The Role of the New Owner

 

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It has occurred to us that although on this website we address several different potential problems and answer all the questions we can think of in order to give the new owners of an LGD all the information they need to successfully use an LGD to protect their livestock, nowhere have we seen a coherent logical explanation of what a person must do to effectively guide themselves through the process of integrating a new LGD into their stock operation.  It seems to us that the new owners' activities can easily be divided into three areas:  learning, awareness and action.

Learning

There are several different ways you can set about learning what you'll need to be doing and what to expect from your LGDs.  You can read this website and others.  You can find books.  You can talk to people.  Breeders who guarantee their dogs are always willing to furnish as much information as a buyer could possibly ask for. 

There is one requirement that is absolutely necessary for any of these methods of learning to be effective - a person must have an open mind and accept the fact that there actually are things that he or she needs to learn in order to have an effective LGD.  Some common excuses leading to failed placement that we have heard are:

  • We've had dogs for years; we know how to train them.

  • We know these dogs don't need any attention; they do everything on their own.

  • Our last LGD was a lousy guardian; we want to get a good one so we don't have to worry about it.

  • I've been a farmer for years, I know all about animals.

  • I know this is what the material says, but . . .

and, lastly, the never spoken, but all too common, I know everything already, just sell me the dog.

Awareness

Awareness means not only paying attention to a situation but thinking through the probable outcomes of your actions.  For instance, when getting a new dog one should be aware that there may be a period of adjustment.  Thinking through the probable outcomes of your possible actions should indicate that leaving town immediately after receiving your dogs may not be a good idea.  Another example of awareness could be noticing a connection between bringing your dog into the house occasionally and the fact your dog prefers to hang around people rather than animals.  Awareness may mean understanding babies, even LGD babies, are not as competent as adults and may not even have "the common sense" which we would like to attribute to most adults.  It may mean understanding that throwing an LGD with which you are not familiar into a pasture and forgetting about it could cost you the LGD and/or the stock.

One might be tempted to sum all of this up as "common sense" and much of it is but to use common sense effectively one needs a base of knowledge and an awareness of the situation as well as an awareness of probable outcomes.   Not to belabor a point, but, please, don't take anything for granted.

Action

Probably the single most important action the owner of an LGD can take after assuring its health and well-being is to stop undesirable or destructive behavior by the dog immediately upon discovering it.  This would seem to be the inevitable outcome of being aware of the behavior and the probable outcome of injured or missing animals.  For some reason, this does not seem to be universally true.  "Bad" habits are developed through repetitive behavior.  Stopping undesirable or destructive behavior by your LGD will prevent that behavior from becoming habitual and will either save the owner extra work or, perhaps, mean the difference between an effective guardian and a failed one.  The next most important action that we can think of is to get help if the situation seems to be beyond your capabilities.  The dog's breeders should be an excellent source of advice as well as presenting your problem to a list serve with people who have some expertise and are willing to share it.  Our recommendation for quick and effective advice is Working LGDs which you can access at http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/workingLGDs/

Conclusion

We are thankful for the many people who have purchased dogs from us and have demonstrated an excellent grasp of these three areas.  Some have been so exceptional and creative that they have taught us.  It is with the hope of attaining universal successful placements for our dogs and to provide information to help both people and dogs we never meet that we have added this page.


Dan & Paula Lane
Copyright 2006 [Bountiful Farm]. All rights reserved.

 
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