Monday, October 17, 2016

The Two Birds

I am feeling torn about my two little birds, Wren and Crow. Both pups are showing guarding behaviour now, so the notion of what they are here for is definitely there. That’s good. Both are comfortable around sheep - another plus, however, Crow does not have a bond to the sheep. He will wander through and lie down next to sheep, but he could just as easily be without them (and the other dogs), and that makes all the difference.

The difficulty is watching Wren who knows to be with sheep but is pulled to following Crow. Wren likes sheep and her bond to them and his lack is very notable. Wren also cares to be with the other dogs; she is insecure and needs the backup that sheep and dogs give her. I’m not sure raising Crow as a singleton would have changed how he is, but it would have been better to have raised Wren without a pup like Crow.

They are expert at slipping through fences, although Wren dislikes it, she persists in order to follow Crow who has no trouble with it all. Little sweet Wren is easily put off if I’m not careful when I try to make a point with Crow and send him back to the sheep.

photo taken one month ago
The crux of Crow is that he is dearly devoted to doing what he thinks he should, and being where he thinks he should be, without sway. He would be a gorgeous and very purposeful dog on a small holding where the animals are situated around the yard or corrals, and the people.

I’m in serious contemplation of selling Crow. Allen thinks we should give him the winter and see what happens, before we decide.

It seems fairly certain he won’t make a flock dog who stays out with the flock on pasture. He’s largely driven by his stomach which leads him everywhere else. He is incredibly scent hound like, fiercely stubborn with a lovely laid back, hound like, personality and a deep booming bark.

He has taken a deep fondness for showing up at the yard and spending his nights here which is my main irritation. He has become the hound on the front porch step and come morning he knows to be back with the sheep before I get out there.

What makes the idea to sell him a tough one is that he is a good guardian dog and is patrolling and doing his small puppy part already. And perhaps his heart is big enough he feels he can cover sheep and us too. A very endearing quality, and yet the yard is not where I need him and the bigger risk is that he influences Wren.


7 comments:

  1. Oh oh...seems like the mastiff in him has become more dominate? I was wondering how that would affect his duties. They do love their people, and they are wonderful guard dogs. Just their bark alone will deter anything. But they also love food and taking naps! And the males can be headstrong and need more encouragement to do their share. Plus you have Wren, whom you really feel will be a great LGD if she doesn't have Crow around to follow after. So it's a dilemma for you at the moment....keep Crow over the winter and see if
    he turns into what you want....or loose Wren to his bad habits. I feel for you. I know you love the big lug, but would he do better, and be happier, with a way smaller herd, and be with people more? You know, the hound on the front porch??

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  2. The comment above..(fr Judi) I think is so very correct,I do admire her thinking also what would make Crow happy.(as I am sure you also are doing)It would make life better in a way for Wren,not having to think twice about things..Hard call for you..

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  3. I am like you and would be ready to find a new home for Crow. He's a great dog for someone-somewhere. When you have livestock and another dog at stake it really puts pressure on you to make a definitive decision. I know you well enough now to know that when you usually have a doubt or suspicion about something that more often than not you are right. You have enough experience to follow your instincts too. If you think that Wren can overcome her need to follow Crow I might give it a try...but...and the big BUT...is can you deter Crow from hanging out with you without scarring Wren. I might give it a bit of time...but not much. I know there are folks that would love to have a dog like Crow. He's spectacular. It'd be easier to relocate him while young I think. I feel your struggle. At some point you'll know for sure what to do. I hope it will be soon.

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  5. There will come a time in the near future when your head and heart will be in agreement about Crow. I often envy your life on the ranch, but don't envy your having to find answers to the tough questions that often arise. ~Cathy K

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  6. Have you considered fence training one or both of them? I fence trained my last pup and really like knowing she will stay in the pasture I put her in.

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    1. Good suggestion, it did cross my mind briefly and then I dismissed it. He's a dog who waits at the gate - all day. So fence training him would keep him in, but I wasn't convinced it would change his mind on bonding with sheep. Our pastures are also large so he could stay in, but seldom be with sheep. Maybe over time he'd get the idea, I don't know.

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