Thursday, January 31, 2019

Dog Fights: During and After

Do you know what to do if your dogs get in a fight? Of course I know about this. I know so much over it for so many years and years in fact it becomes like a dance going on in front of me, literally. Why? Because it happens immediately with me and what is going on, and I am in the middle of it, it is like using my brain without even knowing why I have to. It just happens so fast, and I am so thick in the middle of it watching, moving, saying what I need to say, and working it over the dogs so it stops and all gets settled again. It’s literally like a dream. Anyone who can get their mind wrapped over this can do it too, if they try.
So listen to this little story. It so happens this morning one of my cranky very larger LGD females has been in heat and safely locked up in one of my barns. And she’s a huge female too and always trying to get something started, and that means being edged on her and what’s going on. Of course, the male pack is always edging around, moving, smelling, waiting, hoping, and finally, if one of the big studs gets the edge over the rest of dogs, well – the fight starts!
And that is what happened today with three of my very large LGDs got into it in front of the farm. I’m talking three huge dogs, and just one male that runs 230 pounds and a jaw on his head that could kill anything or anyone! So I get two of the big males pulled down more, and as it happened the smaller but very older ten year old male got ripped up on a whole side of one leg. It took me being in the middle of it to break down the other two males to stop and leave the old timer off, and get everyone backed down, separated, and moved. The old timer got my time with cleaning him, fixing his leg, washing off blood and medication and pain to get him settling and calmed and quiet. His thick beds will help him stay warm and quiet with his other same year old stud dog who’ll keep an eye on him and make sure he’s okay, too.
But how many LGD owners know what goes on behind a big dog fight? How many of you think about it after it is too late or through? How much time do people take to undertand what makes something like this happen? Does anyone think about how setting things up better, and being calm and steady when the fight is going on and you must take the chance and guts (yes, I mean YOU people) and do what is the best way to take care of things. Don’t people understand, this is using your brain, your eyes, your ears - always listening, watching, what is going on? Why are so many lazy farmers and ranchers too fat, too “important” over their Facebook, their fancy new car, their big money on their horse trailer?
Hmmm, something people need to think about, yes?
Well, here’s the big tease for those of you who still sit back and hem and haw about whether or not they should ever take the time sit down and read this book and take it seriously. No, I’m not talking about the panty-pants whiney cry babies who are always too lazy to get serious about their farm, ranch, livestocks and dogs. You need to know and read it and understand! The whole book is what you need to buy on and take home and read it and really study over what I say and try to get people understanding about what happens, what makes it work, move, fight and get over it. There is a whole world there on just that chapter; no telling what else is there you need to write, too!
Here’s the treat: part of the whole page. Get your mind focused and LEARN!
Dog Fights: During & After
The best fights are the ones we avoid.
— Jackie Chan
Love is more powerful than kicking ass.
---Jet Li
No decent, compassionate human likes to see two or more dogs getting into a fight. It is a traumatic sight for the owner and traumatic and stressful for the dogs involved. When you are running two or more LGDs to guard livestock, even under the best circumstances and most attentive shepherding, occasional dogfights are inevitable. Most of the time, dogs can sort out their own conflicts. Not all fights need you to step in and become involved, in fact, most of them will end quickly as the dogs figure things out themselves. Ah, but then there are those other kinds of fights…and that is what this chapter is for.
Here are some of my observations and tips for owners of working Livestock Guardian Dogs who typically are outside, i.e., not enclosed inside a building or home, when their dogs get into fights. Please understand one thing: when it comes to breaking up a dogfight, nothing is set in stone! Keep your mind open. Do not get stuck in the “it has to be this or that” mode.
Breaking it up
Some of the methods used or promoted to break up a dogfight include:
• Spraying water on combatting dogs with a hose
• Hitting them on their legs with a stick, shovel, etc.
• Throwing a blanket over their heads
• Making a very loud noise
• Placing a rope around the neck of one dog and pulling it out of the fray
• Stepping into the middle of it and trying to pull the dogs apart
• Throwing buckets of water at the fighting dogs
• Grabbing legs, collars or tails
• Honking a car horn, revving a truck engine
• If a fight is related to a female in estrus, removing the female
• Turning my back and walking away (“Letting Go”)
I have used every one of these “solutions” at one time or another. Sometimes they work. I have seen each of these methods fail more than they worked, many times. In other words, do not trust them to be the answer, all of the time. There IS no answer for all of the time. It will depend on the dogs, and the intensity and reason for the fight….
And there the rest of it can be found on my book in this chapter! This is just the beginning of it! So see how much is left to learn on this alone? $35.00 or $15.00 for eBook.
So stop hemming and hawing, and get on to it and learn!

