Huckleberry Leonard

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since Jan 01, 2015
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Recent posts by Huckleberry Leonard

Thanks for this post. I concur! Do your research first! Great Pyrenees are willful and independent creatures capable of covering vast territories with ease. It's not simple to find a good home for them.

They are also noble creatures capable of great love and compassion. They are good effective trustworthy protectors and friends...for the right people living in the right place.

About chickens; our LGDs are now protecting over 100 free-ranging ducks and chickens. The poultry are even free at night at this point and totally safe. We haven't lost a single bird to either predator or dog. It's true, most pups do have to learn about poultry somewhere between two and six months old. We teach them "Leave IT!" and reward them when they do. This method takes great patience and good timing but they get it soon enough. The older dogs actually scold young pups who chase chickens for fun. We're learning to work with pups using positive reinforcement and sometimes clickers rather than punishment. They absolutely want to be good so it's just a matter of communication.

As their human, it is important to be their alpha leader but we leave the scolding to the canines and work more with rewards, love and encouragement. It seems to work really well in my experience as the outcome is happy, balanced, trustworthy dogs who are free of any trauma-related issues.
   
3 years ago
We have a team of Great Pyrenees on our cooperative homestead that keep the place 100% predator-free. They are amazing and I learn so much from them. They are  incredibly good at their job and they are also pure love...kind, compassionate, beautiful, even funny! As a zoologist, I find the relationships of the pack so fascinating.
But the main thing I know is we've never had a single predator attack or even a deer-nibble on any of the hundreds of fruit and nut trees I've planted. This year we had over 50 free-ranging ducklings born and almost as many chicks. We haven't lost a single one even though they are totally free-ranging. The homestead is surrounded by thousands of acres of timberland with lots of predators so it's pretty amazing.

We currently have 3 puppies, 3 months old, that are seeking their forever home with a wonderful family on a Permaculture homestead. I believe dogs come to Earth with a special destiny, to be companions to a certain special individual or family. I have it in my head that these particular puppies are going to find their destiny here, on permies.com.  These are working pups so it's important that they find the RIGHT place with the right people so they can do their job.

These pups are incredibly strong, healthy and well-socialized with people, livestock and other dogs. They've been raised on a steady diet of raw cow and sheep milk that I milk everyday, fresh duck and chicken eggs, and raw and cooked meat, fat and bones. I work for the local butcher and they get more than they can eat everyday. Their bowl is never empty. This litter even had two moms. A female from a previous litter who has never been pregnant wanted to be helpful. She jumped in and helped care for them from the birth and actually started producing milk. She team-nursed them for 6 weeks! These puppies are very well-nourished and well-loved and cared for. They've had the best puppy-hood anyone can imagine. They learn what they're supposed to do by watching and training with the older dogs. They have total freedom to explore their environment and may come and go at will. As a result, they are already incredibly competent.

We're located on the southern Olympic Peninsula. If you're nearby and needing an LGD, I'd love to talk to you, especially if you feel in your heart these must be the right dogs for you. There is a re-homing fee we can discuss by phone. We're open to trades too.  

We prefer to adopt sibling pairs unless the adopting family already has an LGD. They work best in teams. After all, coyotes work in teams too. A single LGD can be vulnerable.
3 years ago
That is a sad and scary story about your cousin's son and I'm so sorry he experienced that.

Thank you for this link. I agree with all 5 points and will use this link to help people understand about this unique breed.

People who adopt Great Pyrenees need to be equally unique and live in uniquely appropriate locations...like boundless wild mountain or forest land with lots of wildlife and few or no neighbors (somewhat rare these days).

I do agree that socialization is everything for any dog, but especially a dog expected to perform livestock guardian duties. There's an old-fashioned notion we've all heard that says you should not socialize a LGD to be a pet, that they should stay only with the flock at all times. In today's world so full of people it seems prudent to raise a well-balanced dog who knows human love and does not ever learn to react out of fear. Most homesteaders want their LGD to be part of the family. We believe in maximum socialization all along the way in a puppy’s life. We are always home and our pups are always with us and often our flock too. We practice a form of shepherding where we are present with the flock/herd as they graze in the forest, helping us create small meadows within the large forest, each meadow to be intensively and rotationally grazed, and ultimately surrounded by food forest/hedgerows (according to our Pc design). The dogs are an important part of helping all this occur in a good way.

Our pups are free to develop at their own rates and are treated with patience, encouragement and lots of love at all times. Their family(pack) is always all around them and they learn everything from them....and us. We instill in them a sense that we (the people) are the "calm-assertive" pack leaders*(*read Cesar Millan's books) and that they have a job to do (keep predators at bay, care for the sheep and people. Luckily they do this instinctually so we get along fine!. They do need to be taught boundaries however and that's part of establishing pack leadership. Healthy balanced puppies naturally want to please their pack leaders and will happily submit to the rules once they understand. At a certain age, of course, they will test their boundaries. It’s part of growing up. The "Power of the Pack" is everything to the dog and having a healthy balanced pack is the most effective way to raise a balanced pup.

