New Guardian Dogs - First Three Days

It's time to catch up with posting about the new additions or else I'll forget what I wanted to share with you.

Lucas and Lucky Lady are Maremmas's. Lucas is four years old and Lady is fifteen months. They are a father, daughter pair. Over the past three weeks we have been overseeing their introduction to the place and the flock.

Upon their arrival, late one afternoon, we placed both dogs into the same chain link dog run (10' x 20'). We left them alone to de-stress from the trip. From where the dog run is, they could hear the activity in the yard but could not see the house.

For the next day and a half both Allen and I went in and out of the run several times, alternating between sitting and letting the dogs approach us and approaching the dogs ourselves. Since we are strangers, both dogs tried to evade us but the small run prevented them from leaving. Neither dog was interested in food, not even raw hamburger.

By the second day we were able to approach without them moving off but neither dog was relaxed about it yet.

We placed half a dozen bottle lambs into the run with them to gauge their reaction. Both dogs perked up and approached the lambs with great interest. Lady began to nuzzle them, licking faces and rear ends. That evening the dogs were curled up next to the lambs. Their demeanor changed and both dogs seemed to relax a tad now that they had sheep again. Any approach toward the run by the herding dogs was met with deep barking and a serious warning.

On the third morning we trained them to leash walk as neither dog has been walked on lead. We worked through their initial panic of the leash by ignoring it and walking. Within minutes we were able to walk with them. We kept the distance short and walked them directly to sheep. Once there we let them mingle with the ewes. We repeated this walk a handful of times in a couple days. Always making sure the walk from the pen took them to sheep. 

Their first encounter with a group of sheep was very promising and amazing to watch. I have numerous pictures and I'll put them together for next post.