Monday, November 2, 2015
Defining Responsible LGD Ownership: Dog Fighters, High Risk & Ego Driven Stupidity vs. The Culture of Pastoralism & Responsible Shepherding
Defining Responsible LGD Ownership:
Dog Fighters, High Risk & Ego Driven Stupidity
vs. The Culture of Pastoralism & Responsible Shepherding
Brenda M. Negri
It was bound to happen... As big, sometimes huge and powerful protective Livestock Guardian Dog breeds entered America and became more popular, they began to fall into the hands of the wrong people…misguided people; ignorant and stupid people; people jumping into the latest fad dog craze; people who needed to prove something; people with fancy degrees and no real life experience; people with big egos; people who needed a big snarling dog at the end of a taught leash in order to prove they were somehow as big as the dog they were holding back….of course, they rarely if ever, were….
Above: Self-labled "dog trainer" and "LGD Expert" Anna Abney and her
badly misguided and "trained" Caucasian Asian Shepherd "LGD"
Below: Self-appointed "LGD Expert" perpetually blathering Internet troll and apartment dwelling non-LGD owning Lewis Ratliff, now promoting fighting dog videos on his LGD "PROJECT" Facebook group. Note how we are told by him not to complain about what we see. Over 7,300 people now belong to this group; obviously, his glaring lack of morals must be contagious because it's catching on.
WARNING; GRAPHIC (So don't complain about what you see if you play it.)
Another Caucasian without any sheep.
A Brian Peckinpaugh trained "Boz Shepherd Livestock Guardian Dog".
Above and below: Akin Tulubas, Internationally infamous Turkish Dog fighter,
and mentor of and supplier of dogs to, Brian Peckinpaugh with his heavily fought Boz.
Akin Tulubas' brother is in prison for stabbing their father to death. Prior to that, he was a member of a pre-Taliban cult. Akin is constantly on the lam hiding from the military for desertion and several duped European, American and Turkish customers whom he ripped off in dog deals gone bad.
Caucasian Ovcharka, again, without any livestock and someone at the end of the leash hell-bent on impressing someone with their "big, badass dog".
Above: Brian Peckinpaugh in his "Monster Malak" kennel phase. "This was their first testing, and the trainer was impressed. Two of the dogs were able to pull the sleeve from him several times….. I am encouraged by their first showing." - Brian Peckinpaugh
LGDs did not get a good start in this country. Less than stellar advice on how to use them, came from the beginning. There are the people out there still, who agree with allowing someone like Ray Coppinger, a sled dog expert, call the shots for LGDs, and that is exactly what happened here. A sled dog expert, with no background in the pastoral life or in LGDs, Ray became the "Godfather" of early LGD research, testing and dictum because he had the "right initials" after his name, and was allowed to create policy as it were with his early papers on LGDs. People did not know any better.
Now, there are still some diehards out there, people who buy into that logic, and who are also the people who have no clue about the maturation time frame for most large LGD breeds; who are the people who continually shirk their own responsibility for rearing these dogs, and do as above, promote them for fighting and aggressive behavior; people as the woman quoted below, who prefer to lay all the blame on the dogs; and who expect less from themselves again, expecting the dog to carry the whole load; and those who also continue to promote high risk hands off rearing and minimal supervision:
"This group is for the practical LGD owners so rather than lower expectations…on here the expectations will be higher…. There seems to be a trend in convincing owners that dogs need lots of supervision and are still puppies even at 18 mos or over 2 years. This is not in keeping with the original use of these dogs …"
Linda Harrison in her "Practical" LGD Facebook group
Harrison and her ilk are the kind of people you can bet will never read, let alone have the brain cell capacity to understand or grasp, what someone like Turid Rugaas promotes and writes about. These are the people I have written about in a past blog post that went viral on the Internet; the "bubble people" - those that are so detached from their dogs, themselves, others, livestock and nature, that they are unable to develop any kind of a relationship. They don't respect themselves, let alone their dogs and their livestock.
Some LGD breeds in their native countries were never actually LGDs. They were fighting dogs (Boz Shepherds) or fighting dogs/livestock guardians (Kangals), or police and military dogs (Sarplaninac, CAO, CAS). Their use as shepherds and protectors of flocks was minimal. In some instances the breeds are so edgy and complex, the average shepherd in America is not prepared or capable of responsibly owning one. But it was only a matter of time before the lower end of the spectrum of LGD aficionados and owners in America not only figured that out, but decided to cash in on it and promote it, as the photos above show. You will notice the preponderance of young Gen X Y and Z American males who are heavily drawn to such edgy, flashy, aggressive and often unstable LGD breeds under the guise of "needing a more aggressive guardian for their flock" when in fact they only reason they want one is they perceive the breed to be the canine version of a Ferrari or a .44 Magnum between their legs. Perhaps, one might wryly note, to make up for what they lack down there….?
The responsible shepherd does not fall for this claptrap. The intelligent, compassionate and responsible shepherd realizes that these dogs are supposed to be used as partners, not killing machines. These dogs are supposed to protect flocks, not be four legged risk-machines, slaughter people or get their owners sued into oblivion for dog bites. Pastoralism and shepherding do not include people like egomaniacs Abney and Peckinpaugh posting photos of protection dog testing and Schutzhund moves with a deaths head grin on the owner's face. Criminal, army deserter and dog fighter Akin Tulubas is not cut from the same cloth as a humble Basque sheep herder tending his flocks.
Responsible LGD ownership is not a gameshow, it is not an egotistical selfie; it is not a contest to see who can breed the biggest wolf killer; it is not "mine is bigger than yours". Responsible LGD ownership is a relationship. It is about developing a trust and a bond with dogs who are willing to lay their lives on the line for you and your livestock. That sacred trust should never be abused. Respect is the mortar it is built on. Respecting your LGD and treating it right is not going to ruin or diminish it's guarding ability. And there is nothing "practical" about shirking your responsibilities no matter what one Facebook group may claim.
LGDs are not whores to be sold to the highest bidder, treated disrespectfully, abused or misused in the wrong way by promoting uber-aggressive sports and dog fighting or use for killing wildlife, and shame on those who do and those who stand by and fail to call them out on it.