Anatolian Articles and info ~

The following article appeared in the Anatolian Times, Volume 2, 2007, Working Dog edition.

The Rural Suburban Anatolian

 My husband and I live on a small farm in Virginia in what used to be considered "Horse Country", but since I am only about 20 minutes from one of the largest malls in the Southeast, I hardly consider myself truly in the country.  Fortunately, our farm is bordered by neighbors on 30 and 8 acre parcels, so houses aren´t sitting on the property boundary.  The "rural suburban" lifestyle has become extremely popular in many areas of the United States and as a result, where a large farm once was, there are numerous smaller ones or "estate-size" lots. 

 Anatolians fit perfectly into this type of "rural suburban" setting.  They are not just pets in this situation, but are needed for livestock and small pet guarding as well.  The numbers of black bear and coyote have increased over the years in Virginia.  Coyotes are not native to Virginia, but they have made themselves at home - increasing at a rate of 20% per year.  The coyote in the eastern states are typically larger than coyotes in the western states, according to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.  They are encroaching into more populated areas with glee and they prefer open land to dense forests.  I had never heard a coyote until about two years ago and now, I hear them every morning that I am outside before dawn.  With their expanded territory and lessening fear of humans, smaller free-roaming dogs and cats are at risk in addition to lambs, kid goats and newborn calves. 

 There are red fox living at the back of our farm too.  Unfortunately, they love fattened runner duck.  We have runner ducks, horses, dorper sheep and a slew of Border Collies.  The most recent additions were the sheep, as my husband and I are going to attempt sheep dog trialing in the future.  The yearling ewes are used to being rounded up by furry balls of energy and watched over by relatively lazy guard dogs, so seeing my Anatolians was nothing to be alarmed about.  However, the Anatolians at first thought the aliens had landed. 

 My Anatolians are not stock-specific, they are general farm guardians.  They accept whatever is there and they are protective of the premises and all occupants including the other dogs and cat.  It took a while for them to understand that the Border Collies could herd the ducks and that was okay.  They have an "on switch" and an "off switch."  When they are off premises they are not on duty and readily greet people.  All my dogs have been socialized and like to go places in the car, snag some treats at Petsmart, and occasionally they luck out and find some small people (children) carrying ice cream cones. 

 There are four concepts that I feel are extremely important to keep in mind when you have Anatolians.  First, temperament is critical.  You need a dog with the personality, temperament and intelligence that will allow it to function in a variety of roles such as guardian, family member, and breed ambassador to the public.  I don´t believe you have to sacrifice working ability to obtain a high-functioning dog. 

 Second, as owner and leader of such an independent and powerful being, you need an open mind.  Often, the old traditional training methods just don´t work with an Anatolian - you need to come up with different ways to assert leadership and teach new ideas in order to maintain the best relationship with your dog. 




 Third, a good fence makes for a happy existence.  I have a four-foot stockwire fence with strands of electric wire on top and about 9 inches from the ground (high enough to get the grooming mower under).  This slows down predators, keeps stray dogs out and discourages the Anatolians from digging under or jumping/climbing on the fence.  (Anatolians love to dig, but the fence line is off limits!)  A 4 or 6-volt solar electric fencer is all that is necessary and they learn as puppies to respect the fence.  Anything within the perimeter fence is my domain and theirs to look after. 

Fourth, keep in mind that most legislation proposed is the will of the few imposed on the many.  Unfortunately, the few making the rules have never dealt with anything beyond their subdivision limits and don't understand what it is like to be trapped in your own barn by starving, abandoned dogs that have formed a pack, or walk out in the morning to find prized ducks beheaded or missing.   Pay attention to ordinances and legislation proposed for your county and state and make your opinions heard to preserve your right to own and raise your livestock and dogs.  However, equally important - be a responsible dog owner and a good neighbor.  Don´t set yourself up for a lawsuit or draw negative attention to the breed. 

Catherine O´Brien

Maidens, Virginia

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