Industry expert reveals the art of raising high-performance farm dogs

Industry expert reveals the art of raising high-performance farm dogs

Andrew Harman is the South Island rural manager for Black Hawk Pet Care, who brings his extensive farming experience to the fore in discussing how optimal canine diets enhance the performance and health of these indispensable farm assistants. 

Growing up in the agricultural community, Harman understands the integral role working dogs play on a farm. His transition from a traditional feeding approach to one backed by scientific research has led to noticeable improvements in the working dogs' vitality and longevity. 

"Educating the next generation of shepherds and ensuring their dogs are primed for performance without the pressures of competition before their time," he says is his main mission.

A notable project highlighted in the conversation is the Growing Future Farmers Program

Harman discusses Black Hawk's contribution to the project, revealing his passion for helping others succeed.

"We're paying for and providing all the pup food for about 150 heading pups this year, feeding for the first 12 months of that pup's life and just helping keep an eye on these young ones and make sure everything's going really well." 

This initiative is not just about nutrition; it's also about proper dog training and care, emphasising the importance of a good start in life for these future farm guardians. 

Harman candidly reflects on his shift from an active farm life to a more sedentary role, noting the lifestyle change and its challenges, including resisting the "temptation of Burleigh pies on the road." Yet, he finds fulfilment in the new experiences and the people he meets.

"It's living the dream really." 

Moreover, he offers valuable advice to young farmers beginning their journey with a new pup, emphasising patience and kindness. 

"Just be kind to them. They're a bit hard, and they expect too much too soon," he cautions, advising that setbacks in training should be met with a return to basics rather than punishment. 

Listen to the full chat between Andrew Harman and Libby McKinnel above.

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