The intelligent, confident and independent nature of a Kangal dog makes ownership a huge challenge; When a Kangal dog is used as a companionship in the city, the challenge may be even greater. Training of a Kangal dog is not an easy undertaking as they have an innate dominance and a strong will. They can seem difficult to train, and ‘stubborn”, but they can be trained with consistent effort, repetition, reward and practice, practice, practice. The key to success with any type of training is working with the dog’s natural instincts and abilities, and not against them. Training requires a lot of patience, time and consistency and should NEVER include punishment.
Kangals do not to engage in most games that other breeds seem to love. They will not retrieve a ball or a stick, go after a frisbee, or show much interest in a squeaky toy; most repetitive games do not appeal to them. They may catch the ball once, but won’t continue to do so. Led by their natural inquisitiveness, they tend to find other, more stimulating and more appealing projects. These are mainly activities that catch their interest, stimulate curiosity, and have purpose, such as: chewing, chasing, resting, guarding, or digging. In fact, Kangals are passionate about digging big holes, making their own ground elevations, re-arranging flowerbeds, chewing bark off trees and bushes, overall, implementing their own concept of garden layout. Kangals and their new owners often disagree on practical landscape design ideas. Flowerbeds, bushes, veggie gardens and lawns may end up damaged; dirt paths get created along side the fence. They chew, dig up, or urinate on bushes; they can rip out the sod -especially in a smaller yard. In the summer, they tend to dig up huge holes in the ground to create a cool places in which to lie. They may also dig to hide a bone, to escape, or to relieve boredom. Maybe the most interesting thing about Kangal dogs is that even when at rest, or seemingly sleeping; they are quite aware of their surroundings; and able to go from a state of sleep to a full-charge in just a few seconds. They are working dogs that love their jobs.
Kangals dogs need a lot of space; at minimum, they need a large garden with a high and most secure fencing, which does not allow for an escape. If there is any possibility of getting out, they will find it, as they are known escape artists. In fact, every morning before leaving the house, we would place our Kangal puppy in the kennel, to find him sleeping at the top of the stairs upon returning home in the evening. Needless to say, we gave up on the idea of kennelling him after a few tries. But digging and escaping is not the only quality of young Kangal dog; in spite of their ample size, they are also powerful jumpers. They have an ability to jump over a fence, and if jumping is not possible, they will turn into the most devoted diggers. Some Kangal dog owners installed a chain-link fence with barbwire on top, in addition to an invisible fencing, and of course, training in order to keep their dogs contained.
Kangals are active working dogs. They need movement and freedom. It does not mean that Kangals need to run free, but that they need room to move and should never be locked up or chained. Some Kangal experts discourage using kennels, especially if it involves long periods of time and extended number of hours. It is believed that long periods of time spent in a kennel, away from the humans, is not good for dogs’ mental stability and balance. Kangals living in the city need their daily walks; the walks need to be long and steady; they may be around the same perimeter, preferably in the evening. The walks are an important part of Kangal’s routine, and something they look forward to and enjoy. Interesting fact is that Kangals love the outdoors so much that they often sleep outside of their dogs houses in the cold temperatures and the winter weather. They play in the fresh snow. They don’t mind long walks in the rain, and are known to withstand extreme temperatures.
Kangals are relaxed and friendly with all people. They have a pleasant demeanour and respond to visitors with a welcoming tail-wag. They tend to greet people with their head low, accepting a gentle pat on a head. Once the visitor makes himself comfortable, the dog usually settles as well.
Kangals are known for being gentle giants, and safe with children of all ages; however, should never be left unsupervised with small children. Most Kangals are extremely calm, yet some young Kangal dogs have tendency to get overly excited and playful, which due to their size and strength may not only frighten the child, but also cause a bump or a bruise.
To be happy a Kangal dog must have a sense of belonging and a bond with the “livestock”. If living in the city, this bond is with his humans. However, to be truly fulfilled, he also needs a job, lots of time outdoors, plenty of room, daily exercise, and a consistent routine. Kangal will protect its family with the same passion and conviction as a working dog protects its herd. Kangal should never be kept alone for extended periods of time. This breed needs a purpose and most of all a sense of belonging.