Erick Conard's Lucky Hit Ranch
"The Right Start"
A Method for Raising Strictly Working Anatolians

[Seven of Nine Guarding While Shadow and Pups Observe]

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While most of this information is valuable, I have learned over time that an Anatolian correctly selected for superior working genetics becomes a better adult if the Anatolian is provided with constant loving interactions (which includes loving boundaries consistently applied) by the owner as the Anatolian pup develops.

Please ignore the advice below recommending a lack of handling and interaction!!!!
When originally written that was the "wisdom" of the time. However, I've found that the single most important factor to consider when purchasing and raising an Anatolian to guard livestock is to purchase a pup from two superior working Anatolians.

Never forget that good or bad working behaviors are inherited, just like good or bad hips, good or bad teeth, etc. When you are looking for an Anatolian Working pup, the greatest likelihood of purchasing a pup with superior working ability is a pup produced by two superior and proven working parents. Also, prior to the purchase, if at all possible, visit the ranch on which the parents work to verify that both sire and dam actually do work with sheep and/or goats in a predator rich environment and that both have excellent and desirable interactions with their sheep and/or goats. Breeders who tell you that "all Anatolians have good working ability" are probably just trying to sell their pups, since there is a wide variation in working ability depending on the working genetics of the parents! My experience is that when a breeder has failed to focus on superior working ability as their top breeding requirement, it is possible that the pups they are producing may not have the high level of working ability that you require!

The following three part article was published in the Anatolian Times. Part I was published in Volume 37 in 1991, Part II in Volume 39 in 1992, and Part III in Volume 40 in 1992. The cover picture of Volume 40 is of Ebling's Kasif (CASY) guarding me (lying on the ground taking a picture of my house) from my cows. Casy was my first Anatolian Shepherd Guardian Dog, had incredible guardian ability, and is the foundation sire of my bloodlines. Volume 40 of the Anatolian Times, with Casy's picture on the cover, was the second time a picture of an Anatolian Shepherd belonging to a member of ASDCA was placed on the cover!

In addition, this article was translated into Swedish (? I can't read it!) and printed in their "Anatolian Times" called Paskutgava in April 2002 and   Anatolian Shepherd Dogs International, Inc printed the article in Choban Chatter, 2002, Volume 12, Issues 1, 2 and 3.  

Part I: "Birth to Six Weeks: The Work Begins"

Written by Erick James Conard

At least two weeks before the puppies are due, I place my pregnant female Anatolian and somesheep and goats in a corral, where I prepare a cave-like area in which I want my bitch to whelp. I keep between ten and twenty sheep and ten and twenty goats in the corral with my dog at all times. Raising pups with both sheep and goats enables them to become attached either to sheep or to goats. Although my hoofstock is already comfortable with my dogs, close confinement provides the opportunity for numerous dog/goat or dog/sheep inter-actions. Since I want my pups to attach to other animals in addition to the goats and sheep, I also have cats, chickens, ducks, and geese in the enclosure.

For my bitch's "whelping cave" I arrange three wooden pallets into an inverted "U" against the back of the barn. To insure careful entry into this "cave," I construct an "X" across the front of the "cave" with metal tubing. I also place a round bale on one side of the "cave" to enhance the feeling of security and yet allow for a high degree of goat and sheep activity in the immediate area.

I also create a 4'x10' "cautious area" around the entrance of the "cave" by placing 12"x6" boards on the ground for extra protection for the puppies' first two weeks. This arrangement does not keep animals out of this area, of course. It just causes them to be more careful in the placement of their feet when they step inside the "cautious area."

The size of the corral dictates the number of animals I place in it. I want the animals to frequent the area immediately around the "cave," but I also want the sheep and goats to have some space to move around freely without feeling crowded. For a total of twenty to forty animals I have a corral of approximately 60 feet by 120 feet. I also have about one fourth of that area covered for protection from the rain.

I wouldn't be surprised if my bitch decides to whelp in a different area than I prepared. She will not feel comfortable whelping in an area I have chosen if wind currents, sheep and goat activity, or other factors disturb her. So if I don't see my bitch laying around inside her "cave," I relocate it.

