Reputation, Honest Breeders & Asking The Right Questions
From caring, integral, experienced, transparent, ethical and excellent - to plagiarizing copycats, fad cash cow breeders, cheapskate ignorant breeders, fraudsters, puppy mills and unproven high risk backyard breeders, my first of a few posts on the state of the state of LGD breeders in the USA - with an upcoming well deserved slap at the current state of many lazy, uninformed LGD customers as well. What the first time or neophyte LGD buyer needs to look for to buy great and buy smart
- and avoid a train wreck.
IT'S ABOUT HAVING EXPECTATIONS - AND MAKING SMART CHOICES
The first in a series of posts….more to come!
© 2017 Brenda M. Negri
All Rights Reserved
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Last week a renowned and respected Great Pyrenees breeder and a dear friend of mine, quietly added me to a 9000+ members Facebook LGD sales group called "LGD Locator".
I knew it was bad out there, but this group of bad choices on steroids topped all my expectations. Good God! It's worse than I even imagined.
She wanted me to see a post by someone in there who had bred a dog she bought, that was bred by a customer of mine who did a 6 breed cross - a Heinz 57 grab bag of 5 breeds - being bred to yet another breed - oh boy, I saw it alright, and about choked. But what I also saw in addition to that one disgusting puppies for sale post was enough to turn my stomach and make me just about puke…. Post after post of out of control rampant breeding by people who frankly, have no business breeding LGDs - with crosses of 4, 5 and 6 breeds….bogus crossbreds being passed off as "rare black Pyrenees"(kind of a dead giveaway they are crossbreeding when they raise border collies and Dalmations besides their "speckled black Pyrenees"!), poor looking stock, price cutting, dubious descriptions, someone with a bitch in standing heat frantically looking for a stud dog…and on and on and on! It was appalling! My breeder friend private messaged me: "It will make you crazy~!"
No shit! I'm glad I'm not alone!
LGD breeders - if you can even call some of them that - are springing up like flies on a dead cow all over America now. As I've whined before, whereas in 2008 you had to actually really hunt down a breeder for LGDs, now, they flood Facebook groups, sale groups, agriculture forums, pet sales websites, Craigslist, newspapers and every country store bulletin board has LGD ads plastered on it.
All because, LGDs have become a fad, and every hobby farmer with a male and female dog out there, thinks it is their destiny to breed them, when it is not. It's sad, and the dogs and future genetics of great breeds and bloodlines, are being ruined because of rampant indiscriminate puppy mills and backyard binge breeders. And there's a ton of stupid out there!
For experienced and reputation breeders, these clowns are easy to spot. Non-transparency is usually their calling card, inexperience is their M.O.; vague websites or Facebook pages that don't even attempt to describe the why, the who or the what. They are coming up like weeds, claiming to be "breeders" when their young pups aren't even old enough to breed yet. Dream on…you've got a ton of dues to pay first, assuming your pups make it to breeding age!
Pumping out LGD litters has suddenly become a cavalier game of status for many, who spend a lot of money on imports to impress and drop names and try to win more friends. Literally, that is the type of person you have now getting into breeding LGDs. Multiple tattoos and body piercing usually goes with this type; I hate to profile here but they are typically millennial or Gen X era kids; toss in green or pink dyed hair, exotic, hard to find and expensive boutique livestock animals, and you get the picture. None of them could last 12 hours horseback on the desert in Nevada under the command of a cursing, grizzled tough cow boss, rounding up wild cattle or surviving a minus 30 below blizzard while calving out heifers or lambing out ewes on a huge commercial sheep outfit, but hey, don't tell them that because ya know? They already know everything.
The worst nouveau LGD breeders/wannabe breeders bad mouth the source of their breeding stock and dogs, and are a sick exercise in hypocrisy as run around and copycat and try to duplicate their mentor breeder's exact bloodlines, down to a "T". I got those idiots cropping up like baby bunnies at Easter time.
Coffee, tea or milk? Cigars or cigarettes or Tiparillos? Kune Kune pigs or Karakachans? Beagles or Spanish Mastiffs? Don't ask them WHY they are breeding the LGD breed, because their website won't tell you - hey, it's a FAD, don't you know? Everyone's doing it….may as well make some quick bucks off it and try to gain more social respectability. Some of these people never had it to begin with….and are using the breeding of dogs to try to attain it.
