Looking for the Perfect LGD?
As you search for the Maremma of your dreams please keep in mind that solid genetics are the base you build on. Your financial investment, all your hours of training, and your expectation of a long and useful life in service to you all rely on the dog's genetic soundness. He must be trainable. He must be trustworthy. He must be well conformed, with hips that can stand the hard work asked of LGDs. The purchase price of your pup is only the very first piece of this story - don't bargain shop! Work with a breeder who provides a comprehensive health guarantee for their pups and who breeds ONLY dogs with appropriate hip scores. Expect a lot from your breeder!
Husbandry is of great importance. Breeding dogs that are not well cared for are challenged to produce healthy pups. The multitude of health problems that can arise from poor husbandry may be financially costly to cope with and may shorten the working lifespan of your LGD.
“Socialization” is a term most people have heard and few agree on the definition of. The first twelve weeks of a pup’s life provide an opportunity for training that can never happen again later in life. All of us learn all of our lives but these early weeks in the development of the canine brain are unique and incredibly important. Did you know that training during this period actually increases the physical size of a dog’s brain?
Remember “Pavlov’s Dog”? In case you don’t, Pavlov was a scientist who conditioned dogs to salivate when they heard a bell ring. This response on the part of the dog became automatic; it wasn’t a decision or choice the dogs made.
The natural response of a puppy to new stimulus is to be cautious. That’s good self preservation. But through conditioning it is possible to teach a pup to greet new situations with confidence and curiosity. This can quickly become an automatic response on the part of young puppies and this learned response lasts the rest of their lives.
This is only one example of the important work of cultivating young puppy minds. Most of the reasons LGDs are surrendered to shelters or euthanized are learned behaviors that stem from fear and reactivity. This is such a shame and in my opinion most of these circumstances could have been prevented through appropriate and timely training. It takes a substantial time commitment to raise puppies well. This early training is so important; it may someday save the life of the dog or the livestock he is responsible for.
So don’t compromise!! Ask many questions of the breeder you are considering working with. You need all three of these elements – genetics, husbandry, and socialization – to create your perfect LGD.
If you would like to learn more about the foundation training we provide our pups please visit the Training page.