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.


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172 thoughts on “The Farm Report: Guard Dogs

  1. Mrs.K

    Congratulations on your new family members!

    We give our young adult kids a bag of their chosen pet food for their various cats/dogs at christmas time as a little expense helper. A few years ago my daughter did a lot of research into pet food and arrived at the decision to use orijen for her 2 cats. So this past christmas we picked up the food for her and were looking at the orijen and acana dog food line for the other siblings dogs. They normally get grocery/pet store food. We ended up buying two bags of orijen for the dogs to try in addition to their customary food. Upon reading the ingredients on the orijen bags, I joked to my husband “I think we’ll start eating this stuff” it looks so good…

    Reply
  2. Abby

    Yay, congratulations on the pups! I still have some pictures somewhere of Sara and Alana making trails of food for our Boxer and telling him to “sit.” They will be great assistant trainers.

    Zack works at a holistic food pet store and they sell mostly grain free (but always corn free). We feed our dog (soon to be two dogs again) Taste of the Wild. We recommended it to a friend of ours, whose dog was suffering from seizures and loose stool. After a month he’s seizure free and pooping solid! 🙂 Gotta love when that happens!

    Sara was somewhat less enthusiastic about being a dog owner when I made her clean up one of the messes, but she rallied.

    Reply
  3. Jan

    Our dachshund mix developed an autoimmune disease centered in his anal glands after 7 years of commercial dog food. He’s on a raw diet now – muscle and organ meat with raw bones about once a week – and is much better, but he’ll never be well. I can’t begin to express the guilt I feel over this; I really should have known better.

    We had a beloved dog (fed on a dry dog-food diet, of course) die of stomach cancer when I was a teen. If only I’d known …

    Reply
  4. Spork

    For 4 years I lived in a house that backed up to a commercial grain field. They rotated what they grew: corn, rye, some wheat-looking something-or-other. In all the times my dogs escaped, they never once ran into the cornfield to eat corn.

    My dogs would rather raid the litter box and eat kitty crunchies than eat grain.

    I’ve never seen dogs pick fruit either, so I think they can live without it.

    Reply
  5. Angel

    It was thanks to going low-carb that I also had the revelation, cats probably shouldn’t eat grains. I switched my cat’s food from a “premium” dry food to Fancy Feast (not the best option, but what I can afford). He lost some weight, and most interestingly, developed a waistline (when viewed from above) where he hadn’t had one before. Yeah, feeding him FF costs more than dry food, but I haven’t had to take him to the vet in years – overall I’ve probably saved quite a bit of money on “routine” vet bills.

    Reply
  6. Noah

    The raw meat diet for dogs not only makes sense, it makes perfect sense. I convinced my neighbor to put her Great Dane pup on a diet of innards and whatever the town butchers will part with for free, or close to. Here 4 years later he is the best looking of his kind i ever saw. Instead of the tall frail look, he is large, huge in fact and muscular. With a broad neck and broad hips which is unusual for the breed. His fur is oily and shiny.

    Now, I mention this because I know where his brother and sister lives so I have a direct compare to the same set of genes on another diet. Lets just say theres a big difference. Compared to his brother he looks like a bodybuilder next to a non bodybuilder and just express a completely different behavior.

    Good luck. Rotweilers are wonderful dogs, and such a great companion deserves a great diet.

    Reply
  7. PJ

    Puppies! Puppies! Puppies! Aaaaawwwww!!!

    I have a holistic vet that just cringes when he finds out when people feed their animals “Doritos” (that’s what he calls dry dog food). I have always fed my dog BARF (biologically appropriate raw food) and they live forever . . . with minimal vet bills. Pricey? A bit, but very worth it because there is nothing like having a 15 year old dog that still acts like a puppy. Raw meat with bone (get to know your butcher), raw eggs (with shell), some raw milk cheese, a few well cooked veggies, lots of organ meats, salmon oil, coconut oil and they thrive!

    (In my opinion, anyone who feeds their dogs or cats a vegan or vegetarian diet is guilty of animal abuse. They can eat it themselves if they wish, but to inflict it on meat-eating creatures that cannot choose for themselves is criminal!)

    My tiny dogs love raw chicken wing sections to chew on.

    My family used to kid me that our dogs at better than we did! I know you guys will have some of the healthiest dogs in the state!

