Many farmers and ranchers refuse to change old ways that have decreased effectiveness, and their enterprise and livestock suffer for it. Not too many people like to hear this because it does not allow them to point their fingers at problems "out there". First, you must look in the mirror, and point the finger at yourself, and say, "what can I do to make this better?" "Can I change my ways and succeed?" "What am I doing wrong?" - instead of always pointing "out there" and blaming the dogs or others. Put egos on the shelf.
Just recently two new LGD books have been published in America by two women who promote themselves as "LGD experts": Cat Urbigkit and Jan Dohner. Both women have advanced degrees I will never have. Both are published authors, as I am. However, I do not count myself amongst their followers or fans. I have been deeply disappointed in them both, and their books. As others in the past have written, they are again saying in so many words, those very things said above, about this breed. The books are claiming that "show Spanish Mastiff dogs" are not considered working dogs because "they cannot do it".
Just after posting this, I realized, there were two other dog customers of mine, who I wanted to specifically name, who have the ability to have No Mind. Both are first time LGD owners.
There is Diana J. in Pasadena, California, who had never owned an LGD breed in her life, and went on to own two Pyrenean Mastiffs from me. This soft spoken woman blossomed with these dogs. She soon took them beyond mere personal pets and companions, and they became therapy dogs, and mascots and keen obedience trained dogs that she could take anywhere, to large events, and public functions. Whether mastering obstacle courses or giving attention and solace to a lonely elder, visiting firemen and policemen on duty, or greeting handicapped children, Mia and Audrey were and are a hit with the public, where ever they go.
There is Barbara Judd of Froghaven Farm in Washington. A heritage Buckeye chicken breeder, Barbara did what most would call impossible to do for a first timer: she bought two Pyrenean Mastiff x Great Pyrenees siblings, Lucy and Patty, dubbed "The Pockets" because they were the runts of the litter, and single-handedly with my guidance, brought them up to guard poultry. She was so successful in this endeavor, that Barbara and her dogs were featured in two published articles I wrote on training LGDs to guard poultry. She later added "The A Team", Argenta and Agostin, two sibling Spanish Mastiffs I bred, to her pack. They, along with "The Pockets, now guard her farm and flocks from predators. She has had zero losses with her dogs.
In both Diana and Barbara's situations, neither woman put up blockades in their minds, or in their opportunities with my dogs. They didn't listen to people who said "it cannot be done". They achieved what most say is not achievable with first time LGD owners. All because, they came into this experience with No Mind, and empty cups, and let them be filled with wonderful dogs giving them loyal and devoted service and companionship.
THIS WINTER, RIGHT NOW
I de-worm them going into winter.
Then there are some, who are home, but spend all day in front of a TV set, or video games or on the Internet, or tending to screaming children instead of paying attention to what their Livestock Guardian Dogs are barking at, or what is going on with their calving heifers, or their goats and sheep. These kind of people often have little if any connection with their animals and LGDs. They don't watch. They care - barely - some not at all. They expected this to be easy, and when they find out it is a lot of hard work and commitment, they get angry and impatient and frustrated. They are disconnected. I have blogged about this before. This mindset and way of "farming" is causing more and more problems to happen now with Livestock Guardian Dogs, and you read about them in forums and on Facebook, every day. These are the people who do not understand, farming and animals are not "out there". They are here. The animals think and feel. The dogs think and feel. The predators too, think and feel.
They are overworked and cold.
Winter is here. You can do many things to make it a good one for your operation, livestock, dogs and yourself, if you will try it with No Mind.