Seven  is curious  about what the goats are doing I don't handle the pups for the first two weeks except for a short trip to the vet to have the dew claws removed on day three. Then, at two weeks of age, I begin allowing my pups to nurse my milk goats. This enhances identification with the goats. At this age, nursing the goats twice daily is sufficient to supplement the bitch's milk.

Since my goats have been trained to be milked from a stanchion, it is easiest to place the goat on the stanchion, provide feed, and then place each pup near a teat. I usually have to place a small amount of milk on the end of the teat the first time, but after that initial feeding, the pups know what to do and nurse eagerly. I do not talk to the pups or pet them in the nursing process; I just pick them up and hold them in a position that allows them to nurse. I don't want to inadvertently make a pet out of a pup I want bonded with livestock!

A bitch will never have greater nutritional requirements than while she is nursing pups! When my bitch is pregnant, and especially when she is nursing, I feed her a high protein, high nutritional content diet by using a premium growth formula dog food fed dry and free choice. In addition, once a day I mix chopped cooked liver with broth, meaty soup bones, and fresh goats milk with the commercial dog food as a supplement. The pups begin eating this warm, moist mixture at two to three weeks of age. Now real growth begins!

Sam - Six Week old Male Anatolian showing good demeanor

Part II: "Six Weeks to Four Months: The Work Intensifies"

Written by Erick James Conard

When the pups are six weeks old, I pick a tree sheltered location in the pasture to construct a small pen approximately 30 feet long by 30 feet wide. Then I put about ten mature, freshly-wormed goats in the pen. I include several one foot high tubs filled with fresh water, hay racks stuffed with cane, clean grain feeders, and about five large dog food bowls. If I want the pups to completely ignore other farm animals (like chickens, sheep, etc.), I place those animals in the pen also.

Before moving the pups into the new pen, I place them in crates and drive to the vet's. The vet weighs the pups and gives them all of the correct puppy shots. I also have the vet provide tapeworm and roundworm pills in the correct dosage for each pup. After I get home, I worm the pups and their mother, dip them all to remove any ectoparasites (fleas and ticks), and place them in a clean isolation area overnight. The next morning I move them to the newly constructed holding pen.

Seven exploring I move the pups at six weeks to eliminate as many external and internal parasites from them as possible. After two weeks in the new communal pen, I again worm each pup for roundworms, dip them for fleas and ticks a second time, and move each pup to another new pen; this time I construct a separate pen for each pup. Although I believe it is ideal to have three or more goats/sheep in each pen, I settle for one goat per pen, since my pens for this phase are only temporary.

On a daily basis I observe interactions occurring between each pup and every animal with which that pup interacts. If a pup engages in any inappropriate activity, I immediately change the pup's environment in a manner that will result in the automatic correction of the unwanted puppy behavior. I make a mental note (a written notation would be better) of the unwanted behavior, and pay special attention for that behavior in that pup during each future observation. Because I want my pups to become attached to the goat/sheep herd, rather than to any individual animal, I move each pup to a new pen at least once per week. As mentioned earlier, I do not pet or play with the pups. I treat the pups in a neutral manner and handle them in the same way I handle the goats/sheep. However, since I do interact with the pups when I feed, water, and move them, they learn to respond to their caretaker to some extent.

At eight weeks of age I begin to work on reinforcing the pups' natural attachment to the herd. I remove a pup from his/her pen and carry that pup to a small herd in the pasture. I place the pup on the ground about 20 feet from the herd and say, "Go to the Goats!" The pup goes to the herd, since going to the goats is the natural thing for pups attached to goats to do.

I allow the pup to follow the herd. However, if the pup wanders over to me, I ignore it, and generally it quickly joins the herd as the herd moves forward. For the first few times the pup is placed with the herd, I limit the time the pup is allowed to roam with the herd to about 10 or 15 minutes. At this stage the pup is not used to extensive walking and may get tired. I don't want the pup to decide to either stop following the herd or to go back to it's pen. When I see that the pup doesn't want to be left behind, I increase the time that each pup is allowed to be with the herd up to about an hour.

