Maximizing LGD's Potential on a Veteran's Farm: The Callison Family's Story


The journey of a military family comes with several chapters of major transitions - especially when it comes to envisioning life after active duty. For the Callison family, their path led to Gabhran Creek, their 130-acre dairy farm that’s conveniently located less than an hour away from Malmstrom Air Force Base where Corey serves full-time for the Montana Air National Guard. Together, Corey and his wife Tanya are dedicated to building their farm into a thriving business that can support their family when Corey retires from military service.

Their family’s farm is located just east of the Rocky Mountain Front, which is a prime habitat for wildlife, such as mountain lions, coyotes, wolves, and wandering grizzly bears. With their herd of dairy goats, dairy cows, heritage poultry, horses, sheep, and cats - the Callison’s also have livestock guardian dogs (LGDs) to provide protection from these predators.

The Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund

As a 22-year veteran of the United States Air Force, Corey joined the Farmer Veterans Coalition (FVC) when he began homesteading, which is a non-profit organization whose mission is to mobilize veterans to feed America. He soon learned about the Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund, a small grant program that provides direct assistance to veterans who are in their beginning years of farming or ranching. This opportunity seemed tailor-made for the Callison’s, and they began to prepare their application for this competitive grant.

“We applied for the Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund while still living on our former 2-acre homestead, knowing we’d eventually move to our 130-acre farm. If selected for the Fellowship Fund, we wanted to purchase wireless fence collars for our three Livestock Guardian Dogs.”

The Need for SpotOn GPS Fence Collars

On their smaller 2-acre homestead, the LGDs weren’t able to exercise their full capabilities. Their new 130-farm would certainly be a gamechanger for the LGDs, presenting new opportunities, but also new challenges.

“The dogs are bred to have natural herd protection instincts, eliminate predators, and an overall sense of duty to protect. We wanted to utilize our LGD’s to their fullest potential with minimal installation and maintenance.”

Receiving the Fellowship Fund and Choosing SpotOn GPS Collars

Months after submitting their application, Corey and Tanya received the exciting news of being selected for the Fellowship Fund. The Fellowship Fund does not give money directly to the veteran, but rather to third-party vendors for items the veteran has identified will make a crucial difference. After thorough research, they knew that SpotOn GPS Fence collars were the best choice for their LGDs and wasted no time and contacted the SpotOn team to put their grant funds to good use.

SpotOn worked in lock step with the Farmers Veteran Coalition to finalize the purchase process, including three collars equipped with the Boundary Boost™ upgrade, which adds tracking, escape reports, recall, and other features to the virtual fences.

Training Livestock Guardian Dogs for SpotOn Fence

With the collars in hand, the family embarked on a journey to familiarize their LGDs with the new property. Slowly introducing them, they walked the boundaries, ensuring the dogs understood their perimeters.

“The LGD’s have such a gentle and caring disposition with the goats and other dogs but if left unsupervised they would wander beyond the property boundaries. After familiarizing the LGD’s with the new property we started the collars’ tracking and set our first perimeter for approximately 20 acres of the property.”

Concerned about static corrections, they took precautions but soon gained confidence in the collars' effectiveness.

“The LGD’s are a sensitive breed that can hold grudges after being corrected. We were concerned the static corrections could instigate some aggression towards one of their fellow guardians if they perceived them as the threat which the correction came from. The LGD’s did well, quickly learning their boundaries without incident and we gained confidence with collars.”

Full Freedom for Livestock Guardian Dogs

Corey and Tanya are amazed by how the SpotOn collars have transformed their LGDs. They no longer resort to kennelling their dogs when they leave the property and can trust their dogs to do their jobs unsupervised, since SpotOn’s fences and tracking is so reliable.

“It makes us happy to see the LGD’s enjoying the chance to do the job they were bred to do. We’ve noticed their behavior change for the better and we can truly see the dogs smiling. They love the freedom to patrol their set perimeter and work together as a team if they sense a threat.”

Essential GPS Collar Features for Livestock Guardian Dogs

The SpotOn features that the Callison’s appreciate the most is the tracking. With 130-acres to manage, SpotOn has helped Corey and Tanya be more efficient in managing their LGDs, providing them with more peace of mind and a greater sense of security for their farm.

“It eliminates guessing if the dog went north, south, east, or west. We can immediately go respond to the dog. We are grateful SpotOn was willing to work with FVC and utilize the Fellowship Fund to purchase the three GPS collars.”

Recommending SpotOn to fellow Livestock Guardian Dog Owners

The Callison’s family's journey from a small homestead to a 130-acre farm was made possible with the help of SpotOn GPS Fence collars. They don’t hesitate in recommending the collars to fellow dog owners, especially homesteaders and farmers.

“These working dogs are priceless and our first line of defense to protect everything two- and four-legged on our property. They deserve our best effort at keeping them safe, while they keep us safe. The Spot On system has alleviated the stress and worry about knowing where our best defense team are at, by keeping them where they are supposed to be, and the ability to track them should the scenario arise. We are grateful to be a part of the SpotOn team.”

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