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.
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
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
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
There are red fox living at the back of our
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.
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
Anatolians at first thought the aliens had landed.
My Anatolians are not stock-specific, they are
general farm guardians.
whatever is there and they are protective of the premises and all occupants
including the other dogs and cat.
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."
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
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.
You have to be a benevolent leader - because if you are not in charge, the
dog will be.
Socialize your Anatolian as a puppy and periodically as an adult in order to
maintain his manners and skills. Your
dog will be what you put into him.
Communicate with your Anatolian. They
look to their owners for guidance in situations, so pay attention to them
and don´t leave them hanging. Clearly
indicate to them that something is either to be accepted or not.
For example, if you receive a visitor, include the dog in the
greeting and let the dog know that the visitor is welcome.
Don´t set your dog up for failure.
Anatolians are creatures of habit and anything new will throw them.
So, plan the time to introduce new livestock in a manner that is safe
for both dog and livestock. The
length of time for an introduction depends on the dog and their learning
curve. One female I have is just a
good, "salt of the earth" dog – she is very loving and intelligent, but it
takes her a little longer than the others to grasp a new concept.
The others will accept a new duck or horse in a few days, whereas it
may take her a week to assimilate the new animal into the scheme of things.
Until that time, she is kept behind an adjacent fence or I will have
her on lead around them. Just because
you have sheep, doesn´t mean that you can bring new sheep in and not have a
problem. One lady I know unloaded
some new sheep off of the trailer into a field, her Anatolian cleared her
fence and within a few minutes they were all dead.
To her dog, those newcomers did not belong!
Third, a good fence makes for a happy
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
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.
important - be a responsible dog owner and a good neighbor.
Don´t set yourself up for a lawsuit or draw negative attention to the
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