There is no stopping the binge breeding of LGDs because it is too easy to do. Just get a Pyrenees, an Anatolian, and cross them! $200 on Craigslist - easy as pie, right?
And too many uninformed and frankly ignorant LGD customers keep these bad breeders afloat.
Yes that's right: YOU, the gullible uninformed customer, only add to the problem…because you buy from these clowns!
Ah yes - the current LGD crisis in America (and overseas now, too) is to be blamed on this very thing I'm stuffing down your throats: the blame game stops here. Right here. Own up to it, or get out of my way…. In this New World it's suddenly become passé to have expectations, as if that is some sort of disease. Got news for you: it is the glaring lack of expectations on the part of LGD customers and breeders alike, has contributed to the current crisis of LGD issues today.
Today's overnight, nouveau, city bred, born and raised hobby farmer - often is big on attitude, has next to no humility or conscience; is cavalier to the point of being warped, uber-spoiled, politically correct to the point of nausea; flaunting lemming-like mentalities laced with their inability to think let alone act on their own.
Crowd seekers and followers. People who you've never heard of, now flaunting imports; defrauders, fakers, status seekers. They run in gaggles on big Internet forums that typically have names like "Backyard This" or "Backyard That" or "Paleo Mama" or "Gluten Free Farming". Fluff. Surface value. No depth.
Typically it goes a lot like this:
They are so ashamed of being ignorant that they can't or won't confess that they need help; they are afraid to or refuse to learn from good sources - so they congregate with like souls in cesspools of ignorance and bad info that keeps reproducing because they enable it. Suck up Admins in mega-LGD and agriculture forums online like the "LGD Project" only fan the flames of stupidity. And this, folks, is a lot why today's agriculture scene is in partial meltdown mode, why old time, generational ranchers and farmers toss hands in air and shake heads and are filled with loathing and disgust.
What the hell has happened to the human gene pool lately?
Or as another good and respected fellow LGD breeder friend of mine quips: "You can't fix stupid and there is a lot of stupid out there...". And boy, is she right...
The sole purpose of this blog post is to try to smarten the typical dumb, ignorant, arrogant LGD customer up in their choice of LGD breeders. Are you game for it? Or too full of yourself to admit you don't know squat? The choice is yours, and yours alone.
Reputable, Ethical, Transparent Dog Breeders all have certain hallmarks that sets them above the rest. Train your eye and your mind to discern the difference between quality and pure junk. There are questions you as the potential customer, need to be asking, and you need to not be afraid, or ashamed, to ask them.
But first, let's make sure you know what an LGD is - and is not!
1. CHOOSE ONLY REAL, LEGITIMATE LGD BREEDS
A sign of the ignorant times we are in when I have to even begin this post with this topic. But I must.
I'm starting off with the simplest of all the facts: you need to buy REAL LGD breeds, or intelligent crosses of only LGD breeds - and stop fantasizing about Pit Bull/Great Pyrenees/Labradors turning out to be the same caliber and quality of a bonafide, real LGD - because they won't be. Non-LGD breeds are a crap shoot. Period!
Just look at all the Internet forums with people boasting about everything from their Shetland Sheepdog and French Poodle to Pit Bulls, Collies, Boston Terriers (!) and worse, supposedly "protecting their flocks/herds from predators".
Of course, the proof of this supposed feat is always missing.
Forums with goofy names like "Backyard This" or "That" seem to attract the biggest number of arrogant clueless know it alls who refuse to listen to any sensible or experienced input from people who know. So the stupidity proliferates on those forums and because those type of people tend to cling to each other and run in herds, if you will, it's typically a huge study in ignorance on steroids. My few forays into those forums to try to spread some intelligent material have inevitably been met with hostile reactions and I never last long - it becomes fruitless to try to educate them. I get the occasional private message from some lone intelligent life form thanking me for my valuable input - but that's about it!
Hardly worth my time after awhile; you can't save the world in a world filled with idiots…
Hopefully, you are smarter, and you do not buy into the pap being spewed by ignorant people. You take advice from trusted, proven sources who can back up their talk with the walk and you only buy REAL LGD breeds or crosses of such from reputable breeders.
