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Old 02-01-2007, 03:16 AM
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Default Rescuing an LGD

I've been speaking to a breeder about getting a Komondor pup but the other day she mentioned that there was a two year old neutered male looking for a home. The breeder says the dog has been well-cared for and well-socialized but his current family couldn't keep him due to a divorce.

I'm very conflicted about this. On one hand there's an inherent advantage to getting a dog this age as I won't have to deal with adolescence or housetraining or various other puppy things, plus he's an existing dog looking for a home. On the other hand I'm concerned that his family didn't manage to find a way to keep him. Apparently his owners were a professional family with both kids in college yet neither owner decided to accomodate the dog in their life.

Our GSD, Osa, was a shelter rescue though we knew the family who owned her and every time we drove down her previous family's street she'd just go bonkers in the car anticipating a reunion that would never come. It made me realize that her old family was still, in her mind anyway, her true home. She loved us very much and had a good life with us but I didn't feel a bond with her as I did with the dogs I've had since puppyhood. This raises questions in my mind of adopting a rescue Komondor and how closely I could bond with him and, most importantly, how much I can trust him.

How accurately I will be able to know what triggers him and what won't? This Komondor has a reputation for independent thinking, doing what he believes is best to protect his family and home. A good owner needs to have a good idea of what situations might trigger a response and avoid them.

I've told the breeder I'm not interested but now I'm wondering if I'm being overly cautious. If it works out, great. If not, then he goes back to rescue. I have researched owning a Kom for over 8 years and now I have the time and ability to share my life with a dog.

Opinions appreciated!

Thank you.
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Old 02-01-2007, 03:57 AM
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It might help you to make up your mind if you meet the dog. If you see him interact with his current family and have a chance to talk to the owners, you might find a few answers to the questions you are asking yourself.

Of course if you do go to meet him and you are still not sure it would make it harder to walk away.
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Old 02-01-2007, 10:47 AM
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Rescue dogs bond VERY WELL with their new owners. The only reason your previous rescue didn't bond well was because she kept seeing her old home over and over again. Of course, some breeds have difficulty bonding to a new owner because they bond so fiercely with their first owners (i.e. dobermans, akitas). But on the whole, rescue dogs usually have very little trouble bonding with their new owners.

Komondors are a guardian breed (used to guard sheep and such), so he might have protective issues. That could be what his "reputation for independent thinking" means.
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Old 02-01-2007, 11:40 AM
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We have two LGD's, both rescues. One from a kill shelter at the age of two years, another from a pet home who just couldn't handle the energy and size of a rabumctious LGD in the house - he was about seven months old. Both dogs adjusted very well, but both dogs are outside and are working as LGD's.

This Komondor has a reputation for independent thinking, doing what he believes is best to protect his family and home.
He SHOULD have that sort of reputation. That is the way they are supposed to be. Very independent. It's hardwired into them. When they are outside doing the work they were designed to do, they MUST make those decisions and be able to think independently. They are bred to work for people, as opposed to herding dogs that are bred to work with people. I wonder if he has a strong working drive, if maybe that's why he has a "reputation". If he has a strong drive to do the job he was bred to do, that might make it difficult for him to be a family pet.

LGD's are amazing dogs, and IMO, very unique in the dog world. Their independance can be difficult for people to adjust to. If you are out in a field letting your LGD run, and he happens to see a coyote, I don't care how good your recall is, that dog WILL go after the coyote. It is instinct, and it is very, very strong.

I know that some people are very successful at keeping these guardian breeds as pets, and I would love to hear from them. Ours are outside 24/7/365. Our girl had to have a minor surgery and stay in the house for 4 days to recover, and I have never, ever seen a more miserable dog. If the boy outside alert barked at something, she was so very, very upset that she could not be outside to take care of "her" yard and "her" animals.

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Old 02-01-2007, 02:08 PM
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The only thing about rescue LGDS is they may BOND so much they may feel the need to protect you in all cases even from farm animals and or family.

I rescued a Akbash from a shelter was to foster him for a week till shipping to Arkansas as per the Akbash club.

Due to bad weather he stayed here for a month.
His bond with me so firm that he crashed when I had to ship him out and I cried allot.

He also decided to jump out of my stallions stall when the herd came and for food and decided to protect me againest my hubby and horses.

