We have been preoccupied over the few weeks… If you follow us on Instagram @lizmariegalvan and @whitecottagefarm you already have an idea why. If you don’t already follow us (you should), but it is because this little girl right here…
We are going on week 4 with this crazy little girl, and she has been such a refreshing change to our lives already. Going on two years now of our farm, we have added our two boy sheep, “the boys,” our two girl sheep, “baby” and the infamous “Grace,” two barn cats, Piper and Ned (formerly Nella), and our ride or die pups, Bear and Bella we’ve had since North Carolina…
and now– Winnie the Great Pyrenees.
This was a two part gift for the family. First, this was LMB’s birthday gift. She has mentioned recently about adding a big farm dog to the family… We love Bear and Bell, but being way out here in the country, we were definitely looking for that safety feeling of having a bigger dog on the property. Second, knowing local sheep and alpaca farmers that have Great Pyrenees in the barns with their herds, I sought out this breed with the thought this dog would do the same… but then this happened.
How do you just leave something this cute out in a barn at night. Maybe next time.
She has, without a doubt, disrupted our routine, the sheep being farm animals, require zero training, and our barn cats new right what to do. Bear was inherently trained by Bella, 6 years ago… so we have not been in this puppy phase for quite some time. If you have welcomed a new puppy to the family recently, you already know… The 2am trips outside, the constant freak-out because she had a “look” that suggested she was about to do you know what on that pottery barn rug… so on and so forth.
But 4 weeks later we have progress, some oopsies- but just as many successes. I have trained my dogs in the past (not Bear and Bella) through clicker training. Here is the clicker we purchased, and if you are not familiar you simply begin with a simple click it and reward with a treat. Build that correlation and let the hopeful training begin. Again she’s only 11 weeks now, so nothing too crazy… we have started with simple leash walking, gaining her attention with a click (then reward), walking a little ways (no too far), and then click and reward. She needs a little bit of work, being rated as one of the most stubborn breed of dog, when she does not want to play my games, she doesn’t.
Along with clicker training, a new thing we are trying is “bell training.” We were recommended by other dog owners, to train her to go outside with this rope of bells hung on or near the door. At first when we started taking her outside, I would repeat “Go-Potty,” ring the bells and bring her outside. While its not completely routine, we have had 9 successful bell rings that lead to a much needed potty under our belt, so progress…
One new obstacle we ran into, was what we think was separation anxiety. In an attempt to potty train, we were utilizing a crate at night and for very short periods throughout the day. From the very section the door closes, we have an excessive drooling dog, drooling all over her paws, and i’m talking a drenched dog in drool. While the few minutes when what seems like you saved her life, by opening the door, and getting all the lovins’, we knew we needed to try to resolve this… we did. So we found online the importance of a Kong toy. Its those durable rubber toys that are hollow inside, you can fill with treats. The idea is to distract the action of leaving her, and get her focused on the Kong toy. After about 2 weeks with the Kong toy, she isn’t drooling anymore and significantly more comfortable… The crate short term and intended for training only, but during this training time we want her to not stress.
Outside of training, we think she is having some fun here. Any chance she gets, she’ll run right to the barn to say high to Grace and company. Great Pyrenees are a very popular livestock guardian breed, so not sure if this is straight curiosity, but borderline obsessed, she just wants to be in the pasture with the sheep… maybe a little born instincts.
Well she is well loved, by most (Bella and Bear are warming up, very slowly)… and we are having fun with her… For more, follow us on Instagram, and we think she’s soo fun and exciting we created her own Instagram (@whitecottagewinnie), to capture her adventures. We look forward to watching her grow and training her. Be sure to check out our YouTube channel also, for more project how-to’s, tool reviews, and lifestyle. We are so far out of practice here with new pups, leave us a comment with some of the best techniques to train Winnie, being this big of a dog we want her to be well behavior, we are our adventures takes us. Keep an eye out for more DIY projects, here on the blog and over at our YoutTube Channel (link here). Thank you for stopping by, and as always, Give Grace.