It is essential that effective livestock protection dogs be raised with livestock (sheep in this case) from early on and have just enough socialization with humans to allow handling of the dog and a close working relationship with host family. The dogs must bond primarily with livestock only and not humans. They will act as co-workers, part of the pastoral family team, but ultimately they always stay with livestock.
NGF is implementing two approaches or protocols to the bonding process. First we are head-starting our dogs in large enclosures suited to the purpose of breeding and raising Bankhar for maximum working effectiveness. All dogs stay at NGF for a head-starting period of 5-8 months during which they will be bonded to livestock and supervised for acceptable behavior as they mature. It is this head-starting period that cements the dog’s association with its livestock family. It is also this period that best prepares the dogs to be placed with host families who might be unfamiliar with the raising and the bonding of the dogs to livestock. Directly after weaning, pups are placed with Gorkhi Terelj National Park rangers who will raise the pups in a very specific manner designed to maximize their bonding to live stock. In the program’s first year, MLGDF will conduct research to compare and contrast these two methods to determine their effectiveness for future plans.