Welcoming a new puppy onto the farm can sometimes be difficult.
I acquired a Great Pyrenees/Anatolian Shepherd mix female puppy a few weeks back. Yes, she’s going to be a very large dog if her size at nine weeks is any indication.
I gave her the name Izzy. Not sure why I decided on Izzy, but it sounded good and was easy to speak. I call her “Iz” for short when she’s being a cute and cuddly puppy.
My understanding of these dogs is that they make great livestock guard dogs. The Pyrenees is great for keeping predators away from the goats like other dogs and coyotes. While, the Anatolian is best for protection against human thieves or vandalism.
Izzy came from a farm in Judsonia where she had been raised with goats. But, unfortunately, my goats haven’t taken to her well.
Training her will also be a training session for me. This is my first adventure to have a livestock guardian dog.
She tries very hard to do her job and watch the goats and calf. But they just won’t give in and let her. When she runs to them with the natural puppy stance of “I want to play with you,” you guessed it, they all run.
Once the goats and calf run from her, she tries to herd them up toward the barn, which sometimes becomes a disaster.
Izzy will also have chickens to guard as her job too. In time, hopefully she will become used to the chickens and take on the responsibility of guarding them as well.
The problem becomes greater when my husband’s three blue heeler/beagle mix puppies are let out of the pen. These three pups are rambunctious and always looking for something to get into.
Izzy, on the other hand, just wants to be in the barn with the goats. But the sight of her huge white body scares the goats for some reason.
While the other pups run rampant through the yard, Izzy runs to her goats, and bless her poor heart, she just wants to be friends with them. She doesn’t care much about running and playing with the other pups.
As Izzy grows older and more in tune with her job of protecting the goats I hope the goats will understand that she is not bad and can truly help them when they need protection.
(Gretchen Ritchey is a staff writer for the Malvern Daily Record.)