Henry Our Livestock Guardian Dog
It has been a week full of puppy love! Our farm family grew! Henry our livestock guardian dog is home! I am already completely amazed by him and the instincts of this breed! In case you missed it Henry is a Great Pyrenees and he is here to guard our sheep, chickens, and any other animals we might get!
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Henry was raised on a farm with both of his parents who are also working LGDs (livestock guardian dogs). He has been outside full time with the animals on his farm since he was 3 weeks old. He was raised around chickens, goats, donkeys, cows, dogs, and cats. I decided to leave Henry there a full 12 weeks so he could learn all he could from his parents and it shows!
It was incredible to witness him meeting the animals, particularly the sheep. He is so calm and confident. He follows them around the pasture and sits or lays near them. When they approach him he respectfully sits down. The sheep haven’t had much of a reaction to him except for Griffin, our ram has tried to head butt him so. This is another reason he will have supervised interactions with them until he’s older. I also separated Griffin and Theodore in the barn.
This way Henry and I can spend some time each morning and evening in the barn with the sheep in closer quarters.
LGDs live with their charges, in our case our sheep and chickens, 100% of the time. Henry will bond strongly with the sheep and do all he can to protect them from predators. Here the main threat to our sheep and chickens are coyotes and hawks. His presence, and eventually when he gets his big boy bark in a few months, is usually enough to deter any predator from entering his territory. I’ve heard you can feel their bark in your chest like bass! He’ll only use force if necessary. They are bred to be independent and make decisions when I’m not around.
The other dogs have also accepted him, but he will have limited interaction with them because I don’t want him to bond with them and not the sheep. Eventually I will add a second LGD so that he will have a companion and someone to take shifts with. Which is another thing they instinctively do.
In the mornings and evenings we walk the perimeter of the pasture and then the whole property. Soon we’ll be fencing the in entire thing and when he’s older he will be able to move about the property using jump throughs we create just for him.
Henry has also done well with the chickens so far. Another of our morning routine we spend time with the ladies before I let them free range. As he gets older he will sleep more during the day and less at night when the predator threat is higher. This is when he will patrol the property and make sure everyone is safe.
I’ve never had puppy quite like him. He’s exactly as I’ve read and heard he would be. His instincts are undeniable already and it is an amazing thing to witness! I don’t have to train him to guard the animals it is instinctual. But he is still very much a puppy and will be for 2 years, which means he’ll need lots of guidance. I’ll reinforce appropriate behaviors and redirect inappropriate ones. I’ll also teach him basic obedience and manners.
I’ve read and been warned that Great Pyrenees go through a terrible teens phase between 7 and 24 months where he will be extra regress. So I’m mentally preparing for that lol! Henry will be a part time job of mine for the next couple of year, but I hear the work is worth the payoff ten fold!
Henry Our Livestock Guardian Dog
I’m so glad to have him here! He is arguably the most important member of our farm fam now! Plus he’s pure fluffy, sweet, gentle joy! Henry will be my partner and friend here at the farm, and although he’s just a little guy right now I already feel better just knowing he’s here! It has already been a delight to watch him be as happy and content as can be just doing his thing! I cannot wait to watch this boy grow and fulfill his purpose with lots of love and smooches along the way! Welcome home Henry, welcome home!
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