“That’s the fine line, we’ve had dogs that go both ways,” says Peterson. âWe had dogs we couldn’t handle enough and we had dogs that go out with the sheep and by the fall they got pretty wild. You can’t catch them. ââ I grew up out here on the ranch, grew up with the dogs, like any little boy, fascinated by the pups, was just always close to the dogs on the ranch, âsays Peavey. âBut if I were caught petting a puppy in the enclosure, I would be harassed by the sheep foreman or my grandfather, don’t touch these dogs, they will love people more than sheep and they won’t do their job. But of course I stroked them anyway when they weren’t looking. “
âI’ve learned that I can make friends with some of these dogs, they can learn to appreciate people and do their jobs well. The problem is if these dogs do not receive affection from people at a young age and regularly throughout their life, then they will grow up wild, they will go feral, and if you have to catch a dog, especially if it is wounded or needs medical attention, that will not do! It’s as good as impossible. “
There’s also a fine line in training when it comes to the temperament of a watchdog among recreational athletes, Peterson says.
âYou want a dog that you can handle and you want a dog that is not vicious,â he says. âThis year, with Covid, there were people everywhere. You can’t have a vicious dog with mountain bikers and hikers, so you want a dog that will bond with the sheep, be a good defender but not pose a risk of harming people or biting a mountain biker or something. â