    Reply
  8. Lauren

    I had a similar issue trying to find food for my dogs. We can’t afford raw meat for them, but I do by the food with the most protein and fish oil (for dry skin). The vet recommend Iams when I asked and our dogs seem find with that. Of course, I supplement their food with coconut oil, beef fat, and any meat scraps my husband and I can spare – which, if the dogs had their way, would be ALL of it.
    I was never a dog person until we got my two mutts and now I can’t imagine life without those two crazies. Of course, we live in the suburbs, so the most dangerous thing around us is Nobody, who, according to the dogs, is quite the vicious animal and would undoubtly attack us if they didn’t bark their heads off at Nobody every day. le sigh.

    Reply
  9. LXV

    It’s Blue Buffalo in our house for both the dog and the cat. I’m delighted that I can free feed them both and neither are overweight. (The cat is a 20lb linebacker, but he’s not fat). I supplement it with the occasional bit of liver or raw bones when they have it at the grocery store.

    And since you’re getting inundated with advice, I agree to avoid Cesar Milan. Go with some form of positive-focused clicker training. And get the kids involved in it too, it’s fun for everyone.

    Puppies!

    Reply
  10. Suzie

    I was a cattle rancher for years. I never saw anyone have a rottweiler as a ranch dog – border collies and australian shepherds mostly, but I didn’t get out much. Hope you train them well as bored dogs (especially in groups of 2 or more) can kill your livestock all for the fun of it when you aren’t looking – chickens, cats, sheep – they even chase cows and horses nonstop. My dogs left my chickens alone, but the neighbors dogs came over to my place and merrily killed them. My brother’s dogs killed cats despite being raised around them. At night dogs can start running, (when you think they are sleeping and guarding your property), They like to get together and kill sheep. The sheep people would accuse the dog people and unless you know for sure it wasn’t your dogs, the dogs would have to die as once they kill, they will likely to do it again (it’s so much fun to them!).

    Reply
  11. Rocky

    We have house cat who developed an idiopathic (i.e., cause unknown) seizure disorder that the vet said is “not uncommon in house cats when they reach middle age.” The treatment prescribed was low-dose phenobarbital for the rest of her life.

    Switching to low-carb eating increased our awareness of the grains in our cats’ food and we switched them all to a grain-free diet and supplemented with fats (like bacon grease).

    Net result: kitty’s incurable seizure disorder miraculously went away.

    I’m sure that the reason such seizure disorders are “not uncommon” in today’s domestic pets is that the grains are “not uncommon” in the typical pet food.

    Reply
  12. Janelle

    You’re probably OK with the chickens. My friends have a flock and both of their dogs are very protective, even herding them when necessary. Congratulations on the new additions to your family!

    Reply
  13. Robert G

    Congrats on the puppies Tom!

    May I suggest Evo for a dry dog food (if that is what you are looking for)? Its the lowest carb chow I can find, and have been feeding my somewhat new puppy and my cat it ever since I got them.

    When I first got my cat (1.5 years ago) I fed her the standard Purina cat ‘chow’ (meaning: crap) and what a surpirse, she got fat.

    It was around this time I found your movie and said to myself, “Hell, I doubt cats are meant to eat hearthealthywholegrains either,” and started looking around the interwebs.

    The lowest carb food I could find was Evo, and what do you know, she has been losing weight.

    I have been feeding my puppy it since the day we got her (about 3 months ago, she is 5 months now) and she is a lean, ‘mean’, haswaytoomuchenergy machine. Her coat looks amazing, and the vet keeps saying she is the picture of goof health.

    Here is the website in case you are interested: http://www.evopet.com/

    Sorry to sound like a paid advertiser, I just like this stuff a lot (and so does Kaylie and Gracie!)

    Reply
  14. Joe

    Hi, Tom. I strongly recommend that you get some in-person training help. ASAP. I get the impression that you and your wife are novices when it comes to dogs and training, and Rotties aren’t just another dog. They require a confidant, strong, and firm leader, otherwise you are GUARANTEED to have problems down the road.

    One Rottie can be a handful. But two Rotties? The same age? Man, oh man, oh man. You’ve got your work cut out for you. Or your wife does, but NOW is the time to get that training started, not after the problems have already begun.

    Frankly, I wouldn’t let Victoria Stillwell take one of my Rotties for a walk. Ian Dunbar’s books are okay, if that’s the route you choose to take. But you really can’t learn how to train a dog by reading a book. Not for a Rottweiler. Not by a novice. You going to need some help, Tom. Help from a trainer who trains dogs like Rotties, GSDs, Dobermanns, etc. Again, they really aren’t the right dog for novices. They even have group classes, and they’re usually pretty reasonable.

