Sunday 31 December 2017

Happy New Year

Another year has passed and it is the time to reflect on what has been and then look forward,
 in anticipation of what is to come in the new year!

Our Sarplaninac dogs would like to take this opportunity to send some greetings and share some good advice for 2018!

Be patient and kind.

The only boundaries that limit you, are the ones you impose on yourself.

Taking time to reflect, it is good for the soul.

Be bold!

Travel in a pack.

Head off on adventures together.

Reliability is a cornerstone of good friendship.

Friends come in all shapes and sizes.

Look people straight in the eye!

Take a step back, so you can see the larger picture.

Family is not always blood relations.

Napping is good for you.

Be the leader, that others want to follow.

Spend quality time together.

The mentor is a source of wisdom, teaching, and support.

Stay curious, head off in new directions.

Be confident in all that you do.

Take a moment, sit back and appreciate the beauty of nature around you.

 Leaders set direction and help themselves and others to do the right thing to move forward.

Keep your head up, you never know what you may miss.

Happiness comes from knowing you have good people in your life.

"Year's end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on."
 ~ Hal Borland

Enjoy 2018!

Wednesday 20 December 2017

Some great reading

Last year I was invited to participate in a Farmers meeting in Portugal to discuss non lethal strategies for farming and ranching around predators.
This was a wonderful learning opportunity for me!

As a follow up to those meetings the CARNIVORE DAMAGE PREVENTION has published a number of articles in their last two issues on subjects such as shepherding and LGD.

For those who are interested in these topics, here is some holiday reading for you:
This issue is primarily about shepherds and the strategies they use to prevent predation

This issue is mainly about LGD.
I was honored to ask to contribute an article to this publication, however I would not have been able to do this without the help of Robin Rigg, and Janet Dohner.
A big thank you also to Ally Chapman and Joanna Groenewald.
Thank you to Cat Urbigkit, Linda Sutterfield and Jacqueline Zakharia for allowing me to use some of your photographs.

Click on this link to read  my article for the publication:

Tuesday 5 December 2017

On Raymond Coppinger

 This article appeared in The Shepherd's Magazine
By: Louise Liebenberg

Raymond Coppinger

Anyone who raised sheep in the late 1970’s and early 80’s will have probably have heard of Raymond Coppinger and his large-scale research, spanning a decade  on livestock guardian dogs. I think it is appropriate to give a nod to this man, who passed away in August 2017.  Raymond Coppinger was first a dog-man, and then got a Ph.D in Biology.  He started off with his feet firmly placed on the skis of a sled dog team. In 1976, he and his wife Lorna started the Livestock Guardian Dog Project at the Hampshire College.
In the late 1970’s LGDs was virtually unknown in the USA, this was a totally new concept of having dogs live with livestock to protect them from predators. At that time, the USA had been virtually wolf free for many decades, and ranchers were not accustomed to having to really protect their stock from large predators, coyotes did however wreck havoc on sheep flocks and much of the research was based on finding solutions to combat coyote predation. 

The first study conducted in the USA on LGDs was from S Linhart, R Sterner, T Carrigan and D Henne in 1977. Following this, in 1979 two other independent projects began to follow up the Linhart et al results. Ray Coppinger and his wife Lorna established the Livestock Dog Project (LDP) in Amherst, Massachusetts, and at about the same time, Dr. Norm Gates acquired several Hungarian Komondors for a long-term study of livestock guardian dogs at the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station(USSES) at Dubois, Idaho. (McGrew, 1983)

 No one had done any large-scale research into LGD at that time, and certainly to date, no one, other than Coppinger, has collected data from over 1000 dogs over a 10-year span. This research is still the single largest, long term study conducted on LGD anywhere in the world.  Initially, the Coppingers did a tour of ranches utilising LGD in the USA, and then they traveled to Europe and Turkey over a period of 3 months to observe and where possible, purchase pups of various breeds. He later purchased 10 puppies of three breeds, they were Maremma from Italy, Shar Planinatz (Sarplaninac) from Former Yugoslavia, and Anatolian dogs from Turkey.  At this time, it was extremely difficult to get pups out of Yugoslavia, stories of pups being transported down from the high mountains on donkeys, (personal communication) to be sent over to the USA, illustrates some of the challenges these dogs and the researchers faced. Some other breeds were donated to this project and were tested on a smaller scale.

