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03 November 2010

Understand

Dear Readers,

I have finally begun to understand my Anatolian Shepherds.  I know it sounds like a fairly simple statement, but for a girl who wasn't really raised with dogs (them living inside) and has never run a farm - this is a huge accomplishment (and undertaking).

When we first brought Surge home, well it was love at first sight for me with these dogs.  I met a Champion Inana's Bay Boudreau of Lucky Hit (or Boo as he was introduced to me) back in 2007.  He stepped out of a huge white van and was very graceful and dignified.  He simply looked around the surroundings and never barked.  I didn't have to even bend over to touch him.  Most dogs that big are goofy and slobbery, not Boo.  He was flat out impressive, but reserved.  I knew then that I would have to research this breed. 

When we went to look for a guardian for our farm, I remembered the Anatolian Shepherd and it's guarding abilities.  Me being me, I dove right in and started looking for a dog.  The more prudent thing to do, would have been to visit dog shows and other farmers with Anatolians.  Little did I know what I was getting into and how much I would learn.

I knew Surge was different the minute I held him.  My grandfather reared AKC Labs, so I had seen a pup or two, but this guy seemed to understand me as soon as I could figure out his communication pattern, which interestingly was very basic and canine.

I will admit that I was overly "heavy handed" with Surge at first, but quickly realized that being loud and swatting him all the time was not the way to go with this dog (I had read that Alpha rolls were what I needed to do, so I did them, but my heart broke every time as I just seemed to be scaring him because I was.)

Then, I backed off almost all of my corrections, when we got our miracle dog Jazz when Surge was 6 months.  I realized we lacked the immediate knowledge and he needed a mentor, so she came home - what a blessing that dog is!!!  She will forever have a place in my heart and home. So, then Surge seeing that I was not the Nazi I was began taking whatever liberties he could get away with and played with everything small within his grasp.

I realized again that my methods were incorrect and that he probably needed to be removed from the situation.  I also stopped bringing new animals home to allow him to get use to what we have - I am that way myself in many respects.  This lead to our building of his pen.  He is now (almost) 11 months old.

I have been introducing him to the goats on a weekly basis - at first he fell right back into his old habit of chasing, but I firmly yet gently corrected him and he straightened out. 

We have learned that Anatolians are not the types of dogs that will do whatever you want them to do when you want them to do it simply for your pleasure.  That is what Jack Russells and poodles are for, right?!  We more or less treat our Anatolians like children with fur coats - not that we pamper them - no, but we respect their intelligence and development.  For example: If Surge is mis-behaving, instead of rolling him like I once did - I not swat him on the nose or use a BIG loud annoyed voice with clapping to let him know what he is doing is not OK.  I treat him like a 3 year old.   Jazz on the other hand can be curbed with a quiet word uttered in a firm voice.   We treat her like a 9 year old human.  It took me a long time to "get" these dogs and no they are not for the average Joe and lots and lots of research and interaction with the breed should take place before you buy or rescue one so you can understand what they are all about.

This is kind of a funny story that just showed me how smart my Surge is:
Surge was barking incessantly, which he does not do for no reason.  He is NOT a recreational barker.  He barked ALL day, which was extremely annoying because our bedroom window faces his pen (we put the animal that needs close watching in pen as I can hear it all the time).  We did everything we could think of short of choking him or electrocuting him to get him to stop.  I believed it was because Jazz was in heat.  WRONG.  The problem : he had knocked over his water and was thirsty. 

 They will show unwavering loyalty, respect, and will guard you with everything they have without a second thought to what it will cost them.  I absolutely LOVE these Turkish guardian dogs.