Monday, September 30, 2013

Livestock Protection Dog

Looking through the picket fence
A People Petrifying Pup Lingers Laughing at the End of His Line  

A few days ago I noticed an oddity, unknown random kids coming down our street.  Two of these creatures were on bikes and one was pulling another on a street board of some sort while a fourth ran alongside.  

These kids were pushing 20.  Or else they were just really big, jaded 14 year-olds. 

Open windows are a beautiful thing.

Overheard from aforementioned kids,“Whoa (unrepeatable word) did you see that (unrepeatable word) dog in that yard?”

Kids all stop for a look.

Dog wakes up, shakes himself and charges; baying as if he were a demon-hound bent on tearing these roadside gawkers from limb to limb.
Chaos ensues with multiple shrieks of “RUN” and “Faster” being the general theme.

Until the dog reaches the end of his line and stops.  Just at the edge of the road.

Sweet at 3 months old
Let me tell you how we got here, to this place in life where we listened for screaming neighbors on a regular basis.

We got our son a dog who would grow to be a protector.  

We had a bear problem.  No joke, a rat terrier just wouldn’t cut it at our house.  

So, we get a Husky, Great Pyrenees cross.  The mom is 80lbs and the dad is 60.  

He isn’t supposed to top 80lbs with those genetics, right?  

Follow me down this rabbit trail to our 130lb behemoth named Kona.

Super sweet as a little guy.  Probably 30# here.

At one year old he is sweet and gentle, often knocking full grown men over with his tail.  When he stands up, which is often, he tops my husbands 6ft+.  

He has learned to protect and night after night he puts on his big boy bark and stomps the perimeter of our property letting the bears know that KONA is here.  

Our neighbors are relived he’s on the job too.  The bears make a giant detour around all our properties now.  

Hopefully he’s worth the chewed bicycle seats.  The only seat to survive in the entire block was the one stored in the attic of someone’s garage.  He didn’t just nibble either.  He ate the entire seat.   
All of them.
8 months

He also ate a queen size mattress cover from off the clothes line.  We hid the remnants before our neighbor noticed it was gone. Once he brought down remnants of a black negligee.  That was just too much.  We hid that too.

He also stole an entire chocolate cake from off her porch.  She said it stank because she burned it so it was okay.  She misses the Bundt pan though.  I was surprised he could swallow it.  Perhaps he didn’t and future archaeologists will find it buried with his other stash. 

A stash that includes things like outdoor furniture cushions, socks, blankets and miscellaneous tools. 

Even if I HAD a tendency to exaggerate, let me say right now – this is no exaggeration.  His puppy hood was fraught with embarrassment because he literally ate everything and anything. 

Due to feral dog and coyote packs running wild, Kona developed a passionate hate for other dogs.  He will hunt down and kill a coyote.  Our neighbors’ dogs were safe because they were there before him.  He’d run through the yard, doing his protection rounds and the little neighbor dogs would attack, hanging fiercely onto Kona’s belly fur until they were drug out into the woods.  This happened multiple times every day until the old one died of sheer exhaustion.

Walking my husband to work (the snow plow in this instance)
He’s pretty incredible really.  He can run 22 mph while jumping forest brush and stumps, pacing us the entire mile UP to the main road.  He’s partnered with the cat and hunts down wood rats in old brush piles.  He herds the children – this was actually tough for our 6 yr-old.  And best of all protects his people.  When uninvited guests come down our road, he sits in the middle of it and barks.  Most people would generally just back up – not bother to turn around –the entire 500 feet up to the next parking area. 

No one ever breaks into our house.

We became the livestock worth protecting to our genetically coded livestock protection dog (LPD).

At one year and over 6 feet tall, roughly 130 lbs.  Don't mess with this dog.  He's serious about protecting his peeps.
Would classify him in the 'doesn't share well' category.
Enter a major move from the mountains to the valley where he is suddenly a liability.  We had to put him on a run because we didn’t expect our new neighbors to understand the benefits of being adopted by an LPD.  

After all, there were no neighborhood bears threatening the children at dusk.  

Watching the flock.  He likes the Chickens
He does do a good job with our livestock, they all – including the 1.5lb free range rabbit – drink from his water dish, and he protects them from small predator animals like fox, coyote, raccoon and opossums. 

Before you all get wound up about a dog being tied, let me explain that he’s on a 100 foot run with a 20 ft lead.  This means he can go 20ft either direction for the entire length.  Many people with dogs don’t even have back yards 100 x 40 feet.  So he’s not hurting.  And neither are the people he charges.
True Story
An innocent, beyond middle-aged, heavy set woman is plodding down our street, strung behind two stodgy, Corgi looking crosses.  Her head is down, arms swinging as she tackles her constitutional exercise with a determination that shuts out any enjoyment of the outdoors.  Certainly her powers of observation are obstructed by her chuffing and wheezing. 

We are in the garden watching.  Just waiting.

The dog perks up.

Since the bears are scarce he has to settle for anything that crosses his path. 

He charges, baying once again like he’s out for blood, protecting his people from any perceived threat. 

130lbs of white fury is charging full tilt.

The woman throws up her hands, screams and drops her leads.  Not only has she lost her wits but her dogs are loose!

My husband takes off running to catch the dog by his collar before he can tear into one of these poor corgi- looking things which are headed straight for our dog.  They are yipping happily like they want to make friends with him!  They must be a singularly stupid variation of an ordinarily intelligent breed.

I’m moving my (really) late pregnancy body and yelling at the woman “Get your dogs, get your dogs!”

Kona hits the end of his line.
Our people petrifying pup
This dog is vicious.  Everyone wants to pet him.  It's a big mistake.  Don't get near our dog.  If you don't belong to him, he will attack you.  He loves his people and livestock to the point of complete devotion.  This is his genetics.  He's typical for an LPD.  If you have a small urban farm and you want to protect your livestock, an LPD could be the way to go.  Just do your research and realize that should you face such major life change as a move, these devoted creatures are impossible to re-home.  You are theirs, and theirs alone for life.
Taking care of his children even if it means sledding with them. 


  1. Great story! Thanks for sharing with us over at the Homeacre Hop! Please join us again soon!
    Mary :)

  2. What a wonderful story and gorgeous dog. Thanks for sharing with us at The HomeAcre Hop!

    Please join us again Thursday at: