Monkey see, monkey do…

Lambs can be pretty obnoxious. Especially when the lamb is a single with no other lambs to play with. The obvious answer is to pick on one of the dogs. In this first video, our two week old ram lamb decided to pick on Tomas. Tomas, who is normally a very patient soul, forgot himself for a minute and played back. This is not acceptable, and Bella who stepped into the role of dominant female and protector of puppies and lambs in Marcias absence, gave Tomas a gentle reminder.

Apparently, Tomas learned his lesson well and later that afternoon, decided to pass it on to 5 month old Dixie, who did a fabulous job of tolerating and moving away from the little monster lamb….she really didn’t deserve the reprimand he gave her at all, as her behavior was perfect. Tomas, obviously learned a lesson from Bella’s reprimand, now he just needs to be a little more judicious in handing out discipline.

I posted these two videos, and will actually be posting more for educational purposes. It’s easier to understand body language and behaviors when you can see them. Finally, here is a video of Harley and the same lamb. Harley seems to be very affectionate towards the lamb and many people will allow this behavior. I do not…with a puppy this age it is way too easy for this to escalate into more dangerous behaviors. I stopped the video to correct Harley before this could go any further. This is also why we cannot always depend on mentor dogs for training, and why puppies this age still need training and supervision.

Bloodlines and Bonding….the Results can be Amazing

This morning we woke up to find a new member of the flock. I didn’t have a breeding date for this ewe and didn’t expect her to lamb for another week because she just didn’t look that far along yet. It turned out she was just carrying a single. Besi, was dozing near the fence line, and Rylie and Nellie were in the puppy pen with Dixie, Opie and Harley. This left Bella and Tomas in charge, as Faith and Yamir are with goats and Cabo and Marcia are in lockdown on opposite sides of the property while Marcia is cycling. Bella is 15 months old and Tomas is only 13 months, they did an amazing job! See for yourselves….notice the calming signals these two young dogs are sending to this new mama and baby? This is not something I train into my dogs, and it shouldn’t take two years to get there. These dogs were never left in pens next to the stock, they were started indoors and introduced to our routines, taught basic obedience, and taken out and socialized. This is an instinct that comes from centuries of selective breeding. It cannot be destroyed by bringing your puppy indoors, and bonding with it. Training and socializing will not ruin it. To the contrary, it will make a better guardian. We as breeders must preserve and promote these traits always by continuing to take temperament and instinct into consideration. Thank you Natasha Prudnik and Luis Martin Lopez for producing such fabulous dogs❤️

Bella keeping an eye on her ewe and new lamb
Bella and Tomas, spent most of the day just laying nearby watching over mama and her new baby.

Miracles Do Happen…the story of Duke Hartley Underwood

This is Duke Hartley Underwood. Looking at most of these photos, you’d presume he’s always lived the life of a well loved pet. Duke was born and bred in Russia by a breeder who is fairly prominent on Facebook. She seems to specialize in unusual coloring, as I’ve seen other litters produced by her with similar color patterns. But coat color has very little to do with Dukes story, other than the fact that it is very distinctive.

Duke, who was originally known as Hugo was bought by my friend Laura Underwood as a pet/breeding prospect. I remember the excited text she sent me early in November of last year when she bought him. I remember how she told me she already felt a bond with Hugo and couldn’t wait for him to arrive here in the US.

Then the thing that’s always in the back of the minds of every buyer who imports a dog happened. I received a heartbreaking text from Laura. Hugo had disappeared from the breeders property the day before the transporter arrived. Understandably distraught, she contacted the breeder to find out what had happened. She was told that her puppy had been stolen, and the breeder was trying to locate him.

This began a four month long effort to find and recover a puppy who had literally disappeared into thin air. Various stories and speculation regarding what happened to Hugo were passed around, his breeder seemed to be making minimal efforts to help locate him, and most of us gave up on ever seeing poor Hugo again. Laura offered a reward for any information that would lead to Hugo’s return but months had passed and everyone but Laura had given up hope of ever seeing Hugo again. Many of us tried to help her get closure, but she kept reiterating that she knew he was still out there, and she couldn’t give up looking for him.

Then in February, a miracle. Another breeder, Lenka Erbanova, contacted Laura with a photo of a puppy being offered for sale by a dog broker in India! The photo was clearly Hugo. Finally, Hugo’s breeder admitted to Laura that she’d sold Hugo to the broker because she was in need of money. She was reported to local authorities and pressured from NCSM to buy Hugo back from the broker and to put him directly into the hands of Natasha Prudnik, a trusted friend who would see to it that he was cared for until he could be transported to the US.

Based on the fact that he was now a large, 8 month old adolescent and had spent the past several months crated or in a very small area, Laura, who suffers from a rare form of RA decided to ship Hugo here to us for training and socialization prior to bringing him home. We traveled to Salt Lake City on March 19th to meet the transporter and brought Duke home.

Other than having an obvious fear of being left, Duke was a joy to work with. It was slow going at first as he was not familiar with walking on lead, was not house broken, and didn’t know his name or pretty much anything an 8 month old pup would normally know, but his positive attitude and sweet nature made up for so much. In an effort to help Duke overcome his fear of abandonment, we went on many short outings into town. Duke especially liked driving through McDonalds for a Puppercino. He also became very popular at the local feed store, and at our vet when he went in for a routine health check up, and vaccinations.

On June 2nd, 7 months after this ordeal began, we traveled with Duke to Kearney NE to meet Laura, and she finally got to meet her boy. We are so very thrilled we were able to be a part of this awesome story, and wish our dear friends Laura Underwood and Hugo, now known as Duke Hartley Underwood, the very best, and many happy years together❤️

The first photo Laura sent me the day she sent payment for Duke.
The ad the broker placed for Duke. This thankfully, led to his return.
Meeting Duke for the first time in Salt Lake City
Hanging out with kid and puppies
Why Duke’s middle name is Hartley
Waiting patiently to go for his Puppercino
Giving Laura kisses
Happy to finally be where he belongs
Have a happy life Duke Hartley!