The last few days have been busy for Pippi. Breeding season for the goats! So lot's of moving around, separating etc. Pippi did an awesome job! I have 8 babies from the spring so needed to gather them up to open a pen for a buck and a few does. She trotted in (usually she goes about 150 mph)! And it took some work but we got them out of the pen (half are wild I can't even get near them) and out into the pasture. Then had to round them up and get them locked into the barn. tada first job done! All 6 bucks were due for vax, hooftrim etc she helped get them into the stantion and then I'd take them by leash to their new pens, with her help! Then pick out which doe for which buck, they weren't to happy to leave the herd to go with a stinky boy but Pippi convinced them it was in their best interest. Got half way done the first day. My one larger doe (who broke Tucker's leg a few years ago) decided she didn't like the buck in the pen by her pasture and proceeded to beat the tar out of the fence! I have enough work w/o her creating more! I thought she would give it up but she didn't.
Pippi and I went down there in the dark and Pippi went in like a bull in a China shop! Got the doe off the fence and running full speed across the pasture and into the barn. Pippi had a hold of the does front leg while they were running at break neck speed but let go of her once they were in the barn. I got to the barn in time to see Pippi standing in front of the doe calmly and the doe charged Pippi, yikes I said "get her" and Pippi put the doe in its place "that'll do" and she stopped! Excellent job! These girls had given Pippi a hard time when she was a pup so it is nice to see her get the control over them. I'm afraid one problem I might have to deal with is Pippi is really trying to bite quite a bit or even run by grab wool and swing off the goat. I had to let her get a bit tough so they would respect her which has worked, but now if everyone is moving and cooperating, I've been telling her "no bite" or using a long PVC pipe to block her. Don't want her thinking excessive gripping is OK. Anyway this morning I notice my 2 extra bucks had escaped, tried just using grain, they wanted none of that not with so many girls in all the pens, so called Pippi. She runs out with Tucker gets one whiff and she is all business, barking like crazy (she usually is a pretty quiet worker) and lays down the law quickly! It took a while, their pen is away from the girls and we would get half way there and one would break away but Pippi was on it, and Tucker was trying to help (bless his heart) he can't move very fast but I wish I would have had a camera, bright morning sun with the buck with his head down and both dogs at his head barking working as a nice team. They'd get him turned back and finally got the first in the pen the 2nd is 5 feet from the pen and Pippi runs into the pen ahead of him and thinks she needs to bring the 1st one out, aaah no leave it! She stands there just looking at him, weighing the situation out in her head and decides OK and comes back out, (whew!) get the other guy in, close the gate, lot's of praise for everyone! I think she had a blast. In between all this working she also had to put up with the 3 neighbor girls putting halters on her , leashes pulling her around etc. She took it all in stride! Better than me! I had to tell them you need to stay away I am dealing with bucks in rut here and I need the dog's help, the next thing I look up and can't find the girls, I told Pippi "go find Annika" off she goes finds them in the blackberry patch munching away! Also found a dead brush rabbit in the yard don't know if it was Pippi or the cat but Pippi looked pretty proud about it. And she was after a pheasant yesterday!
Finally had a minute to write, my hours have been doubled at the zoo and lots of relatives visiting.
Pippi doesn't get to work as much as I would like but we are getting some time in and working on manners. Last year when the moms and babies were on the West pasture Pippi would try to fly through the backyard gate race a million miles an hour and scatter everybody. I literally resorted to putting her on a long line, snub her up on a post, because I couldn't hold her, and then open the gate, and then try to calmly walk down to the herd. If she bolted we stopped wouldn't walk until she wasn't pulling on me. I am happy to report this year no leash and almost no scattering! I can tell her to wait open the gate wide open and she doesn't go till I say. I also tell her that will do. Sometimes she can't resist and she'll break, but that has been rare or she''ll race down there get amongst the herd and stands there, checking to make sure everyone is there. She does hold her tail a little different when she does this, and most of the goats seem to recognize it? Because they don't run and continue grazing. OR maybe they just don't want to be bothered by her. Anyway it may not sound like much but it feels like a big accomplishment!
She is also doing great on peeling the goats off the fence or barn wall. Before they would bunch tight and that's when she would run across their backs! I was beginning to wonder if I had a Kelpie on my hands! Now she will wedge her nose in between the barn and the goats and work her way to the back of them to get them moved. Looks great! One last thing to report. Went to check on our 5 bucks that are on the neighbors property, I let Pippi come with, she was very excited, not listening the best, but the really good thing I saw, was no ear biting! If they bolted from her she used her speed ran in front and barked no attempt at biting. Only one stopped and challenged her a bit and she got in his face but did not connect and the animal backed away. This was the one who rolled her last fall but that's another story. I think she is getting more confidence and the goats are picking up on it and she doesn't feel like she has to use as much bravado. She does have permission to stand up for herself, I don't want her to think she can never bite but hanging on to ears and slicing them wasn't to good.
Sorry so long just wanted to share! This week she will help gather up kids for tattooing and castrations!
And I have to try and get a picture of our bottle baby. If it is raining and he is wet Tucker is there drying him off, the barn cat is trying to get some milk off his lips and Pippi is cleaning his bottom! To funny looking!
Thanks, Diana! I had some thoughts here....the ear thing...that's from Shooter. He will bite ears IF HE NEEDS TO. He has never used it unnecessarily (more necessary and less harmful on cattle). He has Mohns' bloodlines and they were used on hogs--hog dogs often bite ears.
It also sounds like Pippi is somewhat of a late bloomer. Meg is just coming into herself. She's 3 now. Meg has not had the exuberance of Pippi, but she is getting more confident and settled as she continues to mature. Shooter was this mature at 8 months already. He also never lacked confidence. No fear and no need for bravado.
I think you are doing really well with Pippi, and I have an idea that things will get easier in the near future.
May 7, 2003
Erin, Oh that's interesting to hear about the ear biting for pigs and Mohns line. Now I know where it came from, but I think I also know what triggered it. The night I had 2 bucks in rut trying to take down the fences. Pippi tried to help me get the one out of there and she got rolled by the big buck. It was dark outside and we didn't see we were by a yellow jacket nest in the ground. She started shaking her head and then trying to get the buck, then I got stung, and with the flashlight saw them start to boil out of the ground!!!! Aah run Pippi! I figure she was probably stung a few times, when she was shaking her head rather than watching the buck. Two days later we tried to move some of the young bucks and she latched on hard to an ear. Can't really blame her after that experience. But she had not done it before then, if I'm remembering right.
She is not as confident as Tucker, who as a pup had a lot of power with just his presence. But that was one of the reasons for choosing Pippi is I don't need that intensity anymore. I need a buddy to help with chores, and when we need to do something with the goats she can help, and someone who will listen to me! I think your right Erin about her being a slow maturer, but even as she is learning she is a wonderful dog to be around. I am seeing steady encouraging progress. David put up a small round temp. pen for me to work her with a few wethers. Trying to work on her keeping them together as a group, not individuals and balancing to me. She is doing excellent! Tucker was jealous so I gave him some time in there. He was challenged by a yearling. They can tell he doesn't have "it" anymore. No one has challenged Pippi, her confidence is coming out and they sense the difference.
Glad to hear Meg is doing well.Diana