April 25, 2012

Kris, 4 Months Old

Yesterday Kris turned four months old. Have I mentioned that he was born on Christmas Eve? Hence his name, as in Kris Kringle. :)

Life is pretty tough around here for a puppy these days. There are many lessons to be learned. These include learning to not get under foot, not to nip, and not to grab at hands, pants, and goat legs. The hardest lesson of all is learning play, versus not play. As a pup, he's all about play. He doesn't understand that there are 17 other critters around here expecting to be fed and tended to. On the other hand, neither do any of them. :)

He's friendly and affectionate, smart but with a stubborn streak. To get a good photo I have be on the other side of the fence. Otherwise he's trying to crawl into my pocket. :)

It would be considerably easier on the humans if he liked to play fetch. Oh, he'll play, but only if it's two, no more than three tosses of the ball or stick, and only if it's not more than 6 to 10 feet. Fetch is a wonderful way to exercise a dog and wear out a puppy, but he'd rather play tug or wrestle. This is okay during designated play times, but not okay when the goats are the object.

The other thing I'd like to teach him is about barking. Barking at the goats and chickens is not okay, barking at things that don't belong here is okay. The neighbor's dog (the one that climbed the fence to wreak havoc in our pasture) barks nonstop when it's outside. Even when it's people are in the yard.

Kris is catching on to the homestead routine pretty well. My only issue with him is that the other day I caught him with an egg. He had it between his front paws and was beginning to put the bitey on it. I got it before it broke, but I wonder if he hasn't found them before and eaten them. I have a couple of hens that insist on laying in or near the hay rack in the goat shed, rather than in their nesting boxes. Too bad chickens aren't as easy to train! At least I can deter him by closing the gate to that stall.

What I can't deter is how quickly he's growing. Sometimes it seems as though somebody swaps our Kris for a bigger dog during the night. I confess that was something I never considered when I got him. I just knew he was the dog for us.


  1. Leigh - He's adorable - I want to eat him up. Judging by those paws he's going to be a big lad :)

  2. Good luck with his continued training! I'm now dog-shy since our last rescue dog and even though I know we're going to eventually need a "guard / guardian" dog on the farm, I just can't go through the training right now.

    Kris looks like a big ol' snuggle bug! I can understand why you had to take the picture OUTside of the fence!

  3. That was the first thing I thought when I saw the picture of him: Oh my gosh, he looks so much bigger and older! I suppose dogs (and other animals, too) are just like our babies. It's such a short period that they stay "infants!" Best of luck with all the training. That's what's kept us from getting another dog right now.

  4. Adorable. Adorable!! Oh to have a puppy. How I would love that. Everyone on my homestead is an old lady. Me included ;)

  5. he's a very lucky pup..
    such a wonderful life for a dog - I love seeing pictures of all your animals

  6. Oh, he is so nice! I' d like to caress him.

  7. Dani, his mix of breeds is all big too, Pyrenees, Anatolian Shepherd, and Bernese Mountain. Can't imagine what his food bill will be by the time he's full grown, LOL

    Carolyn, I'm so sorry you had a bad experience. I've had some less than desirable dogs too, but also some good ones. You're right that he's a snuggle bug. Very affectionate.

    Mama Pea, isn't it a shame how quickly they all grow up? He's smart and I think catching on. The hardest is the barking. I fuss at him for barking at the chickens and goats. The other day though, I came up to the gate from a different direction. I didn't say anything to the animals so I startled him and he barked like crazy at me. Of course he stopped when he realized who it was, but I did praise him for barking then. Hopefully he'll get the idea!

    Jane, LOL. But then, age is all a matter of mind, if one doesn't mind, then it doesn't matter. :)

    Kyle, I'm so thankful he's getting along with them. Now that he's learning that none of them are interested in puppy play, he pretty much leaves them alone, though he still tries to get the goats to play. The only one who'll cooperate is Billy, who is still a young-un himself.

    Nelly, he'd like that! He's very soft and cuddly. :)

  8. He has sure grown, wow! He has the sweetest face, I bet it isn't easy to scold him and he probably thinks you want to play...I remember that when we have tried to train pups. xo

  9. I know about the training and a stubborn dog. My golden retriever is 10 years old but I almost got rid of her when she was about a year. Could not break her of chasing the goats, the children (and nipping them) and she even killed a chicken although she didn't eat it or draw blood so I think she was trying to play with it. I know this probably sounds like a cliche but out of desperation (and after paying a trainer who told me to have her put down) I used the techniques of Ceasar. Ya that guy on TV. She is now a great dog and my best buddy. She guards the chickens, ducks, and geese and chases the hawks. She even picks up eggs and brings them to me without harming them. She is well mannered at other peoples houses, gards the car during shopping trips and barks at strangers or when she hears the birds making unusual noises that can mean trouble. It is truly an amazing change.

  10. I am collecting as much information as I can for our one day homestead. Do you have all of your animals in one big pen (last picture)? I did not know you could do that...I thought they all had to be separate...don't know why I thought that come to think of it. Thank you for sharing this post.

  11. Leigh, Kris is beautiful. I adore his sweet face. After raising 3 large rescue dogs I have to admit the Cesar's way of training is what I always fall back on - because it works. Be consistent with your training and all will work out in the end. Try to remember Kris is a little kid with really big feet and his heart's desire is to please you. Love goes a long way in training as does a kind but firm voice. The picture of Kris surrounded by his charges is proof that you have a hard working and teachable dog. Hugs to you both.

