Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Update on The LGD Wanderers

I just emerged from the art room and realized I missed a few days of blogging.  I kind of like it when that happens, - the getting lost in the art room for a stretch of time, not the missed posts. 

Guardian dog update:  The drag object we placed on Lily and Diesel is a piece of wooden fence post about two feet long with a length of chain attached at each end, creating a triangle with the log.  The chain is long enough that when attached to the dogs collar the log will rest on the ground so the dog isn’t carrying the weight of the drag, although it is not heavy.  The idea is to give them something to take along which will discourage travel of great length.  It does not prevent them from walking, but it makes traveling afar and jumping fences more cumbersome. 

That drag barely slowed Lily down and the day before yesterday she was spotted near the neighbours gut pile.  I went in search of her but she was already on her way somewhere else.  I was also hoping I might catch a glimpse of the coyotes that are hanging out there as well, but no canines were in the area that afternoon. 

Lily upped the ante, so I made a new drag object.  A small vehicle tire without the rim, so just a rubber tire ring, attached on a six foot chain.  It is heavier, and since I despise having drags on the dogs at all, I struck a deal.  Lily didn’t voice an opinion, but then again Lily doesn’t understand the potential consequence of crisscrossing the neighbours fields either.  I only attach the tire drag to her collar during the day since that’s when she travels.  When I feed dogs again in the evening I remove the drag and give her a break from it.  She can move about freely and do night duty.  Daytime she rests - at home with the flock.   I’ll be satisfied if this works, but I’m not happy about it at all. 

Diesel already lost his first drag and I replaced his with a longer length of chain only, no object on the end.  He has come through the yard on occasion, on the hunt for cats, but he did not join Lily on her recent foray, so the chain is all that might be needed for him. 

It's not a one size fits all deal but rather trying to find a solution with each dog.  To copy a phrase from stock dog trainer Dave Viklund, it takes as little as possible, as much as necessary. 


2 comments:

  1. Glad you are back; I missed your blog! Why is it dangerous for Lily to go on your neighbor's land. Would they harm her? My neighbor on the top of my hill has sheep (which he got from me), and I had to work hard with Bess to convince her that they were not her sheep to take care of. It was hardest when my cattle were grazing near my neighbor's sheep, as we would go near them to move the fence for the cattle, but she figured it out when she saw how upset I got when she went near the fence.
    When I took the dogs out for a before bed hike in my hayfield last night, I saw two coyotes on the edge of the field. The border collies and I saw them (the BC's pretended that they didn't), but Bess did not see them. I then saw her come running across the field and stop dead when she caught their scent. She then had to spend five minutes telling them how tough she was before she reluctantly returned to the house with the border collies and me.

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    1. Yes, there is a danger to the dogs if they travel. Provided the dogs do not harass livestock or enter the yards and fight with resident farm dogs, most of the neighbours are politely obliging of the livestock guardians. They do not understand the nature of the dogs but they realize the purpose and see some potential in the clearing of coyotes from their own livestock areas. They are wonderful neighbours to have.

      But it only takes one bad apple and unfortunately we have a really rotten apple nearby. This person has killed dogs in the past (two were ours), and he has a history of not being at all nice about it. He and his wife are well known in the community for all the wrong reasons. So when the dogs are traveling this is of great worry to us.

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