From a grooming point of view this breed is a daily commitment.

I have NOT worked with Koms but their cousin South Russian Ovcharka .
And these breeds give very LITTLE warning before they protect and with the eyes being covered you cant read them.

If you do get him and i hope you do make sure you can see his eyes and read them..

And please understand this - if you cant find the ability to WORK thru anything that could come _DONT take him.

It is not fair to him to go thru another home to love bond and possible due to conflicts with other dogs need a new home.

I just got back a working lgd due to a divorce and I wont part with him.
As a Breeder once they rebound and touch feet back home.
I feel it is my obligation to keep him..
Cant send him out and have him possibly rebound yet again.

Divorces are the #1 rebound issues with dog and big dogs get the brunt of it.
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Old 02-01-2007, 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Sweet72497
The only reason your previous rescue didn't bond well was because she kept seeing her old home over and over again.
We tried. The house wasn't on a main road but our town was quite small back then. If we drove by her old house once a year or once every 2-3 years, she still remembered it.

Originally Posted by Spiritus
He SHOULD have that sort of reputation. That is the way they are supposed to be.
Thank you both very much for responding so quickly!

I'm not complaining. I am very aware of this. It's why I chose the breed. It is also why I'm concerned about an older dog. I wasn't there for his formative years so I wonder if I will ever bond as closely with him, ever be able to feel as confident and trusting in him as I would a dog I've raised myself.

Komondorok are quite protective but they should be great with their family and friends they know. Komondorok will second guess their owners. If you don't see what it is that concerns them they will either continue to alert you or attempt to take care of it themselves no matter how much you protest. They are, however, extremely good about knowing what is a serious threat and what is just annoying, nearly all the time. Like any dog, Koms sometimes react to things we'd never guess.

Osa, our rescue GSD, did that. She was raised to be wary of men but unquestioningly affectionate with women. An unknown woman could approach the house and Osa would welcome her like she was a lap dog. An unknown man approached the house and Osa would bark and growl and actively place herself between her family and the stranger. This was a consistent, 99% predictable behavior, until she met my aunt Kelsey. Osa reacted to her as if she was man. Osa truly didn't like Kelsey though warily tolerated her because we told her to. Kelsey was Osa's 1%. I must reiterate, Osa was an intelligent, loving, tolerant, fun dog to be with and a wonderful family member, but she wasn't ever as much ours.

I believe, to be a responsible LGD owner, I should know my dog as well as possible to ensure the safety of every friendly person the dog comes into contact with. I won't always know what may trigger the dog, but the more I am able to know the dog, the safer everyone is including the dog.

This is why I want to know if you've rescued and LGD and, if so, how did the dog compare to those LGDs you've raised on your own. I'd love to help a dog if I could but with this breed it's important for the owner to have a sixth sense about predicting the unpredictable. I wonder if I would have that with a rescue.

The first Kom I met saw me (a stranger) talking to her owner as we walked together approaching her home. She trotted straight at me, didn't bark or growl. She stopped, got up on her hind legs, put her paws on my chest, and looked me straight in the eye. She very slightly moved her head back and forth to see through all the cords and then dropped down to her feet, leaned into me, and spent the rest of my visit letting me pet her and being very affectionate. I was surprised but didn't feel threatened. This is what a komondor does.

There are very few people in the US who are regarded as expert in Komondorok but this man, a breeder, is one of them. I am privileged to learn about the Komondor from someone who has spent years breeding, showing, studying, and now judging the breed. What he told me about the breed was completely backed by the behavior of his dogs.

I know what to expect with this breed, what concerns me is what to expect with an LGD dog I haven't raised.
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Old 02-01-2007, 03:56 PM
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It's a valid concern, Jason. I personally would feel less confident bringing in an adult LGD than a puppy (as a pet, at least) because I would NEED to be able to read a dog like that from day one. And I'd be concerned about the effect of my insecurity on my relationship with the dog. That being said, if it's a dog I "click" with, I would be willing to work through that and just be extra careful until we'd fully bonded.

It isn't the bonding I'd be worried about, it's the period of time when you don't have a bond that might require more cautious handling.