I always supervise every minute of this initial phase of herd attachment. If the pup becomes hot and tired, and decides to wander back to the puppy pen area, I intervene. I point to the herd, and say, "Go to the Goats!" in the same manner I initially told the pup to go to the herd. If the pup doesn't respond by returning to the herd, I pick the pup up and carry it toward the herd. I do not allow the pup to believe it can wander back to a rest area just because it is hot or tired.

I make a point to remember each pup's tolerance for heat and travel and try to return the pups to their pens before they want to return. I believe that using this technique reinforces the pup's inborn desire to follow the herd.

Pup showing proper respect for curious goat I also note any variation between the pup's natural determination to stay with the herd. Since the pup is either learning the command, "Go to the Goats!" or increasing its desire to follow the herd, the pup is learning something desirable and I am gaining significant information regarding each pup's natural guardian instincts and abilities.

One of the most important and time consuming activities I pursue in raising a litter is observing puppy behavior and puppy interaction with goats/sheep. Only by being intimately familiar with each pup can I redirect a puppy's actions. My goal is to create an environment that will allow the pups' actions to become more closely aligned with my concept of ideal guardian deportment.

Since every puppy's personality changes just a little each day, I feel close supervision is vital. I want to insure each pup's environment enhances that pup's natural guardian instincts and behavior patterns, rather than detracts from them. Undesirable behavior that I discourage includes, but is not limited to, chasing, jumping on, lacking respect for, biting, nipping, playing with, being inappropriately aggressive to, acting hyper-active around, and failing to become attached to sheep/goats. Of all of these traits, I believe the most unacceptable is a failure to become attached/devoted to the herd.

When I see a young pup chasing the animal it is penned with, it is obvious to me that the animal does not have the strength of will to be penned with that pup. A pup that is attached to sheep/goats will naturally want to play with them as if they were just another pup. You must never allow that kind of interaction to happen!

If a sheep/goat fails to stand its ground to a pup, replace that animal with an animal that is larger, more aggressive, horned, or more dominant. It is vital that during these early, formative stages the pup remains only with animals who demand respect from the pup, and are willing to enforce that demand. However, it is just as important that you replace any sheep/goats that tend to "bully" the pup. Animals (and people) who mistreat the pup will cause the pup to feel resentment toward that animal rather than respect.

Pup walks by goat with the proper submissive attitude Pups placed with the correctly dominant sheep/goats will be taught the precise attitudes, demeanor, stances, carriage, postures, and bearing that allows them to most successfully blend with the herd. I believe that pups who miss these initial sheep/goat interactions will never merge with the herd as successfully as pups receiving these interactions. And inappropriate behavior, such as chasing, jumping on, lacking respect for, biting, nipping, playing with, and being inappropriately aggressive to, will be automatically corrected as it occurs.

 Dogs that understand correct behavior are not upset when corrected unexpectedly. For example, as a pup matures and spends more time in the pasture with the herd, it may go through a puppy phase of desiring to chase, tackle, and play with younger goats, especially animals who run when the pup approaches. It is instinctive for the young goat to run to it's mother, or the herd. As the pup follows the goat into the herd, the pup must slow it's speed to a walk. Goats do not tolerate dogs running through the herd. At some point the pup will pass an older, dominant goat, who will promptly and without warning butt the running pup onto the ground. After this has happened a few times, not only does the pup have less interest in engaging in "puppy play" with young goats, the pup also has learned to slow down to a walk when approaching the herd! Pups learn best when their environment automatically teaches them what their instinct leads them to do.

Tlhe pup, responding to goat's head posture, lies guietly for the goat to pass Behavior I watch for that I like and encourage includes, but is not limited to, demonstrating a fondness and attachment for the herd, displaying immediate sheep/goat submission to any herd animal in an aggressive posture, exhibiting exaggerated care with younger, smaller, or injured herd animals, and displaying protective and/or watchful conduct. I try to detect and encourage each of these behavioral characteristics.