    But good luck in whatever you choose to do!

    I’ll pass that on to the dog mommy. I certainly don’t want big, strong, unruly dogs.

    Reply
  15. Nowhereman

    You know, some months ago I commented on one reader relating to us about how their vet was telling them to feed their dogs lots of healthy whole grains. I will say now what I said then: if some idiot tells you something like that, fire them. At the very least ask them what information they have that proves that an evolved carnivore can safely digest plants and especially GMOed grains. If they give you roundabout gobbledygook, fire them. If they can’t get something simple like that down, it raises questions about anything else they know about animals.

    As for the vegan garbage; after all they whine and complain about animal cruelty, and yet they go out of their way to try to force a carnivore animal to eat foods that it can’t digest very well at all and will make it very sick and miserable, shows what monstrous hypocrites they really are. Feed the vegan stuff to rabbits, horses, cows or other herbivores, but not dogs and cats for crying out loud.

    Reply
  16. Joe

    PPS: Look up the term “Puppy Socialization.” yes, YOU SHOULD BE DOING IT RIGHT NOW. It’s extremely important that puppies be socialized to all the sights, sounds, smells, and goings-on of life when they’re still puppies. And it’s DOUBLY EXTREMELY important for Rottie puppies.

    Again, good luck!

    Reply
  17. Ellen

    I put my poor diabetic kitty on the “Catkins” diet – no more dry food (30-50% carbohydrate for an obligate carnivore?!). Cats need moisture with their food and DON’T need carbohydrate. Within 2 days her terrible thirst was gone and is now much friskier. It never occured to me until she got sick, funny how a lot of the same nutrition needs apply to us and them. I’ve lost 30 pound since going low carb 6 months ago, she and I have gotten healthier together! Of course I’ve found all this information on the internet, not from my doctor or her vet.

    Reply
  18. Miriam

    Hey Tom, lovely pups.

    My advice (for the moment) – start training NOW if you haven’t already. The pups are learning things every moment, better for them to learn the stuff you want them to and not bad habits. They’re plenty old enough to start understanding basics like sit, down and stay, and to learn tricks as well (tricks are good for building your relationship with them and to help them learn to learn with “fun” stuff). Puppy classes are a great idea as soon as you can get them in.

    Socializing is CRUCIAL, especially if you’re out in the boonies. They need to be exposed to lots of different people, situations and places before they’re 16 weeks old to ensure confident, friendly and stable temperaments – especially important in a large, protective breed. Don’t make the mistake some people do of thinking that you want them to be “protective” and not sociable – an unsocialized dog is usually afraid of new things/people and untrustworthy. You don’t want to have to worry about them attacking visitors. A dog that you need to lock up when people come is useless as a guard. Having a couple of large Rotties, even friendly ones, is generally more than enough to deter evildoers – and the ones that aren’t won’t be stopped by a dog anyway.

    Reply
  19. Kevin

    Rottweilers are GREAT dogs and a good protection choice for your girls. Just make sure Tom that they recognize YOU as the Alpha male. They tend to attach themselves to one person in the household for that role, lol.

    Reply
  20. Ed

    Couldnt agree more with Miriam and others regarding training. Start NOW, and you’ll be rewarded well.

    Reply
  21. Janknitz

    A house without a dog is not a home.

    Dana Carpender (hold the toast) has a good post on feeding her dogs a raw meat diet.

    I highly recommend that you look for a trainer who uses positive training techniques. This is SO much easier, more effective, and pleasant than the old “yank and yell” techniques. There’s a book, too–“The Power of Positive Training”.

    Another essential tool is crate training. I can’t recommend it highly enough. Dogs love having a safe place when overwhelmed, it really helps with housebreaking ( we used to push the crate right up to the dog door and the dogs practically trained themselves!) and you have containment when necessary.

    Enjoy and love these precious pets!

    Reply
  22. Bridget

    I love rottweilers! You should read your girls the Carl books by Alexandra Day. They’re about a rottweiler named Carl who goes on adventures while he trys to protect the family baby. Adorable!

    I’ve looked into feeding my dogs (weimaraner and a maltese-poodle) dog food without grains in it, and the kind we found costs about $50 a bag. Sadly, we can’t afford to feed them like they should be fed, but I’m hoping that if we ever get another dog after they leave for the Big Park in the Sky we’ll be able to afford to feed the dog meat like it was born to eat.

    Sara loves to read and loves dogs, so those sound like perfect books for her.

