Adding to the guard!

Bobbi (our 12 year old Great Pyrenees) says it feels like windy January in WI already? Whoa! Our local coyotes are now hanging around too close to our farm. For years we've had an agreement with them. You stay on your side of the fence and we'll stay on our side. It's worked out well so far. Our friends (and only neighbor) moved recently so when their dogs left, the coyotes got braver. The one who upsets me most is a big black dog (?) that is as big as a pony, shaggy and evil looking. He's not afraid of people and used to travel right through my neighbor's front yard. And not even walk faster, much less run, when they chased him. He has 3 coyotes in his pack. Lately they've been sitting on the tree line by our pasture of old sheep howling at night. They know we don't have a Pyrenees over there.  We recently lost our sweet Lincoln Pyr to an accident, leaving Bobbi alone with her big group of sheep again. Off we went, again broken hearted looking for a new partner for Bobbi. Along came Bear. He is a 3 year old Great Pyrenees/Kuvasz cross. He had some issues like food aggression and dog aggression when we brought him home. He needed some redirection! He is over both those things now and we are working on training him to be a good sheep watcher over dog.

Bear has a LOT of energy and drives Bobbi and the sheep a little nuts when he wants to run around and play. He's learning to have manners but it is hard work for a dog who is essentially still a puppy. He loves to learn and is whip smart. He puts ME through my paces too! Keeping him learning, busy and trying to stay a step ahead of what he is thinking. My goodness. Bear was given to his owner by a breeder at the age of 4 weeks. Don't get me wrong, his owner loved him dearly and it was very difficult for her to find Bear a new home. His personality is strong and it does not help him that he never spent any time with his mom as a puppy. They teach them manners, how to be respectful of sheep and people and to be a good dog. When a dog does not get that time, they sort of flounder around, learning on their own, good and bad manners.His absolute favorite thing to do is chase things he 'sees or hears' (?) tunneling in the pasture. :0) We've never had any LGD (livestock guard dog) except Great Pyrenees. Bear is a very different personality. A good dog but very independent. Looks sort of 'wolfie' in the top picture doesn't he? He loves to learn, be told good dog, have treats and hugs. Soon he will learn I do not want him to be so rowdy around the sheep! Bobbi likes him but she feels like she just popped out a puppy- tee hee hee! He follows her everywhere most of the time, learning about life and his job from her. Once in a while I get the stink eye from Bobbi. Kind of like, hey, I didn't sign up for a puppy! As we work with Bear, I find I am learning as much as he is. Love it!

When the coyotes and big hairy scary dog started hanging around so much, we decided we needed another dog to watch over the old sheep in the other pasture. Almost that day, our friend emailed the info for a Great Pyrenees named Heidi. We went to meet her and guess what? You guessed it, she will be watching over our old sheeps! She is 5 years old and I think one of the biggest Pyrs we've ever owned? Even bigger than Lincoln? She weighs around 120 pounds and is absolutely beautiful. She had trouble with her last litter that resulted in her being spayed. There were also several of the ex-owner's dogs who liked to beat her up. They decided it was better for Heidi to find a quieter home. She is used to watching her sheep at night, then being inside with people during the day. Squeeee! She managed to injure her front leg before we picked her up Saturday so she has a limp going on that seems pretty painful. She goes out to check her sheep, barn and pasture, stays to watch for a while but then wants to come back inside to rest. We're giving her a little medicine for pain relief and if the limp doesn't improve we'll take her in for a leg/shoulder x-ray this weekend. She has been glued to hubby Jim since we picked her up. She knows a good person when she meets one right? Her big bark seems to have backed the big scary hairy dog and pack off so I am VERY happy about that. They will meet their match when she can be out full time! She'll be takin' care of business! We will miss our Lincoln forever and ever. You were a wonderful friend to the sheep and we miss you every single day. Run free with your brother now and watch my angel sheep til we see you again.

So now you are all up to date again on the changes in the guard at the Homestead. Smooches to you all- Sandy, Jim and the sheeps