Monday, March 23, 2009

What to do about Emmie?

My frustration with our livestock guardian dog Emmie getting out of the fence is reaching a boiling point. I am tired of getting up in the middle of the night to lock her up in the barn. I know I could just lock her up every evening but what good is a guard dog if they can't be free to guard? I had for a few days last week started locking her up at night... until she started escaping earlier and earlier to avoid me. On the nights that I don't happen to wake up and look for her she has always been out in front of the barn in the morning waiting to be returned.

Not this morning though... Emmie was no where to be found on the farm. I jumping in the Suburban and drove up the road 1/4 mile to see if I could see her (or her body beside the road...groan). With no luck I drove the other direction and went up a side road that is visible from our farm. About another 1/4 mile up that road is the volunteer fire department house. I pulled in their driveway to turn around and as I did I noticed across the street was Emmie... sleeping on the stoop of a house.

I parked the Suburban at the VFD and walked over to get Emmie. The older gentlemen that lives there came out and told me that Emmie comes by his place a few times a week and hangs out. He said he knew were she was from since he can see the back side of our pasture from his place and sees her there all the time. Sigh.. at least I know where to look for her in the future.

Now, I knew my next problem was that I would not be able to get Emmie into the Suburban. I tried... but when 150lb dog growls at you know it isn't going to happen. I locked up the Suburban and Emmie and I hiked it back home. Luckily, the VFD's property shares a corner with our property so we could just cut through the woods a bit and then follow the electric fence back home. I was cursing that we have no gates on the far side of the pasture. It was frustrating to be so close yet have to walk so far. After Emmie was back in the pasture via the barn I had to walk all the way back to get the Suburban again. Not how I wanted to start my day!

Since Emmie doesn't get out during the day I went back in the house to get breakfast for me and the kids before coming back out to do chores. After chores were done I went to investigate how she got out this time. I was very surprised to she that she had squished herself under the 10 inches of woven wire fence that Neil had consciously left unblocked yesterday thinking that Emmie would never be able to get under it. Think again! She dug down enough and bent the fence enough to wiggle through... I could see the nail marks in the dirt were she pulled herself under. I blocked that space up and hope that will be the end of Emmie getting out. I guess only the morning will tell...

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