Now, to toss a wrench into this mess, be advised, over the past decades some LGD breeds have lost their guarding instinct with livestock because they are too heavily being used and promoted for police and military work. I've blogged about this in the past. There are other posts on this blog about this topic - exercise your mind and fingers and go find them and read them. Those are the breeds you must be particularly cautious with, and that includes those breeds heavily fought in dog fighting sports in their native countries such as those in the Middle East. BUYER BEWARE.
Again, this is YOUR job to do the work: to research the breed and the breeder you are looking at.
Below is a partial list of REAL Livestock Guardian Breeds. They are classified as such because in their native countries that is what they do, and/or have done, in many cases for 1000's of years; it is instinct for these breeds - not trained, not hoped for - it's there - period…or it ain't (see above paragraph). The well bred ones have the genetic blueprint to nurture and protect livestock - not herd it, not chase it, not eat it, not kill it! EMPHASIS ON WELL BRED!
Partial List of RECOGNIZED LIVESTOCK GUARDIAN DOG BREEDS
Just a few examples of STUPID crosses by hick, hobby farmer junk breeders, below:
2. QUESTIONS YOU NEED TO ASK LGD BREEDERS
These are the key (by all means not all) questions you need to ask LGD breeders.
APPLICATION PROCESS - DO THEY EVEN HAVE ONE? Do they basically sell to anyone coming along with the money, ala Lois Jordan and Anne Latimer Goetz - who usually want it all up front no less - or do they have a rigorous, detailed screening process (I'll be sharing my application process in my upcoming LGD Customers post)? Any LGD breeder selling without an application obviously could care less about the dogs and where they go, or a legacy for the breed. They are in it for the money, pure and simple, and should be avoided like the plague. Why are you buying from them? Do you have something to hide and can't bear scrutiny? Like the near miss sale I almost had of two SM pups to a guy who had ties to dog fighting, which I figured out at the last minute. Close call! I turn down 85%+ of my applicants these days for a reason. Many of them are not fit to own let alone be around one of my dogs. And no one without the gumption to proudly show me photos of their place, fencing, dogs etc., provide vet and personal references, and answer detailed questions, is going to cut it. They are hamburger. Don't waste my time. Most window shopping tire kickers take one look at my application and pee their pants. Good. I don't need owners like that for my dogs!
WEBSITE - a study in puppy pimping/milling, and vague smoke and mirrors? Or more than just "puppies for sale" and "I got another litter to sell!"? My website, in conjunction with this blog, is light on selling pups, and heavy on education and teaching people the right from wrong with LGDs. I have a resources page I am continually adding to, and an educational page on the disease EPI. I have an entire page devoted to telling people WHO I am and WHAT I have done and/or accomplished - which includes besides having worked for law enforcement (which scares off the lowlife applicants, I'm sure), being hired as an expert witness on a high profile Oregon trial involving LGDs, and being a consultant who helps people with their LGD issues and questions, and who was contracted by the American Sheep Industry companies to create and implement their Working Dog Liability Insurance Program. No, they didn't hire Internet blowhards like Anna Abney, Lewis Ratliff and others, nor did they hire the self anointed "LGD experts" like Jan Dohner and Cat Urbigkit. They hired ME. Gosh….wonder why….. (wink)? It's possibly because I am the "Dirty Harry / Clint Eastwood of LGDs" - take no prisoners, brutally honest and up front and a piranha about owning and running LGDs in an ethical and responsible manner? Might be. I'm not in it just to cash cow dogs and produce endless litters of puppies to float my backyard Nigerian Dwarf goat hobby. I care about the dogs - frankly, more than I care for most people. My dogs eat before I do and get better health care than me….in other words, they are my passion. Not just a vehicle for someone trying to gain social acceptance and buy their way overnight into fame and "fortune". It's why I make so many people nervous and put them on edge. Their lies and endless obfuscation stop at my front door and they don't like that.