The goals outlined in his study included the placement of dogs with producers and track their development, behaviour, and effectiveness in predator control, to  clarify “mechanisms of both successful and unsuccessful behavior by means of controlled studies” (Coppinger, Coppinger, Langeloh, Gettler, & and Lorenz, 1988) and finally to communicate these results back to various interested parties. The dogs were leased to producers so that the Hampshire College could still have access to these dogs for breeding or other research. Producers volunteered for this project and annually had to fill out a comprehensive report regarding the dogs, their behaviour and effectiveness.  News of the success of these dogs spread to other producers and the program grew to a point where over 1000 dogs were placed with livestock producers in 37 States. A secondary study led my Jay Lorenz, together with the Coppingers was initiated in Oregon.

 It was significant to note that this and some of the other studies, reported a reduction in predation when LGD were utilised on sheep flocks. These positive reports spurred the demand for more dogs and more sheep producers stepped into using LGD.

Coppinger studied both purebred and crossbred dogs. They also did heavy linebreeding to see what the effects would be on the dogs, to “determine if deleterious genes were present, and crossbred to test genetic or behavioral concordances, and enhancement or depression of structural and behavioral characteristics”. Now, 40 years later, one can criticize this work as being unethical regarding breeding practices, but at that time the breeding and crossbreeding of LGDs did provided pups to a growing group of producers needing and wanting these LGD,  and it provided additional  data on the effects of this breeding and breeds for their research. Having these offspring “out working” and getting feedback on them is what drove this study forward.

Some of the behaviours that Coppinger studied was the relationship between trustworthiness, attentiveness, and protectiveness of the dogs to their livestock. Today, some organizations still utilise these parameters to gauge how LGD are doing.  The relationships between these behaviours certainly play a significant role in the effectiveness of the LGD. I believe these three parameters are still relevant in assessing LGD behaviour today.

Coppinger is often blamed for promoting the “hands off” style of raising LGD. Many people now vilify him for this, as they feel this is one of the biggest myths he perpetuated. Reading the publications, I did not find anywhere, that it advocated that the pup should be reared with no human contact at all. Somehow, somewhere the message become distorted to the point that no handling became the norm. What was written by the Coppinger was that “minimal human contact” was recommended to allow the pup to form the sheep-dog bond. In the old 1990’s USDA ( with Jeff Green and partners) nowhere does it say that LGD should not be handled at all. ( In fact, they encourage some basic obedience training during the raising phase.
Coppinger did state that some dog/human interaction was required and that some petting was appropriate. ( In all the early studies, it stressed the importance of early exposure to sheep in developing successful guardian dogs (Green and Woodruff 1983x; Coppinger and Coppinger 1980; 1982).

 It is interesting to note that Coppinger did find, after 10 years of studies on LGD, that success of the dogs could be attributed to (in part) to the amount of time a producer spent with his dogs. The dogs who were ineffective in the USA were “those where sheep scattered widely over a great area and never flocked, or where producers did not spend more than a minimal amount of time with the flock. The essential difference between management of dogs in this country (mainly farm operations) and in Europe (mainly range operations) tends to be the amount of time owner operators spend with their stock. “
(Coppinger, Coppinger, Langeloh, Gettler, & and Lorenz, 1988)

I personally question the blame laid at the feet of Coppinger for advocating for hands-off, feral dogs. His research has never advocated for this form of raising. I believe this myth was a general belief that existed at that time, were all working dogs (hunting, retrieving, herding, terriers etc), were presumed to be better working dogs if they were not petted and treated like house pets. This belief, combined with the need for LGD to bond to their sheep, morphed into this idea that LGD should not be handled and preferably left feral with the stock.

