Introducing Anatolian Shepherd Dogs To Goats
I've created this page to show how I've introduced my older Anatolian Shepherd Dogs to goats. Most people teach them from puppies how to be with livestock but my group was older before I decided to add goats to the family. I've owned Anatolians for several years and fell completely in love with the breed and every aspect of them. I know mine are happy just being here and being my companions. They do have a natural instinct to guard and work though. I've noticed that mine would pick something out themselves to be a protector of. It could range from anything like patroling the property, the house, guarding me while I sleep, guarding the parakeets, anything that they could find to give them a job to do. It makes them happy to have a job. I love Anatolians with all of my heart and have become so devoted to them as a breed and I wanted to experience everything with them including livestock guarding. I decided after a lot of research that it was time to add some livestock into the mix and to give them happiness by being able to guard livestock like they were meant to do. I decided on Nigerian Dwarf Goats since they are smaller and are a type of livestock that I could find myself easily caring for as a first time goat owner and a type that the dogs would adapt to well since they were not raised around them. It was the best decision on this breed of goats. I have come to adore them as much as I adore my dogs and they have grown to be a special part of my family right along with the dogs. My goal was to eventually be able to have the dogs learn to adapt to the new goats and be happy having a job to do. I knew I was in for a lot of work but it would be worth it. There's nothing like sitting back and looking out over your property and seeing your wonderful Anatolians with livestock and doing what they have bred to do for thousands of years.
I had to prepare myself for the new goats to come home. I wanted the dogs to be able to have access to the goats 24/7 or whenever they wanted so they could learn to adapt to them. I decided to place the goat enclosure right off of the back of the house where a smaller yard is used for the dogs at times when they are not out in the larger area and an area that they have access to at all times. They can go outside as they wish and I knew this would be an ideal place to house the goats so the dogs could be outside with them as they wanted. I tore down some fencing and expanded it to add a small barn and a small goat enclosure. I added a 4 ft fence between the goat area and the dog area to keep them seperate. Eventually I would take the goats out into the larger area with the dogs depending on how the dogs took to them. Even if the dogs would not take to the goats at least the goats could have access to the larger area when the dogs were not out there. At first I wanted them to get used to each other through the fence and be able to be beside them to watch them at all times or whenever the dogs wanted. This way they could learn that the goats are here to stay and they had time to adapt to them being here and learning that they are not here to cause harm and are not a threat to them. This was an ideal way to introduce the older dogs to the goats and to get them used to the goats being here.
The new goats arrived home on June 6th, 2008. After spending some time with them and getting to know them a little, it was time to introduce the dogs. I decided it was best to introduce the dogs one on one to see how each one would react to the goats without the other dogs being around. This was a good way to read each dog and their body language towards the goats. I didn't want a pack running out at the goats all at once and all playing off of the other dogs reaction. This was the best way to see how each dog individually would react by themselves and to see if they showed any signs of aggression towards the new additions. I decided to introduce them from oldest to youngest with Raven being first.
This is Raven's first time ever seeing goats. She was so taken by the little creatures on the other side of the fence. She would whine but not bark. Her tail would not stop wagging and she reacted like she was very interested in them. She showed no signs of aggression. She showed interest and excitement more than anything.
Now it was Kazara's turn. When she first saw them, she was very alerted but did not bark. She was also very interested just like Raven was. She didn't want to take her eyes off of them. She also showed no signs of aggression. She just stood and watched.
Now it was Pasa's turn. Pasa reacted the same way as the other 2 girls. She was very interested and did bark a little. She showed no signs of aggression. If you look at her face, it was like she was smiling and her tail was wagging like crazy. She was very amused by the little goats.
Finally, it was Tayyar's turn. He had pretty much the same response as the others. He did bark a lot at first and jumped up on the fence a few times to try to get closer to them to see them. He was so curious but calmed down rather quickly. He ended up laying down to watch them because he quickly became interested in them. He was so taken by the little goats and watched their every movement. He also showed no signs of aggression.
That was our day of first introductions. It was a good day all together and I was pleased with how the dogs reacted. At this point I trusted Raven and Kazara more. They both seemed to be more laid back when they met them. Pasa and Tayyar I think did well but I didn't trust them fully even though they didn't show any aggression. They were just more on the excited side and I didn't want them getting through the fencing. I wanted to keep an eye on them when they would go outside with the goats just to be on the safe side.
A little over a week had passed since the dogs first met the goats. I was finding Raven and Kazara to be very interested in the goats more so than Pasa and Tayyar. Pasa and Tayyar were interested and would watch them but not lay there and try to get close to them like Raven and Kazara. Pasa and Tayyar would check them out every now and then but then go off and do their little thing. Raven and Kazara were so taken by these little goats and wanted to just stay outside and watch them. Below are some photos of what I would find them doing quite often. Raven and Kazara were both in love with the goats. The goats were beginning to be more trusting of the dogs and approaching them from the other side of the fence to check out them out.