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Resources for Farmers Concerned about Large Predators

I must bow my head down with thanks, gratitude and great resources again, produced by Paul White in the EU - Transylvania. More American LGDs need to read what he has to say. And more USA LGDs are becoming less and less completive and ideological as they become fanatics on quick bings on cheap puppies, no thinking about their long goal planed, and so much more. That in and of itself I will attack over next on another topic. 

For now, it's important to read again from Paul White's latest Blog, Resources for Farmers Concerned about Large Predators. Read this, and keep following Paul's Blog. 

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Paul White's Comment on Sheep Farming in Predator Country

I am very proud of Paul White's continual work on animals, LGDs, shepherds, predators and more, and hope you enjoy his wonderful musing here and there - from his famous country near Transylvania. Enjoy his latest comment!
Sheep Farming in Predator Country

Never let anyone tell you that it's not possible to farm with sheep in predator country because it is. Shepherds and herdsmen have been grazing livestock in Transylvania for centuries and without fences. The big difference here is that sheep never graze on open ground alone. Shepherds are always present with the support of their livestock guardian dogs (LGD) to instantly counter threats from predators.

This was far from a typical day as normally I would be down there in one of those snow covered houses trying to keep warm. It was well below freezing, but rather than sit around the house I decided to take a trip into the foothills with Bandi, one of the many shepherds that live in Ozsdola. Usually I visit Bandi in fair weather during the grazing season which covers spring, summer and autumn. So this winter grazing trip was a first for me.

This is not 'one man and his dog', but more one man and his pack! Bandi had chosen five dogs for the several hours of grazing planned in the surrounding hills. Several points have to be considered before deciding which and how many dogs to take.

Predator burden - Ozsdola has a high predator burden for shepherds. The greatest threat comes from wolves and bears, so more LGDs are required to protect sheep. In winter when food is scarce, wolves move down from the surrounding hills and forests. They usually prey on wild boar and deer, but in winter often target stray dogs from villages. There is also the expectation that bears are hibernating in winter, but not all, especially if there is a food source available. Bears scavenge from bins and passing motorists, but equally both predator species will take sheep if not adequately protected.

Flock size - obviously the more sheep you have to watch and protect the more LGDs you need. All dogs are different and their skills, personalities, strengths and weaknesses must all be considered by the shepherd when choosing which dogs to take with him. Seniors obviously have more experience and knowledge but may not be as fit and agile as the juniors. The oldest dog with us was twelve years old, an incredible age for such a large dog. Although fit and healthy, it stuck close to the shepherd and the sheep. So did two other dogs whilst the remaining two acted as 'outriders' checking the ground surrounding the flock, especially bushes and trees that offer cover for predators.

It is important to say that here there is never a scenario of a shepherd working with one dog. A single dog is no match for a wolf or bear. Dogs are only effective when working in cooperation with others, so two is always the minimum number.

Livestock guardian dogs do not drive sheep, they integrate with them and surround the flock to protect them. If a bear or wolf attacks then these dogs will put their lives on the line to repel the predator.

As soon as the dogs and sheep left the village they all knew the routine and made their way uphill along a track which connects with one of several communal meadows that surround the village. I followed taking photos and noted that there was little verbal communication between the shepherd and his dogs. There was no need really as the dogs knew what to do and the sheep knew where to go.

Obviously there's not the same amount of grass available compared to summer but the sheep did find some morsels to eat amongst the snow. However, these winter excursions are not just about nutrition as the sheep are given plenty of winter feed in large barns. This is also about exercising the animals, especially the dogs as the winter here can be very long, often extending from November to April.

