The Farm Report: Guard Dogs

      172 Comments on The Farm Report: Guard Dogs

As you can see from the picture above, we’ve equipped the farm with a couple of ferocious guard dogs to keep predators away.  We named them Coco and Misha as the result of several hours of intense negotiations between Sara and Alana, who started out with little common ground (Alana’s first choice was “Lulu,” which Sara hated) but eventually worked through a list of possible names using a rating system developed by Alana and came to an agreement.

Sara is a major dog-lover, a trait she inherited from her father.  When we lived in a subdivision, anytime she spotted a neighbor walking a dog, she dropped whatever she was doing and ran outside.  I’d eventually have to go outside and say, “Sara, the nice lady would probably like to go home now.  Get the dog off your lap and say thank you.”  Chareva’s brother has a big ol’ pit bull named Henry, and whenever we visit her family in Chicago, Henry is the main attraction for Sara.  As we drove away after our Christmas visit in 2010, Sara was in tears.

“Don’t cry, Honey,” I said.  “You’ll see Grandma again soon enough.”

“I don’t miss Grandma (sob, sob).  I miss Henryyyyy!”

She has of course been begging us to buy a dog for years, but we always had to give the same answer: someday, when we own our own house with a decent-sized yard, we’ll get you a dog.

Well, we’re in the house and the yard certainly qualifies as “decent-sized,” so it was time.  Besides, a farm without a dog just feels wrong somehow.  On a purely practical level, we wanted a dog that’s big enough and scary enough to ward off any predators once we start raising chickens and sheep.  Coco and Misha aren’t big and scary now, but they’re rottweilers and will grow into the role. (That’s Misha below, demonstrating her escape and evasion tactics.)

Rottweilers have been bred as herders and guard dogs for centuries and were listed as one of the best farm-dog breeds in an article I read on the subject while doing a little research.  Once we decided to take the plunge, I suggested we look for a couple of siblings so they could keep each company.  It’s not as if they’ll be socializing with other dogs on nightly walks around the subdivision.

Since I work full-time in Nashville and spend most of my evenings working on other projects (like this blog), Chareva will be taking on the role of dog-trainer.  She told me years ago she’s not really a dog-lover like I am, but I’m already seeing her mommy instincts kicking in as she feeds them, pets them, talks to them, and of course cleans up their little dog puddles.

When we were at the pet shop on Saturday to buy a doggie bed and other pre-adoption necessities, I couldn’t help but notice the dog food.  Most of it was such junk, I’m surprised the USDA doesn’t require it on school-lunch menus.  One brand’s label bragged that it included protein for strength, dried fruit for good health, and whole grains for a healthy coat!

Head.  Bang.  On.  Display Case.

If anyone out there can explain to me why any natural carnivore anywhere in the world needs whole grains for a healthy coat, please do.  By contrast, the breeder who sold us Coco and Misha told us she mostly feeds rottweillers raw meat to keep them healthy.  And not just muscle meat, but livers, lungs, tripe, bone marrow and gizzards as well.

As she told Chareva, dogs need those organ meats in their diets to get all the necessary nutrients.  And by the way, if you feed them dog food made out of grains, that can make them fat and sick.

Funny how a dog breeder knows more about nutrition than the average doctor or dietitian, isn’t it?

After the puppies each consumed a half-pound of raw beef for dinner here in their new home, we took them out to the back yard to do their business.  As we approached the trees, I heard something that sounded reasonably large scamper off.  In my mind, the scampering critter was saying, “Holy @#$% – ROTTWEILERS!

Ha!  You think you’re scared now, critter?  Just wait until they’re grown.  Then try causing trouble around here.


If you enjoy my posts, please consider a small donation to the Fat Head Kids GoFundMe campaign.
Share

172 thoughts on “The Farm Report: Guard Dogs

  1. Becky

    Let us all know how Chareva feeds the dogs raw on a budget. I KNOW she will be a rockstar at it and I would appreciate some tips for my two grain-fed, overweight cats myself 🙂

    I’ll ask her to write it up.