    Reply
  23. Kayla

    The best book I’ve ever read on how to train a puppy was The Art of Raising a Puppy by the monks of New Skete monastery. It really gets into the pack mindset. Ie. someone has to be alpha, and it better not be the dog.

    Reply
  24. Galina L.

    Great addition to your family! It looks like you will be able to walk arownd your property safely any time of day or night pretty soon. Dogs like it when their owner walks with them to keep them a company while they run around. Otherwise they would be hanging very close to your house , which is not a bad thing for your.

    Reply
  25. John

    Cute puppies. I love Rotties. It’s so great you ended up with a breeder who’s into feeding them raw meat.

    Eating paleo ourselves – and after a lot of reading on the subject – we feed our dog mostly raw turkey necks, a few other bones and bits of raw meat (beef, lamb, pork), a fair amount of table scraps, and a little Orijen or Acana grain-free kibble. Strangely she usually turns up her nose at the raw organ meats we keep offering her, but she loves cooked liver. She’s about 25 lbs and it’s a blast to watch her tearing apart a turkey neck and crunching up the bones. It’s hard work and she uses all her teeth, even the little front ones that so many dogs seem to lose (which look and smell great, by the way).

    One of the best things about this is she’s totally self-feeding; we just leave food out for her and she eats when she’s hungry. Also, as others mentioned, the poops are quite small and turn white and disintegrate into powder in 2 or 3 days.

    I can’t remember when or where it was recommended to me, but the e-book “Ol’ Shep’s Well-being: A Natural Perspective” by Euan Fingal is some very interesting reading on the subject. http://www.achinook.com/journal/2009/6/18/ol-sheps-well-being-a-natural-perspective.html Also, http://www.rawmeatybones.com

    Have fun!

    Reply
  26. Denise

    I’m so glad to see someone else (Nathan Seitz) post about his dog being aggressive on Blue Wilderness. We have tried to take our dogs off Nutro Lamb & Rice two times, and both times it has almost resulted in the German Shepherd getting kicked out of doggie daycare! We’ve given up for now, but if I ever get a new dog, I’m going to feed it raw. The cat has been switched to grain free low carb cat food and is thriving.

    Reply
  27. Gal @ 60 in 3

    Personal note – I usually prefer mutts but Rotties are great too. They just have a tendency towards some health problems, especially the larger males.

    As for the diet, dogs are actually not pure carnivores, that’s cats. Dogs can and do digest some plant matter. However, they prefer meat and they’re optimized to eat it. And even if some veggies can fit into a dog diet, grains definitely do not.

    I feed my dog (a black lab mix named Daisy) a mixture of raw meat (usually chicken or beef) and a few vegetables here and there. No grains at all. She also gets some raw beef bones on occasion (really good for their teeth).

    Best of all, this ends up being far cheaper than some specialty dry dog food with grain in it.

    Reply
  28. KC

    Just like people, some dogs do incredibly well living on diets with grain. Some don’t. I work for a pet food company, but I also agree with you on most things – I can see both sides of the issue. There is just as much misinformation out there when it comes to dog food or raw diets or organic diets or whatever, as there is with people food. emi11n up there isn’t very well-informed, specifically. By-products are just organ meats (doesn’t include hooves or hair or the like), which contain needed nutrients. Meat on the label means beef, pork or possibly sheep. (Rendered housepets and horses are not allowed by AAFCO standards in American pet food.) Melamine is now tested for specifically, so if you’re avoiding gluten because it’s from grain, fine, but don’t because of the 07 recall. Pet food is more highly regulated than people food.

    Be careful to follow your own advice and think about what people are telling you. Just because a dog food is ‘organic’ doesn’t make it better than any other commercial dog food. (I’m lookin at you, Blue Buffalo with potatoes, oatmeal, barley, etc) It also doesn’t make those dogs necessarily healthier than ones on grain-based diets. It can, but not always. Remember: vegans think they’re healthy, too.

    I do think that if you’re so inclined (and you are, sounds like), that probably the best thing to do is the raw diet, or paleo for dogs. Don’t forget the bones, though. My friend’s dog, Dexter, is on that diet, and he is the healthiest looking dog I’ve ever seen. White white teeth, breath that’s sweeter than mine, extraordinary coat, slender with very good muscle tone. And it’s less expensive than vet or premium diets because they don’t eat as much volume of food. And small, not-nasty poops, too. FYI, Dexter’s favorites include sheeps heads and fresh roadkill venison! It’s a tiny bit more work than pouring from a bag, but not as much as some would think, and not as expensive, either.