Both Raven and Kazara seemed so laid back this day and so relaxed to be this close to the goats. They were so interested in them that I decided to try to attempt to take one at a time into the goat enclosure to see how they would react with no fence between them. I used a 4 ft lead to keep the dogs very close to me in and under control in case I had to get them out of there quickly.
This is Raven's first time being taken into the goat enclosure to see the goats up close.
Raven did okay but she pulled me around quite a bit to try to get closer to the goats. She showed no signs of aggression. It was just very strong interest. The goats ran and she would want to run after them to get closer to them so she could check them out. In no way was it aggressive. She just wanted to see them up close and check them out.
Now it was Kazara's turn. I also took her in the enclosure on a 4 ft lead to see how she would react. This is Kazara's first time being in with them one on one. At first she stood and watched.
The following pictures was when she was pulling me from door to door as the goats were running from one side of the barn to the other. Kazara would run back and forth trying to be closer to them and whining at the same time because she wanted to see them so badly.
She also showed no signs of aggression. It was just heavy interest and wanting to be close to them but the goats were scared and would run. I didn't want to stress out the goats too much this day so I decided to stop with just Raven and Kazara. Pasa and Tayyar could be another day. It was time for everyone to take a break. Raven and Kazara being in the goat enclosure for the first time went okay. I wish it could have been better without so much pulling around. I knew I had some work ahead of me with these 2 girls to be able to be out with them on leads and even off lead if that's going to be possible. They both got very excited and really wanted to see the goats up close. I'm just really relieved there was no aggression shown towards the goats and that gives me hope.
It was the following day and I had to have a photo shoot so my job had a picture of me. It's a veterinary office and they have all the employees pictures hanging on the wall with some personal information about each employee so the clients get to know the people who take care of their pets. I wanted to attempt to get a picture of me with a dog and a goat. This was going to be fun to try but since Raven and Kazara seemed the most interested at the time and had already had closer encounters with the goats, I was going to try to get one of them in the picture with me and a goat. I took my smallest and most trusting goat at the time and took her out into the larger area away from all the others and brought out each girl seperately to see what would happen. Both of the girls are off lead.
Here's Raven's first very close encounter with a goat. The first picture is also the picture we ended up using for my job.
Raven did great! She was so interested in Gypsy and just came up to her and sniffed her and gave her some kisses. She never attempted to grab her or harm her. She was loving being able to see her up close like this. I did hold Gypsy the entire time and Raven was great. I decided to put Gypsy down on the ground to see what Raven would do. I held on to Raven's collar just to be safe. As soon as Gypsy hit the ground, Raven wanted to pull like crazy and try to run after her when Gypsy ran off. I took Raven back inside since I didn't trust her without a lead and I didn't want to see Gypsy get hurt by accident.
Now it was Kazara's turn. We really didn't get many pictures at all with Kazara and the goat. She woud not stand still and was right in front of us almost the whole time so that made it impossible to try to get a good picture. She was so interested in Gypsy and would not leave her alone. She just kissed her like crazy and Gypsy came out of the situation with a soaking wet head. I felt the same way with Kazara as I did with Raven and didn't trust Kazara off lead if I put Gypsy on the ground. I didn't want her getting hurt by accident. Here's the only decent picture we could get of Kazara with up close and personal with Gypsy.
All in all, I was pleased with how the girls responded to meeting her so close and being able to touch her. They were both gentle and very attentive to her. It was when I put her on the ground that they got more excited and wanted to chase her. Gypsy was so tiny and fragile that it was not worth the risk of getting her hurt by accident. Neither girls showed any signs of aggression and they were both so happy to see her this close and be able to touch her.
This is a little later in the day when all the others went out into the smaller area to see the goats through the fence. I was also holding up a couple of the other goats while standing on the one side of the fence to meet Pasa and Tayyar on the other side. It gave them a chance to get a little closer to them also. The goats were running all over the place in their enclosure and it made all the dogs go nuts on the other side of the fence. Everyone was all worked up from meeting the goats so closely that they just wanted more. The dogs acted as though it was play time because they saw all the goats running around and having fun. Here's a couple of shots I got of them. You will mainly see Raven, Pasa and Tayyar in these pictures on the other side of the fence.
Over a month has passed since the new goats came home. The dogs are still very interested in all of them and the goats are beginning to be more trusting of the dogs and approaching the fence to touch noses with the dogs through the fence. Everyone is enjoying the new goats and all of the dogs seem to be doing well adapting to them being here. They are all calming down much more and love to lay outside and watch the goats through the fence. This was a beautiful sunny morning while I was out cleaning the barn and Raven was laying there as happy as can be just watching them. This is Raven watching Coal.