For instance, when a young pup hears coyotes howling, becomes alert and uneasy and begins low growling or quiet barking, I look in the coyotes' direction, assume a tense posture, and begin growling with the pup. My growls generally enhance the pup's aggressive response to howling coyotes; as the pup growls or barks more aggressively, I praise it for this increase in its protective response.

To encourage the pup to automatically respond to goats/sheep respectfully and submissively, I try to insure that each pup is only penned with herd animals that are correctly dominant for that pup. As I mentioned earlier, placing the pup with the correctly dominant sheep/goats will teach the pup the precise attitudes, demeanor, stances, carriage, postures, and bearing that allows them to most successfully blend with the herd. Therefore, I believe that during this early, formative stage a great deal of time and thought must be invested in the careful selection of each herd animal to be placed with each pup.

Behavioral characteristics I believe I have less control over, but that I note with approval, include a decreased interest or concern for bonding with other dogs, a relatively reduced activity level (although activity level can be affected by feeding a lower protein level dog food), and a tendency to remain in close contact with the herd.

By the time the pups have reach four months of age, many of their basic response patterns have been set. However, for the next six to ten months they will be undergoing the most stressful and difficult physical and psychological changes of their lives. They will be in "The Difficult Months."

Anatolian Pups with Goats and Chickens

Part III: "Four Months to One Year: The Difficult Months"

Written by Erick James Conard

When the pups are around four months of age, rapid growth begins to transform them from fat awkward pups into active energetic young dogs. Although this transformation begins as a welcome phase in a pup's development, it highlights the beginning of what I believe to be the most difficult and stressful time in any working guardian pup's life. It also marks the beginning of a time of serious concern and thought for the individual responsible for providing guidance to the development of the young working dog.

Litter enjoying their goats During these months, my feelings alternate between excitement and anxiety; I experience great excitement and pride in my pup's accomplishments interspersed with intense feelings of anxiety and depression over my inability to clearly communicate the standards of behavior I expect the pup to maintain. When a pup has exhibited outstanding guardian behavior, I feel elated and hopeful that the pup has settled into a stable, reliable guardian pattern. But when a pup engages in behavior I dislike, especially when I have already worked to modify that undesired behavior, a feeling of hopelessness sometimes overcomes me, causing me to temporarily fear that "this" pup lacks some essential element necessary in true guardian dogs. It is incredibly demoralizing to believe that nothing can be done to assist a pup to become the reliable guardian dog the pup was obtained to become in the first place.

But I do not allow these negative feelings to interfere with the working relationship I have with a dog! I believe that, as the individual responsible for providing guidance to a young dog, I am responsible for maintaining a positive, adult attitude toward each pup. I must analyze each problem as it occurs and work to resolve the problem in a manner individually tailored to each dog's personality and ability. If I persevere, I believe each "unstable" young dog will mature into a reliable, dependable working guardian dog. Then these difficult months of emotional turmoil will fade mercifully into the past; I can then enjoy a level of security felt only by those individuals living under the watchful and protective eye of a successfully adapted and fully integrated Anatolian Shepherd Guardian Dog!

At about four months of age, I make an appointment with the vet to vaccinate my pups for rabies. (Four months is the age my vet recommends for rabies vaccinations.) I use this trip to the vet to introduce each pup to the leash and to gain additional information regarding each pup's basic personality.

Several days before this trip, I introduce each pup to the collar and leash. Although this introduction is the first time the pups have worn a collar, I have already familiarized them with the concept of being led. (When I moved them between pens, I held the loose skin of their necks and encouraged them forward by enthusiastically saying, "Good dog!" as they moved along with my urging. However, I am aware that leading a pup by the skin of the neck can be very intimidating to the pup, so I am especially careful to avoid creating a situation in which the pups feel bullied.)

