The purpose of this blog is to share general information and is written to the author's best knowledge. It is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. For health concerns, please seek proper veterinary care.
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If you like animals, then there’s a good chance that you’re a dog owner. Many animal lovers choose to take care of dogs, and it’s definitely going to bring a lot of joy into your life if you do.
You want to keep on taking care of your dog properly so that it can have a happy and healthy life in your home. Having dogs on your property won’t make it so that you can’t have other pets as well, but you will need to consider how adding animals to the property will impact your dogs.
For instance, many dogs live happily alongside cats and even many exotic pets. If you’re considering raising alpacas in your backyard, then you might be worried about whether it will work out or not since you have dogs.
It’s good to be concerned and to want to look into things before rushing into buying alpacas. Alpacas are known to be good pets, but that doesn’t mean that there won’t be potential complications.
Read on to learn about whether or not alpacas are good with dogs. You’ll be able to learn more about alpacas as well as things that you need to consider about how they might interact with your dogs.
Training the Animals Is Imperative
If you want to be able to have dogs and alpacas in the same environment, then you’re likely going to need to train the animals so that they will get along. Otherwise, there will be incidents between the dogs and the alpacas at least semi-regularly.
Dogs are naturally very curious and they like barking at animals as well as many other things. There’s a good chance that an untrained dog will bark at the alpacas and try to chase them, which could be problematic.
When dogs start barking and trying to chase alpacas, they’re usually going to get scared and run. An average-sized dog or a large dog would likely elicit fear in an alpaca since dogs seem like predatory animals to them.
Essentially, your alpacas will be afraid and on-edge when dogs are around if they’re untrained and bother them regularly. It’s possible to train your dog and the alpacas so that the interactions will be much nicer.
In fact, there are quite a few people who raise alpacas and have guard dogs watch them at most times. They get along very nicely, but this is because the dogs that do this have gone through substantial training.
Now you know that it’s possible for dogs and alpacas to get along when you put some effort into making it happen. That doesn’t mean that it’s going to be simple, though.
The type of training that you’ll need to do will depend on what you’re trying to accomplish. For example, if you want your dog to act as a guard dog to the alpacas, then it’s going to need substantially more training.
Below, you’re going to be able to learn a bit more about the training that is necessary. This will help you to decide if adding alpacas to your property will be a good move or not in your situation.
Training a Dog to Leave the Alpacas Alone
For the most part, you’re going to want to focus on getting your dog to leave the alpacas alone. This is assuming that you’re planning on just keeping your dog as a pet and you’re not worried about trying to have it guard the alpacas in any way.
Training a dog to avoid bothering the alpacas can be a time-consuming process depending on how well your dog takes to training. Also, some dogs will be harder to train than others due to being a certain breed.
So how do you go about training a dog to leave alpacas alone? The best approach is to use exposure therapy with your dog on a leash.
This concept can work when you’re training your dog to leave any type of animal alone. For example, you could have chickens, ducks, or goats in your backyard that you don’t want your dog to bother.
You can keep the dog on the leash and ensure that it’s taught to ignore the other animals. Eventually, the dog will see that there’s nothing that it needs to worry about and that the other animals are no big deal.
Until your dog has exhibited that it can behave and ignore the alpacas, it should be kept on a leash at all times. If the training goes well, then you might be able to let your dog off of the leash to see how things go.
Many people who have tried this recommend keeping a fence between the dog and the alpacas at all times. This can help you to avoid issues in case your dog somehow gets away from you.
Once your dog seems calm around the alpacas, is it okay to leave it alone with them? No, this would not be a good idea.
Your dog might not be trustworthy around the alpacas when you’re not present. It’s going to be necessary to watch your dog at all times when it’s near the alpacas unless it has been so thoroughly trained that it can be a guard dog.
How to Get Alpacas to Be Okay with Dogs
You might remember that the alpacas are going to need to be trained as well to make this work. It’s necessary to train the alpacas so that they can be okay with your dogs.
Exposure therapy is going to be the name of the game here as well. Your alpacas will need to spend time being near the dog without having incidents so that they can start to see the dog as natural.
Over time, the alpacas should get more comfortable with the dog being near them. You should be able to do the exposure therapy for the dog and the alpacas at the same time.
Try to ensure that the alpacas feel as secure as they possibly can. It might even be a good idea to give them a place that they can run away to if they get frightened at any time.
Hopefully, this exposure therapy will go well and you’ll see the dogs and the alpacas ignoring each other. Try to observe how they interact if any interactions do occur after you get more comfortable with how things are going.
Remember that this process can take time and that things might not be perfect. You always have to pay attention and be aware of potential problems that could pop up.
