Yeah, it's a real parade of critters around here. I wanted to take a moment to introduce the two newest additions to the cast of characters on the farm. I love puppers. Recall that in 2007 when we bought this farm, and 6 acres sounded like the biggest property ever, my initial thought was "just think of all the DOGS I can have!" It's like having my own personal dog park in my back yard.
And with that, and some circumstances (isn't that how most of our dogs show up here?) We now are the caretakers for Dwight and Banshee. This is a sibling pair that are about a year old, and came from a working environment. They know chickens. That's actually pretty key. The biggest issue we have with dogs is training them about chickens.
So they are already poultry safe. However, they need to learn about houses and sheep. I've been trying to spend some time around them with the sheep, and this one goes two-fold.
First - the sheep don't know them, so the sheep tend to run. This can cause some dogs to chase, as they see sheep as playmates. However, the sheep see them as predators. So we have to spend some time letting the sheep get to know them. This worked well with Seamus and now he can slink in and out of the sheep flock unnoticed and without causing a stir.
Second -we need to teach these puppers to guard the sheep, to protect them. This takes a bit more time and bonding. Currently, they don't seem to be treating the sheep as playmates. They seem to like to hold them in a corner. The sheep are still in a place where they move away from Dwight and Banshee. They don't know they are protectors yet, and are wary of them. Once they shove themselves into a corner, Dwight and Banshee tend to keep them there.
The good news is, they aren't hurting the sheep directly. The bad news is, for some reason, they take this herding technique very seriously, and though they aren't biting or chasing, sheep that are stressed out and blocked from eating are going to be hurting sheepies. So this will take some work. Seamus is setting a good example for them. But we need to build the bond. I'm working on it all slowly. It does take a dog 3-6 months to truly integrate into a new living situation, so I am letting that happen for now, with some time exposed to the sheep.
Six dogs is a lot. And we don't have a pile of easy puppers right now. We still have a high-maintenance and high energy German Shepherd. We have an oldish Colorado Mountain Dog who just got diagnosed with Osteoarthritis on TOP of his Immune Mediated PolyArthritis. So he's a bit of a grump, as I fully understand. We have 2 CMDs that are both about 2.5 years old that have boundary issues that we have to keep separated sometimes. And now these two goofs on top of it. It makes it fun!
The pictures are of them sleeping. Because that's the only time they are still enough for me to get photos. They are super soft, and super snuggily. I love them to pieces. And they like to sleep on the bed. Which is my favorite. But it doesn't leave much room left for me or Larry...