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LGD Retirement

 
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Yesterday the last of our flock of sheep went on the cattle trailer, and for the first time there was absolutely no baaaing in the barn. This was also the first time in seven years, our Great Pyrenees had nothing to do.

Yesterday our dog Dutchess retired.

In those seven years she has had 5 notches on her collar; 2 coyote and 2 fox kills, and she even chased away an Eagle that was swooping down after a lamb.

But having worked so hard, and having always been in the barn with "her sheep", Katie and I decided that she will live out her days by bringing her into the house. We were not sure how she would handle that, as she is a true working dog, but upon bringing her inside to meet the cat and the rabbit, she did well.

I am not sue what dog behavior means, but after five minutes, she laid down on the floor, and then tried to "shake", as in, like shaking your hand like humans do. She then rolled over, and let us rub her belly. Katie thought it was because the dog thought she was doing wrong, and showing submission, but I am not sure. She kept nudging us to pet her, and would drop her head in our laps. What a big baby! She even slept at the foot of our bed all night.

But big! Oh my, I had never realized how big she was until she got in the house. I thought she might put her paws up on the counter or something, but she does not have too, her nose is already countertop height! And when our six year old daughter goes to hug her, it looks funny because she is so big.

But one thing is for sure: we do not have to lock the door to the house (not like we ever did anyway. I do not even know where the key is, so I could not lock our house evenif I wanted too). Flat footed on the floor our dog can give a stranger a face full of dog.


Dutchess-LGD.jpg
Dutchess LGD
Dutchess
 
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I have good news for you — contrary to popular/internet opinion, well-socialized  Pyrs make good housepets. We have one we rescued from a bad situation and he is just a huge teddybear now. His gentleness and politeness are such that we’ve never had issues with indoor behavior, except for some adolescent hijinks. Ask my wife about the time she entered the living room and found him standing with all four feet planted among the knicknacks on top of the upright piano!

He is of course not like any other dog; his needs have to be respected, and it’s more of a conversation than a command when we want to direct his behaviors. He’s not stupid but his instincts are to be very independent where his guarding and watching drives are concerned, so if he decides he needs a certain vantage point or has to go outside to investigate suspicious noises, he can seem completely impervious to any contrary instructions. But from his perspective, he simply knows better that the stupid monkeys what is needed ... and who can say that he’s wrong? He is, after all, a talented area-security expert!

I do get the giggles just imaging him appearing by surprise in the face of some hypthetical home invader. The WOOF of doom...
Nanook-lounging.jpeg
Nanook lounging
Oppressing a 90lb black lab
Nanook-on-bed.jpeg
Nanook on bed
Discussing whether I get my spot back that he stole fair and square
Nanook-on-couch.jpeg
Nanook on couch
Curled up tight to share a couch with the Murder Dog
 
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Travis, I have read some of your posts about the transition you are going through. Bravery can be unintentional. I am looking forward to your next chapter. Despite being a farmer, you remind me of the best entrepreneurs I have met. They don't see the upcoming bumps because they are looking at the hills, but their cotravelers are often frustrated intermittently and then surprised and happy when the vision comes together. You have the fault of being farsighted in a myopic world. We really need those people.

But it can be lonely, and that is your best asset- you have surrounded yourself (or someone has!) with people who support and encourage you. My brother is one of these people, and he has always been looking at 20 years down the road even as a teenager. His motivation never waned because the horizon was still out there. He has had some notable misses, but will eventually find the end of the Oregon Trail. This is the pioneer spirit, and some are born to it.

Enjoy the blessings of the new normal. You are the guard dog that is now getting a chance to sleep on the warm hearth.
 
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Travis, you couldn't ask for a much better sign than the dog rolling on her back for belly rubs. That behavior means the dog trusts you and isn't afraid to be in a vulnerable position. Bravo, your dog loves you and is willing to show you that.
 
Travis Johnson
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Tj Jefferson wrote:Travis, I have read some of your posts about the transition you are going through. Bravery can be unintentional. I am looking forward to your next chapter. Despite being a farmer, you remind me of the best entrepreneurs I have met. They don't see the upcoming bumps because they are looking at the hills, but their cotravelers are often frustrated intermittently and then surprised and happy when the vision comes together. You have the fault of being farsighted in a myopic world. We really need those people.

But it can be lonely, and that is your best asset- you have surrounded yourself (or someone has!) with people who support and encourage you. My brother is one of these people, and he has always been looking at 20 years down the road even as a teenager. His motivation never waned because the horizon was still out there. He has had some notable misses, but will eventually find the end of the Oregon Trail. This is the pioneer spirit, and some are born to it.

Enjoy the blessings of the new normal. You are the guard dog that is now getting a chance to sleep on the warm hearth.



You are indeed right.

We did actually start a new chapter of our lives this weekend. After some considerable thought, we have just realized that God just does not want us to sell this house, but rather keep it. Since moving out, things have been tougher then they have ever been, not to mention in 94 days of being on the market our house was viewed 35 times, had 4 offers to buy it, and yet all of them fell through. Even with us trying to rent it, it fell through twice. About 11 AM on Saturday, Katie and I had a long talk, and then started moving our stuff back into our big house.

I do not think it was Tiny House failure. We liked Tiny House living, and would have stayed, but this bigger house is flawless. All the little stuff that irritated us a year ago, we fixed, so it only made sense to move back in since it never sold. We are comfortable with the decision in any case.

