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Placement Policies


Benson Maremmas Placement Criteria

I am looking for buyers who seek a profound partnership with their LGDs. Our dogs love their humans and work hard to please them, and they LOVE their job as working livestock guardians. They are watchful of strangers but accepting of them if coached by their owner. They are great family dogs. Our dogs are accepting of changing circumstances.

It is completely realistic for even first time LGD owners to be successful with our dogs due to our lifetime support and the considerable blog posts library.

​Pairs only:  I believe LGDs should be allowed to work in pairs. I am committed to that premise to the extent that I will not place my dogs in single working dog situations.

LGDs kept as single working dogs often exhibit these behaviors:

  • They bark excessively

  • They “play” with livestock or become aggressive with livestock

  • They guard resources (people, food bowls, sleeping space, etc.) excessively and inappropriately

  • They become aggressive towards household pets

  • They climb fences or dig under and leave their appropriate territory


I want my dogs to have rich, rewarding lives doing the important work they were bred to do. I believe that single dogs do this work at their emotional expense and increased risk of physical harm from predators. If you would like to see more information about how I view this issue please see the “One Dog or Two” blog on the Blogs page. Click here to read Blog post.

Livestock: I place dogs in working situations only. To purchase dogs from me you must first own mammals for the dogs to bond with and guard. Small, gentle livestock such as hair sheep are ideal.

Fencing: Woven wire fencing is essential and must be at least 4’ tall, preferably with an electric wire along the top. This fencing must go tightly against the ground in all places. I have not found Maremmas, kept as pairs, to be problematic in terms of staying where I ask them to work but since good fencing can save a dog’s life it is critical that the environment the dogs are asked to work in be well prepared for their arrival PRIOR to their arrival. I do ask for proof of both the presence of livestock and the quality of the fencing. In many cases using Google Earth makes this easy.

​***Note: Single strand New Zealand electric fencing is not safe and appropriate fencing for LGDs..

I do not ship dogs: I sometimes provide ground transportation for my dogs, so please feel free to ask me about that option. 

​I place dogs in California, Oregon, and Washington only.

​Preference given to visitors of the ranch: I seldom place dogs with buyers I have not met, however I make this decision on a case-by-case basis. Because the purchase of dogs from me is the beginning of a long-term mutual relationship it is important to me to choose buyers I feel some commonality with and can communicate well with. Getting a feel for this is often much more difficult using only e-mail or phone calls.

​Completion of the Karen Pryor Academy Foundations course: This course is an online canine behavioral science course. It is well presented and can be completed at a leisurely pace. Buyers who have completed the course can attest to its value to them – and to their dogs.  I am dedicated to the safety of my dogs and to the satisfaction of their buyers. When LGDs fail in their new home everyone loses; the buyer suffers a financial loss as well as an emotional one, the dogs are damaged, sometimes so much so that they can no longer have a future as working livestock guardian dogs. Good intentions are not enough. At least a beginning understanding about how canines learn is essential to new owners of my dogs. This is true even for experienced LGD owners because I do not train my dogs in an industry standard manner.

​If you would like more information about this course please click here:

Livestock Guardian Dog Training Manual

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