  12. He's SOOOO big! You have more patience than I would.

  13. He is a sweetheart, but I'm concerned about him not getting any bad habits so I try to be consistent. He does want to turn everything into play!

    Sista, we don't have TV so I'm not familiar with Ceasar. I love a tried and true recommendation though so I will definitely look this guy up! Hopefully he has a book out. :)

    Natalie, it depends on several things. We do keep the bucks and does separated and Kris spends time with both groups. The chickens are free ranged and so allowed out to pasture. That said, I find it impossible to keep them where I want them. They can manage to get over the 4 foot goat fencing even with wing clipping! The chickens do get along with the goats except they will help themselves to their grain. They stay out of Kris's way (as he stays out of theirs) but they will eat his dog food. So will the goats for that matter, and they'd eat the chickens' feed and grain if they could get to it. Needless to say, everybody gets separated at feeding time. My chickens have a yard with a 6 foot fence and some folks leave their chickens penned. Goat housing is central with gates to different areas, so I have some control over where they graze and browse. The cat goes wherever he wants. :)

    Martha thanks! That's two votes for Cesar's way of training; I definitely have to look into it.

    Candace, well, it comes with the territory. :)

  14. He looks right at home lying by the goats and chickens! Beautiful. Sounds like he's just doing what puppies do as they learn their manners. I swear one of my dogs still thinks the goats are dogs that want to play with him - they're always running along the fence together!

  15. No I don't remember hearing how Kris got his name before. That's so cute!

    He is getting so big and cute!

    My daughter wondered why Kris would want to crawl into your pocket, so I demonstrated with our dog... Lilly wanted to be right in my face until she picked up her toy and started chewing. Then she was fine.

    I've been checking out Cesar also because I would like for one day my dog to get along with other dogs and stop pulling on her leash.

  16. Awww, Kris is adorable! He'll be great once he's all trained. :)

  17. He is so cute.love,love ,love his naming;)

  18. Oh My...Look at those legs! You might be able to strap a saddle on Kris and ride around the homestead. Or hook him up to a wagon! Such a big boy.

    Sounds like you're right on track with him training wise.

  19. Jaime, he's all puppy! but he's doing really well and catching on. Nice you have goats that will accommodate your dog's playfulness. :)

    Renee, so glad Lilly was willing to help with the demonstration. :) I've started to research Cesar on the internet and note a lot of folks criticize his methods. I don't know enough about his techniques to know if these are warranted, nor if the critics really know what they're doing either. I've gotten a lot of positive comments about it, and that says a lot.

    Kristi thanks! Part of it for a livestock guardian is genetic instinct. Right now he's still puppy about everything, so I'm just focusing on manners. The rest is up to "the right stuff!"

    SmithGang, thanks!

    MTS&M, he is a sweetheart. And goofy too!

    Tami, LOL. You might be right about that. Berners are used to pull carts, so maybe that will be in his future. :)

  20. Very cute puppy. Our dog happens to be a chicken killer. I'm sure yours will have better manners. Your farm looks great.

  21. it's really hard to resist them at that age, they're just too cute! but I think if you're persistent he will cop on eventually. there's nothing worse than a big dog with no manners! I love the photo behind he fence, he looks as if he's saying: hey, why don't you come in?:)

  22. Awwww, he's such a cutie pie! Keep these pictures around when he goes through his adolescence so you can remember how sweet he was. :)

    I'm also a fan of Cesar's methods. We have a dachshund that we found at the shelter. He had spent his life in a cage in a puppy mill and was a complete mess. Cesar's "be the pack leader" worked wonders on him. He still has a few quirks, but he's no longer the neurotic, destructive, fearful dog he once was.

  23. Kris is such a cutie...bless :)

  24. leigh he is adorable. but i thought you named after me...LOL

  25. I think that with all sources you should take what seems to you the most useful and feel free to disregard the rest. and of course if a source says if you don't do it all my way it won't work...then keep looking. ;o)

  26. Bernadine, that's pretty instinctive for a lot of dogs. That's why I waited until I could find a particular breed or mix of breeds. Kris is Bernese Mountain, Anatolian Shepherd, and Pyrenees, all livestock guardian breeds. I think genetic instincts makes a difference.

    Bettina, being a big dog means he has to have manners! LOL, he's catching on really well and I'm proud of him for that. He'd much rather be a people dog though.

    Kari, thanks! I was just looking back at "baby" pictures of him. He's grown like a horse in the two months we've had him! Thanks for the feedback on Cesar. Results mean so much more than opinion and theory.

    Tanya, thanks!

    Chris, I do like the name! It has such a pleasing sound. :)

    Renee, that's about the gist of it. The critics are so down on him that theirs is the only way. However, I saw one video clip that they were saying was appalling because he was swinging puppies around by the scruff of their necks. Turns out he picked them up by the scruff but then rotated his wrists outward so they weren't facing one another. That mindset, attacking and twisting the facts, never sells me on anything.

  27. Kris is a handsome boy, but you are right about big dogs needing manners! I had Akitas for years (talk about stubborn) and they were obedience trained. No question with anything that lives with me as to who the alpha is.

    In addition to Ceasar, a good book for getting a reasonable dog is the Monks of New Skete. I don't always agree with everything that Ceasar does, but he is right about any pack animal wanting to know who the boss is (and that includes our goats and sheep)


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