Look at that little, smooshy face!
Zander is our new little Great Pyrenees puppy who, though his arrival has been in the works for awhile now, just arrived here at the farm last night. Zander means defender. And, as a Great Pyrenees, that is what we hope "Z" will be -- defender and protector of the herd.
We hear coyotes nearly every night. Some nights they sound entirely too close by. Since we moved the goats to the farm in the summer, we've felt we needed a protector. Great Pyrenees make great LGD's or Livestock Guardian Dogs. If you've ever witnessed a guardian dog in action, you know that it is truly remarkable. They are bonded to their herd and are constantly on alert. If they perceive a threat, they position themselves between the threat and the herd. Their sheer size and bark is typically enough to encourage retreat, which is fine by the Pyrenees as they are not really attack dogs.
You may recall that this is not the first time we've welcomed a Pyr to the farm. Molly was our first, but we realized pretty early on that we'd made a mistake with her. When we came to own her, she was already full-grown and had never been in close proximity with goats. Though the breed is instinctually protective of his stock, the bonding between guardian dog and his stock needs to happen when the dog is young. We learned this the hard way with Molly, when she attacked Chip, our little buckling.
We are hoping that things will go much better this go-around, as we definitely see the benefits of having a guardian dog out in the goat field. At his breeder's farm, Zander was already spending time with young goats, so he's already on the right track. Here at the farm, we are socializing Zander literally by the book. We've put up a dog pen inside the goat field so that he and the goats can get used to the idea of each other. And, he is already having supervised time with the goats. So far, they've been rather suspect of him. Most of them stay clear, but Nutmeg is pretty intent on sniffing him. She sniffs everything -- that crazy goat!
In his first 24 hours here, Zander and I have already learned some things about each other.
I learned is that an 11-week-old Great Pyrenees is much larger than I'd expected. Weighing in at almost 25 pounds, he's already plenty big enough to wander around in the goat field without fear that he'll slip through the fence somewhere. I'll be returning the collar I bought him and trading it in for a larger size.
And, I learned on our little walk around the chicken field that Zander is not fond of the leash.
To his credit, he learned very quickly that the leash is much more bearable if he'll stick close to me.
He's also learned that I love to smoosh his little furry face, cupping it in my hands. I can almost hear him rolling his eyes, but I persist. I just can't help it.