Note: Several people have contacted me regarding this article and the issue of a continuous human presence with LGDs to optimise predator deterrence and reduction of livestock losses. Many do not believe this to be economically viable in modern day farming. My observations are confined to my small study area situated in the eastern Carpathians of Romania amongst the Szekely community. Fladry and fences, electric or otherwise are not generally used.

I am aware that there are many instances of human/predator conflict in Romania, especially when the 'old ways' of protecting livestock have been forgotten. However, the shepherds I study are experienced and offer a highly effective deterrent (in conjunction with their LGDs) in an area with a high predator burden.

Dogs are much less effective without a shepherd or shepherds present. They need guidance, feeding and chastising occasionally. The shepherd is like a parent, attending to both sheep and dogs, looking after their health and dealing with injuries as and when they occur. LGD pack dynamics is a constant consideration too. Introducing new blood/puppies, raising and supervising young dogs, working with them and maintaining boundaries. All this early attention/intervention makes for a well balanced and better behaved dog. LGDs that are overly aggressive with humans have not been supervised properly and haven't been around people enough.

Transhumance here is remote shepherding with grazing areas often located between forest stands in the wildest areas of the mountains. Once grazed the shepherds follow forest corridors to fresh grazing on neighbouring meadows. They milk their sheep three times a day and make cheese on the mountain. They are too far away from home to return each evening for a shower and to sleep. It is a tough life being attached to your flock 24/7 from April through to October, but who said that farming in predator country was easy?

That said, this system works well and a constant human presence keeps livestock losses to a minimum. The choice is really very simple. If you want to farm in predator country and leave your sheep unattended, then your losses will obviously be high. Shepherds sleeping in huts next to their sheep can react immediately if a wolf enters the sheepfold. They work as a team with their dogs to repel any attack but never with guns which they neither carry or use. The objective is to repel and deter attacks from predators but NOT to kill them. Your dogs will always do their best to protect your sheep, but they will always do better with their master present.


Monday, January 14, 2019

The Way of The Pack on Kindle eBook!

Surprise! For the new year of January, my book 
The Way of The Pack: Understanding and Living With Livestock Guardian Dogs 
will be available for those who want or use 
Kindle eBook lists
Only $15.00 in eBook! 
100's of people have bought my book.
For those preferred to go on eBook, 
Amazon has it: 

Friday, January 11, 2019

Working Dog Liability Insurance

Working Dog Liability Insurance

Working Dog Liability Insurance (WDLI) is for livestock producers, who use guardian and herding dogs to protect their livestock from predators and other risks, and to assist in the management of their flock or herd.
Frequently the producers have no liability protection from incidents related to the guardian and herding dogs.
Most farm and ranch insurance policies exclude working dogs or dogs which “may show aggressive tendencies.” WDLI is managed and serviced by Food and Fiber Risk Managers. They understand the business, and know that livestock production is your livelihood, and have your best interest at heart.

Brenda M. Negri served as a consultant to the American Sheep Industry owned insurance company’s Working Dog Liability Insurance program, She authored it’s Loss Prevention Manuals and assisted in creating and implementing the ground breaking program in 2015 and 2016. 

Check out Liability Insurance today.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

When Will LGD People Learn?

On Facebook, a graphic but short photo of one LGD is hit down and dragged off by wolves in the brush. This time is so beyond late. Read the rest yourself, or go on my page and see it yourself from The Way of The Pack: Understanding and Living With Livestock Guardian Dogs.

