Saturday, June 22, 2024

A Belated Welcome to Stretch

Stretch joined the farm in the fall of 2022, but I never did a post about him. He is a Great Pyrenees livestock guardian dog. My 4th. He has not been neutered. He stays with the sheep. He was given to me because he suffered a seizure (as a pup) and the breeder/trainer did not feel comfortable selling the dog to anyone. She knew I was looking for another guardian dog, but wasn't inclined to fork over $1000. It's hard to justify such an expense when you have small flock and no apparent predator problems. 

11 months old

At first Stretch was very timid. Now he is not. Sometimes, he is too playful. Like a lot of guardian dogs on small farms, he'd probably prefer to be a pet -- but I think he's got a pretty good life as an outside dog. He's so-so as a livestock guardian dog. He has never harmed any of the sheep, but he moves fast and often scares them, causing them to knock things over. That's not really his fault. He guards his food pretty closely. He does a good job patrolling the perimeters of the property. I wish he would scare the guinea fowl away. The same neighbor has released guinea fowl into the neighborhood again.

Last year, on the day I was to leave for the airport to go to Ireland, I found Stretch with a face-full of porcupine quills. I dropped him off at the vet and my farm sitter picked him up.  I tried pulling a few of the quills (he let me), but thought he would need a more thorough job.  He did. A year or so ago, he had an encounter with a skunk. I guess he's doing his job. 

Stretch and Ty are good buddies.

Like my other Great Pyrenees livestock guardian dogs, Stretch is a gentle giant. He lets me do most anything to him (unlike Ty, the crazy dog). He listens to me. Stretch gets along well with Ty.  I just wish Stretch hated guinea fowl. The vet didn't think Stretch would have any more seizures after the first one, but there was no guarantee. He has not had any seizures since I have had him. He's been healthy. His only problem is the bug bites on his nose, same as the other dogs used to get.

They all love the snow.

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