The first thing we should remember is that LGD is a broad term used to describe dozens of breeds of dogs. Many of those breeds are very different from one another. Not everything called an LGD is going to work in their Guardianship in the same manner. Different dogs work differently, and their minds are different. Our Caucasian Ovcharka are very much bonded to their owners and need to be. They protect what you own because of their dedication and bond to you, not to the sheep, chickens, rabbits etc. They need that connection with you and long for it. We work from a place of connection with our dogs. We can bring them out of their sheep pen and have them in the house for an evening and then put them back out to work for the next 2 months. We see them and love on them twice a day at chore time, but they love their occasional visits inside for family time. Some dogs hate the house and will not come inside which is fine, and admirable, but we still pull them out of service and have some personal time with them in the yard and on the front deck, etc. We believe in close connections with our dogs, and because of that we have very well trained CO's and Shars that obey our commands, have fantastic recall, and are safe to be handled in all situations. The Sharplanintaz Shepherds are very social, love their people as well and yet, they work differently from the CO. They are more bonded to their livestock in a traditional sense, but they are not ruined by having social interaction with the family. They thoroughly enjoy it, but they are also quite willing to go back to work. A Serbian man who is a very experienced Shar breeder, that I respect very much, told me that the Shar's are no different from the CO. They have always guarded out of a sense of loyalty to their master. The love for their master and devotion to protect what belongs to him, is the driving force of their guardianship. I believe this to be a much healthier balance to the use of these wonderful dogs. They need love, care, and relationship just like everything else. I can also tell you, that the "hands off" teaching creates monsters that no one can control; and people wonder why they go out into a field and have a "Guardian" that is as mean as a snake and won't listen to anyone, and certainly can't be handled by anyone. Many such dogs have been put down because they become a liability on the farm. As shepherds, it's our job to watch out for our dogs and make sure they are well taken care of which means, properly trained, able to be handled, and safe to work with on the farm. It's not their fault if we just take a puppy, throw it in with the sheep and never touch it again, only to produce a dog that "can't be controlled". I'm starting to rant, so I will close. I hate to see the dogs get the short end of the stick when people have let them down because of flawed thinking and a "way of thinking" about LGD's that is the creation of a small group, but not the reflection of the centuries of service that these dogs have provided in their native lands. Treat your dogs well, love them, and they will love you back with faithful service.
Having been born and raised in the Rocky Mountain West, I have been blessed to grow up in the most beautiful place on earth. I am biased, but it is a fantastic place to raise our sheep and our guardian dogs that we love so much. - Justin Michels