Guard Dog Blog

on Livestock Guardian Dogs and small farm life…

LGDs and Right vs. Wrong.


Yesterday, a concerned person alerted me to the fact that I was the latest target of a notorious troll blogger and that she was using my pictures without appropriate permission.  As this particular author is not generally well regarded in the LGD community, I wasn’t terribly concerned until I took a good look at the post.  With over a 100 shares (which is still much less than I’d expect from such a long time member) and a link in the post directly to my personal FB page, I feel like it is important to answer some of her allegations.

Here is the latest installment, if you have time to waste and don’t mind reading through reams of arrogant, rage-attack nonsense.  According to Brenda Negri, it would appear that if you don’t agree that she knows everything about LGDs and pay homage to her as the queen founder of all LGD knowledge in North America, you are setting yourself up for endless bullying and harassment.

I’d hardly heard of Negri except in passing before I decided to begin blogging about LGDs.  I had read one of her posts where she imparted a seemingly endless list of gripes she had with LGD owners; it read to me as authored by someone uber focused on blaming and negativity, so I ignored it.  Shortly after I published a few posts on here, though, she showed up in the comments section to chastise me for using a photo of hers without permission.  As I have no desire to infringe on any copyrights and aim only to use photos for educational purposes, I replaced that photo immediately.  That was not good enough for Negri, as she continued to post long messages about the infallibility of her longstanding wisdom and how I had failed to recognize it.  I dealt with the comments as I felt appropriate and considered moderating all comments to Guard Dog Blog.  I really don’t like to censorship, so I decided against it.

Negri’s recent post about her idea of right and wrong was a difficult read for me, I won’t lie.  Even though harsh criticism is to be expected when you work with dogs, I never quite get used to the nasty things that some dog people will say when it suits them.  I have also done my share of critical posts, however, and I do realize that it is important to read them with an open mind – even if I happen to be the subject.  I’ve tried my level best to look at her post objectively, but it still comes up as petty and inaccurate.  Negri makes the occasional good point, but they are quickly lost in the vitriol.

As I really don’t want to give Negri’s writings more attention than they deserve, and seeing that a thorough reading of any of my posts should sufficiently prove these allegations false,  I’ll just reply to a couple of them.  Her post addresses others in the LGD community – some whom I know fairly well and others that I only know peripherally.  I can only answer for myself, but I do urge any reader of Negri’s blog to do their own independent investigations.  Some things are rather obvious about how she works, though.   For instance, claiming other people’s photos as her own copywritten work (as written at the bottom of her blog screen:”All material copyright Brenda M. Negri, 2015. All rights reserved”) indicates that she doesn’t mind behaving as a hypocrite.
Negri breaks her attacks against my work into two sections in this blog post.  I suppose I should be flattered that she found me so interesting as to draw not one, but two segments of note.  The blue emphases are lifted directly from her blog post and link to various Guard Dog Blog posts as well as to my FB pages.

This blogger  whom we’ll revisit below, seems to have an abnormal fixation on controlling her LGDs via cruel correction, restraint and LGD training devices, including pronged collars, E-fences, shock collars, whips (!) and staking out and tethering her LGDs.  Seems she may have missed her calling in the S & M community.”

In fact, the post referenced outlined tools that are used with LGDs, although not necessarily endorsed by me – especially their indiscriminate use.  I do use some of these tools – have never made any bones about that –  but some I do not.  I do not expect that others train exactly in the way that I do, nor that they even train their dogs to the same extent that I do.  It is my belief, however, that it is better to talk openly about certain tools that people use – evaluating their pros and cons as objectively as possible.  Different circumstances and different dogs can require different training techniques and tools.  It’s a poor trainer who does not acknowledge this.

Under the bold heading in red ink: “WRONG: LGDS SUBJECTED TO WEATHER EXTREMES WITH NO OPTIONS FOR SHELTER”, is a link to this blog post and a rant about my use of e collars as well as the fact that I am a dealer (which is very common for dog trainers, dog behavior experts, dog business owners, etc.).

” LGDs are not supposed to be these uber-diciplined dogs.  No shepherd in Spain uses shock collars.  LGDs work from instinct.  Penner the control freak, has no grasp of this and no business breeding or doing anything with LGDs.  Period.”