On here is another country and a scaring, very graphic photo of an LGD being attacked over a pack of wolves, and drug off because he is alone. Too many American farmers, the little goats and sheep people who want to prance around in their cute critter pets, and show up one or two LGDs - then do not understand in night, how their pack attacks and kills over LGDs. And too many braggart women think that everything is controlled and cute, and all they need to do is stay in their little house in their kitchen, read their Facebook and make comments, watch TV, yell at their kids and eat more food and become pigs and gluttons. Those mind-sets of women in USA particularly on many farms and small "boutique" ranches that are being pranced around by people, are the ones who don't have time to watch their good dogs, do not stay with them, and listen and watch and learn. It is why so many 100's of people now, are getting the "brain." And they are getting out and buying my book, of more than 40 chapters, and more than 320 pages, tons of photos and resources and more. It is time people to be in tuned with your dogs. Every day, in and out, all the time. Carefulness, mindfulness, self assessment. The five words I began over these dogs from the start of my book. And where are you? Did you even study, think and understand?:
This is what builds up the LGD packs. Pairs, trios, quads, and more if needed. This is what the entire fact of my years of putting this book up and showing great, time and tested owners who were on these dogs for years over many countries! Yes, in Spain, in France, in Italy, in other places! But it is also not just showing up two puppies from some other world, and think they are tough and smart and always bragging. No, that is not the answer either. Why I have owned more than $1,000's of the best carlancas and bracelets for several countries, from the finest men who build this work, is why. When will others learn too?


En Spain:
Aquí hay otro país y una fotografía muy gráfica y aterradora de un LGD siendo atacado por una manada de lobos, y drogado porque está solo. Demasiados granjeros estadounidenses, las pequeñas cabras y las ovejas que quieren andar con sus lindas mascotas critter, y mostrar una o dos LGD, entonces no entienden en la noche cómo ataca y mata a su manada sobre las LGD. Y demasiadas mujeres braggart piensan que todo está controlado y lindo, y todo lo que necesitan hacer es quedarse en su pequeña casa en la cocina, leer su Facebook y hacer comentarios, ver televisión, gritarles a sus hijos y comer más y convertirse en cerdos. y glotones. Esas mentalidades de mujeres en los EE. UU., En particular en muchas granjas y pequeños ranchos "boutique" que están siendo elogiados por personas, son los que no tienen tiempo para observar a sus buenos perros, no se quedan con ellos, escuchan y escuchan. mira y aprende. Es por eso que tantos cientos de personas ahora están recibiendo el "cerebro". Y están saliendo y comprando mi libro, de más de 40 capítulos, y más de 320 páginas, toneladas de fotos y recursos y más. Es hora de que la gente esté en sintonía con tus perros. Todos los días, dentro y fuera, todo el tiempo. Cuidado, atención plena, autoevaluación. Las cinco palabras que comencé sobre estos perros desde el comienzo de mi libro. ¿Y donde estas? ¿Estudiaste, pensaste y entendiste ?:
El respeto
Esto es lo que construye los paquetes LGD. Parejas, tríos, quads, y más si es necesario. ¡Esto es lo que hace todo el tiempo de mis años de publicar este libro y de mostrarle a los grandes propietarios, a los que hemos probado, el tiempo y la experiencia de estos perros durante años en muchos países! Sí, en España, en Francia, en Italia, en otros lugares! Pero tampoco es solo mostrar a dos cachorros de algún otro mundo, y pensar que son fuertes, inteligentes y siempre presumiendo. No, esa tampoco es la respuesta. Por eso he poseído más de $ 1,000 de las mejores carlancas y brazaletes para varios países, de los mejores hombres que construyen este trabajo, es la razón. ¿Cuándo aprenderán otros también?

Monday, January 7, 2019

Mary Robbins’ Review of The Way of The Pack: Understanding and Living With Livestock Guardian Dogs

Mary Robbins’ Review
 The Way of The Pack:
Understanding and Living With
Livestock Guardian Dogs
Written in September 2018 by Brenda M. Negri

Mary Robbins of California and a long-time LGD and sheep rancher, has an excellent review on my book. Enjoy:

