If you have been following us long you know about our amazing farm dog, Tundra, and all his heroic stories. He is truly awesome and such a blessing to us. He has protected thousands of dollars worth of livestock over the years. He is 12-years-old now, and literally priceless and irreplaceable in our eyes. We would not be able to do what we do and have it come out as successfully as it has without a livestock guardian dog. We have mountain lions, bears, bobcats, raccoons, and aerial predators all anxious to get a shot at an easy meal in our barnyard. Last year we had 8 break-in attempts made by bears on the barn at night – all of which were stopped because of Tundra. We hear stories from friends in our area losing their chickens and other livestock to predators EVERY year. It is so very important that we have a dog to guard the livestock that we really cannot go without one. But Tundra is over 12 now, and showing his age more and more.
So, two years ago, in our search for the perfect dog to follow in Tundra’s footsteps, we found the Old-Time Scotch Collie breed and purchased a male pup who we named Finley.
Finley was raised out in the barn and Tundra did a great job teaching him the ropes of how to guard the livestock. He is super smart and completely capable of handling the job of guarding and living with the livestock. The problem is that Finley doesn’t really WANT to guard the livestock. And over time he started causing all sorts of trouble in the barnyard. We tried many different training techniques to get Fin through what we thought was just a teenage puppy stage – but nothing worked. Then Finley had his toe amputation incident, which put him indoors for 6 weeks healing. During that time peace came back to the barnyard. Tundra and all the livestock seemed much happier. And Finley was definitely much happier – living with the humans and going to work with Mtn Man. We realized that while his breed is a great farm-dog breed, it just isn’t in Finley’s heart to live with the livestock and no amount of forcing is going to change that. He wants to be with humans, not livestock.
Maybe we picked the wrong pup – in that we picked the pup in the litter that was the most friendly and affectionate. Maybe that was the wrong choice for a dog that would be expected to be a LGD living with the livestock. But regardless, we are not going to try anymore to force him to be where he doesn’t want to be. We have experienced a true LGD that loves his job and doesn’t want to be anywhere else (in our excellent farm dog Tundra). And because of that great experience we are not willing to force a dog into that position that doesn’t really have the heart or desire for it. A working dog doing what they were bred to do and what they LOVE is such a beautiful and wonderful thing. And it is ruined when a dog that doesn’t love his job is forced to do it anyway.
So Finley changed roles on the farm, becoming Mtn Man’s constant shadow and work companion – which they are both very happy with. But that left us with no livestock guardian dog for the barnyard once Tundra is gone.
We have been trying to figure out what to do. We researched a bunch of breeds of LGD, and considered getting another OTSC. From our research we believe that most breeds of LGD would be unhappy at our farm since the space is so small. The barnyard is only about 1/4 acre and most LGDs are bred to roam large pastures with their livestock. And we have known some very unhappy LGDs on small acreage like ours that bark constantly, pace, and dig. We don’t want to keep a dog like that. We want another dog like Tundra that loves where he lives and what he does and is completely content to lay up in a high spot and watch over his charges. After talking with several breeders we found that one potential breed that might work and be happy at our farm would be the Anatolian Shepherd.
After a lot of waiting, and then an interesting turn of events, we found just the right Anatolian for our farm.
We named her Anya. She is about 10-months-old and such a great addition to the farm family. She is super laid back. She seems very content – not showing any anxious behaviors and choosing most of the time to lay along the fence and watch over everything.
So blessed to have another working LGD on the farm!