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Tuesday, January 19 2010

Remember the Warner Brothers cartoon Ralph & Sam? It was the one with the sheepdog and the wolf (who always looked to me EXACTLY like Wile E. Coyote but with a different accent.) I googled them. Ralph was the wolf (coyote) and Sam was the sheepdog (Livestock Guardian Dog). They punched a time clock in the morning and then began their shift of either protecting sheep (Sam) or trying to eat the sheep (Ralph). At the end of the shift, they punched the time clock and then left "the office" together - to start again tomorrow in the endless game of predator & prey.

Border Collie and Livestock Guardian Dog remind me of Ralph and Sam. Border Collie is all about the hunt (minus the kill).  Border Collies have been bred to be top-notch predators, minus the kill. All Border Collie thinks about is hunting livestock and making them submit to her will. There is not a loving, maternal, "look out for the stock" bone in her body. Lest I dare make the comparison, her attitude toward sheep is much like the dog in Babe. She believes sheep are stupid animals who must be forced to behave.

Briar, on the other hand, believes that sheep are her family, merely cousins with odd eating habits. (Every family has a few!) She is happy when she is with them and sad when they leave her to go to the pasture.

  But she is too young to simply turn her loose with ewes and lambs. She may injure a lamb, or be attacked by a ewe. So for now, Briar is locked in an exercise pen inside the sheep area at night where they are all together, but no one can get hurt.  During the day, I turn the sheep out and leave Briar in the barn where she can see the sheep and the other dogs. She is okay puttering around the barn, but would be happier with the sheep. 

She needs to be cleaned up A LOT. Her puppy coat is matted. Today I began clipping. Despite the fact that yesterday the little Beast was snarling at me, today she is more submissive. I let her spend a bit of time with Zena, Retired Police Dog, who worships the ground I walk on. After a little bit of modeling, Briar was beginning to figure out that I was not the Evil Captor that she thought I was, and loosened up a bit. I left Police Dog (who is very maternal) in the barn while I popped Warrior Child on a stack of hay and started cutting. Police Dog climbed up on a bale of hay so she could supervise.  Warrior Child chewed a straw of hay while I cut out mats. Yuck.

   She doesn't have to be showdog clean, but the matts have GOT to GO! Her puppy coat will fall out in the spring, but in the mean time, her skin could use a break (and some air!)

We took a break and she met Border Collie.

   Ralph & Sam

 

  Remember this picture.  When she grows up, I'll need it to remind me of how little she was at 12 weeks. Boogey Beasts Beware! Warrior Pup has arrived!

 

Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 10:20 am   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email
Comments:
IF you want this puppy to be truly a LIVESTOCK guardian dog, you need to be very careful whom she is bonding to. She needs to be WITH the livestock you want protected so she bons to THEM, not you and not the other dogs. We ran livestock guard dogs for years and the best one was named Ralphie after the sheepdog in the cartoons too. She stayed with her sheep on the range 24/7 and was the BEST. Do NOT Pet this puppy or play with this puppy. Feed her and that's it until after she is bonded with the livestock.
Posted by Merideth in Wyoming on 01/19/2010 - 01:00 PM
That's the plan. At the moment though, she is covered with matts that have hot spots underneath, so she is in bad need of basic veterinary care. She has been with the sheep 22 of 24 hours in the past two days, but I have to have her socialized to humans at least enough for me to be able to handle her for shots, worming, and antibiotics. The rancher had leather gloves to catch her. She came to me already bonded to the sheep. I'm not trying to change that, merely socialize her enough to be able to provide the basic care that I give all my livestock. I don't play with her. She'd rather be with the sheep or puttering in the barn with the horses. She still believes I'm her captor, but at least she doesn't snarl when I pick her up now!
Posted by forensicfarmgirl on 01/19/2010 - 04:51 PM

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