Gus, The New Dog
When he brings me a shoe, I exchange it for his toy.
When he barks at the sheep we teach him to sit quietly.
While we're opening a gate he waits. He's learning patience.
The first week we repeated the process about 100 times daily.
By the following week there were a few less corrections.
Each day is better than the day before.
Soon it will be second nature, for now it's a learning process.
Our dogs are getting older. Maisey is 11, she loves her job, she's great at it, too.
Miley is 13 and takes Maisey's lead. She's gentle but needs a lot of affirmation.
Spike is fourteen, his hearing is failing but his attitude is strong.
Eva is younger but she has a plate and rod in her front legs. She gets around fine, though.
They're all mentors. Their job is to teach Gus the rules of our farm.
When we move cattle they wait for the herd to walk past. They follow any stragglers pressuring them. They are Quiet and patient.
The ewes are protective of their lambs so the dogs keep a greater distance. They pressure the sheep without chasing or barking. When the sheep move in the right direction the dogs back-off. This rewards the flock. When the sheep stop, or deviate course, the dogs pressure them again.
On our daily walk up the lane there are no rules. It's a free-for-all. They wrestle, bark, and fight for the best stick, bone, or toy. They chase deer, flush pheasant or turkey and run wild. They bark, growl, and race ahead.
But, the dogs are always quiet when they're with the livestock. With great role models and consistent work the new guy, Gus is catching on.
Oh, and then there's Grant. He's teaching Gus how to nap. Grant's specialty is sleeping in the sun, or on the sofa, surrounded by the chew toys that he took from the puppy.
HUMOR: Proof of who's your best friend:
This will dispel all rumors…
If you don’t believe it, just try this experiment:
Put your dog and your wife in the trunk of the car for an hour.
When you open the trunk, see who's really happy to see you.
It's a dog's life!