Anatolian Shepherds

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specter
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Anatolian Shepherds

Post by specter » Fri Mar 31, 2017 5:00 pm

I'm a young, first time dog owner looking for a puppy to raise as a service dog for myself. After doing a lot of research and considering a lot of breeds, I've fallen in love with the stubborn Anatolian Shepherd of the livestock guardian breed stock. I believe they check all my boxes: very large (I feel safe in the presence of large animals), watchful but not aggressive, good in both hot and cold weather, able to think for themselves, and able to hike for long distances yet still be lazy on our off days. However, anyone who knows the breed knows how famously difficult they are to train and many sites don't suggest them for first time dog owners. My question is less of "should I do get this dog" and more of "how can I be successful with this dog?". Have any of you ever raised or come across livestock guardian dogs? Can you tell me about your experiences? What steps should I take to inform myself before I get this puppy?

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Erica
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Re: Anatolian Shepherds

Post by Erica » Fri Mar 31, 2017 5:27 pm

An Anatolian Shepherd is a very unsuitable dog for a service dog. We can help you find a better choice if you let us know what tasks you need the dog to perform, but a livestock guarding breed has a very low chance of having the temperament needed to be a service dog, no matter the raising and training. Typically, if someone needs a large dog for mobility work, they might choose a Great Dane, Newfoundland, or Leonberger.

Even with an experienced puppy raiser and service dog trainer, purpose-bred litters still have puppies that don't suit service work. I would suggest looking into service dog organizations in your area (and I don't mean city, I mean within a couple hundred miles) and asking them to help you. While owner-training a service dog is possible, it's only if the person training the dog has knowledge and experience beyond the average dog owner's. An experienced trainer can help guide you to the right breed, litter, and dog for you.
Delta, standard poodle, born 6/30/14

specter
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Re: Anatolian Shepherds

Post by specter » Fri Mar 31, 2017 5:47 pm

Thank you for the quick response! This helps me a lot. Just out of curiosity, what makes you say the lgds as a group make bad service dogs? I'd rather not discuss my disability, as it's a psychiatric condition, but I need a dog that is rugged enough to hike in pretty much all weather and terrain and is very sensitive to emotional changes in its handler.

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Shalista
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Re: Anatolian Shepherds

Post by Shalista » Fri Mar 31, 2017 5:55 pm

*hugs* i cant offer much help but id just like to offer my support. I got my dog to be a psychiatric service dog. thankfully my needs didn't actually REQUIRE one because my dog would have failed gloriously at being a proper PSD :lol: That being said he's offered me a lot of support and idk if i would have made it without his help. best of luck! having the right furry companion can make all the difference as you deal with your condition. :wink:
Baxter (AKA Bax, Chuckles, Chuckster) Rat Terrier, born 01/16/13

specter
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Re: Anatolian Shepherds

Post by specter » Fri Mar 31, 2017 6:06 pm

Thank you so much :D I really appreciate the support. The process has been a little rough, but I really do think it'll be worth it in the end.

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Shalista
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Re: Anatolian Shepherds

Post by Shalista » Fri Mar 31, 2017 6:30 pm

I think what will help is having a list of things they absolutely must be able to do.

for Bax, i wanted him to comfort me when i was paranoid. i didn't need him to open doors or grab pill bottles, i just needed him to lay near me and let me pet him. As such the fact that he has a nonexistent take it/drop it command ISN'T an issue. He doesn't need to be the sharpest tack in the shed to lay next to me.

Now if you need a dog to detect changes in your body (elevated heart rate for instance) you might need a special kind of dog for that.

I know your leery about posting about your condition (which is fair, that's private and your call) but it might be helpful to post a little more about your list of what you NEED this dog to be able to do. For example does it need to be large? (deep pressure therapy?) or can you get by with something smaller? your saying hiking in rugged terrain so something with longer fur and intense grooming requirements are probably out. What exactly do you need this dog to do?

When I went looking for a PSD and ended up with Bax i realized that i didn't actually need a FULL PSD(with all those hours of training and $$ included), i could get by with a moderately empathetic normal pooch that just liked to make me feel better. no training required.

Not saying you DONT need a PSD but it can help to take a long hard look at what you actually need. it might save you a lot of $$ and tears and frustration. (i say this as someone who went looking for a PSD saw the $20,000+ price tag, gagged, had a heart attack, and cried a little)
Baxter (AKA Bax, Chuckles, Chuckster) Rat Terrier, born 01/16/13

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Erica
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Re: Anatolian Shepherds

Post by Erica » Fri Mar 31, 2017 8:02 pm

LGDs are bred to work alone and guard their charges. They are not bred to follow human directions or be around humans all day and tolerate strangers running up and grabbing their cute faces (it's not supposed to happen but it WILL). Compare this with common service dog breeds -- retrievers, like labs, goldens, and poodles. Bred to follow cues, wait for long times between tasks, have a soft mouth, fetch and carry dead animals without eating them (enormous self control)...most are very tolerant too. Obviously it's not only retrievers that are suited to service dog work but they are common SDs for a reason!

I purposefully did not ask about your condition, just the tasks you wanted your dog to perform. A dog for medical alert work needs to meet a different set of criteria than a mobility service dog, etc.

Having a giant SD if you don't need mobility work is something to think about. People will talk to you more, you'll have more access challenges, the dog will be more difficult to transport and have a shorter working life than a medium or large dog. Some things to consider!
Delta, standard poodle, born 6/30/14

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emmabeth
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Re: Anatolian Shepherds

Post by emmabeth » Fri Mar 31, 2017 10:47 pm

Your chances of finding any of the LGD's suited to service dog work are really, minimal to nil.

They are independent, they are not given to performing tasks in a timely or prompt manner and CERTAINLY not performing the same task over and over.

One of the major issues with the LGD's is that they are NOT sociable with people outside of their immediate handler/owner, you would end up, most likely, with a service dog you could NOT take anywhere in public other than remote hiking.

It is hard enough to self train a service dog, because you are often having to teach a dog to cope with something you cannot cope with, as that is why you have a service dog.

For example, lets say you have a service dog because crowds of people making you panic - to teach that dog to handle crowds of people you have to socialise and habituate that dog to people, more people and eventually, crowds of people, which you certainly cannot do effectively or efficiently to produce a reliable dog, if you yourself cannot handle crowds of people without panicking.

So thats hard enough as it is, then you add into the mix a dog that mentally and physically does not want to be near people, is bred to view strangers with at best, deep suspicion and at worst, violent aggression... it is a recipe for disaster in all honesty.

Anatolians along with other LGDs are bred to decide for themselves what they think is a threat and what is not - and that might be fine on a distant hillside where no strangers go and what the dog thinks is a threat almost certainly IS a threat.

Out in town where there is afunny looking kid, a drunk guy, someone just having a shout, a weird person dressed in an animal costume advertising something..... theres SO much an LGD would think 'hey you know, thats a threat...... I'll deal with that'... and hello law suit!

A service dog is supposed to make life easier, a service dog you need to train yourself as a first time dog owner NEEDS to be an easy to train breed suited to the job, and none of the LGD fit that bill.

There are plenty of big dogs that do!
West Midlands based 1-2-1 Training & Behaviour Canine Consultant

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Nettle
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Re: Anatolian Shepherds

Post by Nettle » Sat Apr 01, 2017 3:50 am

Excellent advice from others, and I'm just adding that your hiking requirement will suit any size of dog as long as it is a 'normal' shape and can breathe properly - so not any of the exaggerated-shaped breeds or flat-faced ones.
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