The Guardian Way – January 2022

AgriLife LGD Program Update

On Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022 at 3 p.m. we will be presenting our next webinar in the LGD series.  You can register for the Zoom presentation

National Sheep Industry Improvement Center logo.

on our Facebook page by clicking on the blue “Go to Link” button or on the AgriLife Center’s website under the events section.  We will broadcast the webinar live on Facebook.  The video will be recorded and posted to our YouTube Channel as well.

We have selected five producers for the National Sheep Industry Improvement Center, NSIIC, grant.  Producers or AgriLife personnel will bond the 16 puppies purchased from breeders in Texas.  The grant will measure the success rate of 16 LGDs on large operations with varying styles of bonding protocols.  Two to four freshly weaned LGD pups or bonded adolescents will be placed on ranches.  Stay tuned for more updates on this research effort.

New Additions

We welcomed two new LGD bonded pups to our program in December.  Sally and Sara are now 7-month-old Akbash x Anatolian x Great Pyrenees cross pups.  The pups were purchased from a breeder in Texas.  The breeder bonded the pups with goats.  Sally

Sally, one of two new bonded pups at the AgriLife Center. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo courtesy Costanzo 2021)

Sara one of, two new bonded pups at the AgriLife Center. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo courtesy Costanzo 2021)

and Sara joined the other three dogs in Menard that guard our goats at the Martin Ranch.  The pups were rebonded for seven days with several meat goats upon their arrival.  Afterwards, they were released with the other dogs and goats on the ranch.  You can check our Facebook page @TAMUlivestockguarddog for weekly updates on those pups and the rest of the LGDs at the AgriLife Center.

LGDs & The Bonding Project

Wyatt decided to try to make friends with a porcupine for the third time this past year.  Sadly, Wyatt didn’t learn the first two times he got quills in his mouth and face.  This time he decided to paw at the porcupine too.  Wyatt was taken to the local vet to have several of the quills removed.  His left front paw became infected.  Wyatt spent a week in the kennel at the Center after having to have surgery to remove a quill that broke off in the top of his paw!  Wyatt’s doing better now after antibiotics and some rest.  Hopefully his New Year’s resolution will be not to try making friends with the porcupines at the Read Ranch in Ozona.

Wyatt in the kennel at the Center recuperating from his porcupine quills. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo courtesy Costanzo 2021)

Thelma is still roaming in Menard with her two partners in crime, Doc and Johnny.  Thelma and Doc or usually Johnny roam to a neighbor’s ranch about once a week.  Sometimes they return on their own and other times we must pick them up and bring them back to the Martin Ranch.  Luckily the neighbor has LGDs also and understands the issues with yearling pups misbehaving.  Thelma and Doc will be graduating from the bonding project at 18 months of age in February.

The Thelma and Doc should start to mature and settle down soon.  Normally I would have separated two siblings that were causing problems together.  However, we are short of dogs currently to cover all our needs.  We decided to keep Doc and Thelma together and try to work with them during these “teenage months.”  Other than weekly roaming, the dogs have done well in the project.

Doc and Thelma with yokes on at the AgriLife Center in April of 2021. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo courtesy Costanzo 2021)

If you follow the dogs in the bonding project, you may remember that Doc and Thelma were constantly roaming to a pasture next to their bonding pen pasture as young pups.  At that time, we placed yokes on the dogs which worked well and stopped them from climbing under the fencing.  However, no one lives on that ranch or is there regularly to hand feed the two dogs, so a yoke is not an option.  They do have GPS trackers on so we can monitor their movements.

Thor roamed frequently for several months as he was maturing.  Once he was about 2 years old, he settled down.  Thor still roams, but it’s rarely more than 100 yards beyond the perimeter of his charges’ pasture.  Doc and Thelma will hopefully follow this pattern with any luck.


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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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