A good farm dog is worth waiting for

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He is big, beautiful, and just the kind of dog I was looking for.  An adult livestock guarding dog that was bred for the job, experienced, but needed a new home.

I met Nicki a couple of months ago when my daughter arranged to buy her rabbits and chickens because she was planning to move to Alaska.  She is a farmer and loves her animals and I appreciate that in someone that I buy from.  People who love their animals tend to have animals with a gentler personality.  I invited her to read my blog and we parted company.  I got a phone call from her a couple of days ago.  She had to find a working home for her Great Pyrenees and she wanted me to have him.  In one of my blog posts, I had mentioned that I needed a LGD and she knew that he would have a good home and a job with me.

A good farm dog is hard to find.  Not any dog will do.  My GerLabSky (German shepherd, Lab, Husky)  is too lazy, housebound, and bonded to me.  We tried a collie/heeler cross.  He was young and crazy.  He was raised a pet, really wanted to be with people and did not appear to be interested in a guarding job.  So he became my daughter’s pet.

Researching livestock guarding dogs is a job in itself.  We have to know the personality traits, physical abilities, and personal needs of the breed we choose.  For instance, the Pyrenees is nocturnal and will probably bark a lot if not trained not to do so.  But if we have a guard dog, don’t we want him to sound the alarm?  And another thing about the Pyrenees is that they tend to think for themselves so training is more work than with most pet breeds.  Most LGDs are huge and need lots of food and space to work.  Some are more aggressive than others.  So I would suggest that you do the research to find breed character traits that you want to work with.  I knew that Pyrenees were high on my list of ones that I was interested in.

Nicki did not know any of this.  So when she offered her Pyrenees, I was more than ecstatic. He was just what I was looking for.  She had raised him since he was a puppy from a litter that her sister had.  He lived outside year round on her farm watching and protecting those in his care.  She no longer had a job for him and was moving.  To be the best owner possible, she turned him over to someone who could provide the job that he was bred to do.  I can imagine the pain she went through in having to come to that decision.  And I will forever be thankful for her personal sacrifice.

It was love at first sight.  Most Pyrenees are pure white, but Dozer has black ears and black on his rump.  What a beautiful boy.  One of the things that I had to know was how he was going to be with my dog.  There was no aggression between them at all.  Perfect.  Then we took him around and introduced him to the farm animals.  He had never seen pigs before and those confused him a bit, but everything else was a natural.

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To bond with him, I brought him into the house that night for a couple of hours to love, talk to and brush him.  I could tell that he was confused and missing his home, but with enough time he will transition nicely.

The next day, my daughter left her dog with me while I was watching her daughter and the three dogs ran and played for hours. Well, two of them did.  My “GerLabSky” did not play with the wild abandon that the other two did.   In the chaos of their playing, the two of them came running into the barn.  My ducks were right in the doorway.  Both dogs jumped right over them and the ducks ducked and moved but did not panic.  I knew there would be no problem with living together.

It has been several days and Dozer is doing well.  He has accepted the change and the job. I have yet to let him loose at night, but that is coming soon.  He goes into all the pens with me while I do my chores and is getting to know the other animals in our care.  He went into the hen house with me this morning and some of Nicki’s chickens were there and did not even think twice about his being there.  Things are going really well.

Now my animal collection is complete.  I have what I have been looking for…..well, not totally.  I bought Guinea Fowl and lost all of them.  Maybe I will try to add those back.

If you are interested in finding a Pyrenees, Nicki’s sister raises them and she has another litter due in March.  To contact her call Rokki at 541-408-1052 or email her rokki_blayton@yahoo.com

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What are you looking for to round out the farm that you are building?

About Janolyn

I am a mother of 5 wonderful children, 4 boys and 1 girl. During the years that my children were growing up, we grew most of our own food with a vegetable garden, many fruit trees and berry patches. I grew flowers for joy. We milked goats and raised our own meats and eggs. I learned to make my own cheeses, butter, canned foods, sourdough, and fermented foods. I made our own health products like soap, hand creams, lip balm, and herbal tinctures. We live off the power grid and have learned to do without conveniences that most Americans consider essential. The land clearing and building has been mostly accomplished with hand tools; some of them even the right tool for the job. After a couple of miscarriages between #2 and #3 due to “standard medical procedures”, I consulted a midwife and my last 3 children were born safely at home. That was when I was first alerted to the fact that doctors did not know everything nor would they have the time to share it with their patients if they did. As I learned the basic principles of heath-through-nutrition from my midwife, I learned alternative gardening practices from her husband. That introduction started a lifelong love of learning the practical life of our ancestors. I want to share what I have been learning with you and learn from those who are also living a sustainable life.

Comments

A good farm dog is worth waiting for — 3 Comments

  1. What a beautiful dog! Yes, collies are insane. I got one for my son when he was sick, a cute little puppy. He kept trying to bite my son on the neck and face. We could not break him. He tore down fences and all sorts of destructive stuff. We finally found a good home for him, but I will never have another collie.

  2. Congratulations on your new dog. You can’t put a price on having a good dog to help you on the farm. We have English Shepherds, a herding breed, that assist us daily with myriad tasks.

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