Monday, January 17, 2011

The Young Dogs

So "blah season" has settled in around here. Cold and icy, or rainy and muddy seem to be the themes this time of year. I get little snatches of dog training in when i can fit it, but also spend a lot of time plotting future adventures and pondering on the youngsters. My two youngsters this year, Moon and Zeke, couldn't be any different from each other. Both are right at 18 months old. It's a very good age, both will be eligible for the Nurseries for 2011 and 2012.

I picked Zeke up this past August from Joni Swanke. He's a half brother to Bill, by way of their father Lew. Zeke is a real sweetie pie, goofy and friendly and engaging. He decided he wanted to be my dog practically at first sight. I worked him a bit when i was out in ND and he immediately attached himself to me, to the point of chasing off my own dogs when they'd try to come near me! I really was trying to find a bitch to add to my pack, not another dog, but finally gave in to Zeke's charms and bought him. He's been such a nice addition. He's calm and respectful around the house and yard, and just generally a good guy to have around. He wants nothing more than to be a good boy and for me to be happy with him. One approving glance from me and his chest practically explodes with joy that he's made me smile.

Then there's Moon. Moon is a daughter of Zac and was my puppy from the litter. Unfortunately for Moon, i'd gotten all silly over Tug and never really bonded with her like i did him. When two puppies growing up together became too wild for my taste, i sent her off with a friend for raising. She came home after a while and it was still too much chaos for me, so i placed her with the friend. Over the last couple of months, it's become obvious that Moon is too intense as a starting sheepdog for a home without easy, consistent access to work, so she's come back to me. And what a different creature she is from Zeke. She does everything as fast as she can and is busy, busy, busy. She's a very sweet dog but is more independent, at least at this point. I'm starting to see flashes of her looking for approval from me, but only the tiniest snips before she's on to something else in her mind. She's kind of a pain in the behind to live with, being the "border collie your mother always warned you about". She makes her own entertainment in the yard, from chasing squirrels to digging holes. She's not too bad in the house. Though she'd like to bounce around and play rougher than i allow, she is able to settle down. I'd hate to see how she'd have been if she were a pet living with a first time BC owner in an apartment somewhere! I'm pretty sure she'll settle down and get with the program in my pack with a little time. I keep my dogs pretty quiet and calm, without too much foolishness going on. She's only been home about 3 weeks and is already chilling out a bit. Her father Zac is over the top keen for sheep work, but he's a lovely dog around the house and yard, and i expect Moon will be as well when she gets settled and grows up a bit.

So that's a quick introduction to my current projects, the Nursery dogs for this year. They are very different, for sure, and will be interesting to get trained up. I don't know how much of the difference is based on gender and how much on breeding, but i expect they'll keep me on my toes and force me to be flexible in my approach. Next up, i'll talk about how they are when it comes to sheep work, where they continue their "couldn't be any less alike" ways.

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