Saturday, November 28, 2009

Goats and Guard Dogs...Questions

We adopted Buddy (a Great Pyr) a while ago. He was very recluse when he first came here, no idea what his history was, but he was not taken care of at all. Skin and bones, wouldn't come near us, hid out all the time, very cautious around all of us, though not the slightest bit aggressive.

Of course, with 8 children running around playing, we cured him of that reserved nature real quick.

He's been with the goats since about his second week here. Not knowing what kind of history he had, we kept him in a separate area, next to but not in, with the goats. And there were only 2 goats at the time. He always wanted in their pasture to play. Followed them along the fence they shared, always jumping and tail-wagging, nothing aggressive in the least.

Now there are 7 females and Malachi, our buck. We moved Buddy in with Malachi when Cotton (another Great Pyr) came to us. After about 4 months in with Malachi, Buddy started laying out his own set of ground rules. Malachi was not to eat his grain while Buddy was at his own dish eating dog food. Malachi wasn't to stay too long at the back of his pasture, but should hang around the barn area more. Weird little things. Malachi is a big baby...he's probably the most gentle buck I've ever seen, and acts more like a family member than part of the livestock. He's just quiet and meek really. They never had any issues together, but then Buddy started barking at Malachi more...every time he moved, really. The he took to nipping at Malachi's ears. Poor thing has short tears in the bottoms of his ears now. Not bad, but still...he shouldn't have tattered ears.

We moved Buddy over with Cotton and the females. Everybody seemed quite calm. Now a few months later, he's chasing (not actually trying to catch, just running around with) the goats. And he has decided they have ears too now. Two of my matriarchs have tattered ear ends :o( Again, not bad at all, just little nipped tears...and they shouldn't have to deal with that.

What do we do? I hate to get rid of Buddy as we really need all the guard dog power we can get out here with nothing but rural around us. Coyote have been all over the trails and timber past the goat pasture. We have wolves out here, as well. Shoot, you name a predator, we have it roaming these mountains around us.

Right now, just to prevent any injury on either side (Dewey was not pleased with the condition of the goats' ears), we have penned Buddy outside the goat pasture by himself. There's no shelter out there for him, so he can't really stay there, but what do we do with him?
How can we get him off this dominating ear thing he's doing?

We figure that as soon as the birthing pens are set up in the barn, we'll have to get another roll of field fencing and make a sort of "run" for Buddy inside the perimeter of the pasture, separated from the goats, but still able to be the protector he's here for. Other than that, all I can do is tie him on some sort of run cable, and I hate to do that. I really need him to get over this, just not sure how to go about it. Cotton spent her life (she's 3 now) tied on a chain, no farm animals, nothing. She's really rather useless when it comes to 'guardian' here -- she allows the other dogs to get into the pen and run the goats (until Buddy puts a quick stop to it) and she rarely barks at anything, unless she's wanting to play. She was no doubt punished for barking while chained up in her previous home.

I need ideas folks...anyone?


Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but I don't have any idea of how to cure this, but perhaps build Buddy a shelter away from the goats. It sounds as if his behaviour is only going to get worse. :/

Have a wonderful week,

Anonymous said...

It sounds like the dog knows there needs to be a leader and didn't know who that was and so appointed himself. I think your husband should spend a little time calmly "claiming" the space, the food, etc., to establish who is the dominant male on your property it could really help. It sounds like you rightly gave him space when he arrived, which helped him become more "balanced", but at that point he realized there should be a leader in his "pack" and he appointed himself. God bless.


Jeremiah 6:16
Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.

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