Anatolian Shepherds Page

Friday, December 3, 2010

Our “Dangerous Dog” Part 1

Well, here’s the story from our perspective:

About twelve years ago, before our big move to the country, my dear husband came home with a printed article regarding Anatolian Shepherd Dogs. ASD’s are a form of Livestock Protection Dog, so you can imaging my response: “Uh, dear? Why would we get one? We live inside the city limits. We don’t have any sheep. This dog breed of dog would be miserable in our back yard. Dear husband, what are you thinking?

But of course, being the highly intelligent man that he is; he said: “I know, but I find them fascinating. And we (that’s his way of saying you) should really learn more about them. He knows me so well! Can’t ignore an opportunity to learn more! So onto the internet (O.K. so this is an updated article, October 2010) and to the library I went, two very young children in tow. (They were so towable then; and towheads, too! Or is that toe-heads? Which would take me in a whole other direction.)

Fast forward ten years (yes, I did say ten! It took us that long!) Add two children. (Another great two stories, which I will tell you about another time.) And the beginnings of an idea of what we wanted to do with this property.

We finally saw an ad in the newspaper that read something like: Pure-bred Anatolian Shepherds, Quincy, WA $200. and the phone number. WOW! This was the least expensive we’d EVER seen them in the twelve years we had researched them!

Simple and sweet (and cheap!) We called, talked for about an hour, to make sure that we asked all the right questions. The pedigree; the age of the sire and dam. Were the sire and dam on-site? The animals that were kept on-site?

The breeder asked us a ton of questions about our property, where the puppy would live/sleep/eat, what we intended to do with the puppy.
We made arrangements to drive the hour and a half to Quincy, WA. It was a lightly snowy day, March 6, 2009.

When we arrived, we found a rural piece of property fully fenced, with handmade signs that read: “No Trespassing” “Stop and call or honk and we’ll come let you in.” and their phone number. We went, “Whoa, that’s interesting!” But we followed their instructions, after all, we were on their property... when in Rome!

They let us onto their property, and told us that the adult dogs that we saw were “Walnut” and “Peanut.” Truthfully, I can’t remember which was which, but one was a beautiful classic looking female Anatolian (Kengal) who was obviously recovering from birth, and the other was an equally handsome classic looking male Anatolian (Kengal).

Imagine our surprise when they showed us this huge litter (12-14) of pure white puppies (Akbash: O.K. they looked like big round white snowballs with black eye liner and lips; and I instantly wondered how we were going to choose between them.) So being the incredibly wise woman that I am; I advised my dear husband that he would have to choose for our family.

The location that the puppies were in, was a completely enclosed/fenced area with a small herd of goats in it. Well isn’t that interesting? Just like the information we had researched suggested was appropriate!

Anatolian Shepherds are livestock protection animals. Their purpose is to guard and protect livestock from predators such as coyotes, fox, weasels, wolves, bear, etc. You keep them with the goats/sheep/chickens, etc. from birth on, to help them learn to bond with the animals they are to protect.

The idea is to start them out as “guardians-in-training” of any one or more type of animal, and they learn from their early experiences to easily transition to any type of animal (even the humans who feed and interact with them.) They are not “guard dogs” in the sense of a trained German Shepherd or Pit-Bull or Doberman Pinscher. They are a highly intelligent animal capable of assessing the danger level of the perceived predator.

Long story short, my dear husband chose one of the female puppies that day.

Here is the interesting part of the day: The puppy literally ran away and screamed in terror when she was picked up by the breeder to leave with us. My immediate thought was: OMGosh! What happened to that puppy to make it so scared of humans? Well, the short answer is: It is unwise to treat Anatolian Shepherds as that intimate family pet. Especially the younger they are.

She hid her head in terror THE ENTIRE one and a half hour trip home! We would pet her, and try to talk to her, and she never growled or tried to bite us. Trust me, we would turned the car right around in a heart beat, and given her back to the breeder, if she had! The Mama-bear in me, wouldn’t have stood for that EVER! And I was watching, let me tell you!

We named her: Quincy. Because we are that clever!

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Stay tuned for Part 2: Our “Dangerous Dog” – AKA: Quincy’s Growing Up Years. Could also be named: “How to tick off your Neighbor’s”, but I thought that might not be as good of title. (In the famous words of Leroy Jethro Gibbs, of NCIS: “Ya think?”)

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