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I have a small hobby flock of sheep that I use for training my herding dogs. These sheep are pets and are pretty used to dogs. I recently added a guard Llama because the lambs were being prayed on by Coyotes and the occasional loose/stray dog was harassing them.

My Llama is a male who is very friendly and is great with the lambs and Ewes. He's calm and comfortable with people and in general has been a joy to be around. So far when he is on the big open field with lots of lush food he isn't interested enough in the grain bucket to come over when I'm trying to collect him and keep him separate while I can work the sheep. So I've been using an experienced dog to bring him in with the whole flock then separate him while I work the flock. He seems to have figured out that this dog doesn't mean harm and he isn't acting stressed or trying to protect the flock from the dog.

If I keep doing this will he get to used to dogs and not be as protective of the sheep? Will he know the difference between my dog and a dog that means harm? I'm assuming he'll know the difference between my dog and a Coyote but I'm not sure. Since he has been on the field I have only had one Coyote incident, a bite on a sheep's neck, but normally that would have meant the loss of a sheep. So I know he's being protective and since that incident the sheep seem to make sure they stay with him whenever they are worried. How else can I get him in if I shouldn't use my dog?

  • Unless we already have a Llama training specialist in here, I'd bet this question is going to stay unanswered for a length of time.. – Esa Paulasto Jun 5 '14 at 6:58
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    @EsaPaulasto - Apparently we do... or reasonably close. :D – John Cavan Jun 5 '14 at 13:06
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    Aye, that's nice! :) – Esa Paulasto Jun 5 '14 at 19:31
  • The only way to start is to... start. – Beth Whitezel Jun 5 '14 at 20:55
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I used to keep alpacas, which are closely related to llamas. Alpacas are highly intelligent, and will respond appropriately to a threat. For example, my alpacas were quite relaxed with my own sheepdog. A neighbour's dog who tried to steal food from their treat dish would get a warning "kick" that did not connect, but would scare him off. (To emphasise, they did not kick the dog, merely kicked in the dog's direction.) A helper of mine who handled them too roughly got an actual kick, but it was mild. In other words, they adjusted their response to the seriousness of the threat. I don't think your llamas would be any less vigilant in protecting the flock simply because they get used to one dog.

Training your llama to come on command will probably be easier once the grass isn't quite so lush.

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