Saturday, October 3, 2015

Guardian Dog Catch Up

Oakley, Whiskey, Diesel and Lily are situated with main flock and Zeus remains with the rams and ram lambs.  The group of stock dog training sheep don’t really need a guardian dog with them, they reside close enough to the ram paddock that Zeus can oversee both groups. 

Since he was an adolescent, Diesel has called the shots on the pack and on various occasions has made life miserable for different dogs.  For a long time he refused to let specific dogs in to work and we had little recourse to take with him. 


This summer while trying to get Lily to stay out on pasture we placed a drag object on Diesel so he could not do so much harm to her and push her out.  We started to notice small changes in the attitude of the dogs and it seemed that the other dogs knew Diesel couldn’t fight or push them out anymore.  Drag objects on the dogs are never a permanent solution and can cause their own damage, so after a length of time we started taking the drag off during the day but putting it on a night when the action between the dogs often becomes heated due to the action of wildlife around them.  Next we took the drag off altogether.  We seemed to have some success, Lily and the other males were left alone and could stay with the main flock. 

Shortly after all this sorted out Lily came into heat and paired up with Whiskey.  That was the first time Diesel showed up near home, parking himself with the dogging sheep.  Once Lily’s heat cycle was over we returned him to pasture.   He returned once or twice and we took him back.


When we sorted the lambs and kept them separate from the ewes Diesel parked himself with the lambs.  We thought he was choosing to set himself with his band of lambs and let him be.  In hindsight I think we misread that.  Once the lambs left we returned Diesel to pasture but he kept showing up near the yard, parking himself with the dogging sheep again.  We are returning him to the flock each time and observing that Lily puts herself between him and the sheep and won’t let him enter the flock.  Amazingly, Diesel walks away and goes to the yard where he knows there are sheep he can watch over without hassle.  We never thought Diesel would be the one to be kicked out, and by young Lily no less.  Those females have a lot of say in a pack.  We are having success with returning Diesel and correcting Lily when she tries to push him out.  She seems to be understanding that he’s allowed to be there.   Diesel will stay for many days in a row now.  What we can’t control or observe is the night time action that still sometimes causes the dogs to butt heads with each other.


2 comments:

  1. I checked out that Burradoo Ranch website and watched the videos of the Kelpies working. WOW! They are really something! My old border collie (about to turn 13) was a strong cow dog, but I don't let him around the cattle anymore, as I am afraid he will get hurt. My young BC will not stand up to the cattle, although usually she is pretty good at moving them to new pasture (mostly because they want to move!). I move the cattle twice a day, so she gets lots of practice, but she has none of the grit that those kelpies displayed!
    I don't know how you do such a great job with your guard dogs! I am the pack leader because I have one Maremma, and a young one at that. If I had five Maremmas, they would probably be telling me what cows to buy and sell!

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    1. LOL on the Maremma - cows comment. Sounds like you have a fine understanding of your own dogs as well.
      The Kelpies are pretty neat, although I guess I'm a bit biased. I am glad I have the experience of both them and the Border Collies. Like the Border Collie there are various types of workers within the Kelpie breed as well.

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