Great Pyrenees vs Australian Cattle Dog

The farm this year is an animal farm, for sure! I farmed alongside cows and goats for a few seasons, raised chickens for meat and eggs for the last two years, BUT, this is the year I’m plunging headfirst into the world of FARM ANIMALS EVERYWHERE, critters of all shapes and sizes (and breeds), woven into the daily tiny farming experience.

The relationships between the seven dogs and two cats alone is complex, entertaining…and useful. The four Great Pyrenees are working livestock guardian dogs, living outdoors (and in the barn) year round, keeping watch and patrolling the property. They keep predators out, killing intruders when necessary (you don’t want foxes in the henhouse!). This is a critical job because there are also free-ranging chickens, turkeys and geese, baby pigs, sheep about to lamb…lots to look out for, lots to EAT.

Meanwhile, with all that protection work, at least one of the Great Pyrenees still finds lots of time to kick back and mess around. In the pic, Rollie, the youngest GP, and just a huge puppy at around 8 months, tugs it out with Pi, an Australian Cattle Dog, also under a year old (it’s just a stuffed animal they’ve got there). Business as usual!

14 thoughts on “Tug-o-war”

  1. Adorable! We have a german shepherd pup who is constantly in play with either the cat or our goats.  Not sure if she thinks they are also dogs or just her toys, either way she’s looking out for them :)

  2. Oh thank goodness, I thought that was a chicken they had! I love to see your Great Pyr dogs, they are just gorgeous!! I really enjoy your blog tidbits and look forward to more as the season gets into full swing!.

  3. Love it, Dogs are great work animals.
    Yesterday on my parents farm I opened the big grain shed door to gid rid of the last of our wheat, when our mad spaniel darted for the top of the shed. I thought that it was to catch a rat or mouse as usual, but a few seconds later a fox darts out with the dog running along side gripping its neck (the fox was bigger than the dog). They then ran up and down the shed a few times before tearing up the yard and up the road followed by me waving my arms, shouting the dog and trying to get someone to help before she got run over. Luckily she stopped about 10 yards up the road came back looking pleased with herself and let the wounded fox carry on, (she’s better trained than I thought).
    Dogs have a nack of making the day interesting!

  4. What a lot of doggie personalities to manage.  It looks like they have a lot of fun, but I’m not so sure about the stuffed animal–not near as much fun for it.  My two dogs have  a lot of fun together too, but usually just chasing each other.

  5. Hi,Tiny!
    I’m Figen.My blog is name,butik çiftlik(butique farm).My farm in  Turkey.I following your blog and this very beatiful.
    P.S.Im speak English is bad.Sorry.

  6. Great picture. Lovely to see them playing. Need to wait till fencing done in my garden until my 3 can play like that or they are off out around the village. Mind you here in France, everyone else just lets their dogs roam free.
    Smallholdings for sale

  7. Hi,
    Your farm sounds wonderful. I have always wanted to live on a farm. I have to settle for a small backyard garden. There are not many/any organic farms around here. Your dogs are so cute…..animals are so entertaining. Have a wonderful day.

  8. so tonight I was just musing about homesteading. As my husband and are venturing out on that track. We live in the city with less than a third of an acre with 14 chickens a garden and none other than yours truly a Great Pyrenees. Thats actually what caught my eye on the blog. I have so far only read this article… to read more.  So the post is… how did you encourage the dog not to “play” with the chickens? Ours is 8 months old 2 months ago we had to start keeping her tied up because she “played” with a chicken too much and …. oops. My speculation is she does not have enough to do around here, she needs more work. We are hoping to buy 5-10 acres in the beginning of next year. **  I am sure this will make her feel more accomplished therefore leaving them alone. And I am sure her being a pup doesn’t help. Thanks.

  9. Becky,
    That’s a great question and one I’m sure every homesteader has faced at one point or another. Whether it’s my childhood teddy-bear or a real-live chicken, the importance of curbing this behaviour immediately is obvious (and the latter is certainly more serious), and one we’ve tackled with various methods that you won’t see on the Dog Whisperer.
    I’m afraid the speculation that your pup is just bored is beside the point. Giving her more space won’t cure her of “playful” behaviours, though she will soon grow out her puppy stage. It’s important though that you address these behaviours now so she doesn’t carry them with her into adulthood.
    There is never any need or excuse to resort to physical violence when reprimanding your pet and/or guardian dog, and will likely yield undesired results anyway, like creating a timid and fearful animal that’ll always be running away from you.
    The key here is swift and firm action. You need to catch them in the act or very shortly after so that they associate their firm scolding with their unacceptable behaviour. You really need to communicate the seriousness of their actions here, so take your dog by the scruff, and the chicken, and in a loud and disapproving voice, tell them that this is very, very bad. Don’t be afraid to shout a little (a lot) here.  This doesn’t have to go on forever, just tell them loud and clear, in your meanest voice three or four times that this is “very, very baaaad” (and like Cesar says, never use your dog’s name when reprimanding them. You don’t want them have negative associations with their name, otherwise they won’t come when you call them). You want to be holding your dog and the chicken while doing this.
    Preemptively, to train your dog before incident occurs, you can put your dog and a few chickens in a large pen under observation, and holler loudly every time you see her chase, lunge, or even sniff in the chickens direction. Don’t leave them unattended, but let your dog think you might not be watching a few times to see if she’s getting the point. If not, jump out and shout again.
    Now, if this doesn’t work, and you find you’ve gone through a few chickens, then this next step may seem a little gruesome, cruel and unusual (it is). Remember, your ‘guardian’ dog is killing your livestock, and this calls for extreme measures. This is an old farmers trick, and it really works.
    Tether or pen your dog, and tie the dead chicken around their neck so that they can’t get away from it. Even the dog will find this repulsive, especially in the hot summer sun for a few hours. You don’t have to leave them tied up like this for days, hopefully an afternoon of this ‘scarlet letter’ treatment will be enough to severely embarrass and abolish them of their abhorrent behaviours forevermore.
    Lastly, if you don’t think you can stomach the public humiliation method, get a remote controlled shock-collar and follow them around for a day or two, zapping whenever they display an inkling toward ‘playing’ with one of your prized poultry. I prefer the old farmers trick to a shock-collar any day, so this really is a last resort, and not to be confused with a bark-activated collar (which i think really is pretty cruel. besides, they’re supposed to bark, it keeps the coyotes away. but that’s another post…)
    Best of luck and happy farming,
    Fox Jones,
    Wholearth Farm

  10. hey i love to read your blog i was wondering how many animals do you have in total. i want a tiny farm too but mostly for animals any tips??


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