I think it is important to view the research done by the Coppingers in the time frame, (40 years ago) it was conducted. At that time, his work was ground breaking and it provided real science, a lot of data and a solution to predation issues for ranchers. For many ranchers, this was research/science that directly benefited them, and indirectly, the promotion of LGD allowed for more non-lethal predator control.  His work and research is still cited in most new research articles today and formed a basis from which other research has been conducted. It was pioneering to say the least.

With 40 years more of LGD use since the Hampshire College LGD Project started, there are new insights on how we raise and train our LGD. Times change, the sheep industry has changed and how we view dogs has changed. We do not have to agree with all his research, but I do think it is only right to tip our hats to a man that made LGD use in the USA and Canada accessible. Even Ray, over the years amended and corrected certain statements he originally made.  Having some misconceptions back then or a change in perceptions today, does not invalidate all the work he did.

 If it was not for that initial study of Coppinger, I would never have gotten to know the Shar Planinatz breed, and for that, I am grateful. To this day, I still read his research and I see new things or another aspect catches my attention. I have spoken with Coppinger numerous times, primarily about LGD and cattle, it was always interesting to share conversations and insights with him. People change, people learn and over the years Coppinger had some different reflections on his initial work. I do not believe we can blame Coppinger for all that is wrong with LGD now, and I am sure he has had a very big impact on keeping sheep safe in the USA. I believe his work and introduction of LGD to a broader sheep producing audience paved the way for better livestock, and indirectly, wildlife management today.
I would like to conclude this article on Coppinger and his Livestock Guardian Dog Project with his own words:
“Guarding dogs can reduce predation on farms and ranches by 60 to 70% or more. On an individual basis, reduction of losses to predators can be spectacular. For producers in areas where lethal controls are inappropriate, guarding dogs made staying in business possible. Problems within the system are solvable, given long-term recordkeeping and expert attention. We focus on the problems, but there have been far more successes than problems over the past 10 years. This management system has attracted increasing attention and use not only because of its effectiveness but because producers feel they can take charge of what happens on their farms or ranches. Dogs provide a good alternative to environmental liabilities of lethal control methods. Costs should decrease and effectiveness increase as more growers, extension agents, wildlife damage control personnel, and breeders become familiar with the system.” (Coppinger, Coppinger, Langeloh, Gettler, & and Lorenz, 1988)

Coppinger has written and number of books regarding dogs in general.

"Dogs: A Startling New Understanding of Canine Origin, Behavior & Evolution" from May 27, 2001, by Raymond Coppinger and Lorna Coppinger.

“What Is a Dog?”
from April 19,2016, by Lorna Coppinger and Raymond Coppinger.

How Dogs Work” from October 22, 2015 by Raymond Coppinger and , Mark Feinstein.
Genetics and the Behavior of Domestic Animals” from  April 22, 2013, by Raymond Coppinger, Kathryn Lord, Lorna Coppinger
And Ray Coppingers most favorite book; “Fishing Dogs: A Guide to the History, Talents, and Training of the Baildale, the Flounderhounder, the Angler Dog, and Sundry Other Breeds of Aquatic Dogs (Canis piscatorius) in 1996 by, Raymond Coppinger.


Coppinger, R., Coppinger, L., Langeloh, G., Gettler, L., & and Lorenz, J. (1988). A DECADE OF USE OF LIVESTOCK GUARDING DOGS. Proceedings of the Thirteenth Vertebrate Pest Conference. Retrieved from
McGrew, J. C. (1983). Guardian Dog Research in the U.S. Great Plains Wildlife Damage Control Workshop Proceedings. 282. Retrieved 08 25, 2017, from

Photo 1: Photo found on Google Images at:
Raymond Coppinger

Photo 2 and 3: Photo of Noreen Lehfeldt, one of the producers who received a dog from the livestock Guardian Dog Project. This is Mara a Maremma sheepdog in 1985, one of the Coppinger project dogs given to Noreen Lehfeldt.