HOW do they raise pups? Hands off or socialized from birth? Kept in a tiny cage or pen, or allowed to free range and socialize with other dogs (always the preferred method)? Do they toss them in stock and walk away? Yikes. Is there compassion and caring evident or just a "gonna make a quick buck off these pups and dump them at 6 weeks of age" mentality? Open your eyes and take the rose colored glasses off - and again, use common sense and brains…
DO THEY PROMOTE: LETHAL OR NON LETHAL PREDATOR CONTROL - This is a huge one for me. I have long advocated the use of non-lethal means to co-exist with predators and strongly disagree with the "SSS" crowd. And studies are showing: non-lethal means work. In spades - they can work. Especially when LGDs who are well bred and raised right, are used right by intelligent owners - emphasis on INTELLIGENT. That means: running the right kinds of LGDs and running them in the right numbers, and the owner using the right mindset - the mindset I coyly refer to (with a nod to Mr. Miyagi and the world of Zen philosophy), as "No Mind". I don't advocate buying from a "kill them all" mentality LGD breeder. LGDs are not meant to be killers of predators. They are bred to protect, nurture and prevent losses from predators, not kill.
WHAT do they offer with pups? All vaccinations or just one shot? You want to deal with a parvo-infected pup and lose it the first week it's home? One shot only? Keep going. No or vague or barely adequate deworming schedule? Don't even waste your time…. Written health / replacement guarantees? If none, don't bother. Will they take the dog/pup back if it does not work out? Any references, and I don't mean hastily written Facebook accolades - I mean real proof from owners who will vouch for them on the phone or in a private message - anyone can bribe or cajole some ass kissing friends into writing reviews on a Facebook page (precisely why…I don't do it on my own kennel page). I let my dog's track records and good customers words in 'real life', serve as proof. What you are looking for is a track record that can be proven of dogs working in livestock - not just air filled words on a blog or website. If no one has heard of that breeder, then guess what? There's a reason for that! Are they making false and bogus claims about being "the only Spanish Mastiff breeder x-raying their dogs and offering written health guarantees (again, another one of my biggest gaffe, bad choice on my part customers currently pulling this stunt and more)? You really want to trust someone like that?
WHERE do they raise the litter of pups? In the house all the time (a Spanish Mastiff breeder in Wisconsin wrote the book on this one while claiming her pups are raised in livestock - uh, don't think so)? Note how Lois Jordan falsely claims her dogs are in livestock "24/7" yet I challenge you to find photos of her pups and dogs in livestock on her website. Good luck. There practically are none - and there is a reason for that. Likewise, I have so many 1000's of photos of my dogs over the years in goats, cattle and sheep, that I have the luxury of switching out photos on my website slide show all the time. No fake photo ops. No set ups. My pups walk the walk.
WHEN do they wean their pups? Read my prior post on this important subject.
OLDER DOGS - How does the breeder treat them if they have any? Are they ignored like yesterday's news, neglected and worn out and tired and ill-kept? Do they refuse to take care of them in their sunset years? Or does the breeder respect their elder dogs and recognize they their age means they require more rest, care and attention and special considerations? My 5 old timers here (all coming on 9) worked hard and long as youngsters - now, they get to sleep inside at night, are never pushed or expected to work full tilt - even though they still try to - and are given special supplements on their kibble for aged dogs. Their comfort and mental well being is top of my list. I let them rest and take it easy, while the youngsters in my pack pick up the slack and work load. In other words, compassion - not cruelty.
In these sad days of political correctness and creating "safe spaces" - it's so "incorrect" to remind people that there is a right and a wrong way to do things. There is a right and a wrong with LGDs too!
A Rogues' Gallery of Bad, Ugly and Just Plain Stupid
LGD Breeders and Self-labeled "Experts"
Wanting a loving family (probably no kids under 10). His name is Hero and he would love to live on a farm.
Needs basic obedience training. I adopted him with the understanding that he had previous training but he needs work.
Needs a family with at least 1 other medium/large dog who likes to play. He does jump fences. No apartments or small yards.
Comes with collar, harness, some food, bowl, bed, and kennel. Hero needs a home by 4/30
PLEASE TEXT. No calls or emails please.
Posted by: LIZZIE POTTER State: OH Zip: 45701 Phone: 740-505-4698 - See more at: http://www.bestfarmbuys.com/classifieds/detail.php?classified_id=209222&state=&category=dogs#sthash.TAHuxhOS.dpuf
livestock guardian dog
Daily update ⋅ May 8, 2017
“When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.”–Jonathan Swift