    Reply
  29. tess

    great puppies! good luck with them!

    since going on Taste of the Wild dogfood (grain-free), my Spitz no longer has anal-gland issues — SURPRISE! 🙂

    incidentally, when visiting my son’s farm, his tendency to want to chase the chickens was easily discouraged, and the geese and turkeys could have kicked his ass….

    Reply
  30. fairfield

    As the owner of a hobby farm in Iowa and being owned by three farm dogs, I feel compelled to offer a little advice. At your earliest opportunity go to the store and purchase the following:

    Hydrogen Peroxide
    Dawn dishwashing liquid
    Baking Soda
    Mouthwash
    A plastic bucket

    Place the items in the bucket and put the bucket somewhere handy. When (not if – WHEN) your puppies find their first skunk, you will grab the bucket and mix together 1 quart of hydrogen peroxide, 1 T Dawn, 1/4 cup baking soda, splash of mouthwash. Mix the ingredients together (it will foam), and rub well into dog fur (do not wet down dog first), pay special attention to spots that were sprayed directly, take care not to get the mixture into their eyes, nose or mouth. Leave the mixture on for 5 minutes, rinse well. Repeat if needed.

    Do not put off buying these ingredients. Trust me, when your dogs are trying to rub their reeking selves all over you, your house and your kids is not the time to run around gathering up the ingredients or worse yet running to the store to get them. 🙂

    Good luck and enjoy the circus!

    Sounds like an insurance policy: you hope never need it, but when you need it, you really need it.

    Reply
  31. Joe

    Hi, Tom. I strongly recommend that you get some in-person training help. ASAP. I get the impression that you and your wife are novices when it comes to dogs and training, and Rotties aren’t just another dog. They require a confidant, strong, and firm leader, otherwise you are GUARANTEED to have problems down the road.

    One Rottie can be a handful. But two Rotties? The same age? Man, oh man, oh man. You’ve got your work cut out for you. Or your wife does, but NOW is the time to get that training started, not after the problems have already begun.

    Frankly, I wouldn’t let Victoria Stillwell take one of my Rotties for a walk. Ian Dunbar’s books are okay, if that’s the route you choose to take. But you really can’t learn how to train a dog by reading a book. Not for a Rottweiler. Not by a novice. You going to need some help, Tom. Help from a trainer who trains dogs like Rotties, GSDs, Dobermanns, etc. Again, they really aren’t the right dog for novices. They even have group classes, and they’re usually pretty reasonable.

    But good luck in whatever you choose to do!

    I’ll pass that on to the dog mommy. I certainly don’t want big, strong, unruly dogs.

    Reply
  32. Joe

    PPS: Look up the term “Puppy Socialization.” yes, YOU SHOULD BE DOING IT RIGHT NOW. It’s extremely important that puppies be socialized to all the sights, sounds, smells, and goings-on of life when they’re still puppies. And it’s DOUBLY EXTREMELY important for Rottie puppies.

    Again, good luck!

    Reply
  33. Greta

    Love the pups! Rotties will be great with your girls, too.

    After I adopted my first greyhound, I was talking to a vet about what greyhounds are fed. One comment has stayed with me: He said that greyhound breeders, as a rule, don’t know much about nutrition; but they know what works on their dogs.

    Reply
  34. Bridget

    I love rottweilers! You should read your girls the Carl books by Alexandra Day. They’re about a rottweiler named Carl who goes on adventures while he trys to protect the family baby. Adorable!

    I’ve looked into feeding my dogs (weimaraner and a maltese-poodle) dog food without grains in it, and the kind we found costs about $50 a bag. Sadly, we can’t afford to feed them like they should be fed, but I’m hoping that if we ever get another dog after they leave for the Big Park in the Sky we’ll be able to afford to feed the dog meat like it was born to eat.

    Sara loves to read and loves dogs, so those sound like perfect books for her.

    Reply
  35. John

    Cute puppies. I love Rotties. It’s so great you ended up with a breeder who’s into feeding them raw meat.

    Eating paleo ourselves – and after a lot of reading on the subject – we feed our dog mostly raw turkey necks, a few other bones and bits of raw meat (beef, lamb, pork), a fair amount of table scraps, and a little Orijen or Acana grain-free kibble. Strangely she usually turns up her nose at the raw organ meats we keep offering her, but she loves cooked liver. She’s about 25 lbs and it’s a blast to watch her tearing apart a turkey neck and crunching up the bones. It’s hard work and she uses all her teeth, even the little front ones that so many dogs seem to lose (which look and smell great, by the way).