    Reply
  2. kat loves dogs

    cute pups!!! you will have your hands full. and, big dog = big poop!
    I agree on CRATE TRAINING! google it. and no grain dog food.
    very important, no jumping up on people, even when little, as they will be BIG in no time. no biting, even if playing. and buy them A LOT of CHEW toys! a LOT. I mean keep several in every room. and in the car.

    my big puppy is now 6 months old and 65 lbs. (yellow lab) so fun, and a lot of work.

    very happy for you, and your girls.

    They’ll learn not to jump on people come hell or high water. I can’t stand that, even with little dogs.

    Reply
  3. Brianna

    I am in total agreement with all of the training comments above. They MUST start training classes very soon. Small dogs are just really annoying if they get naughty but we are talking about very very large dogs here that my just grow to be HUGE on the proper diet. They will easily soon be able to knock over the girls in mere puppy exuberance so they need to start training in obedience and behavior as soon as possible.

    To be completely honest this really scares me your girls and your wife are tiny….the dogs will soon outweigh all of them.

    Personally I think a Llama is a much better guard for sheep. And unless you have coyotes a medium sized dog is plenty to guard chickens… not sure that even a rottie or two could take on a coyote pack though.

    I hope they don’t have to take on a coyote pack. I hope their size and their loud barks keeps the coyotes from even thinking about a confrontation.

    The dogs start a training class next week. Meanwhile, they’ve already learned “sit” and “stay.”

    Reply
  4. Becky

    Let us all know how Chareva feeds the dogs raw on a budget. I KNOW she will be a rockstar at it and I would appreciate some tips for my two grain-fed, overweight cats myself 🙂

    I’ll ask her to write it up.

    Reply
  5. Becky

    They’re so cute! They look like perfect guard dogs for the farm and the people.

    Just a word of warning, if it’s not been mentioned and since you have little ones, raw fed pups sometime go through a food aggression phase (it’s typically worse than kibble fed pups). Our most recent adoption – a black/golden mix – took at a nip at my oldest (9) when she ventured too close to the pup’s chicken leg quarter. It usually only takes a good whack or three on the rump to convince them it’s a bad idea. (I’ve never had a pup do damage, but DO remember the first time it happened thinking “where the eff did this come from?”)

    Oh, and the coyotes? Don’t worry – coyotes for the most part are big babies. My 40 pound dachs-mix is enough to keep them away. And I don’t think there’s much shy of a large pack of wolves that two full-grown, raw-fed Rotties couldn’t handle…

    I suspect coyotes won’t want anything to do with them. I used to see coyotes when I walked the hills in Burbank late at night, sometimes two or three together, and they always ran away when they saw me. I’m nowhere near as a big a threat as a couple of rottweilers.

    Reply
  6. Becky

    They’re so cute! They look like perfect guard dogs for the farm and the people.

    Just a word of warning, if it’s not been mentioned and since you have little ones, raw fed pups sometime go through a food aggression phase (it’s typically worse than kibble fed pups). Our most recent adoption – a black/golden mix – took at a nip at my oldest (9) when she ventured too close to the pup’s chicken leg quarter. It usually only takes a good whack or three on the rump to convince them it’s a bad idea. (I’ve never had a pup do damage, but DO remember the first time it happened thinking “where the eff did this come from?”)

    Oh, and the coyotes? Don’t worry – coyotes for the most part are big babies. My 40 pound dachs-mix is enough to keep them away. And I don’t think there’s much shy of a large pack of wolves that two full-grown, raw-fed Rotties couldn’t handle…

    I suspect coyotes won’t want anything to do with them. I used to see coyotes when I walked the hills in Burbank late at night, sometimes two or three together, and they always ran away when they saw me. I’m nowhere near as a big a threat as a couple of rottweilers.

    Reply
  7. Laurie D.

    I owned Rottweilers before The Omen came out and no one knew what they were. They are wonderful dogs! However, they bond strongly to their family and will protect you if they detect a threat. This doesn’t mean they will attack everything, but it is good to be cautious with strangers approaching and warn people not to be too aggressive with petting until the dogs get to know them. For some reason, all of the Rotties I had would take a strong disliking to certain people (notably, my father-in-law, and a friend of ours who took meds for schizophrenia). My Rotties never bit anyone – they knew better and were socialized- but they would definitely stand guard over anyone they did not trust.

