LGD and Stock Dog Notes - Less is More

In the situation the guardian dogs at Dog Tale Ranch are working in (away from house and yard) they are far less influenced by myself or Allen than our stock dogs are. Their pack structure is uninterrupted by my ideals of what it should be. Which is probably a healthy thing. They are free to hunt wildlife and do so often. They are free to fight each other and do so seldomly. In many dog packs living with humans it is the other way around.

This morning Whiskey and Diesel each bore the signs of having been in a fight. Some blood spray and matting on each dog, no obvious, major wounds. Whiskey’s ear might have been the source of the blood but even that was hard to tell. There isn’t much indication of whether they are fighting each other, or coyotes, or the neighbours dog, or a deer carcass. Funny thing is, I just let them alone. If the dogs in the house get into fights, I’m all over figuring out why.

The LGD’s are not trained to come, sit, lie down or walk at heel. None of the LGD’s jump up or get overly excited when we or strangers visit. They get a little pushy for attention and if they think you’re not up to the role of leader, they’ll guard their food. When we slip a leash on them, there is an initial hesitancy at its unfamiliar feel, and then they fall into a walk at our side. Leashes are not exciting to them and they don’t bother to pull. On the other hand, the leash manners of the stock dogs is kind of embarrassing to admit. They seldom see leashes either, yet still get excited when they do.

Many people assume pity for the LGD’s because their life is not one of cozy couches and chew toys. Yet watching the LGD’s makes me wonder about how my stock dogs live and have me considering some changes there. The LGD’s have also given me reason to change a few things in my approach to all dogs. For one, I don’t greet people’s dogs and wish dearly that people would not greet mine. Most human greetings toward dogs are incredibly wimpy, overdone and unnecessary.

My father in law (who was here last night for a visit) never greet dogs initially and I've never seen him do so like dog people and dog trainers do. The reaction of the dogs to him is night and day different to when dog people or dog trainers visit.

There are many other aspects of these two canine worlds that I could compare. Another one: if the LGD’s are worried about something, they leave, whereas each stock dog has their own way of worrying which may not involve leaving at all.

Less is really more in the world of dogs. The real splendor of dog training is doing less while being more in the eyes of the dog.