The Odd Couple: Ears, Eyes, Bark and Bite

lgsHere is our livestock guardian pair, displaying their somewhat adversarial relationship. Neither one is really afraid of the other, and they haven’t thus far hurt each other and don’t seem to have intent to. But, the dog enjoys getting some sport out of hassling the llama by barking at her, and leaping up to air-snap at her head. This annoys the llama to no end, and she swings her long neck around with flattened ears, trying to communicate her irritation. Sometimes she even spits at the dog, but the dog doesn’t mind and keeps at her lively sport. 🙂

The llama does have the option of joining the sheep inside the hotwire when I move it every several days, which relieves her of this bugging. But sometimes she forgets, or whatever, and ends up “outside” with the dog. It’s possible that though she finds the dog vexing, that she also enjoys the company and interaction, to some extent. Or maye being inside the hotwire is also tiring since the lambs climb all over her, so she decides to alternate company. She and the dog are funny to watch, and thus far, I’ve not been concerned that either one is in any danger, so I leave them to sort out their own relationship.

Once we got the dog, and considering that the llama is fairly wild and unmanageable, we’ve considered re-homing the llama, thinking we don’t need her. But, lately, I’ve reconsidered. This is because the dog sleeps very soundly. This may be a growing puppy attribute, or it may be just a part of her lazy nature. But I worry that a coyote could sneak in and have a sheep dead before that snoozing dog would rouse.

The llama, on the other hand, is ever vigilant, observant and alert. You can tell there is  a jogger a mile away by the way her ears swivel and point. She is so tall, she notices things way in the distance, and even when she’s lying down, her periscope head has a good view. 🙂 If  she perceives a threat, she makes a bizarre buzzing, hollering noise, similar to a kazoo. So, I have hope that even if the dog were sound asleep, that any threat would trigger the llama to scream, which would wake the dog up to bark and chase away the threat (since the llama is no good at that part!).

So, for now, it would seem our odd couple is a good pair for the ultimate in sheep guardianship- half ears and eyes, half bark and bite! Do you have a cross-species odd animal couple?

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