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Tuesday, March 12 2013


Clairesmum asked about Trace the Troll and so here's the skinny on the little beast:

He is a troll. Trace is the consummate "Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde," for beneath the sweet exterior lies the soul of a beast. Trace is a resource-guarding monster. He has never had to compete for food, yet at the slightest hint of meal time, he races to "his spot" near the food bin where he rolls his eyes, bares his teeth, and lets out noises more associated with a Hollywood demon possession scene than a serving up of the same meal he receives twice a day, every day.

And he does not merely save this aggressive streak for meal time. Nosirree! The Troll is always looking for someone or something to herd - aggressively.  He must be tied in the back of the mule because he's such a monster to the other dogs as they run along beside it.

Because The Troll has the moves of any Urban Parkour traceur, (see: ) he must be confined to kennels with tops when we go to the pasture to feed, otherwise the little beast scales a 6 foot kennel and races up and down the fence line, foaming at the mouth with a satanic gleam in his eye.

What's so bad about that, you ask? Well let me give you just the last 24 hours of living with The Troll:

Exercise dogs and shuffle them into kennels. Have a brain fart and leave Trace and Dillon loose. Note Trace racing up and down fence. Note Innocent Dillon bouncing along beside him with a stick (club) in his mouth. Dillon has no understanding of the herding dog's desire to race along the fence. "Wouldn't you rather play with my stick?"

Apparently not.

I stepped into the house to take a pee. (You cannot even take a piss around here some days.) In my defense, I couldn't hear Other Half's screams over the racket of barking dogs in outside kennels. In hindsight I should have noted that their barks sounded like the Roman Colosseum crowd cheering and jeering gladiators locked in a life and death struggle. 

As I passed the refrigerator, cold frappuccino in hand, I glanced out the window. Oh crap!

Other Half was no longer feeding horses. He was on his hands and knees in the back yard, on top of what appeared to be a semi-conscious Dillon, while Trace circled them both with bared teeth. The little monster darted in and out like he was in a knife fight.

I raced outside, snatched the little monster up, and threw him in a kennel (with a top). Other Half's screams barely resembled English, but I did recognize the occasional F-bomb and the blood . . . I recognized the blood.

He let Dillon up and we examined the carnage. Trace bit THROUGH his thumb. Yes. Can I have a collective tightening of the pucker factor here. It takes a lot to impress me and that made my butt twitch.

Apparently Trace had enough of Dillon thrusting the stick at him and attacked Dillon. Dillon is a goofy, sweet dog, but like little Ralphie in The Christmas Story, when finally pushed into a fight by a bully, Dillon will let fly with such a rage that he is blind as he pummels his attacker.  And so it was that by the time Other Half came racing through the gate, Dillon had Trace in a choke hold and the Little Monster was gasping like a fish out of water.

Other Half had to punch Dillon off of Trace to keep the big dog from killing his precious little monster. As soon as he was free, The Beast rewarded him by biting through his thumb. He then disengaged, back off, circled, darted in again, and bit Other Half in the thigh. (All this while I was getting a frappuccino out of the refrigerator.)
The damage:

Other Half has a bad bite on his hand and his thigh. Dillon has a lump where OH punched him. Trace is unharmed.

Now whose fault was this?

Mine. Other Half's. We know Trace is a primitive beast given to fits of rage. We should have put him in a kennel before we went to feed.

Flash forward 24 hours:

Note that goats and sheep are out and are now in the neighbor's pasture. Call them. They blow us off. They are too far away for Lily, who has distance issues. They don't have enough respect for Cowboy, who has force issues. The Troll is the man for the mission. Problem: sheep must be run through the pasture with the cattle. The momma cows will kill The Troll if he even looks cockeyed at one of those calves.

Before we begin, Other Half calls cattle and they meander to another pasture - all but one cow and two calves. The sheep have now moved further away. They are at least three acres away. Send Trace. He is a heat-seeking missile. They start running. The little comet reaches them long before they reach the highway.

Problem: they decide to back up to the barn and not move.

His solution: He goes bowling.  I see him hit poor Roanie, who just happens to be in the back. I am not happy. It was dirty and uncalled for.  I stomp over there as he continues bowling hysterical sheep and sullen goats. One of the dairy goats refuses to move. "Go ahead and kill me now." 

I get there and grab her collar to hoist her to her feet. There is blood on her head. I look for damage. No damage. Then I scan the rest of the flock. And that's when I see red myself.

Trace bit half of Roanie's ear OFF! 

I am livid. I am in a Dillon-like rage. I want him DEAD! As he circles past for another go at them, I smack him on the back with a wooden crook. "Take THAT you little bastard!"

(This did have the desired effect of clearing the cobwebs from his brain and knocking that glazed look out of his eye.)  He drops to a down. I move him a few feet forward and down him again. And again. And again. By now, the sheep are in their pen. I am so angry that I just leave The Troll with Other Half. I completely understand why some ranchers will shoot their own dogs. I was that mad.

He is a bully. He needs to be on cattle only! Cattle can fight back. They may kill him, but at least it'll be a fair fight.

In his defense, he is a cowbred Border Collie. He is bred to work cattle, not sheep. He is bred to take the fight to them, and not quit when the chips are down. On the other hand, Lily is too, but she doesn't bully the stock the way Trace does. Trace looks for a fight. He hopes for a fight. It is part of his nature.  He is a troll. He is 'bad to the bone. B-b-b-baad.'




Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 08:55 am   |  Permalink   |  6 Comments  |  Email
Holy crap! Troll is almost a kind description! Have you tried the ecollar at all? I wonder if he'll respect the stock more if he knows you can "kill" him even from a distance?
Posted by AlbertaGirl on 03/12/2013 - 10:24 AM
wow, he sure is not just that cute little dog on the seat of the tractor! now I get it, Trace the troll. The influence of breeding certain traits really is dramatic to me in this example - a dog bred to herd cows would clearly not adjust to a suburban life - seems like a life that is not 100% working on or watching cows gives him too much opportunity for trouble. Thanks for the explanation. In suburbia it is too easy to attribute human traits and values to a pet and 'forget' that their animal natures predominate, and that domestication may be easily shed. On the farm - not so easy to forget that truth.
Posted by clairesmum on 03/12/2013 - 04:32 PM
Maybe Briar is the woman to take care of this problem and teach him some manners................
Posted by Liz (Vic Aust) on 03/12/2013 - 04:49 PM
Oh poor Roanie! She doesn't deserve to have another dog attack her....
Posted by Janie on 03/13/2013 - 09:53 AM
Ok, I stand corrected. It wasn't his thumb, it was his forefinger. Must have been the sight of so much blood that got me confused. (hehehehehe)
Posted by forensicfarmgirl on 03/13/2013 - 10:22 AM
Was it wrong of me to heave a sigh of relief when I read that the blood came from OH and not one of the dogs?
Posted by Terri's Pal on 03/13/2013 - 05:46 PM

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