who you blame when you didn't actually see the play!! (If you didn't see it happen, you might guess wrong! I know I have!)
Several of my females had recently come into heat. The empty pasture I put DIKKAT into was the most distant from these females, so I moved my excellent male, LUCKY HIT Leydi CASE (CASE JR), in with DIKKAT. I never like to have any of my dogs in a pasture alone. Usually I have at least two or three dominant nannies I put in with a pup who might be playing with her charges. However, my goats will be bred soon, so I will be changing things around again. Besides, I planned to keep DIKKAT isolated from the goats for only a few days and then move her back in and see if she understood why I'd isolated her from the goats. (I was still assuming Dikkat was the dog doing the playing!)
Three days later, early on a cool morning, I moved DIKKAT back in with the goats and watched her for a couple of hours. Her behavior was perfect. If I'd seen her express the slightest interest in playing with her goats, I'd have moved her out again immediately! And this time I'd have kept her out for perhaps a couple of weeks. I never allow improper behaviors to become fun habits in my Anatolian! And I always keep watching all the young dogs when I have more than one dog in the pasture where play occurred! I just might have accused the wrong dog!
Luckily, I saw no evidence, direct or indirect, that DIKKAT or any other pup had any interest in playing with the goats. But with young dogs, especially after a play incident, I pay special attention to that pasture, watching for any and all improper behaviors each day. I use both direct and indirect observation. I try to catch the play as it happens and I look for "hair gel" and/or limping! A little work now will pay for itself over the lifetime of the Anatolian. Being lazy now can result in a lifetime of problems - problems which I can only blame on my lack of diligence. I NEVER BLAME THE PROBLEMS ON THE DOG! I AM THE ONE WHO CREATES THE ENVIORNMENT SO IF ANYTHING IS AMISS I AM THE ONE RESPONSIBLE!
NOVEMBER (2121) AND DIKKAT IS NOW TEN MONTHS OLD
Since the one goat "play incident," I have been watching DIKKAT and her goats with heightened diligence. So far, DIKKAT has not repeated that one improper play incident (if it was DIKKAT!). There have been numerous cool days (today we are reported as having a high of 57 degrees - 20 degrees below the average high for today). So far, even these brisk days haven't lead DIKKAT (or anyone) to inappropriate play.
DIKKAT is now living with the adult female Nubians, my young Nubian male, and she is back in with her young Anatolian companions, LUCKY HIT Behiye TAVIR of Elkhorn (TAVIR) and LUCKY HIT Beton SEVAN (SEVAN) . This arrangement is useful because whenever DIKKAT feels excess energy, she has two young dogs with whom she can play, which she does. Occasionally this play, which is practice for confronting actual predators, becomes aggressive enough to leave a mark or two on one of their bodies. When this happens, I watch carefully to see how the overly aggressive "play" is resolved. Sometimes one of the dogs shows submission (usually the younger dog when one of them is a puppy), realizing they overplayed their hand.
As they all become similar in size as DIKKAT ages, I see DIKKAT emerging as a very dominant and powerful female. She possesses a great deal of internal strength and power! I frequently see them resolve their disagreement by standing nose to tail, bodies stiff, tail held high and wagging rapidly back and forth. Then, somehow they are both satisfied and the incident is forgotten.
Learning how to resolve conflict is quite useful but sometimes the conflict is not resolved. If that is the case, the two Anatolians who can't resolve their conflict must be separated, in most cases forever! If not, the conflict can result in serious or permanent damage and perhaps even death! Anatolians with the power to successfully stand their ground with serious predators (wolf packs, bears, mountain lions, pig packs, etc.) tend to be very dominant in most situations. They are not Golden Retrievers and those Anatolians that behave as agreeably as a Golden Retriever should not be bred. Anatolians must maintain the internal power to successfully guard their sheep and/or goats against all predators!
In the "Breeders Code of Ethics," Item 5, it says "5. All breeding done will be done with the intentions of preserving the breed and not for purely commercial reasons. No registered Anatolian will be intentionally bred other than a registered ASD." The only way for Anatolian breeders to demonstrate their intentions of "preserving the breed" is TO TEST ALL BREEDING ANATOLIANS FOR WORKING ABILITY by raising them with sheep and/or goats in a predator rich environment. Breedings between Anatolians untested for real world working ability are NOT designed to preserve the breed. Instead, breeding untested Anatolians produces more and more Anatolians likely to have a low level of working ability. As we know, working ability is the essence of the Anatolian breed and was the criteria used to select superior guardians in Turkey for thousands of years!
THREE WEEKS INTO NOVEMBER (2021) AND I RE-LEARN A VALUABLE LESSON
When several Anatolians are in the pasture together, I try to be certain I know who actually misbehaved. If I didn't see who did it, I am only guessing and my guess might be wrong! So even though I "think" I know, I move dogs around to verify my speculation!