Since the pups understand the concept of being led, which involves submission to my will, the lesson usually proceeds without incident. However, it is essential to maintain a positive, encouraging attitude. The pup is generally apprehensive, so I begin in the pup's pen. I remain calm, regardless of the pup's reaction. And I always, always pull-release, pull-release on the leash; never pull steadily without immediate release! A steady pull on the lead may cause the pup to become sullen or to fall down passively. Alternately, the pup may violently attempt to flee; it may throw its body backward in terror at being so firmly secured around its neck. I have never had a pup attack. My intention is to reassert myself to the pup as the pack leader.

I first teach the pup to merely "give" to the pressure by walking to the pup's side and gently pulling-releasing. When the dog clearly understands that it can avoid the pressure by giving in to it, I give it a short break, then begin again. I next urge the pup forward (pull, then release, pull, then release). Each time the dog moves forward, whether by my physical effort or the dog's own, I say, "Good dog! Good dog!" with eagerness! I believe that praise for correct behavior is the most important factor in any training situation. As the pup realizes it must always yield to the collar's pressure to remove the pressure, it quickly calms down. After this one short lesson, I can lead the pup out of its pen and to my stock trailer for the trip to the vet without a struggle.

Since the pups have not been in direct physical contact with another dog since they were eight weeks old, I carefully note the reaction of each young dog to the other dogs during this trip. When I return the dogs to their individual pens, I again worm them for roundworms. I also reduce the protein level of the dog food to around 18% and decrease the total food volume I feed each pup to an amount the pup can consume within twenty minutes twice daily. I do not believe in accelerating growth at this stage by full feeding a high protein feed. I believe a pup that grow too rapidly at this stage is more susceptible to bone, joint, and tendon damage than a pup whose growth occurs more slowly.

Shadow and Autumn taking the goats out to Far Hill I believe that when the pup's growth is slowed to a more natural rate for this breed, there will be very few problems with sprained ankles or other limping problems due to excessively rapid growth. When a young dog has been out to pasture with it herd and develops a limp, I reduce its overall food volume and restrict its pen size until a week or so after the limp has disappeared. Then I release the dog again and watch for any further problems. If further problems occur, or the limp persists more than several weeks, I take the pup to the vet for examination.

In selecting my own young dog, a trait I favor is a contained negative and/or aggressive reaction toward new and unusual events or persons. If a young dog will easily allow strangers to touch him, I doubt that dog's ability to become truly devoted to the herd. Since I do not tolerate a dog that engages in overt aggression toward sheep or goats and yet insist that a dog exhibit aggressive-protective responses, a dog I will be pleased with must be both exceptionally intelligent and genetically predisposed to correct guardian behavior.

During these early months, especially when sheep or goats begin lambing, the young dog must begin to integrate many conflicting and confusing instincts; a pup has to determine the correct response to these instincts each time it faces a new situation. A good pup desperately wants to be near and protect the new borns and also to protect members of the herd. Therefore, when a new born's mother attacks a young dog, that dog may analyze the situation improperly; it may perceive the mother's protective response to be an attack against the new born. And its response to that misperceived threat may be to attack the mother to protect the new born, injuring the newborn in the process.

I try to beware of misinterpreting dog/goat interactions, especially during these early stressful, learning times. I attempt to understand why a young dog acted in the manner in which it did. Was the pup confused? Did the pup believe it was being protective, even when I perceived its actions as destructive? For example, what may appear to me to have been unprovoked aggression on the part of the pup may have seemed to the pup as necessary aggression to protect a young goat/sheep. Before I decide my response to the dog's action, I attempt to think through the situation from the dog's perspective!

During this phase with my first Anatolian, Ebling's Kasif (Casy), I was horrified to discover him eating a newborn. I was convinced he was ruined and that there was nothing I could do to correct the situation. In an agony of indecision and uncertainty, I did nothing except watch Casy "like a hawk." Quite a few more lambs and kids arrived without incident. Then a young sheep lambed and Casy took up his customary "lambing position" about 30 feet from the mother (something he had learned earlier).

