Stormy, noticed something coming early today (the garbage truck one of those potential threats I have been concerned about)He was in the pen with the sheep yet (it was early)and I decided to observe him.
He was on alert,ears up tail up, no hackles though. He obviouly heard the garbage truck before I knew it was coming. When he saw what it was, he did bark when the garbage man got out of the truck. Not incessantly, ut a few times. He stayed on alert, but never once did I see hackles or hear growling. While the garbage man was still here, he even sat down and watched. He was mostly quiet, and I saw him actually look to Sadie to see what she would do, she barked and so he followed suit. Her reaction (she was out, was to bark and go forward, not running actually, but she moved to the front of the yard and then was also quietly watching him (the garbage man) work. She also stayed on alert, but no growling or hackles. (this is not new behaviour for her-she learned a couple of weeks ago that the garbage man was not a problem.)
The second thing I saw today that was real encouraging (to me personally) Sadie is learning quicker and quicker who is a stranger and who is a friend and her reaction is different to each. My friend came by and Sadie had gotten aquainted with her last week really well, and met her handicapped daughter then too. I kinda wondered how Sadie would react to our friend and her daughter in subsequent visits. (she recently moved closer so is going to be here more) and I was a teeny bit concerned because Sadie is still learning who is who in our life.
So, my friend drives up, and Sadie is checkin out the garbage (that stinker!) and Rayla says to her, " Sadie I don't think you are supposed to be doing that now are you?" She told me that Sadie immediately looked so crestfallen and had that "Uh oh, Busted!" look on her face, and she went slinking up the drive.Ray;a continued up our drive and Sadie decided it was time to work, and turned and barked to tell us someone had arrived. Then she went and quietly sat down by the front door.
Okay-so how is that news? Well to me, it showed that Sadie knew, really knew who Rayla was, because usually she does not just go lie down if it is someone she has only met once or twice. She does not bark or growl or anythig, but she hangs really close by, being rather standoffish-mkeing sure all is well. Her reaction today was different-and I just know that she knew who Rayla was.
rayla has asked me if these dogs would ever be good around her daughter-or if they are too hyper etc. And she would like one to help her withher chickens and ducks (and goats someday)-she does not have any person to help her, and could use a good farmdog. She is really taken with Sadie, and Stormy both. Seeing Sadie show a definite difference in her usual behaviour really encouraged me. I knew she was smart, but wow.Sarah
Sadie has always been a good biddable dog. She always looks to me (mostly, but eric too and even our children) for direction. She is still quite strong in the guardian qualities too-runs of predators and if there is a threat, she takes care of the sheep etc first then goes after te threat. But I think she is better at herding than guarding.
Stormy, who I haveto remind mysef is younger even though he looks full grown, does herd well (enough at this point but he does still have stuff to learn) but has always seemed more apt to think he knows better than I do, and he is definitely stronger in the guardian area. Now I have to say I believe he is biddable-actually showing signs of being very biddable lately. He demonstrates nearly daily he thinks for himself regarding the animals-if he know there is a weak spot in the fence, he keeps the sheep away from it, without us even knowing what he is doing sometimes. I have learned to watch him closely-if he is doin somethig different-like barkig much or what seems like running after the sheep needlessly. In all actuality, he is trying to keep them from a certain place he discoverd is weak. (we actually have had this happen a couple of times in the last week). He does not gather the sheep like Sadie does, he goes to whoever is nearest or too close to the spot hewants them from, and drives the animal away and then keeps the thers away by not herding, but more heading them off if they are running.
In fact I have been observing him the last couple of days intently,(we could not find the hole in the fence) and he now is more apt to walk through te flock heading toward one he has singled out as a problem, and shoo her way without getting the rest all riled up. Or at least that is how it looks to me.I wish I could get this on video so you could see what I mean-it is so hard to describe!
He used to bark first when he was younger, then see what we did, when people arrived. Now he seems to be watching for our reaction more-and seeing us accept people who arrive makes him calm right down.That seems morelike biddability being shown, right?
I still get confused at this stuff. :P I am sure as time goes on we will figure it out.
Sarah Sheryl answered
Sarah, How are you defining "guardian" in this sentence. Guardian instinct (as with Lilly) I try to think of as loving to the livestock or poultry and helping with them because they are a part of her pack, not as a watch dog. Lilly is very biddable yet thinks for herself. Still tells me if something is amiss and works to correct it without commands. She looks to me for her "good girls" though, haha.
Banjo isn't as biddable as Lilly and he is tougher on the calf and goats (could be stubborness?).
Stormy and Sadie sound like smart dogs and good "thinkers". Since Stormy showed you the hole in the fence it shows he knows where his charges are supposed to be and enforced the rules.Sheryl
Sadie is great-she has gained weight and is getting her coat back in-her coloring appears to be changing a bit-maybemore rich than before? She has maturd to a wonderful dog-all around good. She isn't getting much herding practice these days-she and Stormy have the sheep well trained: one woof and they go into the barn, or if in the barn, they go out. She hunts well, and doesn't appear to be eating much dogfood. No bad habits, and only an excess of enthusiasm where she forgets her manners in the morning after we let her out. We are penning her at night (seperate quarters from Stormy, just in case she should come into heat. We don't plan on breeding her this next year or so-we want to continue working with her and as our little farm ventures grow, make sure she stays on top of things, rater than get sidetracked by a litter of pups. This promises to be difficult I am sure...and we pray we are successful-we have some work to do around here educating folks about farmcollies. There is a reluctance for most to venture into anything not tried and true-and few recall collies (except borders) as being useful on the farm. And it strikes me as funny that most who have border collies are not exactly pleased with them 100% of the time. they are wonderful when they have a job to do, but otherwise must be chained orpenned and are horrible with th children....seems like the farmcollies ought to be easier to sell/promote...but I guess around here, things gotta be broke to even get to *thinking* about fixing them, let alone *doing* anything! If Sadie continues to do as she has these last 2 years, we ought to be able to make some headway.
