up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart
from it. Proverbs 22:6, NKJV
He is big for his
age, he’s boisterous, he’s friendly, and he likes to play. Problem is - his
intended playmates don’t want anything to do with him; they run away. Truth
be told, he needs a little behavior modification.
After all, at just one year of age, Joe is still
a puppy at over 80 pounds of frisky, and his playmates are sheep. Well, he
is not supposed to play with them, just care for them. He is a Livestock
Guard Dog, of a type bred for generations to live with livestock and guard
them from predators. His father is a Maremma, a breed that originated
in Italy. His mother is a Great Pyrenees, developed in the mountains
of the same name. Both of our dogs are white, with rather long hair. Adult
dogs weigh between 80 and 100 pounds. Sara, our other dog, is a pure Maremma,
six years old, very good with the stock, and, hopefully, a good teacher and
example for an impressionable puppy.
Their education begins at a very early age. Livestock
guard dog puppies (LGDs) are placed with the
type of livestock that they will be guarding, lambs in our case, so that they
“imprint” or identify with that species, although they retain their ‘doggie’
LGDs take their role as guardians very seriously.
If a threat to the livestock is suspected, they quickly check it out. The
first response is to place themselves between the ‘predator’ and the sheep,
and sound the alarm by barking. “Hey! I’m here - don’t even think about
A good dog will gather the sheep and move them
to a safer place, if possible. However, LGDs have been known to play with
coyotes, entertaining them, but all the while keeping them from their intended
If the predator persists, he will be met by a very
aroused guardian. The barks turn to snarls, and an “in-your-face” display
of ferociousness, and, if necessary - “Chomp!” Then, it’s over. Back
to the sheep.
Joe has about a year to go before he becomes a
full-fledged guardian. Sara teaches him humility upon occasion. She is the
‘alpha’ or dominate dog, no question. We contribute to his education,
as well. Hopefully, this child/dog will learn the way he should go, and
will not depart from it.
I don’t recommend the same methods for ‘training
up’ a human child, but there are some parallels.
Start early, be loving but consistent - and be persistent.
All of God’s ‘children’ learn life and how to live it by imprinting
- by immersion in the community they are to live in, and are to emulate.
It is up to us - the ‘alpha’ role models
- to lead, to live, to teach by example, and be the loving guardians of the
and teaches! Subscribe
to Seeds For Thinking as a FREE weekly email.