I also agree that GPs tend to mature slower than other dogs, 3 years is just about a grown-up.
People who want to adopt a GP should realize they will be raising a youngster for at least 3 years and going through all the stages that go along with it. They should spend full time with their pup like they would a child and not lock it away. Plus, they should consider they will likely have this companion for a long time, 14, even 18 years.

As for the pack question, as with everything it's a question of balance. Too few dogs presents certain problems as does too many. The "just-right" number depends on the circumstances of each farm/family, considering what are the tasks/risks/challenges/land/wildlife/livestock/acreage/etc.

As for grooming your GP, this is really important. Our friend’s sister is a dog groomer and she gave us a brush made special for a Great Pyrenees. I highly recommend this avenue because our dog’s fur destroyed so many normal dog brushes before we ran across this fairly indestructible and totally effective model.



Thanks for your input.
5 years ago
AWESOME SIBLING PAIR OF GREAT PYRENEES PUPS AVAILABLE FOR ADOPTION TO THE RIGHT PERMACULTURE HOME!

We started our permaculture homestead project on raw forested land in the southern Olympic mountains with one female Great Pyrenees. She is spectacular. We soon got a GP male and we've since had a few litters of amazing pups, with our original GP and also her amazing first born daughter. These are wonderful dogs with calm gentle temperaments who are very adept at their job and work GREAT as a team. We have ZERO pedator problems! They're very well socialized and loving with humans and livestock. They've been raised with sheep and lambs and love to play with the lambs without hurting them.

We have two pups left from our last litter. We love them so much it's hard to adopt them away. But we have enough dogs now (we kept one from each litter) so we must. We have been blessed and amazed to find many awesome homesteaders in our region via local craigslist but alas ads for livestock guardian dogs on craigslist are often flagged and removed making it hard. We understand there are well-meaning people out there trying to insure the safety of animals and we agree with their intentions anyway. So to avoid that problem, we're looking on Permies for THE RIGHT most perfect forever home for this awesome team of sibling brother pups. They are about 11 weeks old now and truly fantastic animals. You will have to try HARD to convince us that you are nice enough people and have an awesome enough set-up to be a good home for them....including a farm or homestead, livestock in need of protection, stable family, lots of food, etc....

We have a little website we made with lots of pictures and more info about the pups, like how we feed them (nutrient dense traditional food~lots of bones and meat) etc. Anyone who's interested can write me and I'll send you a link and see what you think and we can talk.

Please note: Our animals are very strong and super-healthy, raised in a natural environment (wild forest), in a family/pack, with guardian tasks and never caged or confined. We are proud of the life they live and know that they are super-happy, stable and balanced animals. We now have the small pack that we need to keep our place safe and are not planning on breeding anymore. In the meantime we feel happy that we've been able to help out several other homesteaders in need of livestock guardian dogs, all who say LGDs are not that easy to come by. We believe in keeping the domestic animal population in balance. But someone has to breed great dogs or there won't be any more. We've done a good job of raising our pups.

Here's a couple pictures for a preview:

I look forward to talking with you. huckleberryleonard@gmail.com
5 years ago
We have a great batch of Homestead and Livestock Guardian puppies perfect for Permaculture homesteaders in the Pacific NW. They are of mixed ancestry but mostly Great Pyrenees...and, even more importantly they've been raised by a pack of all~or mostly all~Great Pyrenees adult dogs on our wild forested homestead in the southern Olympic Mountains.

We LOVE our pack of LGDs. We could not be homesteading in this location without them. We NEVER have any trouble from predators, not coyote, no bear, no cougar, not even deer or elk nibbling on our young fruit trees.

We also LOVE permies.com! And we want to make a special offer to anyone who reads this and wants to adopt our puppies. Because we love Permaculture homesteaders too, we're offering sibling pairs to you for $100 less than we've been asking from other folks. Why? Because raising great dogs is a lot of work but not as much as finding really great homes for them. We go through dozens of requests and interviews for every one good home we find. Plus, we're totally open to trading with you.

Please take a look at the site we made about them and see what you think:
http://omguardiandogs.huckleberryleonard.com/

There are those who give us the what-for about hybridizing Great Pyrenees. Well, first of all, it wasn't entirely our idea, but that's another story. Secondly, it's 90+ degrees today and our full Great Pyr male is passed out under a log. All the other dogs have much shorter fur and are awake, running around and much happier. When he goes running through the brush, he comes back like a seed-bank. Seeds~and dirt~ fall off the silky fur of the puppies. I spend hours brushing mats out of our beloved Great Pyr's fur...all the other dogs LOVE getting brushed, but they don't need it at all. So there are plenty of advantages including hybrid-vigor.

