I read so many posts all over, from people who come home with an LGD puppy then have one disaster after another or suddenly realize they bit off more than they could chew. They find a cheap pup or someone offers it to them free. Or maybe they've even paid good money for it. But... With little preparation, they cave in and bring it home knowing nothing about the parents of the pup, if the breeder has any experience or even done this breeding before or has any clue if these pups will guard or not, or what they (the buyer) are doing, only that they 'think they need an LGD' because one of their stock is dead....so suddenly, they panic. They go shopping....here's one, ok let's buy it..... Voila. Instant fix. NOT!
Here are some questions you need to ask yourself, and some things you should think about BEFORE bringing home that cute ball of fluff. Perhaps going over this list will help you focus and narrow down your options. Impulse buying is irresponsible, and it is not fair to an LGD pup or dog. The shelters are already full of abandoned pups and dogs. Please if you are new to all this and wanting to get LGD's, read this and answer these questions to yourself, honestly. As a breeder, I turn down more people who call in a panic, oh, dear, a lamb is dead they need a puppy YESTERDAY...quick! Help! And most responsible breeders are going to hear the panic in your voice and the rush rush and they'll be leery of selling to you anyway. For the time being if possible, pen your stock up at night so they are safe, and DO YOUR HOMEWORK FIRST. Don't come online and expect everyone to push-button answer all your questions for you either as some, only YOU can answer. Do your homework first....you'll be so glad you did.
Take a deep breath.....there's lots you need to ask yourself first. YOu want to make this a positive not a negative!
1. What's your previous experience with LGD's if any, and/or dogs in general?
2. Can you afford to feed, care for, doctor, spay/neuter (if you are going to) an LGD?
3. Are you sure you need an LGD?
4. What is the layout of your property? Is it fenced? Cross fenced? Not fenced? Is the fence dog proof?
5. How close are your neighbors? What will they think about an LGD who barks? Have you discussed your intent with them?
6. What stock do you own/plan to get? How will it be confined or how is it confined now?
7. What stock do you want your LGD to guard? Just some or all?
8. Do you have frequent visitors? Kids? Grandkids? Pet dogs? Cats? Fowl? With the LGD be allowed to interact with them?
9. Do you know what you are looking for or are you all over the map (you need to narrow your focus)?
10. Have you researched breeds? Do you know what you like/don't like? Preferences?
11. What kind of predators do you have? How many?
12. Do you know you are making a long term commitment?
13. If you actually need several LGD's can you afford to keep them up and care for them?'
14. Do you realize an LGD pup can't just be tossed out there and expected to guard right away?
15. Are you willing to wait a year for a pup to mature and be effective?
16. Weather: do you have shelter for your LGD from hot sun and wind or extreme cold?
17. Do you have access to a good vet? Do you have vet supplies on hand for dogs?
18. Have you decided and bought in advance the kind of food you'll feed the pup?
19. If you have other dogs, pets etc. are you ready to assimilate this pup into your situation and understand it takes time?
I am sure there are even more questions that could be added (folks feel free to do so). I did this in order to help people out there who suddenly wake up one morning and say OK I need an LGD. Stop. Don't act so fast.....take your time....making rush decisions is NOT the way to go. There is a wealth of info, books, etc. out there for you to research first so you don't make a costly mistake, that is unfair to your dog. Please act responsibly and you'll be glad you did. Your stock will love you and so will your LGD!!!!