The lamb was particularly weak; I worried as I noticed the keen interest Casy displayed toward this particular young lamb. Periodically Casy stood up, walked slowly to the lamb, placed his muzzle by the lamb's nose, licked the lamb gently and nurturingly, and then returned to his nearby position. I checked the lamb several times myself and discovered it was very weak and listless, barely breathing.

All afternoon and evening Casy's unusual lamb "inspection" kept repeating itself. I was beginning to be unconcerned by his interest in the lamb when, to my horror, Casy picked the lamb up in his teeth and walked away with it. I yelled, "NO! DROP IT!" and he set it down and looked at me with a puzzled expression. When I picked up the lamb, I knew it was dead.

I gave this incident a great deal of thought. I believe Casy's frequent trips to the lamb were to check the lamb's breathing. As long as the lamb was breathing, Casy remained watchful and protective. However, when the lamb died, Casy felt free to dispose of it in the same manner a bitch with a new litter disposes of any pups who die - by eating them. This trust I have in Casy's reliability has been reinforced over the years by his incredibly loving, protective attitude toward anything weak or helpless. To more fully understand a young dog, I attempt to be present during that dog's initial contact with a newborn. Also, my presence allows me to caution the pup to move slowly and show respect for both the baby and the uneasy mother, if necessary.

During this initial introduction, I am especially pleased with a pup that falls to the ground immediately in response to a nervous mother's first aggressive move. I am even more pleased if a pup crawls with slow eagerness toward the newborn, especially if the pup crawls on its side, maintaining the lowest possible profile. I like to see a pup stop moving when an agitated mother butts it. I like a pup who remains passive under this assault until the mother backs off, then who slowly continues crawling on toward the newborn. When a pup reaches the weak, wet newborn, I favor a pup who carefully, gently, licks the kid with maternal affection or stands immobile above the newborn, trembling with eagerness and exaggerated caution as the newborn nuzzles the pup in an attempt to nurse. When I find a pup who will do all of these things, and more, I know I have found a valuable working Anatolian.

However, every dog is different. Some young dogs display less tolerance for severe correction from goats or sheep than others. Although I prefer a dog that will tolerate a great deal of correction without complaint, I do not want a dog to allow other animals to abuse it through extended, extensive correction. The most intense conflicts between young dogs and goats usually occur over either food or new borns, and each dog must learn when to take a stand and when to back off.

Goats quickly learn to defer to young dogs who are particularly protective of their food. However, because protection of their newborns is such a strong, basic instinct, goats or sheep frequently attack a young dog that doesn't either keep a respectful distance from their new born or maintain a properly submissive attitude. Many young dogs, excited and confused by the smell of the new borns, are unable to do either. Their inability to maintain the proper distance and attitude may provoke a nervous new mother into a severe, sustained attack.

When I am present, I give a young dog guidance in proper behavior only if absolutely necessary. In future encounters, the dog's initial experience is reinforced by other goats or sheep. If I am not present for this initial encounter, most young dogs do fine on their own. However, I believe in neutering any dog who remains unable to interact with new borns without considerable assistance, even though, with supervision, the dog eventually learns to behave correctly.

Shadow, Beau, and Seven hanging with their goats If the young dog was raised in a manner that created a strong bond with goats and/or sheep, the dog will become a part of the herd. However, as a young dog matures, it begins to explore to determine the limits of it's territorial boundary. Some dogs are inclined to maintain very close contact with the herd while others are prone to establish a more expanded area of protection.

Even in large pastures, ranging too far from the herd is not desirable, since the dog's absence leaves the herd vulnerable. In smaller pastures, when the dog leaves the pasture, the herd is not only more vulnerable, but neighbors can become upset, frightened, alarmed, or angered by the young dog's unexpected presence, causing problems with the neighbors.

I decide early in the pup's life the extent of that pup's range. In deciding that range, I consider a variety of factors. I don't expect any dog to stay with the herd all the time. Guardian dogs instinctively mark their territory. In smaller pastures I walk the boundary I want to establish; I include the dog and the herd on this walk in order to reinforce in the dog's mind the boundary I expect that dog to maintain.

