DO YOU REALLY WANT AN ANATOLIAN SHEPHERD DOG?
PLEASE ASK YOURSELF THESE QUESTIONS BEFORE YOU BRING ONE HOME.
DO YOU HAVE PROPER FENCING?
The Anatolian Shepherd Dog (ASD) is an accomplished escape artist. He can climb, jump and dig out of almost any fencing around. To own and ASD~be it working or pet home~proper containment/fencing in a TOP PRIORITY. Remember, a dog that wanders from home is not doing his/her job, AND is in danger.
DO YOU HAVE THE TIME?
Whether you are a pet owner or working dog owner, you must be willing to devote a great deal of time and energy to proper training of the ASD. In a working home, a new ASD to your property is not a ready made guardian. He will need to be properly introduced to his charges and properly shown his boundaries. He will need you, as the owner, to show him what you expect of him.
In a pet home an ASD MUST be socialized at a young age to prevent aggression issues later .
Training in NOT an option, rather a REQUIREMENT. These are very big, very strong dogs. Without proper training they will become unruly, possibly aggressive, and will walk all over you.
DO YOU WORK OUT?
These dogs, in a pet home, need DAILY work outs or walks. An hour each day ~ 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening is recommended. If they do not get the needed exercise, they will find their own way to burn off their energy ~~ digging tunnels to China, rearranging your rose garden, rottotilling your lawn, etc.....A TIRED dog is a GOOD dog. If you have ever raised a child, this is the same rule. When you have a bored toddler, they will get into trouble. When you have a tired toddler, they are sleeping.
DO YOU HAVE ROOM?
Although an ASD is better suited for rural, farm life, they can adapt to living in a suburban surrounding if given the proper attention and care. They are NOT apartment dogs and not dogs to be tied or chained. They require, at the very least, a good sized, securely fenced back yard with room to do laps when they so choose.
DO YOU LIKE EATING AND WEARING DOG HAIR?
These dogs shed, and they shed A LOT. Whether short coat or long coat, they will shed. In the spring they will "blow" their heavy undercoat and it will be enough to stuff several King sized comforters. Carpet and furniture are not immune to dog hair. If you have your ASD in the house, be prepared to have hair from ceiling to floor.
DOES BARKING BOTHER YOU?
Do you own ear plugs? ASD's bark and they bark a lot. Especially at night. Don't think you are going to "break them of the habit". It is not a habit, it is their instinct. This is their job, this is what they were bred to do, and this is what they will do. Be prepared to have complaining neighbors.
DO YOU REALLY WANT A GIANT?
The ASD is not just a big dog. It is a Giant Dog, part of the ancient Mollosor Group. A pet ASD will easily graze on your kitchen counters and table. If they stand up on hind legs, they can check out what you have hidden on the top of the fridge. They can easily knock a child over without ever meaning to. They will not fit into most cars. When you take them to the vet or boarding kennel, everything will be measured by WEIGHT, which means BIG $$$'s. Example~ A 10 day treatment of antibiotics for an ear infection will run appx. $10-$15 for a mid sized dog.
The same medication for an ASD can run from $30-$75. They need more medication because they weigh more. If you don't take your ASD on vacation with you, be prepared to pay the cost of round trip air fare to board him/her for a 3 day weekend. Again, it goes by weight. When you own a dog that weighs 125+ pounds, things tend to COST MORE.
DO YOU ENJOY GARDENING?
So does the ASD. He/she will enjoy uprooting your bushes, digging up your flowers, and re-landscaping your entire yard for you. Lets hope you like the "Lunar Look" because craters~big craters ~ are their specialty. ASD's love to dig and tunnel, especially in the warm weather. Be prepared to not win any Better Homes and Garden awards if you own an ASD.
DO YOU LIKE TO PLAY FETCH AND FRISBEE?
Thats fine, but don't expect an ASD to join in your fun. Even a well trained ASD will stop and consider whether or not he/she wants to come when you call his/her name. This breed is VERY stubborn and strong willed. This is NOT a dog for someone who wants their dog to respond to commands quickly and consistently. Proper and consistent training are required to keep an ASD under control, but even with this, they will remain stubborn, and not always react when or how you want them to.
DO YOU HAVE OTHER ANIMALS?
The ASD is often very dog aggressive. DO NOT bring a male ASD~neutered or not~into a home where there is already a resident male dog, be it neutered or not. If you do, BIG problems will most assuredly arise. It is always recommended to introduce a new dog of opposite gender.
CATS??? Some ASD's are avid cat hunters. Others will get along fine with feline friends. It is usually easier if the ASD has been raised with cats, but even then, there is no guarantee that he/she will accept them. If you have other pets, be prepare to work on proper introductions. Even with proper intro's, you may still encounter problems, and it may be months before everyone adjusts to each other.
NOTE: An ASD can easily kill a small dog, cat or other small pet with
one shake. Please be very careful in these situations and take it very slow.
In a WORKING HOME, an owner must be prepared to take the time to properly introduce
the new ASD to both family pets as well as stock. It is always best to err on the side of caution and take things slowly. The adjustment period may take months and is not something that can be rushed. The dog will need time to become comfortable with his new surroundings and time to feel that this is his home in order for him to protect it.
ASD's are turning up in shelters and rescues at an alarming rate. MOST come from pet homes, but not all. Here are some of the most common reasons given for relinquishing an ASD:
We have covered all of these reasons in the paragraphs above. I urge all potential ASD owners to do their homework. Do the research. Talk with breeders, talk with owners. Visit an ASD in person, join an ASD e mail list, see what other owners are talking about. DONT make an uninformed decision that may end up costing a dog his/her life.
- Too stubborn, wont listen
- Too big
- Gets out all of the time
- Barks too much
- Destroys back yard
- Chews things up in the house
- Don't have time
- Family members scared of the dog
- Wont get along with other pets
-- Carleen Conyers,
Anatolian Shepherd Rescue Network