Our Responsibility as Owners
Lifetime Commitments and Training
Excessive (or perceived as excessive) barking and not staying home are the two most common reasons LGDs are surrendered to shelters. Both these behaviors are LEARNED and PREVENTABLE.
The number one reason for euthanasia of LGDs in this country is aggression. In my own experience these behaviors have their base in fear and are not a flaws in the dog’s character, although faulty genetics can play a part. Again this points to an owner’s choices both in the selection of responsibly bred LGDs and understanding the training that will be required. In the case of resultant aggression, the owner’s choices may cost the dog his life.
A lot is at stake as you take on the leadership of these beautiful dogs. Good intentions are far, far from enough. I hope you will find the information on this site helpful and will ask lots of questions as you work with the breeder of your choice. My commitment to puppies born here lasts a lifetime.
It can be challenging to become well educated about how to responsibly manage a pair of LGDs, or a single dog, because much of the information found on books and web sites is conflicting.
My advise to you about how to navigate that is to keep going, keep asking questions, and if the information in front of you doesn't feel right use your good common sense and move on.
I still come across material that advocates a hand's off way of raising LGDs. This antiquated training protocol is dangerous to the dogs, their livestock, and to the owner. It is important to be able to live with your LGDs safely. I can walk into any one of my fields and easily put a leash and collar on my dogs. I can groom them, they tolerate necessary trips to the vet very well, and they can be vaccinated and have their toenails trimmed. In my opinion being able to accomplish these tasks is an owner's most basic responsibility to their dog.
Your dog puts his life on the line for you every night.