Whether you are running a large farm or a small hobby farm, when you have livestock, you need at least one dog who has been trained to protect them. As much as you might think you can keep a constant eye on your animals, there are times when this simply isn't going to be possible. This is where a well-trained livestock guard dog comes in. He can protect your herd from predators and poachers alike. Bear in mind that some breeds such as German or Australian shepherds, Great Pyrenees mountain dogs, Welsh Corgis and several others are naturally well-suited to this job, while others are not.
However, with the exception of a few breeds, you can train most dogs to protect your livestock. Though, depending on the size of your livestock, some smaller dogs may not be appropriate. You should also know that there is a potential for injury during training as your pup and animals get used to being around each other.
So, the basic idea here is to teach your dog to protect your livestock from predators and poachers. Sounds pretty simple, doesn't it? In reality, it is. You are essentially working with your pup to enhance what is, at least in most dog breeds, a natural instinct to protect their pack. In the wild, their ancestors travel in packs for protection with an Alpha male (in this case you are the Alpha). The adult dogs, especially the males, know that their role is to protect the weaker members of the pack, in this case, it will be your livestock.
The more time you let your pup spend around your livestock, the stronger his bond with them and his natural instinct to protect them will become. Your job is to make the most of this instinct, and the sooner you start, the better. One tip: this training is going to take months to complete, it requires a lot of time, effort, and patience, but keep working at it and your pup will soon become a valuable working member of your farm.
The good news is that while your dog needs to have mastered basic commands before being expected to train for guard duty, you can at least get him used to being around your livestock starting around 6 to 8 weeks of age. However, at this stage of the game, you need to keep a close eye on your pup to ensure he doesn't end up getting hurt. It will help a lot if your pup has already learned the basic commands. Along with this, you will need:
Keep in mind, the livestock could easily cause serious injury to your pup, so during the training phase, you need to keep your eyes on him. Be ready to rescue him if it looks like he is in trouble. If he gets hurt, he may shy away from your herd rather than learn to protect them.