March 12, 2012

Puppy Report

Kris, almost 11 weeks old

So our cute "little" puppy is becoming a gangly, all-legs puppy. At his 2nd puppy check last Friday, he'd grown from 14 to 22 pounds in just three weeks.

Kris, running after Surprise

He has taken to following the goats around and seems to particularly like Surprise. She, on the other hand, has no use for him whatsoever, and presents him with the top of her head anytime he comes up to her. Fortunately he doesn't know that this means "mind your own beeswax" in goat body language, so he tries to lick her ears. Sadly, she has no appreciation for puppy kisses. She does seem to like his puppy food however and makes a beeline for it when it's time for Kris to eat. Of course, this is something she is not allowed to have.

There are two schools of thought regarding the training of livestock guardian dogs. Old school is for the puppy to have virtually no human contact for several weeks, to allow bonding with the stock. More current thinking is that the tendency to guard is more about genetic instinct. Some dogs naturally make better guardians than others, even within the LGD breeds themselves. This line of thinking says the puppy needs to be kept with the stock, but also needs human socialization. It needs to know basic commands, be leash trained, and be able to be transported for things like vet visits. Folks who raise LGDs now, say the instinct to guard livestock just "kicks in."

We had a go-round with "kennel cough," which was worrisome. Fortunately we caught it before it developed into pneumonia, but Kris had to come stay in the house while he was coughing and congested. After that he came in at night and on rainy days; something he did not like. I can't say that I blame him and am glad he's an outdoor dog, but we felt he needed to use his energy for getting well, not keeping his body temperature up in the cold and wet.

The goats have been slow to appreciate him.

For the goats, it was initially us against it

Of course, he wants to play in ways they don't. Still, they're beginning to tolerate him. Of the chickens, he's decided to keep a repsectful distance.

Watching Mrs. Mean parade by

But then, he's seen Mrs. Mean giving "what for" to the pullets. Other than that, he's a happy little guy, all puppy.

Of the dog next door (which prompted us to get Kris), he is being chained up outside again. He has a much sturdier collar, but he has taken to barking at our chickens and goats. He must remember all the fun he had chasing them. Every critter on our side of the fence ignores him, but when he gets worked up, he fights and struggles to get out of that collar. So far it's held. We are seriously thinking about putting up a wood privacy fence there, just so he can't see and be tempted.

Jasmine, Surprise, & Kris

Anyway, that's the puppy report. :)


  1. That last picture says it all doesn't lil heathen will soon be 12, so it's time to start thinking of what breed will suit me best, nothing too big for my age, something that'll bark at intruders and something that will not want chicken dinner every day, however, after owning terriers for 25 years, I'm ready to retire...GEESH!!!

    Have fun with that lil critter, I too am putting up privacy fence to keep out the neighbor's dog, my cedar trees just aren't growing fast enough!

  2. Well, that puppy is 'a learnin'! Great pictures!! Great report!

  3. About the privacy fence and the neighbor dog. Blocking his view won't stop him from smelling and hearing the critters. I'm not sure it would be worth the time, effort and dollars unless it would also physically keep him out should he escape once again.

    I have to agree about the school of thought where Kris is kept in the human loop. You are going to want him to know that you two are ultimately the boss and not him. That will be especially important when he is a 100 lb force. He needs to know his place in "the pack". He will be happy and feel secure knowing he has an important job, but is not responsible for the humans; but that the humans will care for him.

    I'm speaking from experience here, having a retired professional sled dog (who outweighed me by 10 lbs) forced me into some serious research and training. People laughed at the tiny woman with the huge dog, but not once did she drag me down the street after a squirrel, bunny or cat. I know she wanted to many-many times.

  4. So cute. Can't wait to see how he grows into his profession. We've had trouble with a lab and our chickens in the past. never thought to get our own dog to solve the problem.

  5. Boy, Kris is growing like a weed! LOL! So glad to hear he is adjusting to his new duties:) Good luck with the neighbor dog, I know how frustrating that can be.