Now if only the cat would leave the dog alone. And no, that is not a brave cat; that is one dumb cat. (Russian Blue Cat's are not known for their intelligence).
 
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Wow, lots of changes! Take it easy on that move, carrying a houseful of stuff, even a tiny houseful of stuff, is a big job (we moved across the street once, like a family of ants. It was less funny at the moment than it is now, looking back).

I just wanted to say when I did a course in therapy dog training in the US years ago my instructor raised Pyrs and always had one (or three) with her. I want to say she did reading programs for children in the city with her big fluffballs. You can't not love a great Pyrenees. A few years earlier I saw my first in the children's hospital where my daughter was getting treatment. The dog would do rounds in the cardiac clinic and everyone loved it. they're lovely.
 
Dan Boone
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I hope your Dutchess is continuing to shine as an indoor companion and hallways/doors blocker...

The other day Mary was sick and feverish and probably breathing/moaning oddly. Nanook grew worried and decided she needed some him-time with the Lapdog of Doom. She was not consulted; Dog Who Watches knows best!
Nanook-is-lap-dog.jpeg
Nanook is lap dog
Nanook is a great lapdog — just ask him!
 
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We have 4 LGD's that sleep in our bedroom every night. Guess how I sleep.....fantastic!  lol

Takes effort for everyone to get along alright but at this point they even wait patiently in line at the waterer. lol
LGDs-line-up.jpg
LGDs line up
LGDs line up
 
Travis Johnson
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Duchess is doing well inside.

The cat is SLOWY getting used to her, and realizing it is best not to swat the dog with her paws.

Overall she is a big house dog now, but will go out when she feels like it. But then again, she is a Great Pyrenees...she only does what she wants anyway. There is no persuading that dog.

I do wish she would paw at the door, or let us know some other way when she wants to go outside, but for now we just tell because she gets restless. That is her only indication, so she has peed on the floor a few times. When scolded, she knows she did wrong. She has been inside in her old home, and knowing sit, stay, lay down, shake, and all those other commands, I KNOW she is house broken.
 
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Travis, some of my friends have bells (sleigh bells on a strap, I think) on the door that leads outside to their fenced-in "dog-yard".
The dogs know to paw or nuzzle the bells to signal their need/desire to be let out, and it's easy to hear throughout the house, and can't be confused with other noises.
 
Travis Johnson
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Duchess did really well yesterday. We had a gathering here, and had 12 children and 6 adults, and she was really good with all of them. The kids ranged in age from 14 to 3 weeks old, but she was really good, loved the attention, and did not make a bother of herself. In fact a few of the adults wanted to take her home because she was such a baby...a huge baby...but one big baby.

The poor ole dog does snore something fierce though!
 
Trace Oswald
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Travis Johnson wrote:

The poor ole dog does snore something fierce though!



I may be in the minority, but for me, the sound of a dog snoring is one of the best sounds there is. If I'm not tired, it makes me laugh, and if I am tired, it relaxes me and makes me sleep like a baby. Dogs are truly a gift to me. I wouldn't give them up for anything.  And a dog with the zoomies? My favorite thing ever. I just can't stop laughing when they do that.
 
Travis Johnson
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Trace Oswald wrote:

Travis Johnson wrote:

The poor ole dog does snore something fierce though!



I may be in the minority, but for me, the sound of a dog snoring is one of the best sounds there is. If I'm not tired, it makes me laugh, and if I am tired, it relaxes me and makes me sleep like a baby. Dogs are truly a gift to me. I wouldn't give them up for anything.  And a dog with the zoomies? My favorite thing ever. I just can't stop laughing when they do that.



Our dog dreams a lot. I think the other day it must have been dreaming about guarding sheep because she kept growling most of the night. Not deep growls, but light, frequent growl-snippets...she was clearly dreaming. It was kind of funny, but other times she runs a lot in her dreams too, oh how her legs go. But snore, does she ever snore.

She is doing good in the house now. As we get to know her, and she gets to know us, she is having less and less accidents; down to one this whole week.
 
Travis Johnson
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Of course, since moving in to the house, my father has not been up. He is scared to death of my dog. He lives next door, and so one day he needed something and went into the barn to see if he could find it. he did not know my dog was sleeping in there, and she did not know he had came in. He went in to se if it was in where the sheep were, and they came face to face with one another; him surprising her, and her surprising him, so he has been scared of her ever since.

An angry LGD protecting her sheep can be quite a scary situation.
 
Travis Johnson
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Our Dog's Retirement has not been without incident.

She is a stubborn dog, and so in the middle of the night when we let her outside, she would walk around the house, and then lay down, and refuse to come inside. If we put her leash on, she would lay down in the house and refuse to go outside.

We have her pasture, but there was a gap between the house and the pasture which is where she would go. Last night at 2 AM I had her roaming around the neighborhood. She is fine, but all the neighbors remember her protecting her sheep...growling, snarling, snapping at them, so that is not good.

So today we cut the fence and brought it right up to the side door on our house. It took us two hours, but at least now there is not a "No man's land", it goes right out to the pasture. Like every one of our pets, Duchess is now officially spoiled. Yes we talk to our goldfish. Our bunny has every treat she could ever want. The cat is spoiled beyond measure. And now when the dog wants to go out, her "kennel" is 22 acres in size.

 
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