  This book by Brenda M. Negri is written in a short snappy way that reads like an instruction manual on the proper handling of livestock guardian dogs (LGDs). Brenda Negri explains the reasons for everything in an easy to understand way.  She brings 40 years of experience with livestock, predators, and study of LGDs both here and abroad and shares it with the reader.
This book is a must have for anyone wanting to purchase their first livestock guardian dog.  Brenda Negri begins by discussing the ancestral uses of guardian dogs to protect flocks and herds since earliest times, setting forth descriptions of how the dogs are used on open range situations as they accompany their masters’ herds through the mountains and valleys of their native lands.  She debunks the original theory that these dogs should not be socialized by human contact.  Instead she gives evidence not only that these dogs respond to socialization with their human owners and families, but they requireit for a healthy mind and psychological development. In fact, she shows the reader that these dogs historically were never alone with herds but have always been equal partners with the shepherd in protecting the flocks.  
I have owned livestock guardian dogs for 30 years.  Our first dog was purchased from a rancher in Idaho who sternly warned me against giving any attention to the puppy since it would “ruin” him as a livestock guardian.  Luckily my 4 children and husband ignored that prohibition, and Maverick became not only a great guardian, but a terrific member of our ranch family.  
She discusses training of the dog – training isnecessary for both LGDs andtheir owners if they are to reach their true potential. Being able to handle the dog calmly and safely is essential.  She gives great advice on nutrition, shelter, health, first aid, and protection of the guardian dog where the predator load is heavy.  She warns the first-time buyer that the first thing they need to invest in should be qualityfencing before ever bringing a dog home.  She talks about other ways to protect the flock or herd, both without a guardian dog and in conjunction with a guardian dog.  
She goes on to point out that these independent thinking guardian breeds are different than normal dog breeds, and a successful relationship between these dogs and the owner must be much closer than just putting the dog in a pasture with livestock.  The owner must be receptive to the dog and understand the behaviors they are seeing. She discusses body language between the dog and the owner.  The dog and owner must learn to trust and rely on each other for the partnership to be successful.  Then she emphasizes that there are differences in the way different breeds protect, and the importance of finding breeders that will mentor the new owner through any questions or problems when they have purchased their dog.   
            Experienced owners of LGDs will find a great deal of information in this book too.  Owners who have problems will find answers in here.  Owners doing the right thing will find support.  The reference section contains excellent additional reading sources. 
In particular, Negri seeks to show that many owners underestimate the number of dogs they should be using to protect their livestock. She points out that the number of LGDs should not be based on number of sheep or acres but should be based on number and type of predators and terrain. In the foothills of Los Angeles where I live, the coyote population is so high that I need at least 3 dogs for my 5 steep, brushy acres.  No lethal animal control measures are allowed within the city limits, so my dogs work hard to defend our sheep.   Even with a 3 LDG pack, we need to lock our flock up at night in order to give our hardworking dogs a rest.  My son, on the other hand, might only need one dog on his flat, open 5 acres outside Santa Maria.  I have lost several sheep to coyotes, necessitating the addition of the 3rddog.  My son has not even lost one of his free-range chickens.  
            The Way of The Pack might be to some readers a misleading name.   “Pack” connotates danger.  A wolf pack, a feral dog pack, is threatening, but when documentaries on wolves refer to the pack as a family unit it is seen as nurturing and supportive. A pack has structure.  The pack is stronger by its very nature than only one or two individuals.  This is the idea that Brenda Negri is trying to get across in her book.  The livestock guardian dog “pack” is better equipped to protect because of its structure.  Every individual has its place in the pack and the pack works together to protect and defend.  There is safety in numbers when LGDs must defend against larger or more numerous predators.
            Nor does the livestock owner have to have a huge pack of 20 dogs.  The pack can be any number from 2 dogs to 4 to whatever number is needed for the predator load.  The owner must determine the number of LGDs necessary and ensure that the makeup of the individuals work together for the health of the pack, and its solidarity. Anyone with more than 2 LGDs has a “pack”.  It is the responsibility of the owner to determine necessary pack structure. 
            Guardian dogs will assign different roles to themselves. In the instance of danger, I have seen my own dogs split up, one dog running back to move the flock to safety and stand between its charges and danger, while the other goes out to face the perceived threat.  The pack cooperates and works together.
This then is The Way of The Pack, the correct number of the right dogs working together with their owner to protect their charges. The Way of the Pack, The Way of the Family.  As Negri puts it the owner is not an alpha ruling the pack, but a parent leading the family, caring for the family, and nurturing the family.
If you have, or are considering getting, an LGD, this book needs to be on your shelf.
This is an unsolicited review.  I did not receive any compensation for this review. I purchased this book myself. – Mary Robbins

Sunday, January 6, 2019

"Show Me: Sand the Floor"

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