It's become commonplace to see livestock guardian breeds in urban municipal animal shelters. Some are impounded as strays while others are surrendered due to typical breed behaviors such as barking, roaming or being to protective. Quite often, these breeds do not do well in a shelter environment and some are euthanized as a result of the behavior. Sometimes, the dog is adopted and surrendered yet again. This can be tragic for a breed that although large and intelligent, can be very sensitive.
When owned as a companion animal, livestock guardian breeds have particular needs in order to thrive. Setting the dog up in an environment where he/she cannot express typical tendencies may make a seemingly gentle giant overly protective and at risk for biting. Then, by no fault of their own, the dog is surrendered to a shelter and euthanized. Many Many become displaced because their original owners didn’t understand the time and care they would require. Unfortunately for these rescue dogs, the breed bonds very closely to their families, making re-homing devastating for the dog.
A very simple solution is prevention. When considering a LGD breed, it is crucial to research and carefully consider the typical characteristics of the breed and what they require in order to thrive. As with any dog, some behaviors can be prevented and/or eliminated through education and proper training. However, it's important to expect that a livestock guardian dog breed will roam, bark and shed and will require more of everything. LGD breeds are independent thinkers making them great escape artists that require adequate fencing.
1) Educate the public on livestock guardian dog breed awareness before adopting or purchasing a livestock guardian dog breed.
2) Provide resources for livestock guardian dog breeds owned as companion animals or small homesteads to increase the chances of success.
3) Develop partnerships with supporting individuals and organizations in providing programs that fund microchipping and sterilization initiatives.
4) Develop assistance programs that fund objectives.