Well I bought a dog but I think I may have more of a project than I bargained for. We are having a rough beginning.
At her home she was at the back of the property, right with the sheep which is where she usually hung out. A good sign at first glance, yet taking into account the setup and the dynamics with the other resident dogs, I think territory was at play as much or more than a dog wanting to stay with sheep. She and her partner dog were staying out back because three other dogs were staying up front.
She has been handled frequently and came when called. During our first meeting she wanted little to do with me, which is fine by me. She definitely had reservations about being collared and leashed, and loaded in my truck. But after a few minutes of pacing about and checking the windows for escape possibilities, she settled down and traveled without making a peep.
Upon our arrival at my place she now wanted to stick with me. The tides changed and I am now the only source of familiarity for her (or maybe it was the beef and cheddar we shared on the trip home). I had a smooth time of introductions to Zeus and Diesel and while she wanted to follow me rather than be with sheep, she made no attempts to escape when I left the paddock. She is not interested in staying with the sheep yet and even ran them off. Given that she is stressed and has two dogs nearby that she doesn’t know, this is understandable but a bit of a worry. She is familiar with sheep, which is key, but she doesn’t know my sheep and she doesn’t yet feel any responsibility to them.
Throughout the evening, I made several trips out to check on her and each time she was lying on the hilltop near the gate where I exited. It seemed a good place to leave her to settle and destress. The other two were not bothering her at all. At dark, I thought to bring her out and to a dog run for the night but decided to let her be. I was mostly concerned that she might run away but this concern was alleviated so I made the call to leave her, but that was a mistake.
The first hiccup with her is that she has a recently injured hind leg and we’re not sure what’s going on there (yes, I bought a broken dog). The second hiccup was that she had an altercation with the two boys sometime overnight and received a bite injury. Not what the new girl needed, and in obvious hindsight a poor choice on my part in leaving her there so soon.
I moved her to a dog run for today, tended to her wound, gave her some pain medication and she slept most of the day. She was a sweetheart with letting me check her over and I am amazed at how quickly she has shown trust in me. So far, she’s got good temperament going for her.
So physically we need to let her heal the injury and that rear leg, and then mentally we need to get her bonded to the sheep. She is apparently a great dog with lambs so hopefully we accomplish this by lambing time.