Monday, March 1, 2010

Squirt - the LGD Conscript

First of all, thanks for all the kind congratulations over the birth of young Silas, my son. You guys rock! Now back to the farm...

So Squirt is our yellow dog - sort of. I say sort of because in the past year, Squirt has developed a very unique habit of waiting at a house about a mile and a half down the road for us to come home. When he see the truck or car pass, he darts back home, escorting us back up the hill to the house. After making sure we're home safely and that we don't have any treats, he turns around an trots downhill to begin the process again. It's gotten so bad that we took his collar off, because we got tired of kids catching him and calling us to go get him. He knew what he was doing, we knew what he was doing, but the residents of the nearby town of West Fork, and more importantly the Washington County Sheriff just assumed he was lost.

So a few days ago, Squirt was imprisoned in the pasture. Unwilling to endure a shock escaping from the electrified pasture border, he's been conscripted to a life wondering the hills of our pastures as a livestock guardian dog (LGD). The young Pyrenees really enjoy having him around - despite the upper cut being delivered by Alfredo in the photo below!
The Pyrenees really look up to Squirt, and Squirt has stopped trying to bolt out the gate when it's opened. In fact, he's starting to lord his status as top dog over Feta & Alfredo, picking a bowl of food at feeding time, and daring the pups to try to get a bite.

Feta & Alfredo had some run ins with hens last year that ended poorly for the hens. My hope is that the Pyrs will follow Squirt's example come this spring as Squirt has never shown the slightest interest in poultry (We've taken the birds off pasture for the winter). I've also got an interesting "invention" that should help alleviate any bad habits the Pyrs may have picked up last season with their puppyish exuberance - but more about that later.


  1. I just wanted to say, I love reading your blog! Thanks for all the updates!


  2. I'm really curious to see how you re-train the dogs to leave chickens alone. I hope it works and I can figure out how to teach mine the same thing. I've also got 2 young dogs like yours and they like to pin chickens to the ground and lick them. Chickens have all lived through the experience, but they are short on feathers and sometimes their skin is raw. Not good. So far they have been great with my goats and 3 full grown geese. They can be in the fence with these animals and just hang out.

    Chickens, ducks and guineas, not so much. I'm at a loss as to how to teach them to leave the smaller birds alone.

  3. sheila,

    mine were lickers too. it's a motherly habit, but the chickens won't fight back, and end up getting hurt or killed. the dogs would pick one chicken to bear all the dogs affection. in the summer flies become a huge problem, infesting any wounds. I had a dog that was a notorious chicken killer (once killed over 50 birds in an hour), but a little older and she doesn't show the slightest interest in poultry.

  4. I am also interested in this clever invention you've got to retrain your dogs... I hope it's like something you saw in the Saw Movie Series...*gulp*
    -Jonathan W.

  5. It appears to me that said "uppercut" is really a jab.
    Charles N