The three younger Anatolians were now with the Nubians and again a discoverred a Nubian goat limping with "hair gel" on her leg. So again suspecting DIKKAT, I moved the dogs around trying to verify if she was the true culprit. So I placed DIKKAT in with the Boer goats, not the Nubians! If something happened to the Nubians, I couldn't blame DIKKAT.
A couple of weeks passed before I saw a Nubian limping with "hair gel" on her leg. Only SEVAN and TAVIR were in the pasture... it couldn't have been DIKKAT! This time I decided the inappropriate play had most likely being done by SEVAN - the youngest dog in the Nubian pasture. So I moved DIKKAT back in the Nubian pasture with TAVIR and I moved SEVAN to the Boer goat pasture with CAS, and CASE JR. My Boer goats are stronger and less skittish. They tend to put up more resistence than my Nubians ever do! Now even greater diligent observation was called for!
One morning I went out early and saw LUCKY HIT Beton SEVAN (SEVAN) trying to play with a young Boer goat. Just playing because she loves them ... but inappropriate nevertheless, since all play is incorrect! Being a Boer, the goat didn't run. The Boer goat was against the fence and provided strong warning head tilts, which were enough to stop SEVAN. The goat wouldn't be chased and didn't allow her legs to be grabbed, so there would have been nothing to show SEVAN had tried to play with the goat if I hadn't observed it directly.
I was happy to see how easily SEVAN was stopped from playing. It only lasted a few seconds and then was over. It appeared that SEVAN just wanted the goat to play as if the goat were another dog! SEVAN made play bows and the goat made abrupt and definite head tilts, indicating her irritation at SEVAN. Standing her ground, back to the fence, and using strong head tilts, the goats successfully conveyed to SEVAN to stop and keep away.
Because I'd moved the young Anatolians around, I was finally able to actually verify for certain exactly who had been playing with the goats! If I'd relied on limping and "hair gel" I wouldn't have known SEVAN had tried and failed to play with Boer goats! The excellent part of this is that SEVAN failed! Unlike the Nubians, the Boer goat stood firm and stopped the play! That is the perfect level of goat for a young Anatolian who wants to play! A goat who won't succumb!
Now that I've seen SEVAN playing with the goats and no goat has ever shown signs of being played with without SEVAN in the pasture, DIKKAT is completely cleared! I made a mistake blaming DIKKAT! It is why I always say IF I DIDN'T SEE IT, I AM ONLY GUESSING!!!
Of course, especially when an Anatolian is under two years of age, I NEVER stop watching for incorrect behaviors so I can place the offending dog in a corrective enviornment! I watch for any and all signs of inappropriate behaviors daily! Always!
COMING INTO HEAT FOR THE FIRST TIME and OFA INFORMATION
In early October, 2021, when DIKKAT had just turned nine months old, I moved my male, LUCKY HIT Leydi CASE (CASE JR) , out of the pasture with DIKKAT. I also had LUCKY HIT Behiye TAVIR of Elkhorn (TAVIR) and LUCKY HIT Beton SEVAN (SEVAN) in this pasture - three young females under two years of age without OFA (hip x-ray) results. I certainly did not want them to be bred accidentally! This move was a good idea because by mid-October, these three young females were beginning to act a bit irritable with each other. Irritability is frequently seen not long before a female Anatolian starts coming into heat!
The presence of other female Anatolians in heat seems to help all the females start their heat cycle. It wasn't the time of year that had prompted me to move LUCKY HIT Leydi CASE (CASE JR) out, but the number of females that I had who had already come into heat. Having females in heat with intact males around can be a logistical nightmare so plan ahead for this situation, if needed, by preparing an escape proof location for your female to live in while in heat! I've found that many times my females act like getting away from all the other dogs is a relief!
While I haven't seen a great deal of correlation between the OFA hip results and actual Anatolian performance over the lifetime of the Anatolian, it is a requirement of the Anatolian Shepherd Dog Club of America (ASDCA) to obtain an official OFA certification of Fair, Good, or Excellent hips (All three ratings are considered Normal) before breeding your Anatolian. This means that ASDCA sanctioned breedings must never occur in dogs under two years of age or in dogs who didn't receive a Normal (Fair, Good, Excellent) result!
Since my primary selection is based on superior working ability, I will always pick a dog with OFA fair results and amazing working ability over a dog with OFA excellent results and mediocre working ability. The essence of the breed is livestock guardian ability, not x-ray hip ratings! Of course, you have to be sufficiently dedicated to the breed to raise Anatolians in a true working environment - with sheep and/or goats in a predator rich environment! That takes a massive amount of time and energy whereas picking a breeding Anatolian based on hip x-rays without testing for working ability requires only a trip to the vet!