Dogs strongly attached to the herd are generally content to stay with the herd, inside the fence. However, even the best dog will ignore a fence if the dog believes its boundary is beyond that fence. When my dog leaves the herd (and my property), I try to immediately correct this unwanted behavior. I attempt to convey to the dog my displeasure by forcefully ordering the dog to return to the goats.

If my dog returns to this location, I greatly increase the level of displeasure I display. This time, rather than verbally admonish the young dog, I place the dog between myself and the goats and discharge my shotgun into the air (I live in a location where this option is available to me.). Most dogs will not require this level of response more than a couple of times. I would rather shot into the air than have an irate neighbor shot my dog! Hopefully, the dog now understands the limits I have placed on his territory and will remain inside that area.

The only dogs I have successfully kept inside fences were raised from puppyhood onward inside a fence that they could not go under, over, or through. Once one of my pups has ever discovered it is able to cross a fence, that dog has from that time on been able to go through any fence. My experience leads me to believe that after an Anatolian has learned it can get out, it cannot be contained when it decides to leave. This ability has both advantages and disadvantages and increases the importance of the dog's understanding of territorial limits.

Some dogs are more interested in chasing animals than others. A dog that was properly conditioned by goats or sheep since birth generally develops little interest in chasing young herd animals. But occasionally a young dog will be especially playful. A playful pup that is deeply bonded to goats can play too roughly, occasionally becoming rough enough to cause herd animals' ears or legs to bleed. If this type of dog is placed with a herd that is unfamiliar with guardian dogs, or animals that are less dominant than the pup, the pup will be even more tempted to play chase and become too rough. In this situation, I collar the dog and attach a rope to the dog's collar. I attach a flat board about two feet long at the end of the rope. When the dog merely walks, it easily drags the board. But if the dog begins running, the board bounces about and hits the dog's front legs, providing instant correction for negative behavior. When the dog has gained a little more maturity, I remove the rope and board and expect the dog's to have no more interest in chasing.

A pup who doesn't have incorrect behavior reinforced in a timely manner may develop bad habits that are more difficult to correct. A pup I raised begin playing with young chickens. Initially, the pup only chased the chickens, pulling out a few feathers. I chided the pup, but was not too concerned at the time. Later, I found several chickens with most of the feathers pulled out of their backs. But since I didn't see the dog do anything, I did nothing. Finally, I discovered a mangled, partially eaten chicken in the barn.

I punished the dog, but the behavior didn't stop. Each time I discovered another partially eaten chicken, I felt defeated. I released chickens so I could punish the dog immediately, but the dog just learned to avoid chasing chickens in my presence. Finally, I tried a method that worked -- I scolded the dog severely while holding the chicken under the dog's nose. Next I tied the dead chicken in the dogs mouth for a couple of hours. (I used masking tape.) When I removed the dead chicken from the dogs mouth I tied it under the dog's chin in a manner that didn't allow the dog to play with the chicken in any way. I kept the dog in a small pen during this phase. After a few days, the chicken had decayed dreadfully, so I removed it.

I went through this cycle two times. The second time, I kept the chicken tied in the dog's mouth six hours (I was very careful not to leave the dog before I was certain that the dog was able to breath easily). After the second time, the dog had no interest in chickens. Initially, I did not respond quickly or forcefully enough to this situation. The more immediate the response, the more likely the behavior will be modified successfully and permanently.

Shadow escorts kid home from Far Hill Raising an Anatolian puppy as a working guardian dog is hard work and takes a great deal of time, effort, and thought. Many people do not have the perseverance or the innate understanding of animals I believe is required to successfully finish the task. These individuals will be too easily discouraged, too easily upset, or too easily disappointed. I know that many dogs become successful guardians without extensive thought or care on the part of their owner. But I believe that most dogs develop at least some habits an owner cannot accept and require some form of guidance and supervision. I also believe that if an individual works with the dog intelligently and consistently and has herd protection as his/her ultimate goal, the time and effort expended is repaid by the dog tenfold!  

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