Acquired: Other (stray, given dog by friend etc.)
Training: Attended conferences / shows
Muse, Oklahoma, United States
Posted June 4, 2016
Mamba picked us. She showed up at my house one day, and my other dogs tolerated her completely. She was hungry and obviously hadn't had a steady, nutritious supply of food for months.
Mamba was incredibly skittish. She got along well with my other dogs, but her eyes were haunted with fear of humans. She would not let me get near her, but she would eat the food I gave her when I was at a distance.
After feeding her for a few weeks, we realized she was pregnant. She was in such poor shape when she arrived, we had no idea. As her time to give birth neared, I made her a safe, warm area that offered some privacy for her and her pups. Mamba was a good mother, and all her pups were healthy. We altered and rehomed the pups, and we kept Mamba.
Rehoming Mamba was not an option. Even after feeding her for months and caring for her puppies, we still could not get near her. We did not challenge her boundaries, not because she was aggressive, but because she was so scared of people. Her behavior indicated that she had been abused. She was so scared of people that even loud talking terrified her! I developed some hand signals to communicate with her. She easily learned a signal I used to let her know I had a treat for her, but she would not take take the treat directly from my hand. Sudden hand motions and normal household objects like brooms really scared her.
As the months passed, Mamba continued to enjoy the company of my other pets. She was well behaved around my horse, and she never bothered the cats. My vet supplied me with some tranquilizer that I added to her food so I could get her spayed.
Every day we talked to Mamba and communicated with subtle hand gestures, but we never pushed her to interact with us beyond her comfort level. The fear in her eyes was heartbreaking, and I wanted to give her all the time she required to be able to trust me.
Eventually, my patience paid off! She gradually became more relaxed around my family. She no longer moved away when we walked by her. After one year and nine months, we were finally able to touch Mamba!
Progress with Mamba continued to be slow. We did not push her. She tolerated our touch, but she flinched every time. I don't even want to think about what someone had done to her to cause that level of distrust and fear!
Now I've had Mamba for more than three years, and our relationship continues to grow. Not only can I pet her now, but she often walks up to me and wags to let me know she wants me to pet her!
Mamba was my first Anatolian Shepherd, but I've worked with two others since Mamba came. I originally assumed that all of Mamba's behaviors were caused by a history of abuse, but after working with other Anatolians, I've learned that some of her characteristics are typical of the breed.
Anatolians make great guard dogs! They are naturally suspicious of strangers, and their stature makes them intimidating to new people. Anatolians will bark to keep other animals away, but they never bark for no reason, which your neighbors will greatly appreciate. Mamba is such a faithful guard dog that she will pass up a warm fireplace to sit outside in the snow and guard our property.
Anatolians tend to get along well with other animals. They are not particularly focused on pleasing their owners, so training can be a challenge. They are large dogs with big appetites, but they usually do not have special dietary needs. My Anatolians have been very hearty with few health issues, and that is fortunate as they do not like to be treated for anything. For example, applying a flea and tick treatment on an Anatolian is no easy task.
If you are considering adding an Anatolian Shepherd Dog to your family, I strongly recommend that you consider each of your family members' needs. Anatolians bond primarily with one person, and they are not likely to have affectionate relationships with all your family members. They are not demanding of attention and affection, but some people might consider Anatolian Shepherds aloof.
If you are looking for a cuddly lap dog, an Anatolian Shepherd is not your best choice. But if you want a dependable guard dog that won't demand a lot of your time, I highly recommend that you choose an Anatolian Shepherd Dog.