I think meeting the dog is a good idea; you'll know a lot more by interacting with him than anyone online can tell you.
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Old 02-01-2007, 04:56 PM
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How accurately I will be able to know what triggers him and what won't? This Komondor has a reputation for independent thinking, doing what he believes is best to protect his family and home. A good owner needs to have a good idea of what situations might trigger a response and avoid them.

That is a great question with an adult dog, especially one that's from a breed that is expected to think and act independently and boldly as guard dogs. I think the best course is to speak to the breeder and discuss your reservations, and explain that you would need to speak to the owners. People living with dogs usually make unconscious 'agreements' about things. I know, for instance, that you can stick your hand into my dog's mouth safely while she's eating kibble, but she'll guard a cat food tin ferociously. If she was suddenly rehomed to a family with cats (and she adores cats, so it could happen easily) there could be a bite because they wouldn't realize that this otherwise easgygoing dog changes for this one thing. Asking the owner specific questions like "Is there anything he'll give you trouble about getting out of his mouth?" or "are there times when it's not a good idea to try to pull him by the collar" is more likely to get helpful info than broader questions like "Is he aggressive?"

I would be open to adopting from this situation, but cautious too. 2-year-old male dogs of big, bold breeds are often given up because they've reached a level of strength and confidence that's impossible to live with for owners who may have socialized them but may not have adequately trained or handled them as puppies and as younger, more unsure adolescents.
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Old 02-01-2007, 05:07 PM
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Something else concerns me and that's how Koms grow. Whether this is common in LGDs I don't know. Kom pups aren't guardy. There's a golden window of about 18 months where you have plenty of time to socialize the dogs, have him meet people, show him around, bring him places, meet other dogs and children, and he'll be like any other friendly dog. Now, again, that doesn't mean you don't have to be attentive to him, it means you have a period to help shape the dog he will become with you both learning about each other at a time when the dog won't likely be a danger to anyone else.

It's also deceiving. Most koms that come in to rescue do so right after that window closes and suddenly the owners are faced with a dog that's very different from the puppy/adolescent they had before. This is what makes the foundation training so important. You want to know by the time the guarding behavior kicks in, what triggers your dog, what he likes and doesn't, who he likes and doesn't, and, if you've done your socialization and obedience training properly, you'll have a smart dog who is confident, non-dog or child aggressive, and understands that he has to follow your lead.

Because, by 18 months he's usually 100+ pounds of very strong dog with a mind of his own. Kom rescue hears time and again, "He was so sweet! We don't know what happened!" Their cute and cuddly mop is now only cute and cuddly with his friends and family. He's ceased to be just like their lab. They get frustrated because they try to train or punish this out of the dog and the dog becomes frustrated because his family doesn't understand his nature. These families become frightened of their dog, the dog gains dominance in the family, and all kinds of bad things can happen.

At 24 months this dog is just a bit beyond that point. This is part of the reason it's a red flag.

You're right. I hesitate to meet the dog because turning him down will be a lot more difficult. I get along with dogs and always have. People remark to me about how their dog who doesn't like anyone, likes me so much. I've heard that time and again. In fact, I'm looking for a second dog to go with the kom and visited a pumi breeder. Her response to her dogs' reaction was, "I've never seen them behave this way with someone they don't know!" I'm not claiming to be special, I wager most people on this board probably have the same thing happen. In this case I fear it may be a liability because, perhaps the dog will act differently with me than he might after the first meeting.

Ugh. This is really difficult to decide.

Thank you very much for all your assistance.

P.S- I wrote this reply before seeing Casablanca's reply. Sorry to sound redundant and thank you Casa!

Last edited by jason_els; 02-01-2007 at 05:23 PM.
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Old 02-01-2007, 05:34 PM
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Hi Jason... if you're on the west coast, may I suggest you google Anne Quigley, should be able to find contact info for her there without my giving her number out. She's be a great source for a second opinion you might like on this particular dog. She's a well recognized breeder of both Pulik and Kommodor, awarded breeder of the year several times and is a judge. Very nice person to talk to. Since this is an uncommon breed, most breeders can tell you about a particular line of dog, they hear about any temperament issues and health issues above and beyond what you've already researched. (If you have access to this dogs informaton) You're quite justified in being cautious about this particular breed and the more info before adopting the better. Good luck.
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