Stormy is doing just as well. He is still a handful some of the time, but he is looking more to us for direction. I would say that his exhuberance is not related to his position in the pack, but just his age. He is so sweet, and usually remembers his manners well. He better as he is BIG. I haven't weighed him recently, but he has got tobe near 70#. However, we have seen that being big in no way hinders his agility. He jumps 5 foot fencing with little runway, with PLENTY of room to spare. It is maddening to Eric, but I secretly love to see him jump, he looks like a Lippazaner and is breathtakingly beautiful when he is flying through the air.Shhhhh don't tell Eric!
He and Winnie the shetland ewe, appear to have reached a truce. If he stays within a reasonable distance she will mind him (with her nose in the air), but if he gets too close, she will fight him all the way. I keep him back because he doesn't like her insolence, but he listens and looks to me and so we are all happy. Makes it more difficult for me as a shepherd, so I am rethinking getting more shetlands. Her fleece is so wonderful though, I don't think I can part with her. And as long as Stormy and Winnie can peacefully coexist, there won't be a reason to
Anyway, Stormy's next challenge will be goats....this is bound to be fun!
what a wild few days it has been here weather wise. In our area there were about 9-12 tornados most doing extensive damage in a fewdifferent areas, plus heavy rain on Sunday. Yesterday was a repeat-started at 3:30 am west of here and basically went till about 8:00 pm. My husband, working on a disaster cleanup crew in Stockton, saw another storm and though he saw a twister while they were on the jobsite-which was on a big hill just a ways north of them....and we have heard about baseball size hail-but until Sunday night he never saw it....he actually held a piece that was melted totennis ball size while standing on the road that was COVERED with this monster hail.... And they say that we are in for it again tonoght some and tomorrow and again Saturday! whew! I can't wait till next week!
In the midst of all this we are trying to get the spring farmstuff done-between storms (and even raindrops sometimes). Our roster got out last weekas did all the hens...well the dogs helped catch every one but Roo 2. He decided to fly up to a tree (guess Iforgot to clip his wing!). That night we had a storm...and I didn't even hear him crowing the next day. When he didn't show up that evening ater we spent some time looking for him...I figured he was just gone. Well amazingly enough ffive days and nights later, and after Sunday's wild weather...Monday morning I thought I heard him crowing. After chores I went out and was just sure I heard him-a bit hoarse he was but it was him. All day I would hear him crow-but we never saw him until about 3 in the afternoon-Sadie spotted him and she came running (we were in the yard moving rocks)to tell me. She was so funny-she came to me full speed and got to me and started to whine and moan and bark and well I knew she was telling me to come and to hurry!
There that blasted rooster was, across the creek-in a midst of a mess of brush we have been clearing (but hadn't gotten there yet, because we spotted some poison ivy) Stormy had come when he heard Sadie going nuts and then he started in too. I got them to hush and then my son went on one side of the brush and my two older daughters onthe other side and I was directly across the creek (full and high due to the rain) because I was the only one who could see him. Sadie went on one side, Stormy the other. With little encourage ment (the brush also was a tnagle of thorns both dogs discovered the hard way-they avoid this spot like the plague). they went in to attempt to catch or at least send the rooster out in the open. Cooperative rooster? Of course not! But the dogs got the job done-the rooster did end up IN the creek and he spluttered and splashed up it a few yards until Stormy cornered him on the bank and Sadie put her paw on him till I told her I had him. Both dogs got pecked a couple of times, but when I finally had that mad roo in my hands, told him I was glad he had come home...they came up and sniffed him and Sadie licked him when he wasn't looking :) I think Stormy was mad at him (he did get the worst of it.) Now our little farm is aright again with a crowing rooster. :)
So then I decided that we have got to workon removing all that brush so we can fence off some of that area for the goats to finish cleaning up. Didn't have time yesterday, too busy tryingt plant and weed between storms. So today finds me and Bekah and Mtthw and Chalotte working on the area minus poison ivy. Sadie and Stormy were both there lazing in the sun. Suddenly Bekah screeches "Sadie!" All of us freeze, except Sadie-who makes a beeline for where Bek is, Stormy right behind her. "whiat is it?" I ask. "I think I saw a snake!" (inside I just about go to pieces, but I managed to stay sane, thanks be to God). "Don't move!"
Sadie must have heard something in Bekah's voice-she was so instantly 'on'. After a couple of moments, Bekah spotted it about the same time Sadie and Stormy did and was able to back away-the dogs however, did not. they were in the thick of it with that snake-about five foot long and vicious. Both dogs got bit a few times, but eventually hurt it mortally(or so I thought), enough that Bekah carried it up away from the creek so we could have a good look at it. ( we put it in a bucket, using a hoe) I initially thought it was a black snake-but when Eric saw it he didn't think so-it apparently was not hurt enough to die-and it recovered enough I had thought about having Eric release it on a part of the creek we never go. But Eric said we have lots of black snakes and this one was just too nasty and too close to where we are. So he decided to shoot it.
As soon as Sadie saw the gun (she hates them but we have been working with her) she started to shake and evenher teeth chattered. I knelt down by her and gave her lots of comfort and when the gun went off the first time, she flinched a little but the second shot she didn't not even a bit-so that is MUCH improved. Stormy was interested but didn't even give the gun a second thought.
Sorry for the long post, but I haven't written in a while and I am pleased as punch in the dogs help with the rooster, protecting the children from the snake and Sadie making progress with her dislike/intolerance to guns.
Oh-and no progress teaching them to hunt for ticks. Rats! Though they are tick magnets. :PSarah