    Finally, I buy pet burger from US Wellness Meats for the Aussie I have now (another strongly-bonding protective type of dog). I mix this raw with just a bit of Blue Wilderness grain-free dry food. The improvement in his health since we adopted him 6 months ago is astounding. The pet burger is a mix of grassfed beef, liver, and heart.

    I think “The Omen” is part of the reason lots of people are afraid of rottweilers. That’s fine by me … anyone shows up on the farm who shouldn’t be there, I want him scared.

    Reply
  8. Laurie D.

    I owned Rottweilers before The Omen came out and no one knew what they were. They are wonderful dogs! However, they bond strongly to their family and will protect you if they detect a threat. This doesn’t mean they will attack everything, but it is good to be cautious with strangers approaching and warn people not to be too aggressive with petting until the dogs get to know them. For some reason, all of the Rotties I had would take a strong disliking to certain people (notably, my father-in-law, and a friend of ours who took meds for schizophrenia). My Rotties never bit anyone – they knew better and were socialized- but they would definitely stand guard over anyone they did not trust.

    Finally, I buy pet burger from US Wellness Meats for the Aussie I have now (another strongly-bonding protective type of dog). I mix this raw with just a bit of Blue Wilderness grain-free dry food. The improvement in his health since we adopted him 6 months ago is astounding. The pet burger is a mix of grassfed beef, liver, and heart.

    I think “The Omen” is part of the reason lots of people are afraid of rottweilers. That’s fine by me … anyone shows up on the farm who shouldn’t be there, I want him scared.

    Reply
  9. Teri Fout

    Congrats on the pups! I have a German rottie named Otis and he is a wonderful dog. Very large, but wonderful. I also have two Labs and a chihuahua mix. We feed them Taste of the Wild and sometimes Natures Balance–the fish and sweet potato kind. I took them off grain based commercial foods over a year ago and they are doing so much better. They are all strong, muscular, and have beautiful coats. I add virgin coconut oil to their food once in awhile and their dad cooks them eggs a couple days a week. We supplement their food with chicken and beef livers, and ground beef. It is pricey to feed this way but worth every penny. I figure it will save us in vet bills in the long run.

    What do you mix a chihuahua with?

    Reply
  10. Teri Fout

    Congrats on the pups! I have a German rottie named Otis and he is a wonderful dog. Very large, but wonderful. I also have two Labs and a chihuahua mix. We feed them Taste of the Wild and sometimes Natures Balance–the fish and sweet potato kind. I took them off grain based commercial foods over a year ago and they are doing so much better. They are all strong, muscular, and have beautiful coats. I add virgin coconut oil to their food once in awhile and their dad cooks them eggs a couple days a week. We supplement their food with chicken and beef livers, and ground beef. It is pricey to feed this way but worth every penny. I figure it will save us in vet bills in the long run.

    What do you mix a chihuahua with?

    Reply
  11. hausfrau

    Can we vote on the next fam addition? Turkeys anyone? Yes, I admit I have a Gonzo-like fascination with poultry but they do provide a useful outlet for all those hearty heatly whole grains you aren’t eating…..and they’ll beat the snot out of most dogs. I had a bullmastiff/akita mix (incredible dog) and the turkeys knew the exact extent of his tie out line. All 9 toms used to line up there and strut their stuff. They let him hit the limit of his rope, did a quick kamakaze style attack and ran.

    Our dogs have the run of the place once they’re grown. So if any turkeys decide to taunt them, we’ll probably end up having shredded turkey for dinner.

    Reply
  12. hausfrau

    Can we vote on the next fam addition? Turkeys anyone? Yes, I admit I have a Gonzo-like fascination with poultry but they do provide a useful outlet for all those hearty heatly whole grains you aren’t eating…..and they’ll beat the snot out of most dogs. I had a bullmastiff/akita mix (incredible dog) and the turkeys knew the exact extent of his tie out line. All 9 toms used to line up there and strut their stuff. They let him hit the limit of his rope, did a quick kamakaze style attack and ran.