Negri appears to fail to understand that not only do LGDs come from places other than Spain, but that the circumstances that LGDs are kept in in their homelands are very different than those in most operations in North America.  It would follow that other training techniques and methods would come into play.  Not only that, but the assertion that “LGDs work from instinct” alone seems to be in line with what Coppinger claimed.  Negri comments over and over elsewhere that she does not agree with Coppinger that instinct is all that is needed..  Which is it, then: are LGDs trained to do their jobs or not?  Do they work only from instinct or do they require training in addition to instinct as all dogs do?  If the latter is the case, then an e collar can justifiably be brought into the conversation as a training tool.  Perhaps it is Negri’s belief that LGDs should only learn from “pack” members, but she cannot refute that the vast majority of LGD owners here do not have access to older training dogs… and even if they do have older dogs, they may not train the pups effectively.  Shepherds all over the world train and control their LGDs.  They may rely on their older dogs to help with the training, but they remain present, provide oversight, back up and refuge as required.  Dogs and shepherds work together to keep the flocks/herds safe.

I am used to being under attack for my position on e collars, as many of my friends are as well.  Attacks like these are an unfortunate side effect of committing to what is best for dogs and not just what political winds prevail at any given moment.   However, Negri’s assertion that I endorse or even keep dogs in cold conditions without access to appropriate shelter is a complete falsehood.  I have never said anything of the kind, and all of my dogs have continual access to shelter.  I live in a very cold winter climate – much colder than the one Negri lives in – and keeping all of our animals warm, fed, watered and cared for here is no small task.  My family and I, along with the producers I know and respect in Canada, work very hard to ensure that our animals, including our dogs, want for nothing despite the cruel climate.  If Brenda M. Negri wants to be taken seriously at all, she ought not to assume she knows anything about living and caring for animals here.


A view of the shelter in the winter pasture: an insulated barn stocked with deep litter that is spot cleaned and replenished throughout the winter. The litter (aka bedding) over time begins composting at the bottom most layers, which produces heating. The sheep and the LGDs have round the clock access to this building.



Ivy’s greeting in the barn during February, a particularly cold portion of the winter (as evidenced by the clothing in the picture). The door to the barn is partially closed, with a hanging curtain to keep out the wind.


Big Mama1

We even choose to coat the lambs born in the coldest time of the year and keep them under a heat lamp for the first day or two. Here, Ivy meets the newest 2015 flock member.

Brenda Negri claims to be an expert on LGDs, their behavior, their needs and their training, wherever they may be found.  She may well know some things about LGDs, but I remain unconvinced of her expertise, no matter how long she has had her breeding program.  I do not build my blog on ad hominem attacks, baseless accusations or twisted rants, nor do any knowledgeable people I am aware of – and there is a reason for that.  Consistently attacking other people is a refuge of the weak.   It may work to gain short term recognition, but it never holds up to scrutiny.


Author: offleash

Small farmer, student of canine life, advocate, dog rehab and behavior specialist.

6 thoughts on “LGDs and Right vs. Wrong.

  1. Dear me, you’ve found a live one, for sure! I think you have a point…you must be doing something right to draw the ire of such a jealous person! I don’t think anybody could criticize your animal care and know what they’re talking about.

  2. The person in question, has long been the bane of the LGD community. Banned from most groups, and as far as I now, active only in the seclusion of the small groups of mignions that she manages to generate herself.

  3. Never have I ever needed a shock or prong collar until my Alaskan Malamute. No, she’s not a LGD, far from it with her track record of killing chickens and even a calf once, however she has taught me many things about the differences in dogs. You see, I have another dog who could walk off leash and listen perfectly from about the time he was 6 months old and all I needed was a regular nylon collar and leash. My Malamute though, just cannot be trained the same way. They’re two completely different dogs.

    We use an E. Collar for when we take her to the farm and let her really stretch her legs. This way, if we see her chasing something, or about to, we can snap her out of it. No amount of yelling at her will snap her out of running or chasing mode once she gets in it. While she can walk on a leash, no amount of any other way of training has ever kept her from lunging around and pulling on it, I’m lucky I can even keep her from spinning on a leash. We tried everything for 3 years, with no success, which isn’t much issue for us. But now we live just a road over from a 65mph highway. When we put her out to go potty, we had to constantly worry that her lunging and pulling would cause us to loose our grip on her collar and off she’d be. She has already run down that highway once, and I chased her as fast as I could shouting her name, but I might as well have not been there. So we got a prong collar that is only on her until she enters the house. Now she doesn’t lunge against our hold on her and respectfully walks back to the house in hand. I no longer have to worry about her slipping away and getting hit by a car.

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