  6. I so enjoy seeing the pup and his 'charges'. That bottom photo, of the three of them, is just precious...I doesn't get much sweeter than that. xo

  7. He's such a cutie! The fact that he isn't bothering the chickens is promising. Can't wait to see how he turns out! :-)

  8. Sharon, do research! Terriers are cute though, unless they go for those chickens. ")

    MamaTea, thank!

    A. Wright, well the dog is only part of the problem. That rental house has a high turnover and almost always with kids. We realize they are interested in the goats, and don't mind them petting and feeding them, except of course that not all things are healthy for goats to eat (though I've checked their yard to make sure there's nothing poisonous). The problem is that they've pulled on and broken the fence; bent over fence posts; thrown bricks, rocks, and trash at the goats; and the last one, a kid was teasing the goats with a leafy branch, only to hit them in the head with it whenever they tried to get a bite. The dog knows how to run around to the back of the property to climb the fence, but we don't expect these folks to live there forever anyway.

    Kristi, hopefully he will! It will be interesting to see which breed instinct predominates: Bernese, Pyrenees, or the Anatolian Shepherd. What he'd do about trespassing dogs remains to be seen, and of course, he's only a puppy!

    Stephanie, poor little guy's growing so fast he doesn't know how to handle his own legs, LOL

    Sherri, the bottom photo is what it's all about! :)

    Michelle, we can thank Mrs. Mean for that, LOL. He does however, bark at both chickens and goats. That's something we're working on. :)

  9. He looks like he is already bonding, at least on his end, with the goats. I love that last picture.

  10. Aww he is the cutest!! The persons who posted previous comments are right - that last pic is the best!

    How are you working on getting the puppy to stop barking? I'm having problems with mine.

  11. Beautiful dog! We have agreat pyrenees who is outside year round with our livestock. We pet her, love on her, leash trained her but when we go insdie she goes on duty ! We also only feed her RAW meat, as store dog food would never give her the energy to do all she does.

    Wonderful pictures!

  12. That last picture is perfect! The goats will think twice in just a little bit as Kris grows exponentially over the next couple of months :-)

  13. Leigh, what a darling he is, and he looks like he is already on duty.

  14. Candace, he's bonding anyway. I can't make that claim for the goats however. :)

    Beth, well, I can tell you how I'm trying to train barking, but I can't guarantee it will be successful, LOL. If I'm close by, I put my hand on his muzzle and say "no barking." He stops then and I say "good dog" and give him some pats. I tell him "don't bark at the chickens" or "don't bark at the goats." Time will tell. This was something I got from the LGD email list so evidently it can be done.

    Donna, yes, diet is on my mind a lot. I can't figure out how we could afford to feed him only raw meat though. I do buy a no-grain dog food and give him raw egg, raw goat milk, and sometimes yogurt (yogurt especially when he was on antibiotics.) This is definitely an area of concern.

    Dr. Momi, thanks! It's like he's saying "I won," LOL

    Grace thanks! It does seem like he's going to be a natural, doesn't it?

  15. thanks for the puppy report! I think your training is going well. I'm wondering how Kris will respond to another dog. I know that our Lilly being an only dog does not do all that well with dogs her size and larger...they scare her. But she's okay with smaller dogs...although she has no idea how to play with them.

    After reading all you've written about the neighboring house I agree that a privacy fence is in protect your animals from flying bricks and rocks. Some people just don't bring their kids up right! I know when I was a kid I would have never EVER thrown something into the neighbor's yard...except grass to feed their chickens (we had permission to do that).
    Is there any chance that you have enough wood from your back lot to make the fence yourself or will you have to buy it?

  16. They grow so fast. Our "Maple" will be 1 year old next month. She has grown so, so fast!

  17. What a cutie! I'm assuming by the comments that Kris is going to be a large dog? I guess I missed out on his breed . . . A mix of Bernese, Pyrenees, and Anatolian Shepherd? Oh my gosh, I just googled all three and sweet little puppy Kris is gonna end up one big dog! I can't wait to see how fast he grows up and I'm sure he'll be a loving addition to your family.

  18. It all looks and sounds just dandy!

    (And why won't this new comment format let me be notified of future comments???)