We figure the main thing is how we raise them. These puppies have never seen the inside of a dog-crate, but they do spend a large portion of their lives inside the fenced sheep enclosure. They love the sheep and the sheep think the puppies are part of the flock. The puppies kiss the sheep on the lips! We break another accepted rule~we spend a lot of time with the puppies and give them lots of human love and attention. They sleep on the floor of our cabin and come and go through the dog-door. We love our puppies and we think it's a good thing to socialize them to humans.
Then is their diet. We feed them a nutrient-dense diet that includes lots of raw meat and bones, bone broth, lard and tallow, milk, kefir and eggs. They're super-healthy and strong. Their bowl is almost never empty and they are never hungry. We think this makes for strong bodies and stable temperaments.

They're at a perfect age right now to adopt and begin training them to do what you want them to do.

Looking forward to hearing from you,
Huckleberry

5 years ago
Thanks for that story as well as your well wishes!
As it turns out, it seems the father of this litter is indeed our male Pyr....we assumed he was too young, (6 months) but apparently not totally.
...in some ways he was quite young and we're now thinking it could be why 2 of the 11 are so small compared to the rest.
They have all their senses and are quick and clever and can scrap with the big boys...but they are small....

This is quite the experience! It's fascinating to watch dogs in a natural environment raising their young.
The mama, papa and grandmother (our working pack) all work together to take care of the puppies~they keep a watchful eye 24/7, they play/fight with and discipline the puppies, run to see when one cries, and gently lick everyone to sleep....and they keep working throughout it all. The puppies admire and are quite aware of the adult dogs.

I'll see if I can attach a picture or two...

Thanks again to permies.com. You meet the nicest people here!
Definitely the kind of people who can love and appreciate Great Pyrenees.
It's people like you we're hoping will adopt these puppies~(maybe you have a friend in need of an LGD?)
Puppies will be ready in a week (around Jan 20)

5 years ago
Hi Permies~
I agree with Paul that "if you have acreage, a livestock guardian breed of dog is the way to go"

First let me say this~ we LOVE and ADMIRE our small pack of Pyrs that keep our livestock, gardens and fruit trees safe every day and night...We have NO problems with any sort of predators, not even a single deer or elk nibbling the young fruit trees... even though we're in an area with plenty of predators all around. I highly recommend these kind of dogs to people like us ....

These are not just any dog!

In our opinion, there's no more loving and beautiful solution than having Great Pyrenees in the farm family. Much more beautiful than fences everywhere....

That said, we have an unplanned large litter of Great Pyr/Mix puppies (5 weeks old) and we're looking for people with really great homes for them (when they're ready)...that's why I'm posting this here.
These puppies belong on small farms with really awesome loving people living authentic lives intertwined with the natural world....like permies people!


These puppies, while mixed, are still showing good LGD characteristics. It is our young female's first litter. The puppies are half neighbor's farm dog (large black lab-looking mutt). Most of them are white and Pyr-looking, a few black with white toes, and one chocolate brown. They are strong with luscious shiny coats. An important note~these dogs smell good! And their fur is nice to touch. They are all-around nice to have around.

These dogs are extremely sensitive and intelligent. They will look deeply into your eyes for a long time (the puppies already do this too) and you can communicate with them lovingly. They listen and respond. Punishment is unnecessary and not helpful. They may on occasion have a different idea than their people about what needs to be done...but we've discovered that Dog knows best~ and we've learned to give them their own lead. Indeed, Great Pyrenees have had this relationship with pastoral humans for a long time. For the small family farmer/rancher today, they KNOW what to do and they REALLY want to do it.

And, contrary to some opinions, we've discovered you CAN love them like family/pets and they will STILL do their job, better than ever actually.
Great Pyrenees are a huge blessing to those of us living on the land and raising food & livestock.

So, in light of who these puppies are ~and with consideration for the terrible fates that some puppies can and do meet by being traded online~ we are only willing to allow these puppies to go to good homes. If you or (someone you know) is interested, here's some questions we want to know: Do you have land? These are not house-dwellers or city dogs. Livestock? Other dogs? How/what will you feed them? What food crops do you grow? Where will they sleep? How will you treat them? Can you take the extra care it requires to raise a good dog from a puppy? Can you handle the chewing/chasing/playing phase followed by a brief and slightly willful adolescent phase? What about reproduction~or not? We care about our puppies! If you are interested, please email me at huckleberryleonard@gmail.com with some information and a good time we can talk by phone.

In the meantime, I'd love to read about other people's experiences with LGDs on Permaculture farms....
5 years ago