Second - the new puppies - they are a blast!
Why guardian dogs? With coyotes, wolves (timber), and the occasional bobcat and bear, it should just be easier if we have dogs who like to be up at night (and we will learn their barks). The donkey's are good - they are nice and loud, but I just miss having outdoor dogs to alert us to everything. We had to put both our previous outdoor dogs down in the past year so it has been hard to get used to no alert. I never mind the barks - you learn what each means and it makes for a much more peaceful sleep. One of the neighbors also has one of these dogs - you can when something big is up - every so often we can hear her across the fields.
If you are curious - the tarp is extra shade - when the pups first arrived, they weren't sure about the sheep in the adjoining pen, so we wanted to be sure they had plenty of shade if they didn't move with the flock. Now they move with the flock and stay in the same shady areas they do as the day progresses. This little pen is such that the sheep cannot enter. That way we can feed the pups their own food, they can escape from the ewes when/if needed and they can have a comfortable section of their own. We will need this when the female is spayed as she won't spend the night in the vet clinic, but will need her own area that she is used to. Also helps as we do want to be able to catch the dogs whenever necessary to give shots/etc.. Another reason - hay comes in on big semi's, so we need to have a place we can put the dogs for their safety/so they can be contained if needed in addition to running with the sheep. Our training process will be a bit different than others, but hopefully it will all work well.