The Guardian Way – November 2021

Fall 2021 LGD Field Day

The Livestock Guardian Dog Field Day in Fredericksburg on Oct. 8 was a great event with producers attending from all over the area.  It was nice to finally see people in person at an event.  I would like to thank the AgriLife Extension Service office of Gillespie County for their help with the event, the Roeder Ranch for allowing us to hold the event under their pavilion, and all our presenters.  We would also like to thank the following generous sponsors of the event:

2021 Fall LGD Field Day at the Roeder Ranch in Fredericksburg, Texas. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo courtesy Redden 2021)

Gold Sponsors:

Capital Farm Credit        Crenwelge Motor Sales                 Fiesta Winery

Fredericksburg Winery                  Hill Country Refrigeration             Kowert Real Estate

Lochte Feed                 Lone Star Pump Service                      Lone Star Tracking

Nestle Purina                          Pedernales Veterinary Center

Pig Brig Trap System                       Sheep & Goat Predator Management Board

Silver Sponsors:

Bluebonnet Furniture           Creative Awards & Trophies             First United Bank

Fredericksburg Veterinary Hospital                         Gillespie County Farm Bureau

Hill Country Propane       Napa Auto Supply             Security Bank & Trust


Behrend’s Feed & Fertilizers         D&D Fence & Rentals        Lone Star Tracking        Pig Brig Trap Systems

LGD Breeders:

Fritz Southdown’s

AgriLife LGD Program Update

On Thursday, Nov. 18 at 3 p.m. we will be presenting our next webinar in the LGD series.  You can register for the Zoom presentation on our Facebook page by clicking on the blue “Go to Link” button or on the AgriLife Center’s website under the events section.  The webinar will also be broadcast live on Facebook.  The video will be recorded and posted to our YouTube Channel as well.

We received a grant from the National Sheep Industry Improvement Center (NSIIC) to measure the success rate of 16 LGDs on large commercial operations that are experiencing different styles of bonding from 2 to 6 months of age.  The project will last 2 years and help sheep producers gain a better understanding of how to bond LGD puppies to livestock.  Stay tuned for the updates of this research effort.

LGDs & The Bonding Project

Johnny, Doc and Thelma are still randomly roaming in Menard.  They generally go to the same neighbor’s ranch each time.  We have tried several different things to stop them from leaving, but none of them has effectively stopped the dogs from leaving the ranch.  For those that are new to the blog, Doc and Thelma were not bonded in hot wire pens.  Johnny was bonded in a hot wire pen and was not roaming until Doc and Thelma were added to the ranch.  While we are still working to collect enough data on the impacts of certain bonding styles, it does appear that our more socialized dogs are roaming more often than our LGDs that are less socialized.  Especially at the Martin ranch, which we suspect is because there is less human activity at this ranch than our other properties.  Hence their attraction to the homestead at the neighboring property.

Johnny with a large gash on his left side, most likely from a feral hog. He had a smaller injury on his right shoulder also. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo courtesy Lopez 2021)

Johnny was injured last month, most likely by a hog based on the vet’s examination of the injuries.  He spent a few days at the vet’s office recuperating and is back out guarding his Dorper ewes and lambs.  Luckily, he is socialized and was easily caught by one of the ranch hands.  We are currently spending approximately five minutes per dog three times a week directly socializing them to humans.  This was decreased from five minutes four to five times a week in the first round of dogs that we bonded.  We found that some of those dogs were overly socialized toward humans.  We will decrease the next round of puppies that we bond to five minutes of socialization twice a week.  When we socialize the pups, we gently roll them over, check their teeth, ears, and paws.  We also rub and pet them all over their bodies and we brush the longer haired dogs, so they get used to having mats in their fur taken out.  In addition, we leash train, tether train, and give truck rides to all the pups each week.

Squiggy is doing well and is over his chest infection.  He is getting along with Queenie in Sonora quite well.  Miley has been released from the kennel and is guarding stock in the pens at the Center.  She is moving around much better now and is slowing gaining weight.  Hopefully she will be able to return to one of the AgriLife ranches soon.

Miley hanging out with some sheep in pens at the Center. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo courtesy Costanzo 2021)

We had two other dogs placed in the kennel last month.  The dogs were from the Martin Ranch and they were the neighbor’s dogs that liked the ranch so well, we traded for them.  However, these dogs are not well socialized to humans and we could rarely catch them prior to their health issue.  This contributed to the contraction of the disease because we couldn’t treat for parasites.  After an examination by our vet, it was determined that they had the tick disease, Ehrlichiosis.  Dog #1 was in remission from the disease while his brother had an active infection.  Dog #2 was treated for 21 days with antibiotics and is now recuperating in the kennel.  Dog #1 has put weight back on and will be returning to the Martin Ranch in early November to guard the meat goats.  Dog #2 will need to be in the kennel for several more weeks until he has gained enough body condition to guard his charges again.

If you ranch in Texas south or just north of highway I-10, it’s important to keep your dogs up to date with flea and tick medication.  Ehrlichiosis is moving farther north each year as our climate changes according to our veterinarian.  The disease causes weight loss, anorexia, fever, depression, lethargy, and respiratory issues in LGDs.  The only way to prevent infection is to prevent ticks from feeding on your LGDs.  Once the initial infection has passed, the disease lays dormant in the bone marrow of the dog and reoccurs during times of stress to the dog’s immune system.  Regular health checks and body condition scoring of your LGDs can help catch the disease before your dog becomes too weak to fend off an infection.

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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.  Make sure to follow us on our social media sites and share them with your friends and family!


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