    Our dogs have the run of the place once they’re grown. So if any turkeys decide to taunt them, we’ll probably end up having shredded turkey for dinner.

    Reply
  13. Little Miss Machiavelli

    I had said the exact same thing a month ago, except it was in regards to cats. Apparently feeding cats dry food with no protein is known to make them extremely ill and obese. A vet had created a blog about weaning these kitties off their severe dry food addiction (they actually had forgotten how to eat meat). It sometimes took weeks…I commented that the vet seemed to know a heck of a lot more about taking off weight than a doctor, my sister responded “oh but we’re nothing like any kind of animals”. Oh well.

    Reply
  14. Little Miss Machiavelli

    I had said the exact same thing a month ago, except it was in regards to cats. Apparently feeding cats dry food with no protein is known to make them extremely ill and obese. A vet had created a blog about weaning these kitties off their severe dry food addiction (they actually had forgotten how to eat meat). It sometimes took weeks…I commented that the vet seemed to know a heck of a lot more about taking off weight than a doctor, my sister responded “oh but we’re nothing like any kind of animals”. Oh well.

    Reply
  15. Teri Fout

    We’ve been trying to figure what the mix is. To hear her tell it, she’s part mountain lion. She is constantly trying to kill the rott. She attacks him and grabs him by the throat while he’s napping. He lays there and takes it for awhile…then he plops a big paw on her and pins her to the floor. they’re pretty funny to watch!

    That’s one brave little dog.

    Reply
  16. Teri Fout

    We’ve been trying to figure what the mix is. To hear her tell it, she’s part mountain lion. She is constantly trying to kill the rott. She attacks him and grabs him by the throat while he’s napping. He lays there and takes it for awhile…then he plops a big paw on her and pins her to the floor. they’re pretty funny to watch!

    That’s one brave little dog.

    Reply
  17. MommaBear136

    I highly recommend the Dog Whisperer by Cesar Millan. I know he can be kind of controversial but his results are incredible. A lot of his work involves training the owners how to be the alpha dog. He works a lot with breeds like bulldogs and rottweilers too. My library had his shows on DVD. Congrats on the puppies!

    Reply
  18. MommaBear136

    I highly recommend the Dog Whisperer by Cesar Millan. I know he can be kind of controversial but his results are incredible. A lot of his work involves training the owners how to be the alpha dog. He works a lot with breeds like bulldogs and rottweilers too. My library had his shows on DVD. Congrats on the puppies!

    Reply
  19. Stella

    My Rotties have the worst gas ever. Since I eliminated grain from my own diet (and nearly eliminated gas as well) I have wondered if the grain based kibble they are on is the culprit and I have considered switching their diet to meat.

    I would. Dogs aren’t meant to eat grains.

    Reply
  20. Stella

    My Rotties have the worst gas ever. Since I eliminated grain from my own diet (and nearly eliminated gas as well) I have wondered if the grain based kibble they are on is the culprit and I have considered switching their diet to meat.

    I would. Dogs aren’t meant to eat grains.

    Reply
  21. Ree

    Just wanted to say that feeding a raw diet is not as expensive as some may think. Rabbits are easily raised and cheap to raise in all truth. My cats absolutely love the rabbit. The rabbit feed is far less than purchasing any dog feed. They grow fast and breed fast. My dogs and cats both absolutely love rabbit but none of them will attack any we have on our place. Their jobs are to protect our animals and they do.
    Back to my point though. A raw diet does not mean it has to be expensive. There are animals which can be raised both easily and cheaply for raw diets.

    Reply
  22. Ree

    Just wanted to say that feeding a raw diet is not as expensive as some may think. Rabbits are easily raised and cheap to raise in all truth. My cats absolutely love the rabbit. The rabbit feed is far less than purchasing any dog feed. They grow fast and breed fast. My dogs and cats both absolutely love rabbit but none of them will attack any we have on our place. Their jobs are to protect our animals and they do.
    Back to my point though. A raw diet does not mean it has to be expensive. There are animals which can be raised both easily and cheaply for raw diets.

    Reply

Leave a Reply to Teri Fout Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.