  19. He looks right at home! Hopefully he will be just the pup you need to protect everyone on your homestead from unwanted visitors - including what seems to be some very trying neighbors. We also feed our dogs raw food, and I have some resources for making it a bit more affordable if you're ever interested. One of the things to consider is that even though the food might cost more, the vet bills are likely to be less! When I first started, I found Carina Macdonald's book _Raw Dog Food_ very helpful.

    Love your puppy reports :)

  20. Kris is a darling little guy! Looks like you are well on your way to having an excellent livestock protector! I loved all of the pictures of him and the goats.

  21. Kris seems to be settling in nicely. He is obviously attached to his herd. I think the guard dogs need people socialization as well. Guard dogs I've visited, who have good people social skills as well as the guarding instinct, seem to be well adjusted, safe and want to do their job and please at the same time.

  22. I love that last picture! Oh My Goodness, it is sooooo cute! Our dog used to herd the chickens at night into the chicken coop, until we got our Rot, then they both decided it was fun to chase them. Now they just tolerate them. I think they're getting old. They don't chase them anymore. we are thinking of getting goats or sheep. I've got to do some more investigating before we move on that, but your goats look good.


  23. Awww, I sure love that last pic, so sweet. Sounds like Kris is fitting right in, albeit slowly with the goats. :)

  24. Renee, we've talked about doing it with our own wood. There's certainly enough back there, but we don't have the equipment to drag it up and make that many boards. Still, it might somehow work out.

    Clint, that is so true. It seems like they grow right before our eyes!

    Janice, we think he's going to be a huge dog! Not that we necessarily wanted a big dog, but the LGD breeds are all pretty big. :)

    Michelle, I don't think anybody likes the new Blogger comment form!

    Jaime, yes, I'd love that! Diet is so important and I'm really not keen on feeding any of our animals commercially packaged foods. I agree about less vet bills in the long term. We learned that with one of our cats. :(

    Frank thank you! I appreciate your commenting on my blog. :)

    Nina, that's exactly what the LGD folks say. We don't usually think of it with animals, but they have psychological needs as well.

    Sandi, thanks! That's so funny about your dog herding chickens. I had heard that about herding dogs though, that they'll turn to a game of chase with other dogs around. Funny too how they're too "old" for such games now. :)

    Kristi, today he was trying to lick the girls while they were laying down. Needless to say, they didn't like that. Yet they'll let chickens stand on them! Go figure.

  25. Leigh, I'll send you an email in the next couple days with some info :)

  26. Oh I loved this post, cuteness overload!

  27. What a cutie!! Congrats on your new baby :)

    I'm a RAW feeding advocate too. You'll find many purist & some, like me, who are pretty flexible. I have a grain free dog food that is fed once a day. They get RAW the rest of the time.

    I get free, fresh scraps from game processors (good bones with meat on them, fabulous for a puppy). I snatch up freezer burnt meat, I order chicken backs, quarters, & beef heart cheaply in cases from the grocer.... I stock up when I find canned mackeral or salmon on sale.... I send a cooler with friends who hunt so I can have the organs they usually toss, and for a time I raised meat bunnies too. If you get creative, RAW can be cheaper than premium dog food. :)

    I have a Great Dane & Chinese Crested..... Currently I don't have the space for bulk RAW storage, hence the 1/2 & 1/2 way I do things now. If you look for Dr. Tom Lonsdale online, he has some great raw feeding books, and I much prefer his school of thought to Ian Billinghurst. :)

  28. Donna, thanks!

    Crystal, thank you so much for all this information. I'm definitely a firm believer in natural diets for everyone, but sometimes the information out there is so conflicted. I appreciate the links and the tips.

  29. Love the picture of the goats staring Kris down. oh, he is just SOOOOOOO cute.
    Thanks for sharing.


My sincerest apologies for my apparent neglect in answering comments and returning blog visits. I am in the thick of preparing Critter Tales for publication! This is both exciting, but also intense, as I push to get it out before Christmas. Please don't give up on me. I appreciate and am encouraged by every comment.