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Joy the Mighty Maremma

August 8, 2019


Like her parents, Joy is a livestock guardian dog (LGD) living on a farm. Soon she has a new family. But the farm animals are slow to appreciate her. When danger lurks, they learn the value Joy brings to their farm life.


A Word of Caution from author Kit DeYoung: LGDs do not generally make good pets. They have centuries of breeding and training to drive off or kill predators and protect their livestock. They need to guard something, and without livestock they could decide to guard their family. This sounds good, but an LGD can seriously injure a person that the dog wrongly thinks might hurt their people. LGDs also sleep a great deal during the day because they are very watchful of their livestock at night. This means there would likely be a lot of barking at night, and unhappy neighbors. The thing that surprised me the most when Joy was a puppy, and I was trying to teach her ‘sit, stay, come, and heel’ was how unable she was to learn! I thought she was being stubborn. But her vet told me that an LDG isn’t interested in a skill set that won’t help her protect her herd. Joy wasn’t being stubborn; she was being practical! Fortunately, for vet visits and such, Joy did finally learn to walk well on a leash. Our male LGD, on the other hand, has no use for leashes! Not many LGDs do well in an urban setting. There are a rare few dogs of the different LGD breeds, that individually make a good pet; none of the LGD breeds were bred to be pets.