Wednesday 15 November 2017


Katcha Ště-Kot North

Today we said farewell to a great dog.The sadness we feel is not in her passing, but the realization that she has left us too soon.

At the end of the summer we noticed that she had a tumor, and that this tumor was rapidly growing, the prognosis was poor. We decided to let have have an early retirement and enjoy the beautiful Alberta fall weather. She wanted nothing of retirement and would head back to her sheep daily, often curled up close to the fence of the pasture wanting to to be let back in.We were doing her no favors by removing her from the dogs and sheep she loved.We relented, and she returned back to her job as matriarch of the pack and protector of the sheep.

We allowed her to carry on doing what she had always done and she was happiest curled up on a hay bale watching over everything. 
The tumors expanded and spread across her body and we noticed a slowing down of her body but not of her mind. She still hazed a coyote a month ago and had a fence discussion with another, a few weeks back.When the weather turned colder we brought her into the warm shop at night and every morning she would trot back out to the pasture.About 10 days ago we realized that her body had started the shutting down process, she was full of tumors, she stopped eating, her energy was low, she did not venture back out to the sheep but hung around the barn.It was then that the sadness was the greatest, as we knew that everyday could be her last.

The appointment was made for the vet to come and euthanize her at home today.We were thankful that we could give her a quiet and easy death. Her passing was not sad, as we knew that she did not need to suffer to the very end.

She was surrounded by the people she loved, in her place and even with her favorite cat rubbing himself against her

We do not want condolences or even sadness, as she lived a grand life.

She had her pack, she had family, she had us and, she had her sheep.
She patrolled the vast pastures, she protected the sheep, she was brave and confident, and she lived a very natural life. She had her mate in Vuk, her daughter and other members of the pack around her. She had the freedom to move around on hundreds of acres, hunt squirrels in the bush and did not have to be obedient to any commands.

She was not molly coddled, controlled by leads and dog parks, and she certainly was not a "fur baby".

She ran with the dogs, she swam in the creek, she slept under the starts, howled with the wolves, she rolled in the snow, she chased ravens, threatened coyotes, she played under the northern lights, and she protected her sheep.

She traveled across the world and into our hearts,
and, we are happy and thankful for having her, be a part of our lives.

Our memories will be of fondness, 
and not filled with the sadness of her passing.
She was loved and respected.
We will miss her but are content that she had a great, dog worthy, life.

Friday 3 November 2017

Feeding LGD

This article appeared in the July edition of the  Shepherds Magazine 
©Louise Liebenberg 2017

Feeding a pack of livestock guardian dogs can be expensive, however, there are several ways to help reduce the overall feeding costs. In this article, I will discuss some of the things we do to help maintain quality food to the dogs at a cost-effective rate. I understand that laws and situations are different, and this may not be a viable option for everyone.

Feeding dogs is always regarded as a “hot topic” among dog breeders and dog owners. Some swear by certain brands, others by raw feeding, yet others by “traditional” foods that dogs would eat in their land of origin. I have the simple belief to feed what we have, what is available, the best we can economically afford, and as naturally possible. Fads, great marketing, or clever packaging of big brand dog food does not influence me. In fact, I am averse to these gimmicks in the dog food industry. I like to keep it simple and affordable.
We are feeding 8 Sarplaninac LGDs and a few border collies at any one time, that is well over 1200 lbs of dog every day. Our dogs go through a 40-lb bag of dog food every couple of days. A reasonable quality dog kibble is quite expensive, and keeping the dogs well fed is quite a big cost.  Our dogs are fed primarily a raw diet including meat, bones, offal, and eggs, if raw is not available or inconvenient to feed, then the dogs get kibble. We are not “dog foodies”, our dogs eat what we have. We have never had any issues with the dogs switching between dog food brands, or between going from raw to kibble.

