Dirty Puppies

The puppies did fine their first day loose in the run with their mother. They were pretty dirty though!

A friend of mine told me that the two Border Collies she purchased as puppies had never been otuside before she got them. Of course, she lives up north, but I couldn’t imagine not allowing the puppies to go outside at some point. Fresh air and sunshine is key to good health, not to mention all the exercise they get walking around all day.

Although I think they are all too big, I have reed fencing around my runs which will prevent the puppies from going through the chain link. The reed fencing keeps the runs shaded and also prevents the dogs from “working” during the day. Some Border Collies, if allowed to look at stock or other moving objects during the day will go into “work” mode. Talk about burn-out. Not that I think Gel or Midge would do that sort of thing, I like having the reed fence around their rounds. It makes the kennels look more attractive as well.

Midge is the most amazing mother. She’s doing an absolutely wonderful job raising these puppies. They are starting to discover toys, both real toys and turning parts of Midge into toys. I’m glad work has been slow which is enabling me to spend more time with them. Hopefully I’ll be able to take Friday off which would give me a four day weekend. Lots of time to take photos and videos!

It is finally cooling off. The Charlotte area has had 33 straight days of 90+ degree weather. Much of the area is under mandatory water restrictions now too.

Two of Gel’s favorite jobs: breaking up cat scuffles (not sure how he decided that was his job, but it is and he does a good job of it), the rotten creature will sometimes attempt to go outside in the middle of the night if he hears cats yowling outside. How he manages to squeeze through a cat-sized entry way out the back porch is beyond me. He is not a small dog. Second favorite job is pushing stock off the feed trough. I forgot how much he liked to do that until last night. My neighbor brought me over a large, free-standing feed trough to borrow. Normally I don’t feed my sheep a lot of grain, but given that they have very little grass to eat, I feel like I have to make an exception. When I was putting the grain in the trough, I used Gel to keep the sheep off me until I got out of the way. Sheep are major carbo-junkies and when grain is in the picture, they act like they haven’t eaten in 30 days and have no qualms about running me over to get to the grain. Oh, Gel is in his glory doing this job, he’s all power and authority. It’s amazing to me how quickly he grasps the concept and then remembers his job. I haven’t used him to keep stock off me when feeding since last winter, yet he went with me last night with a complete understanding of the task at hand. It sometimes takes a couple of “that’ll do’s” to get him to let the sheep eat.

There are times, however, when I wonder if I really need a dog to help me with the sheep. I often let them out when I’m home to free-graze around the property. If I see them going somewhere where they shouldn’t be, I’ll often open the door and yell out “away!” Silly sheep come to attention and immediately move away from where they were. Of course, I have to keep a hand on Gel’s collar while I’m doing this because he’d be out the door in a heart beat to move the sheep himself. Maybe the sheep know that.

Never try to understand what goes on in the mind of a sheep.