Behavior and Training Considerations for your LGD

Deciding on a Livestock Guardian Dog can be a big decision, but committing to training them may seem even more daunting. Here are a few key things to keep in mind.

1. Purchase from farms where the dog or parents (for pups) are working, preferably with the same species you want to protect. 

2. Set LGD pups up for success by ensuring early bonding – between eight and 16 weeks of age. 

3. Supervision is key at first. Bonding pens work well to get pups off to a great start.

4. Slow and steady – make gradual increases to the time spent with, space allowed, and/or number of animals a new pup is exposed to. Your LGD will gain confidence, but it takes time.

5. Treat your dog as a working partner. Remember to give the pup attention and praise while it’s with livestock, especially at first.

6. Consistency is critical. Be clear in your expectations.

7. A well-rounded dog is a confident dog. While your LGD has a primary job, it’s important that your dog is also comfortable wearing a collar, walking on a leash, riding in a trailer, and being handled or restrained for first aid and routine check ups.

8. Early interventions and repetition provide the best return on investment for your training time. Correct unwanted behaviors early on.

9. Feeding shouldn’t be a competition. Set a feeding routine and secure your dog’s food where there is no competition from your livestock.

Want to learn more? Check out our Intro to Livestock Guardian Dog Course.

Photo by Harry Cooke on

Ready to get more in-depth?

Even though your LGD will likely be living full time with your livestock, it is important to do some basic training with them. Tether training can be an important tool and help keep your LGD calm when the need to be tethered arises or if they get caught in a fence or other object. The Texas A&M Livestock Guardian Dog program shares a bit more here:

Do you have concerns about LGD aggression or how to socialize your dogs – including adding new LGDs to your property?

Check out this recorded webinar featuring Dr. Udell from Oregon State University:

Interested in more general LGD information? Check out our Intro to Livestock Guardian Dog Course.

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