It’s probably always going to be a good idea to keep a fence between your dogs and the alpacas. Doing so helps you to avoid many issues, and you won’t have to be quite so worried.
Can Alpacas and Dogs Play Together?
The topic of whether or not alpacas and dogs can play together is somewhat complicated. There are alpaca owners out there who have dogs that seem to play with their alpacas, but this isn’t necessarily a good thing.
You see, there have been many incidents where dogs and alpacas have wound up fighting despite seeming like they were playing. If your dog does something that scares the alpaca, then it could wind up having a prey response and reacting in some way.
For example, your dog might chase the alpaca and it’ll scare the alpaca enough that it will either try to run or attack the dog. Some alpacas might feel confident enough to try to scare away predators by attacking them.
This means that there is the potential for your dog to get hurt by the alpaca. Depending on how big your dog is, the dog could be very hurt if attacked in the right way by an alpaca.
Likewise, dogs could wind up hurting or even killing alpacas depending on how things go. If you have a big and strong dog, then it could certainly harm an alpaca if it felt threatened by it.
You don’t want any of your animals to hurt each other, though. This means that allowing your dogs to try to play with the alpacas is probably a bad idea.
It could just be an incident that is waiting to happen. This is why so many people who own alpacas recommend keeping fences up to separate dogs and alpacas.
Fences help to keep the peace and they ensure that the alpacas are able to feel safe. The fence gives alpacas security because the dog will never truly be able to get to the alpaca.
What About Trained Guard Dogs?
Trained guard dogs are indeed a bit different because they’re very obedient and will act in certain ways. Dogs can be trained to a fine degree, but it isn’t necessarily going to be easy to train a dog to guard alpacas if you’re just a simple pet owner.
You might need to enlist the help of a professional trainer if you want your dog to become an alpaca guard dog. This would involve finding some sort of expert in your area and then paying to get your dog trained properly.
Dogs that have the right training should be trustworthy enough to be around the alpacas unsupervised. There are many people who raise alpacas who have dogs that stay around the alpacas constantly and there are never any issues.
It just depends on how well-trained the animal is. The alpacas can come to accept the dog’s role eventually and you likely won’t encounter any problems.
However, this is usually something that happens when you’re raising alpacas as farm animals. If your dog is a pet and you don’t want it to be around the alpacas all the time, then this is likely not what you need to be concerned with.
Even so, it’s interesting to know that dogs can be trained to guard alpacas effectively. This is an option depending on what you’re trying to do with your dog.
You Could Just Keep the Dogs Away From the Alpacas
Of course, if you have a big enough property, it might be possible to just keep your dogs far away from the alpacas. You could have the alpacas in a part of your yard that is safe and far enough away from where your dogs play.
This keeps you from having to deal with any major drama between the dogs and the alpacas. It might be the easiest solution, and it’s practical enough for most people who have enough room to consider keeping alpacas in their yards.
The alpacas don’t really need to interact with your dogs at the end of the day. If your dogs aren’t going to be guarding the alpacas in any way, then there might not be a point in worrying about this.
You’d just need to ensure that your dogs don’t get loose and try to mess with the alpacas. This should be easy enough to prevent by having a fenced area that your dogs can be placed in.
Whenever your dogs need to go outside to handle their business, they’ll be in their own area of the yard. If the barking of the dogs bothers the alpacas, then you might need to do some minor training to get your dogs to stop barking at them.
Consider whether you need to allow the dogs and the alpacas to get too close to each other. Is it really beneficial or is there no point to it in your situation?
Alpacas can be fun to raise, but they can be problematic in some ways if your dogs get too close to them. It’s easy for the alpacas to be scared by dogs because of how loud they can be.
Dogs might want to bark at the alpacas and they might also try to chase them. This could cause the alpacas to be really scared and they will want to run and hide.
Sometimes alpacas might be brave enough to try to fight off the dogs that they perceive as threats. This means that an alpaca could hurt your dog if you allow the dog to get too close to an alpaca.
A dog could easily hurt an alpaca as well if it tries to attack it. You don’t want this to happen, and that’s why it’s a good idea to keep your alpacas away from the dogs in their own fenced area.
You can train your dogs to be calmer around the alpacas so that they will be able to get along well enough. Exposure therapy will work well enough for both your dogs and the alpacas.
It’s still likely going to be necessary to watch your dogs when they’re near the alpacas, though. Otherwise, something could go wrong when you aren’t around to handle things.
Use this information to make your own decisions about how you want to handle adding alpacas to your yard. If you would really like to raise alpacas, then it can work out okay even when you have dogs.
You just have to approach things intelligently and be aware of the potential problems. Fences will likely help to keep these issues at bay, and a little bit of training can also go a long way toward making things feel normal.