Tag Archives: dog
We’ve always had predators on our ranches. For as long as I can remember, suffering loss of life to our cattle and pets because of bears, coyotes and mountain lions has been something we always tried to mitigate. We used calls, traps, and hunts, all legal lethal methods allowed to us. It more or less works, some years are worse than others.
Because of this, I have become increasingly paranoid about the safety of my piglets. A year ago I moved my pens father away from the house and noticed a sharp increase in the coyote signs I saw around the pens. It hasn’t helped that my Dad has pretty much constantly assured me that it is just a matter of time before my pigs do suffer an attack. I’m still so small that one bad night could totally end my pig raising career. I don’t want that.
The proverbial final straw, when I really knew my Dad was right, it WAS a matter of time before something really bad happened, was two weeks ago when I was hunting in our back canyon and saw massive and plentiful bear poo. I’ve decided to be as proactive as I can regarding this situation. I got a guardian dog, well, puppy.
I’ve been aware of guardian dogs for years. I have several friends that have them, and I’ve read extensively about them, I’ve even been lucky enough to meet a few. They seemed to work really well for many ranchers. I felt like it was finally time to try one. It seemed like fate, when last week, the opportunity to get a Pyrenees/Akbash female pup fell into my lap.
A little about these dogs, the Great Pyrenees and Akbash dogs have been used for hundreds of years for guardian dogs. They are both a calm, aware, intelligent and gentle, yet fearless and dedicated to their jobs. They are a large dog, the females can hit 90 pounds or more. They are happiest when given a job – so these breeds are just what I was looking for. This pup seems to be fitting all of her breed characteristics, she is shy, sweet, aware and quiet. I like her.
I picked her up yesterday and spent today getting her settled into her new home. These dogs must bond with the animals they are guarding and not people. That being said, it’s been incredibly hard for me not to treat her like I would a cowdog, you know; cuddling, loving, carrying her around and singing her dog songs. I’ve respected the fact that she is not a pet and left her alone for the most part.
She has a lovely, safe home next to her pigs. In a few days, when she is totally settled in, I’ll put a couple piglets in her pen, so we can really start the bonding process. In the meantime, I only give her a whisper of affection when she is getting fed, and we are starting basic commands like ehhhh (that means no) and good girl.
BUT….she needs a name! I asked my twitter, facebook and instagram friends for some suggestions and these are my favorite:
- Temple (after my idol Dr. Temple Grandin)
- Claire (I’m team Claire on House of Cards)
Who do you think she looks like? Leave me a comment and help me name this sweet girl!
Working dogs are essential to our way of life. Unfortunately, we lost one of our girls this winter and another needs to be retired soon. It’s not easy for us or the dog when it’s time for them to slow down or retire. The dog’s live to work, their greatest joy is just going. We usually end up spending more time with our dogs than we do any other person or animal. Our dogs are more than pets, they are our coworkers, our protectors, our companions and a part of our family.
We often joke that a good cowdog is worth two good cowboys or one cowgirl!
We’ve known it was time for another pup for a while. I’ve been looking for the perfect pup to replace my Dad’s soon to be retired dog, Ranchie, for about a year. I paraded adorable puppy picture after puppy picture in front of my Dad, hoping he would be interested in one. My Aunt even brought one of her red queensland pups over around Christmastime, but to no avail. My Dad had a specific pup in mind, and after a year I finally found her.
My friend, Mindi, has a dog named Lady, that looks an awful lot like my Dad’s dog, Ranchie. I asked Mindi if she knew of anyone that had some good working pups, that looked like Lady, looking for homes. As fate would have it she did, and I immediately sent an e-mail inquiring about female pups. Mindi’s neighbor, June, e-mailed me right back. Turned out she had one female kelpie pup left. Fate. She sent me a picture of the pup. I walked over to my Dad’s house and flashed him the picture of the cutest little kelpie pup, I’d ever seen. Dad agreed. I found his new dog.
A few weeks after that I was able to pick the pup up for my Dad. It had been decided that I would care for and socialize the pup until she was old enough to start working. We generally start working dogs at a year. That means I am looking at a good six months of puppy sitting full time and another six of part time puppy sitting, only to turn her over to my Dad.
The great thing is, I work with my Dad so I’ll still see her and work with her everyday! But usually after a few months of working full time with my Dad a dog’s allegiance changes. You see these cowdogs are bred and born work, and they love and respect whoever the work with the most, in this case it will be my Dad.
I’ve had this dog for a little over a month now, I spend a lot of time with her. I have to say, I am impressed with this dog and am seriously considering not giving her up. The force is strong with this one.
Of course, I’ll give Boo to my Dad when she is ready. I still have a few good years left with my dog, Hoot, and I can tell how excited and proud he already is of Boo. I know how hard it is to watch a dog you love and depend on grow old and retire and am deeply pleased to be able to mitigate that for my Dad a whisper. I know Boo is the beginning of a long line of excellent Brown Ranch cattledogs.
Sad day. There was some complications with Ranchie. Unfortunately despite an emergency surgery and our best effort the puppies did not make it. Ranchie is home resting and is being loved and spoiled.
She got a bunch of treats from Chico Locker and Sausage, a new, pretty red collar and some new toys to help with her recovery. Thank you for all the kind words and positive thoughts. We love our Ranch Dog and we are glad to still have her with us.