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cripture: Train 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’ traits.
    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 it!
    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 meal.
    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.
 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 next generations.

and teaches!
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