There have been a few losses at Burradoo this past year and some of the dogs I got to know well are not here this year. Stubborn and headstrong as this old-timer is, I’m glad to have another stay with him. He remains one of my favourite working Kelpies. Becker is father to BJ/grandfather to BlackJack.
Since I’m sharing a favourite Kelpie I have to share a favourite Border Collie. This is Bill and I’ve had my eye on him since I first worked him a few years back. I offered to buy him but no luck, he is too well loved and appreciated right here where he is. :-)
For the most part the ranch dogs listen well, I’m able to take the dogs and work them on sheep etc. Dogs have a great sense who is in their midst and wether one is worth listening to or not and they gauge this continually, hence you’ll be worth listening too as long as you’re in the groove and worthy. As soon as you’re out of touch they brush you off a bit or, in the case of some individuals, brush you off completely. Often dogs you don’t live with listen better initially because you don’t know one another so both parties tend to be more on the ball. The real test comes a few days in when you begin to slack and take for granted that they’ll listen.
The one situation I don’t have much sway on is the din in the morning when I arrive at the kennel area and the dogs know a run is about to begin. Getting complete calm would take a constant commitment to stay on top of, and with a group of dogs I won’t change this behaviour in the couple weeks that I’m here, besides it’s not my pack of dogs to change, but I still ask it while I’m here :-)
While I bring dogs with me, it’s not my goal to throw them into the mix here. I’m here to look after everyone and there are many dynamics in a pack of dogs that live together plus there are also females in heat at the moment so tossing two strange male dogs into the group isn’t needed in my mind. There’s also a lot of energy flying around in a pack of active stock dogs. I always have a couple of the ranch dogs up at the house and they and my dogs mingle as we come and go and sometimes go for runs together. All that said, if I were to live here I’d get my dogs familiar with the whole pack as soon as possible.
I enjoy your questions and comments and I’ll touch on the sheep and the feeding routine in the next post.