Toobies wasn’t with us long, but he needs to be here, too, with the rest of the dogs. Only a few days after we said goodbye to Cieba and Larick, we said goodbye to Toobies.

Toobies was only with us for a few month during the summer. He came to us as a two year old, with his brother Ike, and sister Rachel. In theory, he was a LDG, but in practice, he showed little interest in the animals and no indication of a desire to guard. He was good with us, perhaps too good, as he didn’t seem to even want to bark too much at the strangers he should have barked at. We had to integrate him, and his siblings, into the existing herd of goats and with the already resident LDGs, primarily Willow and old boy Larick. No matter what combination we tried, Toobies seemed to be both disruptive and uninterested in the livestock. His disruptive behaviour, we later realised, was also interfering with Ike’s settling-in. All the time, Toobies was continually digging holes not only in the pens but under the fence-lines as well. At one point Toobies was in the same pen as Larick with the goat kids, while Rachel was with Willow and the does, and Ike in with the bucks and llamas. I heard a commotion and realised that Rachel was in full voice, barking hysterically. When I went to investigate I found Larick and Toobies had been fighting, with blood everywhere, and they had each other in a silent death grip, each refusing to let go. I had to throw about six 5 gallon buckets of freezing well water over them before they finally released each other, then quickly isolate them in separate areas so that I could assess the injuries. Larick had come off considerably worse in the encounter. After that event, Toobies was separated from the other dogs and continued with his disinterest in the goats, his digging of holes and finally escaped the pens altogether. Had it not been for his fight with Larick, it might have been possible to try to turn him into a house dog, or rehome him, but we felt neither was possible as he could not be trusted with other dogs, children or other people. So we knew we had to let him go, but it was still a very hard decision.

The only positive outcome was that, once Toobies was removed from the equation, Ike’s behaviour immediately settled. Ike had seemed overly aggressive, refusing to ‘stand down’, when strangers were around, even when we were present and telling him to. After Toobies was gone it was like a switch had been flicked and Ike is now a near perfect example of LDG behaviour. He is our new Larick.

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