We have a few avenues for acquiring meat for the dogs, we have a good relationship with a local butcher who will provide us with meat scraps, bones, and other waste from butchering (things like liver, kidneys etc.). A lot of this waste is fat, which we either freeze and save for the colder winter months, or feed alongside some kibble. Excess fat, is disposed of through composting.

Our main source of meat for the dogs is through the feeding of cull animals from our own ranch.  We have made the business decision not to sell all our cull ewes and rams, instead we will process some of them ourselves into our own dog food. In this way, we can butcher a cull animal when we need it, and do not need to be concerned with storage or freezing.

We live about four hours away from the closest auction market, shipping cull ewes has been an expense to us due to the distance to our markets, time to drive them there, commission fees and the low value that these animals make on the market. It makes more sense to process them into our own dog food than ship them. Not only does it make economical sense for us to utilise these animals ourselves, it is also perhaps a better welfare decision for the culls, who do not have to endure long travel times and the stress of auction markets before butchering.
We will also process our own cull cows who cannot be shipped due to transportation and welfare reasons. We are often called by neighbouring cattle ranchers who have such a cow to come and process the animal., these cows are often given to us for free. A cow can feed a pack of LGD for quite some time.

We are lucky to live in an area (Northern Alberta, Canada) where we have very cold winters that last for 6-7 months of the year. This helps to ensures that all the meat we process, remains in a frozen state, allowing us to preserve it for the dogs without having to have a whole lot of freezers.
Our method for butchering is simple, after freezing the carcass, (this happens naturally outside in the winter), the entire animal is cut into large chucks, we do not skin or gut the animal, and simply make big chunks which we feed in frozen form to the dogs.
Some ranchers are concerned that once LGDs “taste blood” or eat the animals they are supposed to be protecting, they will go rogue and will not be reliable as LGDs any more.  We have never experienced this type of behaviour in any of our dogs. The dogs can clearly distinguish between the live animals they protect and chucks of frozen meat as food. In Macedonia, we saw shepherds feeding fresh dead lambs, cut into pieces to their dogs and none of these dogs attacked the sheep they were protecting. Many of the shepherd’s dogs lived on a basic diet of bread and water, sometimes supplemented with whey from cheesemaking or some milk. Any protein the dogs received was primarily from dead livestock or afterbirths. The dead stock was utilised to feed the dogs.

We do not allow our dogs to simply “help themselves” to any dead livestock, we do remove the carcasses and if the animal is freshly dead, we may process this meat too. We have found that our dogs will protect a dead sheep in the field from predators, ravens, and other scavengers, and then when cut up and offered as a meal a few weeks later, will willingly eat it then. There are a few things we do to ensure that a young dog understands the boundaries of what can be eaten and what not; we will not allow a young dog to eat still born lambs, we do remove deadstock as soon as we can, we reprimand a young dog if it starts to chew on a carcass in the field ( we like to investigate a carcass to understand what the animal died from), we like to portion and feed the animals frozen chunks rather than whole carcasses.

There are times when we do feed kibble, primarily in the summer when it is difficult to preserve the meat.  Our dogs are flexible, and they eat what they are offered, and they do not experience any stomach upsets going from kibble to raw meat. Feeding kibble to the dogs in among hundreds of sheep can be challenging, simply because some of the ewes really seem to like dog food. Feeding kibble often requires us to feed the dogs separately to avoid the sheep trying to bully the dogs for the kibble, we do not have this issue when feeding raw.
We raise laying hens and will also supplement the kibble with an egg or two.
Our dogs are healthy, fit, and energetic, have no allergies, have great coats and strong clean teeth, and are never ill.  I feed to need. If the dogs are working hard, or the weather is wicked, then the dogs get more. I like to keep the dogs well fed, and in good working condition.
Seeing the dogs enjoying a healthy meal of mutton or beef, knowing we have made the best economic decision for feeding our dogs, made a humane choice for the cull animal, and are feeding a high quality meal to the dogs, makes feeding this way a good choice for our ranch.

