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Raising 2 pups with livestock

One of the main disadvantages to raising 2 pups with livestock without the supervision of adult dogs is that it is solely up to you to detect the duo playing with the livestock too roughly. This is extremely difficult as you cannot be around 24 hours per day to do this and nipping play behaviour in the bud is the most crucial strategy.

2 pups together are more likely to begin to play rough with livestock than one pup on its own, and to accidentally cause more damage.

If you have adult livestock guardians, they will teach the young pups how to behave, as they will protect the livestock from this boisterous behaviour, and not only that, they will do this in a way that pup will totally understand.

A single pup may still display play behaviour with the livestock, but this is often corrected by removing any favourite livestock he is attempting to play with or putting in some more assertive livestock who will not tolerate this from the pup.

What frequently happens when you have two pups and no adults is that the pups start a game together which progresses to including the livestock, and it is more difficult for the livestock to stop this against two pups than against one.

very young maremma sheepdog puppies less than 3 months old playing in the way they need to learn how to deal with a predator

It is well worth noting that a pup that attempts play with livestock is actually showing great promise that they are bonding well to the stock, they just don't understand that this type of play which is appropriate with other pups or older dogs, is not appropriate with their livestock. They are viewing their livestock as littermates or part of their pack.

these maremma sheepdogs are displaying very typical play behaviour, testing and learning the skills they will need if a predator does attack and they need to protect their livestock, however they must not display this behaviour towards their livestock or they will cause injury you can see the strength in these dogs as they engage in typical play behaviour that would be disastrous if they attempted to play with livestock this way

One needs to understand that a pup is a pup - it is not a mature dog that has experience and mature judgement, so a pup is likely to make mistakes. A pup that makes mistakes is not 'naughty' it is simply making mistakes and needs to learn what is appropriate and what is not. This is why it is important to raise young pups in a smaller area, with fewer livestock where you can see them as much and as often as possible, so that you are able to monitor their behaviour.

Play behaviour is also most likely to occur mornings and evenings, so careful monitoring at this time of day is critical to you observing if they are beginning any play behaviour. If you can correct this behaviour earlier rather than later your correction will be achieved more quickly and without livestock actually being injured.

View video on this site of typical puppy behaviour when learning to bond to livestock.

This article is broken into topics for your convenience:

male maremma playing with his pups displaying the loving nature of these livestock guardian dogs

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