    One of the best things about this is she’s totally self-feeding; we just leave food out for her and she eats when she’s hungry. Also, as others mentioned, the poops are quite small and turn white and disintegrate into powder in 2 or 3 days.

    I can’t remember when or where it was recommended to me, but the e-book “Ol’ Shep’s Well-being: A Natural Perspective” by Euan Fingal is some very interesting reading on the subject. http://www.achinook.com/journal/2009/6/18/ol-sheps-well-being-a-natural-perspective.html Also, http://www.rawmeatybones.com

    Have fun!

    Reply
  36. fairfield

    As the owner of a hobby farm in Iowa and being owned by three farm dogs, I feel compelled to offer a little advice. At your earliest opportunity go to the store and purchase the following:

    Hydrogen Peroxide
    Dawn dishwashing liquid
    Baking Soda
    Mouthwash
    A plastic bucket

    Place the items in the bucket and put the bucket somewhere handy. When (not if – WHEN) your puppies find their first skunk, you will grab the bucket and mix together 1 quart of hydrogen peroxide, 1 T Dawn, 1/4 cup baking soda, splash of mouthwash. Mix the ingredients together (it will foam), and rub well into dog fur (do not wet down dog first), pay special attention to spots that were sprayed directly, take care not to get the mixture into their eyes, nose or mouth. Leave the mixture on for 5 minutes, rinse well. Repeat if needed.

    Do not put off buying these ingredients. Trust me, when your dogs are trying to rub their reeking selves all over you, your house and your kids is not the time to run around gathering up the ingredients or worse yet running to the store to get them. 🙂

    Good luck and enjoy the circus!

    Sounds like an insurance policy: you hope never need it, but when you need it, you really need it.

    Reply
  37. Greta

    Love the pups! Rotties will be great with your girls, too.

    After I adopted my first greyhound, I was talking to a vet about what greyhounds are fed. One comment has stayed with me: He said that greyhound breeders, as a rule, don’t know much about nutrition; but they know what works on their dogs.

    Reply
  38. Cate

    Hey Fairfield, I’m so with you there on the anti skunk stuff. The first time my shepherd got sprayed it was 5:00 in the morning and I had to make an emergency walmart run. The next time I was ready though I think he’d eaten the skunk that time! That mixture is the only thing that I’ve found to work.

    Reply
  39. Matt Eggleston

    Just to pile on: Joe’s right about “puppy socialization” for Rotts. They need LOTS of exposure now while they’re looking for it.

    Chareva has them signed up for a class.

    Reply
  40. Cate

    Hey Fairfield, I’m so with you there on the anti skunk stuff. The first time my shepherd got sprayed it was 5:00 in the morning and I had to make an emergency walmart run. The next time I was ready though I think he’d eaten the skunk that time! That mixture is the only thing that I’ve found to work.

    Reply
  41. Matt Eggleston

    Just to pile on: Joe’s right about “puppy socialization” for Rotts. They need LOTS of exposure now while they’re looking for it.

    Chareva has them signed up for a class.

    Reply
  42. Rae

    Beautiful puppies! I joke that my cats eat better than I do – I feed them grain-free foods with stuff like lamb, duck, and wild-caught salmon in them. Yum. I only started feeding them like this at the recommendation of my vet, a few years ago – many vets are starting to recommend grain-free diets, maybe physicians will follow suit one day…

    Reply
  43. Tammy

    Tom they are adorable !! I am an animal lover and have a dog named “Cocoa” (Australian Shepherd/Choc Lab mix) and a cat named “Bailey”. Cocoa is on a raw meat and bones diet with a little “veggie” blend that I cook up and freeze once a month. Bailey eats EVO canned. They both are happy and healthy.

    They’re loving their raw-meat diet.

    Reply
  44. 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
  45. Rae

    Beautiful puppies! I joke that my cats eat better than I do – I feed them grain-free foods with stuff like lamb, duck, and wild-caught salmon in them. Yum. I only started feeding them like this at the recommendation of my vet, a few years ago – many vets are starting to recommend grain-free diets, maybe physicians will follow suit one day…

    Reply
  46. 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
  47. Tammy

    Tom they are adorable !! I am an animal lover and have a dog named “Cocoa” (Australian Shepherd/Choc Lab mix) and a cat named “Bailey”. Cocoa is on a raw meat and bones diet with a little “veggie” blend that I cook up and freeze once a month. Bailey eats EVO canned. They both are happy and healthy.

    They’re loving their raw-meat diet.

    Reply

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