With our Livestock Guardian Dogs in particular, we rely very much on our 4-legged trainers to teach the dogs what they need to know about their job, and help to straighten out any problematic dogs that are sent to us for behaviour adjustment. We have a select team of animals that help us with this, and have the right temperament for it.
First up is Jelly Bean, our Dairy cow, and her calves Jelly Belly and Jelly Pudding. She is a very tranquil lady and has just the right balance of ignoring any rambunctious behaviour, and laying down the ground rules very clearly. She is never aggressive but is firm but fair. Her daughters share her ladylike demeanour and are a great for our pups to have as their first exposure to cattle before their eyes are even open. If we have older dogs sent to us who may have been showing troubling behaviour on their farms, Bean teaches them very quickly that over enthusiasm is not OK. Whereas an aggressive cow could hurt a dog or a puppy, Bean uses minimum force and usually minimum attention. She came from a smallholding with many dogs, including 2 Great Danes, so there is nothing a dog can do that makes her so much as bat one of her beautiful long eyelashes.
Emmy the sheep is rather special. Not only is she named after Carlines mother, but her job as a dog-training sheep is very fitting as she was extremely lucky to have survived a jackal attack herself as a lamb. Unlike the vast majority of sheep, Emmy has a strong will to live and pulled through the attack before coming to live with us. She came from a farm where an Anatolian Shepherd (one of ours from Thandi's previous litter) protects the goat flock so she is familiar with big dogs. Often if sheep are not used to a big dog, they run when they first see one, but Emmy is as solid as a rock and cuddles up with any size dog.
Big Lizzy is a Boerbok Ewe who is unable to walk too far in veld due to an old injury to her leg. She does, however, produce the most fantastic lambs, and shares the same calm but firm attitude as Jelly Bean. She is never so aggressive that we fear she may hurt a puppy, but she does not tolerate overly playful behaviour.
No mention of our 4-legged team would be complete with a mention of the ponies. Their kraal is adjacent to one of the whelping areas and they are totally unflappable when it comes to puppies sniffing at them and exploring. Nina even helps with the detection dogs by really trying out their concentration and joining in while they are searching the paddock areas for target scents. If they can concentrate with a pony joining the game, we can throw most things at them.
This list is far from exhaustive, and the whole flocks and herds play their part at some time or another, but these are our main cast, and they are fabulous!