When we still lived in town and Ethan's office and youth center were attached to our house, he got a little treeing cur. Sophie, his dog, lived next door in his office (I don't want dogs in the house) to give him company during the day. She is a great little town dog! ;)
When we moved to the farm, Sophie had a little adjusting to do. She loved living outside, but when winter came, she ended up staying in the mud room. At the time we didn't have a shed (which is where she goes now in the winter), so I caved and let her in. But no further than the mudroom!
When we moved to the farm, I decided that although Sophie is a nice little doggie, she wasn't really a farm dog. Farm dogs are big, tough, and burly. Sophie is, well, not that. So I told Ethan that I wanted a big dog. We talked about breeds and eventually decided to get a great pyrenees. Not only are they big, tough, and burly, but they are great livestock guardian dogs.
As a side note, we have seen the Lord's provision in so many ways since we started this farming journey, including providing for my desire to have a big dog on the property. At the time, Ethan was still coaching soccer so we decided to wait until soccer season was done to bring in a new puppy. At the end of the soccer season, at the soccer banquet, one of the parents asked Ethan if we had a farm dog. (I laughed because Ethan and I would have given different answers.) He proceeded to ask if we would happen to want a great pyrenees pup. He had two he wanted to give away! Of course we said yes, although we only took one. And that is how Jack came to the farm.
I hold my ground though that Jack is the better dog. Yes, he eats a lot, but he has MUCH better manners than Sophie. Although he is a bit of a brute and does get in the way, he doesn't jump all over - like another dog does that lives here. :) As far as not doing his job, I have some explanations for that. First of all, we wanted him to be a guard dog for our family. That is why he sleeps so much by the house. As far as livestock by the house, his livestock guardian nature is coming out. (He is not a herding dog, by the way!) He knows who is supposed to be here and who isn't. In his mind, the cattle and pigs belong here so why chase them away. Also, I have heard that his breed is very good at discerning good and bad company (see my previous sentence), so when people come here that are friendly, why bark at them either? So, my theory is that Jack just hasn't had the chance to prove his capabilities much. He does get credit though for being up a lot at night and barking at things in the woods. (Although some nights when he keeps me up I will join Ethan in the camp that Sophie is better!)
This winter, however, has been a bit rough on Jack's reputation with Ethan. I have heard that my dog is worthless a few times. Especially when we had coyotes in the shed getting chickens a couple times while Jack (and Sophie, I might add) were in there. This is true. I can't deny it. I will say that I caught a coyote in there once when I went to get eggs and it must have been quite sneaky. As soon as I spooked it, the dogs went wild.
WELL . . . today was Jack's day to shine. As I was getting ready for lunch I heard both dogs going crazy outside. I looked out the window to find Sophie barking by the house and Jack attacking a coyote! It was quite the site. Both Jack and the coyote had their front paws on each other and were biting each other. Jack ended up on top and chased the coyote until he had him cornered by some hay bales. He proceeded to attack him there. Then he would stop and just kind of stare the coyote down, kind of like saying "I dare you". After a little stare down, he would attack him again, and then stare him down again. This went back and forth for quite awhile. Finally Jack let the coyote by and chased in towards the driveway gate.
|Unfortunately I didn't get an attack picture, but here is the "I dare you". (click on photo to enlarge)|
This must have been a very hungry coyote, because it kept trying to turn around and come back in the yard. Jack kept on his tail though and got him out the drive. Then he chased him across the road, into the neighbor's field, and ACROSS the field to the woods, and then came back home. (Jack rarely leaves the property.)
I then sent a message to Ethan at work that JACK is the better dog!
So now that Jack has had an opportunity to prove his worth, hopefully he will gain some respect around here. And now that he's gotten a taste and smell of coyote, hopefully he will be able to keep the sneaky ones out of the shed and keep some respect. :) After all, he is the better dog!