The Farm Dog

Anyone who has been following Willow Creek Farm for a while knows about Tundra, our amazing farm dog.  You also have heard me go on and on about how great he is.  He truly is the most important animal on the property because he is the one protecting every other important thing on the property.  Our backyard farm would not be as good as it is without him on duty.  He has chased off innumerable predators, killed innumerable vermin, and saved our livestock over and over again.  He is wonderful.

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You can read more details about him in a post I did last year.  Click here for that.

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This morning I realized that there is another really important job he does that I didn’t tell you all about.  We have elk and mule deer in abundance in our area.  Barely a day goes by that a herd of one or the other doesn’t cross our property.  The elk especially in this area are alarmingly unafraid of people and dogs.  They are also keenly away of the fact that farm animals mean hay, and hay means a free and easy meal.  They are totally happy to jump a fence and chase off horses, cattle, sheep, or goats from hay and eat it themselves.  This is where Tundra comes in.

Garden Enemy #1 - Saw this guy taking an afternoon rest today.  I love it when their antlers are growing in and are covered in velvet!  Beautiful to look at, bad for ones garden.

This morning I heard him alarm barking.  I went to see what was going on.  There was a herd of about 15 elk all right up against the fence checking out the sheep’s breakfast and trying to decide whether they were going to steal it or not.  Tundra would run at them, low to the ground, ears back, snarling and barking.  As he got near the fence they would run back several yards and look at him.  He would pace the fence growling at them for a bit.  Then he would go lay by the sheep, watching them.  They would wait awhile, then slowly approach the fence again.  Again he would charge the fence, ears back, all business.  He was not going to tolerate them even thinking about taking HIS sheep’s hay.  And he wasn’t even phased by the elk’s size.  He didn’t care.  He was not going to allow them in HIS barnyard.  It was great!  I verbally praised him and he trotted around with his head up a bit in a proud manner.  Then he gave a few snarls to the elk to remind them he was still there and his owner was proud of the job he was doing.

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I went back inside, knowing that I didn’t have to worry about them stealing the hay with Tundra on the job.  He is truly invaluable.

7 thoughts on “The Farm Dog

  1. Very impressive. Wrigley barked at a deer from the safety of the deck the other week. I didn’t let her off the deck, not sure what she would do. I will add that it took about 10 minutes of pointing and saying “there’s a deer over there” before she caught sight of it. Good thing she’s cute.
    Ed

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    • When he was a pup we didn’t have a farm and he went to work with my husband each day and hubby taught him the basics of come, sit, etc. All his farm dog knowledge has come solely from something already inside of him. He so desperately cares about pleasing my husband that he takes care of what he sees my husband take care of. He sees him feed and care for the livestock and that translates to him as “when dad isn’t here I need to take care of these things for him.” With him it is not something that could be taught, it is just within him.
      As he is aging we are desperately searching for a breed we can buy that has the same temperament. We were just blessed that we happened to get a mixed breed with these traits and we don’t want to risk that not happening with another mixed breed. The desire to please and protect is what we need. We have found a couple of breeds that the description sounds just like Tundra; the English Shepherd and the Scotch Collie and we are talking to breeders. We want to get a pup and let Tundra help us train it and we want an overlap of the two dogs because if Tundra dies and we are without a farm dog for awhile that could be very detrimental.
      Our friends just had a bear tear open their chicken coop Sunday night…just another reminder to us of Tundra’s importance.

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