Sunday 22 October 2017

The added benefits of living and working with LGD

Article written for the September 2017 issue of the SHEPHERDS MAGAZINE
©Louise Liebenberg (2017)

The job that livestock guardian dogs do is often more than “just” protecting the livestock, when living close to them, and having direct contact with them, one soon see’s the other jobs that the dogs do. I would like to share some of these anecdotes of things I have experienced with our Sarplaninac dogs.

Every morning, when I go out to the pasture to feed the dogs and check on the sheep, I always have a slight feeling of apprehension, we live in a very predator rich area, and our ranch has borders some wild country. Most mornings, the dogs are waiting for me at the gate. Feeding is a highlight and they usually are right there waiting for it. When one or more dogs are not at the gate, I start worrying, I run different scenarios through my head: is a dog hurt? Are they out patrolling?  Has something happened during the night or has something happened to the sheep?
The ewes were bale feeding at a fair distance from the gate, so I quickly checked over the field, to see if I could see if something was out of place. Ravens in the pasture are usually an ominous sign and often the first indicator of what I might find.  Mali did not come for feed.  No ravens. Ewes calmly feeding all seems calm.  I call to Mali but she still does not come. I start to walk out to the ewes, and call again.  I see her sitting up. Ah! She is there! As I get closer, I still do not see why she has not come. As soon as I am within 10 meters (30 feet) she bolts off to her food. I look behind a bale and there are just the legs of a sheep sticking out from under a bale. The poor unfortunate sheep must have lain down by the bale, and the bale must have toppled onto the sheep, killing the ewe, sometime during the night.
Mali was lying with this sheep, keeping the ravens and possibly other predators at bay. As soon as I was close enough, she must have decided that the dead sheep was now my problem, and she was free to go and get her food.  I really like that my dogs do watch over the dead stock, as I find it important to note down what the animal died of. Finding a dead sheep under a bale can be tough, Mali alerted me to this ewes’ position.
In the morning, my dogs are my first indicator of how the night went. If the dogs are hyper-vigilant, do not come for food, or if the dogs set themselves up in semi circle around the flock, facing towards the bush are tell tale signs that predators are in the area. For more than a week we noticed that our dogs were being very “guardy”, very alert, focussed and all business. We had a feeling that something “big” was out there, but did not know what.  It was only later that we had heard that a cougar had killed our neighbor’s colt that week, and that explains the behaviour of our dogs. The dogs certainly do help tell us what is going on. We might not always understand directly, but we have learnt to pay attention to the dogs.

A similar scenario happened a few years ago, none of the guardian dogs came when I went to check on them, after quite a search I found the dogs hanging out close to a rather big hole in a bush pasture. The dogs came to greet me as soon as they saw me, but quickly bolted back to the hole. I could not see anything out of the ordinary and carried on with my sheep checks. A while later, the dogs still did not leave that spot. On closer inspection, deep in the hole was an ewe, stuck. Her whole body was about 2 meters down the hole. With plenty of tugging, we got the ewe out alive and well. Had it not been for the dogs, I would probably have not found her and she would have died in that hole. Good dogs.

Some of the anecdotes are also not specifically sheep related. We usually have between 8 and 10 guardian dogs, they work in various groups and numbers as we need them. Sometimes running four or five intact females together can create a lot of tension and some “bitchy” behaviour. My two oldest females did not always see “eye to eye”, but for the most part they tolerated each other and settled on a truce. As my oldest female started to age more, and developed some health issues, it became apparent that the other female started looking out for her more and more. If the older female decided to stay out in the bush during the night, then the younger dog would head out and stay with her.  When one of the other dogs tried to bully the older female from her food, then the other female would step up and intervene allowing the older girl more time to eat. Many times, I would feed, and the younger female would just sit with her back close to the old girl ensuring that none of the other dogs came closer. These small acts are very endearing to see and experience.