I decided it was time to introduce Pasa and Tayyar to the goats the same way I did with Raven and Kazara. It was their turn to get up close to them. I took each of them in the enclosure on 4 ft leads just like I did with the 2 girls. I was a little worried being that these 2 were the ones that would jump up at the fence to see the goats and were more excitable since they are younger. I didn't have my helper this day so the pictures are not really great but it'll give you an idea of how it went.
I decided to try with Tayyar first. This is how his meeting went.
He shocked me and laid down! He was very calm and didn't pull at all. He just laid outside of the barn door and waited for a goat to approach him. He just watched and relaxed. I was in pure shock! I didn't not expect this at all. He was such a good boy! We sat out there for a while with the goats and he was so good the whole time and just laid there. I decided it was time to take him out and try with Pasa.
This is Pasa's first one on one meeting with them.
She just wandered over to the door of the barn to have a peek. She was also more laid back and relaxed. I wish I could have gotten it on camera but the darker goat you see in this picture walked over towards us and popped his head through this little doorway and touched noses with Pasa. Pasa was cautious and curious. She didn't pull around either like the others did. I walked her over to the other side of the barn to see if she could get a closer look at them.
She is finally over on the other side of the barn and the goats left and went to the other side. Pasa was calm and relaxed the whole time and even seemed to loose interest at some points. She had that look to her like this was no big deal. If she only knew!
I was floored with how these 2 reacted to the goats. Both were great and very calm. The goats even seemed to trust these 2 more than the other 2 since they didn't make any sudden movements towards the goats. The goats seemed to be more relaxed with these 2 meeting them. This really gives me hope! This was a great first time meeting for being up close like this. I just hope it gets better!
Two months have passed since the new goats have come home. Everyone has had their first introductions on the short leads in the goat enclosure. Everyone seems to be really interested in the goats and realize that they are here to stay. This was a nice day after work and I decided to try to take Tayyar out with the goats again on the short 4 ft lead and see how he reacted once again. He was the calmest by far when I first took all of the dogs into the enclosure to meet the goats. I wanted to see how he did a second time and get some better pictures of him with them. Here's his second meeting with the goats.
He was doing great and notice that there was no tension in the lead. He was just happy to be out there with the goats.
In this next set of pictures he was able to get closer to them. I was shocked at one point but couldn't catch it on camera. Coal walked right up to Tayyar and they both stood there and touched noses. This was a wonderful step in the right direction!
I was so pleased with how he was doing but it was time to leave the enclosure. On our way out Tayyar got approached by all of the boys. They all wanted to see him and meet him. Here's this little fairwell from the goat enclosure for the evening.
Tayyar did great once again! I'm so pleased with how he's been reacting to the goats. He has really shocked me. He did not once pull or try to harm any of the goats. He was just so curious and interested in them. He was also very laid back. He's the youngest of the dogs being introduced to the goats but one of the most excitable ones. His calm demeanor around the goats has really surprised me. He's such a good boy!
Over the next several months the dogs have gone on about daily life but now they have the new additions to watch over. They all enjoy the goats being here and know they are a part of the family. Each dog has been taken into the enclosure a couple of times on the short leads for further socializing with the goats with about the same outcomes. In the following months each dog will be exposed to getting out with the goats for further testing on a long lead. One of them has already been tested on the long lead by this point. The others will just need to be tested. These next several pictures are just some snapshots of the the dogs taken on October 18th, 2008 enjoying their time watching over the goats through the fence.
Kazara watching over the goats.
Raven watching over the goats.
The next snapshot was taken January 5th, 2009. You will notice a puppy in the picture this time. This is Atakan right after he came home. He will be learning from a puppy to be with the goats and has already met them one on one by this point has done well. This is just a quick picture of Atakan with Raven and Kazara. The girls were wanting to go into the goat enclosure to meet a new little goat that came home on the trip with Atakan. You can see how interested these 2 girls are in the goats.
Here's another quick picture of Kazara with Atakan taken 01-06-09. Kazara was so interested in both of the new addtions that she didn't want to leave the fencing to leave Lotus and she also didn't want to leave Atakan.
You will be seeing more pictures of Atakan with the goats as he's growing and learning in the Working Photos album.
This has been a great experience introducing the dogs to the goats and knowing that they all accept them being here. Now the big test will begin! All are doing wonderful watching over the goats from the other side of the fence but what will happen when they get on long leads? Will they ever be able to be left off lead to be free roaming with the goats or not? Only time will tell....