As I mentioned last post, we were pleased to welcome two gentle giants to our farm in the form of Sable and Cebu. We’d read before their arrival that Great Pyrenees dogs were smart, willful, and noisy; but sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know until you’ve lived it! Sable is everything we would want in a LGD: pretty, chill, sweet, obedient-ish, and quiet unless there is something approaching her territory. Cebu on the other hand is, umm, well, at least he’s handsome!
His tenure with us started off with a bang (actually, sparks). I had crafted him a fine looking enclosure out of temporary step-in posts and electrified twine. I was ahead of the game, I thought, in my attempt to train him to the electric fence that would ultimately contain both him and our animals out on the pastures. Unfortunately, his thick coat prevented the fence from delivering its shock until he was pressed broadside up against it. When sparks did fly and he got popped by the voltage, he yelped, sprinted straight through the remaining fence, then turned around and barked at whatever had just bit him! From that point on, he wouldn’t go anywhere near the fencing. You try moving a 140 pound animal that simply lays down when he doesn’t want to go wherever you are leading him! Heather thought it was funny. I disagreed.
Our only other option late into “Day 1” was the garage, which is where he spent the night. The next morning, I was greeted by the distinct aroma of dog poop as I opened the garage door; a ritual that unbeknownst to me was going to repeat itself multiple times over the next few weeks. At the time though, I had high hopes of containing him in our existing dog run, a roughly 30’x20′ chain link fence enclosure. Despite my running an electrified “hot” wire around the top to prevent him climbing out, Cebu managed to escape a total of 3 times over the next few days. Once through the doggy door that I was certain he couldn’t fit through (problem solved with a couple of boards nailed across the entrance). Once by learning to lift the latch on the gate (problem solved by installing a carabiner through the latch lock). Once by digging underneath the fence and squeezing his massive body through a hole that a cat would have struggled to navigate (problem solved by putting him back in the garage).
The first few times he got out, I either happened to be right there to greet and catch him, or he ended up at our neighbor’s house up the hill. Not sure why he likes it up there so much, but something certainly caught his attention. Needless to say, we’ve seen more of our neighbor over the past two weeks than we have in the previous two months! The last escape was the most disturbing though, in that he didn’t stop at my neighbor’s house. In fact, he didn’t stop at all. We got a phone call several hours later from a very nice woman, saying that she had him. Problem was, she lived 5.8 miles away (over 3 miles “as the crow flies”)!! Wherever he was going, it was clear that he had no intention of returning. Unacceptable.
We had high hopes that getting our cattle would help (more on them next post), giving him some desire to guard animals and stick closer to home. Ultimately, the end result was a broken leash, several more escapades underneath the fence, and yesterday a slipped collar after being chained to several tires. I thought he was gone for good, running wild without any identification to associate him with us. I prayed that God would intervene, and shortly I heard something lapping water in the creek. A quick dog count revealed Sable in the corral with the cows (good dog), Daisy napping in the sun, and Beau laying on the porch… get him quick! Cebu circled around, refusing to come to me but submitting to Heather up by the house. After a quick pow-wow, we decided that this clearly couldn’t continue. We prayed about it, put his collar on, and released him.
Our thought was this: either he stays or he runs. If he stays, we’d consider continued rehabilitation, patience, and training. If he runs, he’d be listed on Craigslist for sale or trade. I can’t have a LGD for whom 111 acres, with a female companion and animals to guard, isn’t enough. Pass or fail test, right now.
The irony in this situation is clear. Guess where he spent the night last night? Not only did he stick around, he parked himself underneath our bedroom window. And barked. All. Night. Long. God (or Cebu) certainly has a sense of humor. The final conclusion hasn’t been reached yet. As of an hour ago, he was laying on the front porch. Doesn’t quite seem fair that the good dog is chained up among the cows, learning that they are her “pack” while the rogue gets to run free as a lark. But we need to know: will he stay or will he go? Only time will tell, so stay tuned for the epic conclusion of “The Flight Of The Cebu”!