The question seems pretty straightforward. “Could we film your dogs while they’re guarding the sheep?”
But herder Nergui Batdelger looks hesitant. These are working dogs, she reminds us. Their first social interactions as puppies were with sheep. They’ve grown up alongside the herd, taking their meals in the field with the sheep, even sleeping alongside them at night. They see the herd as family, and their job is to keep them safe.
As we head across the field, I scan the herd for her two black dogs, half expecting a pair of jaws to clamp down around my neck before I even see them coming; the dog version of a velociraptor attack in Jurassic Park. When they do notice us, they come full tilt like the trained guardian dogs they are, but with far more bark than bite. Batdelger calls them off when they get too close, and after a few minutes, they accept that we’re not there to attack the herd.