The Guardian Way – March 2021

Program Update

Do not forget to register for our LGD Nutrition and Feeding webinar on March 25th at 3pm with Dr. Deb Zoran, DVM, of the Texas A&M Small Animal Clinical Science Department.  You can register for the free event on our Facebook page at .  Look under the Events section and use the link in the webinar description to register for the Zoom event.  If you are not on Facebook, you can also register for the webinar on the San Angelo AgriLife Center Events page.

As always, stay tuned to our social media channels for educational videos, tips of the week, fun photos, and more.  Do not hesitate to reach out to us with questions, comments, and concerns.

Feeding station with RFID door.

We are trying out a new radio frequency identification (FID) door on a feeding station to keep out varmints from the feeder.  We have not encountered any issues with the pups using it at the AgriLife Center.  They adapted to the door very easily and can enter the feeding station when needed.  Each of the puppies wears a RFID tag attached to their collars.  We had some initial issues with the dogs losing the tags, but after using zip ties to attach them we solved that issue.  The door can be programed for up to five different dogs and has a proximity sensor that can be adjusted out to ten feet away.  It uses four D-cell batteries as a power source.  The door can be completely locked, left open or set to open with the RFID tags.  We have purchased an additional door for testing at one of our research ranches.  We will keep you updated on the progress of this project.

We received a lot of messages and emails regarding LGDs and the harsh winter storm that covered Texas during the middle of February.  Your LGD does not need any special treatment that you would not provide for your livestock.  Shelter, bedding, and supplemental feed are welcomed by your LGD as much as your livestock.  These types of dogs have thick double hair coats on their bodies and extra hair between their toes for a reason, to withstand cold winters.  All of the LGD breeds were bred for thousands of years in Europe to endure the harsh environment there.  The weather in Europe routinely gets very cold with snow and ice in most of the regions.  However, if during any storm, your LGD is shivering, just as with livestock, they need shelter and warm bedding immediately.  My own LGD refused to be taken into shelter even on the coldest nights of the storm.  He was perfectly happy with a nice pile of bedding in the backyard, watching over the generator and keeping any cats or squirrels away that were looking for some place warm to hideout.

LGD Puppy Bonding Project

All of the puppies in the current phase of the bonding project have been released from their 1-acre pens into larger pastures with their charges and are doing well.  The seven puppies will stay at the Center until they are 8 months of age.  At that point, the pups will be spayed/neutered and placed at a cooperating producer’s ranch along with our research ranches.

Johnny with goats.

The Legends of Country Music are turning a year old this month, and both are doing well.  Johnny has not roamed out of his pastures since being separated from Waylon.  It seems that separating Johnny and Waylon worked out well for both dogs.  Waylon is still following the feed truck from time to time and needs corrective behavior when he does, but it is becoming less often as time goes on.  Other than following the feed truck, Waylon does not roam out of his pasture.  Hopefully, Waylon and Johnny continue to work well and graduate from the Bonding Project in September of this year.

The Superheroes and the Three Stooges are all graduating from the Bonding Project this month.  All the pups are now 18 months of age.  They will no longer be tracked as part of the project.  I recently visited the Stooges to change out tracking batteries and all of the dogs looked well and were easily caught with the sheep.  Larry is still very friendly while Moe is a little less than he was previously.  Curly is still shy, but quickly remembered me after a few belly scratches.

Larry with his charges.

Looking back, there were some challenges with Superheroes Hulk and Thor roaming at the Center as puppies.  Hulk and Goliath have never left the research ranch in Ozona since being placed there in March of 2020.  Hulk does wander between the wool sheep with Goliath and our Angora goats protected by an older male, Max, from time to time.  Our best guess is that he goes to provide extra protection to either species when needed.

Thor is continuing to roam as an adult.  Thor was doing well here at the Center but decided to roam over to ASU in early February.  We then placed him in the kennel for 4 days as punishment for his roaming.  He was very happy to get back to his goats after that and as of late February he has not roamed again.

To provide feedback on this article or request topics for future articles, please contact me at or 325-657-7311. The Texas A&M AgriLife Livestock Guardian Dog Program is a cooperative effort by Texas A&M AgriLife Research and the Texas Sheep and Goat Predator Management Board.

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