Our Livestock Guardian Dogs (LDGs)
Shown below are our livestock guardian dogs. All three are Great Pyrenees. There are lots (LOTS) of coyote in our area so we knew we would need to have some protection for our animals when we moved here. Until 2017, the lady who lived across the street from us used to feed coyotes daily, and had been doing so for over 70 years, since the time her family owned much of the tract of land between I-35W and Mansfield, TX. To say there was a coyote population issue would be an understatement.
Our dogs, however, keep all that stuff in check. They make it a habit of going around and telling all the coyotes in the vicinity that there are much “healthier” places they would rather be, than on our farm.
Ben is our “old Man” and he will be having his 12th birthday this year. He has been on the job steady since the summer of 2007. In those days, we did not have sheep or goats, and he was around for protection of our smaller dogs (Miniature Schnauzers and Cocker Spaniel). He did not have to be on the job all the time back then so he got to enjoy the finer things in life like the dog bed at Grandma’s house when we visited. He’s fond of his cow femurs as ample reward for a job well done as well as a comfortable blanket to lay down on for the night when it’s 100+ degrees outside.
Since we started raising sheep we have had to ask more of Ben, so we got him some help. “Callie” and “Jasper” are now on staff also, and they have taken a great deal of the workload off of Ben so he can spend more required time on management functions and helping walk “the beat” when necessary. As you can see, he is still a force to be reckoned with and he never lets his guard down.
Callie is our four year old female Great Pyrenees. We knew Ben needed help a few years ago and, with him getting up there in years, he deserved to be able to take a break. We started out with Callie in the house with us, to learn “inside manners” for times when we want to bring the dogs in (severe thunderstorms, tornado warnings, etc). The other dogs in the house were welcoming of her, after some close scrutiny.
Callie has taken a keen interest with all the new faces running around the property lately. As you can see, she wants to be certain that EVERY picture taken of the new lambs meets the most exacting standards so she closely supervises the photography sessions.
Jasper is our newest Great Pyrenees. We drove down to south Texas to buy him the night that Hurricane Harvey hit Texas. To say that was interesting … well, let’s just say we probably should have thought better about that trip at that specific time.
We started Jasper in the house just like we do all of our Pyrenees so he could learn appropriate indoor behavior. That did not last long though because he is VERY smart and catches on quickly. Of course, he looks like we don’t feed him because, now that he is outside almost all of the time, he never stops moving. At two years old, he is still a clumsy oaf at times when he is being playful..but he takes his job VERY seriously. He can always be found in the same spot of the yard at night while the other dogs may be sleeping and, during the day when the sheep have been let out of the barn, he keeps a very close eye on them.
Jasper is not sure what to think of all these little sheeplets running around. He’s fine with them being here, but he wants to be close to them and they are so fast an unpredictable. Regardless, he’s taken them “under his paw” already and is showing them the ropes.