Watch out for those show only breeders who tout their OFA excellent results and say nothing about their failure to test for the essence of the breed - working ability. It seems to me that these show only breeders focus on health testing results because they have done nothing to determine the actual working ability of their Anatolians! To test for working ability, an Anatolian must be raised with and guard sheep and/or goats in a predator rich environment!
Despite what I said above, I do believe that the OFA evaluation can be useful in the long term. It just requires all breeding Anatolians to be selected for normal hip structure for many generations . Hip dysplasia is inherited in an additive and quantitative manner and acts as a moderately heritable disease. It has been documented that a steady but moderate genetic improvement of OFA hip ratings can be seen over a 40 year period in lines with generations of normal results. These results validate the OFA assertion that parents selected for better phenotypic hip conformation, from lines selected for their good phenotypic hip conformation over generations, can produce offspring with slightly better hips. It just takes decades of dedication (and a ton of money for the x-rays) on the part of all Anatolian breeders to improve overall Anatolian hip structure.
Since I'm having the hips x-rayed, I also have the shoulders x-rays. When both Hips and Shoulders are done for OFA evaluation and the dog had permanent identification at the time the x-rays were taken, the OFA will designate the dog as CHIC certified. Dogs receive CHIC certification if they have completed the required breed-specific health testing, regardless of the test results. Whenever you are looking for an Anatolian pup, you can verify the OFA certification results for that pup's parents that the breeder provided. Go to the OFA website and look up the parents' OFA results. If you don't find the parent's results, check back with the breeder to be certain you are inputting the correct identification. However, my experience has been that I cannot always trust a breeder's assertion regarding the OFA results of their dogs! So I always check! If I discover that someone was willing to lie to me about the OFA results of the parents, I assume they are willing to lie about any and every thing, and that's the end of my interaction with that person!
Back to being in heat. I like to leave my young females with other selected females the first time they come into heat. Most of them develop strategies to get along with the other females even though they are irritable and more prone to fighting during this time. Also, one factor that might have contributed to a young Anatolian playing with the goat is the hormonal change that female is undergoing as she begins entering her first heat. (I had assumed it was DIKKAT and not one of the other young dogs. So be careful when you make assummptions! You might be wrong, like I was!)
By keeping DIKKAT with two familiar females and her goats as she enters her heat cycle, DIKKAT is developing coping skills for the different emotions her heat cycle is creating. Encouraging my young females to develop coping skills when in heat allows me to more easily keep two or more females together even when in heat. Sometimes this works and other time it doesn't. However, if this isn't working, immediately change the Anatolian's environment to a situation that does work!
My most dominant females are the least likely to tolerate the presence of other females. Once a serious fight between females has occurred, I separate them. Leaving them together can result in more serious fights and injuries. If you allow the fighting to continue too long and/or it becomes too intense, these females will NEVER forget those fights and they will go into an aggressive mode at the sight of each other! If that happens, I can never again put those two females together in the same pasture. Anatolians have a long memory!
DECEMBER, 2021 - NUBIANS REMAIN UNTOUCHED WITH DIKKAT AND TAVIR - BOER AND SEVAN ARE FINE AS WELL
I am gratified to see no problems with the Nubians! DIKKAT is now completely cleared and I made an incorrect assumption when I blamed her! This situation is an excellent reminder to NEVER assume an Anatolian did something wrong without you seeing the incorrect behavior yourself. If you didn't see it, you might be interpreting the incriminating evidence incorrectly, as I did!
And I've not seen any further sign that SEVAN is playing with her Boer goats! Placing and maintaining Anatolians with goats of the correct level of dominance is VITAL during the first two years of training! WE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT IN WHICH OUR DOGS ARE RAISED! I DON'T BLAME THE DOG IF THE ENVIRONMENT I CREATED ISN'T WORKING! I BLAME MYSELF AND IMMEDIATELY CHANGE THE ENVIRONMENT!
DIKKAT IS DEVELOPING INTO AN EXCELLENT WORKING ANATOLIAN. HOWEVER, THE WATCHING AND TRAINING CONTINUES THROUGH AT LEAST THE FIRST TWO YEARS!
Additional Anatolian related articles you may find interesting. |
*JUDGING THE JUDGE (REJECTED BY ANATOLIAN TIMES)
*JUDGING THE JUDGE REJECTION INFORMATION
*TRAINING TIPS FOR RAISING YOUNG WORKING ANATOLIANS
*ANATOLIAN COLOR and THE AKC STANDARD
*HOW SHOW ONLY BREEDERS AFFECT WORKING ABILITY
*SUPERIOR WORKING ABILITY
*DESIREABLE WORKING TRAITS
*TESTING NURTURING ABILITY
*IDENTIFYING SUPERIOR WORKING PUPS
*WORKING TRAITS BEING LOST