Do you know how difficult it is to get three or four kids plus a dog to look at the camera at the same time, much less smiling? Very. Very, very, very. This was the best I could do. But aren’t they cute anyway? See how much they love Jupiter? He cries when they leave; he loves them, too.
For now, Maya can pick him up. He just lets her. The only annoying habit he has is jumping up on the kids when he sees them, and that’s just him being a puppy. We are trying to patiently train that out of him. His jumping isn’t even bad – considering how big he already is, it’s a very gentle jump. He’s just great with the kids. For now, I try to be firm in pushing him down and saying, “Down, Jupiter!” when he jumps. I have also rolled him onto his side (like a mama dog would do to her young if they were doing something she didn’t like), holding his muzzle, saying, “Down!” Do you have any puppy training tips for me? We will be working on leash training this week, walking him around the pasture that will one day be his to roam, trying to teach him how to walk on a leash and learn where his territory is. I am so new at training a puppy, much less a livestock guardian dog, and I need help. Books? Tips?
Jupiter is currently in a 16′ x 16 pen formed by cattle panels and chicken wire, doubled up (because he can sneak out the holes in the cattle panels until he gets a little bigger). We get him out for exercise daily, and try to go in and pet him every time we do poultry chores (twice daily, usually). This is just temporary until we figure out a bigger run for his first year. He can’t be left alone with the chickens, so we can’t let him have the whole three acre pasture until he’s older and more trustworthy (and until we’ve actually fenced said three acre pasture). He has a plastic house and tarp for shade/lounging. Guess where he chooses to sleep? On the ground, under the tarp. We have put his food inside the house just to see if that helps him figure out that he can sleep there, but he only goes in to eat. I did see him in the house during a particularly heavy rainstorm, so at least there’s that. Great Pyrenees just like to be outdoors! I’ve read and heard that they rarely go in their shelters, even in winter.
Our new Buckeye chickens! They’re juveniles, around 2-3 months old. They don’t like or trust me yet, so they huddle in the back of their chicken tractor every time I come near. They are so docile and less jumpy than any juveniles I’ve ever seen or had. Any juveniles that we’ve had in the past would be jumping on those roosts and playing King of the Hill all day; I have yet to see one of these Buckeyes get on the roost of its own volition. We have tried putting them on the roosts after dark, but they’re always huddling on the ground by morning. I know they’ll figure it out eventually, but I can’t believe how un-jumpy these chickens are.
Our pole barn. I don’t think I’ve ever shown it. It looks so picturesque in this shot, and it’s really a very nice setting, but it needs work. Lots of work. The roof leaks, the sliding doors need relocating, and the dirt floor inside is so hilly that you could sled on it. The barn has been empty of animals for probably 10+ years, but has been a junkyard for the previous owners since then. It’s still their junkyard now; they took one truckload out of the barn after we requested that they empty it, but they never came back for the rest of the junk. So we have a lot of stuff to toss. (Very little of it is reusable in any way, which saddens me.) There are also lots of wasps nests, both abandoned and live. Our neighbors recall that the previous owners housed five large horses in this barn (built for three medium ones) at one time. It shows it – it’s quite beat up. At the very least, fixing the roof and leveling the floor will give us a place to start. I’d like to have poultry and dog pens in there by winter, with attached fenced runs with gates for free ranging.
Happy Memorial Day!