Both working sheep dogs (stock dogs) and livestock guardian dogs have immeasurable value on our ranch. Having dogs who help protect the flock as well as dogs who help us manage the flock, lightens our work load.
Even with the changing tides of farming and ranching and the favor of the sheep herding dog lessening, there remains a strong trend to keep the instinct of the sheep dog alive and thriving.
Lest we leave the picture painted only through rose colored glasses though, both stock dogs and guardian dogs do have their cons. With every dog we have had there has come periods of frustration and wonderment about why we got the dog in the first place. Having people and resources to turn to has always helped us through.
Not every rancher will be willing to cope with the frustrations of using dogs though. If you do not have an affinity for dogs in general and don't possess some modicum of patience and canine understanding you may find yourself more frustrated with dogs than without.
How can I acquire a herding dog and what should I expect?
Where can I learn out about sheep herding with my dog?
It has always seemed a tad contradictory that we use one dog for its predatory working style to move stock and another for its instinct to guard and keep stock safe and yet another canine, the coyote, is a prime danger to the flock.
The contradiction is settled via the synergy of energy that exists within animals. All animals possess nature's energy and project different states of energy in different situations. This is the language nature speaks in.
Livestock read and react to the intent of the various canines they encounter. It is the explanation of how coyotes can walk amongst a flock without causing an uproar and why livestock guardian dogs can be so valuable and sheep herding dogs so effective.
Understanding this basic concept of energy in the natural way will take one wherever they wish to go on their journey with sheep dogs. Be it success with livestock guardians, working ranch dogs or trial champions.