Goatfarmer, those questions are difficult to respond to because the answer(s) is so broad.
Goatfarmer, you might get more responses if you stated how large your place is, how many goats the LGD would need to guard, whether or not you leave the goat kids on their dams and what experiences you've had training dogs in general.I have 12 goats and will be kidding in the early spring. I have a German Shepherd/Collie mix, but she is too much of a pet to do any good protecting my herd. I want to get a puppy in the spring so I can raise it with my kids. So here is where all my questions begin....
*What breeds are the best with goats?
There are so many breeds of LGDs, many doing well with goats. However, I would hesitate to place a "puppy" in with goat kids. (Are those kids in a separate pen from their dam? That might make a difference in the play/bonding that would be going on.)
*How much training is involved?
A "puppy" needs protected while it bonds with its charges and learns to guard as its genetics permit. It is always best to let the pup's parents train it to be a good LGD guarding goats (or any other charges). I did get a pup that was just weaned and train it myself; however, that pup was never just placed with what I wanted it to guard and expected to perform. A pup is a pup is a pup. Puppies will play with whatever it finds enjoyable; and that could well be those kids you talk about placing it with. To train an LGD pup, you literally need to let it go thru all its developmental stages in the presence of its charges. This requires a lot of sensitivity on the part of the owner and a lot of protections (for goats as well as the pup).
*How do I go about finding people that sell the pups?
What I did was search "LGD (livestock guardian dogs", decide which breed might best fit my needs, then search "for sale" sites relative to that breed.
*What is a general cost?
The prices I discovered ranged from $300 to $2000
Thank you everyone for your help