The final story I would like to share today happened over 20 years ago, when I was shepherding in the Netherlands. This story I want to share with you, turned out to be one of those moments, that when you look back at it, you realize your life might have taken a very different course, had things not gone the way they had.

Chantal and me off to go shepherding for the day.

Every day I would shepherd the sheep on the heather or in the forested areas of the nature park the Maashorst in the Netherlands. A few trusty border collies, Chantal my livestock guardian dog at my side and about 4-500 sheep. Every morning, I would take the sheep from their night corral and walk them to the area that would be grazed that day. Some days, I was closer to a cycling path or a route where people liked to walk, other times it was a little more off the beaten track.
Never, in all my life have I ever felt scared while out in the bush. Not in South Africa, not in the Netherlands and so far, not in Canada.  In those days, we did not have cell phones, so if something happened, I would have to wait until someone missed me enough, to come looking for me, or in a worse case scenario, that the sheep would drift away and end up in someone’s yard and then the irate owner would come looking for the shepherd.
Most of the time, when you are out shepherding in a busy country such as the Netherlands, most people would stop for a chat. On a nice sunny day, I was shepherding in a remote area of the park. This was a place where you did not just bump into someone, it was off the beaten track. The area was wooded, with quite a lot of grass growing under the tall trees.
I was sitting down reading a book, when Chantal (our first Sarplaninac LGD) warned me that someone was approaching. I looked around and saw a man watching the flock at about 300meters away. This was not unusual and so I did not mind too much. He stayed quiet some time, just leaning up against a tree watching. The next day, I headed off to the same area with the sheep, collies, and Chantal. At about 11 am, Chantal stood up and warned me that someone or something was in the area. I looked around and spotted the same man as the day before. He was a little closer now and was once again just watching. I felt a little creeped out, as most people would either watch and move on, or watch and then come over for a chat.  He disappeared into the woods.
Sometime later, he reappeared again in another spot. He never approached me, just watched. I could recognize him in his light tan leather jacket and jeans. Chantal would be giving a low growl and the odd woof.  I kept her on a leash, close to me as I did not want to have an incident with my large dog and a tourist.
He spent a good part of the day in the area. That evening I mentioned him to my husband and he suggested I phone and chat with the police. I did that but they said if nothing happened and he was not doing anything illegal, there was not much they could do. I realised they were right, he was doing nothing wrong just watching the sheep eat. Day three; back in my corner of the woods. Chantal was on her lead by my side. Three collies with me, spaced out watching the sheep graze. I was sitting on a little stool attached to my backpack. Chantal sat up and rumbled. I looked up and saw the same man walking purposely towards me. I knew, and felt that something was going to happen. His intention was different and he was walking directly towards me. I stood up as I felt a bit vulnerable sitting down.
As he got closer, I felt the tension; I kept Chantal close to me, my hand on her collar. I was standing, he was striding down that bush path, he went on past me, kind of nodded his head at me, I felt relieved, when suddenly, he turned and grabbed me.  Within a second, Chantal lunged and bit him on his arm.  He pulled loose, started screaming and yelling at me, then turned and ran off. The level of commotion was high, I was shaken, Chantal was hysterically trying to drag me after this man, the collies, in the excitement were running around trying to gather up the sheep. I was quite shaken.
I moved the sheep to a more public spot, and kept a look out all day. I never saw the man again. That night I spoke with the police and they would keep an eye out for him.

I do often wonder about the “what ifs”, what if I did not have Chantal with me that day? What if she did not bite him, what would have happened? I also wonder if that man was just watching me for a few days, sizing up the collies, sizing up Chantal, waiting for an opportunity.
Having a free-range guardian for animal predators is great, but it sure is nice to have one right with you, next to you, on a lead, at the end of your arm, to keep the scariest predators of them, all at bay.

I am sure many of you can share similar stories and anecdotes about your LGD.

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