Baby Willis’s 7 weeks old….

Puppies are all doing well. They’re getting very familiar with the sheep, as you can see in one or two of these videos. Unfortunately, our air quality is still pretty awful.We’ll be doing individual photos over the weekend when I have a helper to hold puppies. If I haven’t scheduled a phone call with you yet, I’ll be contacting you soon. For now enjoy these stills and videos, all but the first one is from this morning. The other is from last week when the skies cleared for a bit.

Dad trying to figure out if he should break up that wrestling match….
Sin found a feather…
Moonlight using her sister to get a boost…
Harley getting kisses from Diehard

Sin and Diehard
Mercury and I think Boy Scout
Six
Armageddon
Fifth Element trying to steal a drink.
Diehard was the first to wander away from the group to go exploring….Bella and Yamir are on pig duty on the other side of the fence.
Puppies rough housing and stalking Dixie
Boy Scout just taking a stroll….
Puppies taking advantage of this ewes good nature. She’s one of our older girls and gives very gentle warnings, but I decided they were pushing their luck.

Happy National Dog Day!

Everyone enjoying the cool morning before breakfast….

Test Day for Yamir

This first video is just Yamir and Bella waiting for the gate to open so the new sheep on the other side can come through,…..something Bella and I have been working on with Yamir. Today, we exchanged Bella, who has been helping me teach Yamir proper sheep etiquette since weaning her puppies a few months ago, for Harley. The idea is to observe Yamir’s behavior without my close supervision, or fear of reprisal from Bella. This video is basically just Bella reminding Yamir who the boss is as they wait for the gate to open.

This second video is of Yamir and Harley modeling correct behavior when welcoming a few new sheep. Notice they are NOT welcoming them, they’re keeping their distance and almost seem to be ignoring the sheep. These are new sheep, who have only been exposed to herding dogs in the past and panic when they see dogs approaching. This can result in injured sheep and dogs, plus we wouldn’t want them running through our awesome, super secure fencing along the back of this pen……

While bonding between livestock and their guardian dogs is important, the shepherd/dog bond is all too often ignored here in the US. How can you build a bond and communicate what you want to your dogs if you don’t spend time working with them? The only dogs who are put in a pen next to the sheep are my 4 week old puppies and their mothers. By 6 weeks of age they are going out with mom and me into a pasture with sheep and other pack members for the day…I’m digressing….

Anyway, 18 month old Harley was born here and has been raised in a pack environment surrounded by sheep, while 2 1/2 year old Yamir spent his first several months in a kennel, with no exposure to livestock or even open spaces. Yamir is a big dog with a big personality and while he has been great with older sheep and goats who are used to dogs, (and surprisingly, poultry) he has had to learn to reign himself in with new livestock…this is his first experience completely on his own without me or Bella there to correct him. While it is hot, most of his panting is due to excitement. I swear he had test anxiety! However, he really did exactly what I was hoping for. These new ewes don’t have the opportunity for distance on a small pasture or pen, so it’s important for the dogs to understand the concept of giving them the space they need to acclimate, and eventually become familiar with their new surroundings. Yamir and Harley did a great job, but Bella will be going back in just to keep an eye on things for awhile.

For anyone interested in listening to me drone on about my dogs for an hour…

Just be warned, for some reasons, the questions were edited out so it sounds a little like I’m just arbitrarily jumping fromThanks so much to Sean and Bulldog Social Club for taking an interest in the breed.

First Day With The Pack….

The Stars are now 6 weeks old and have graduated from their puppy pen. They are now spending their days with mom, some of the other pack members and the sheep. This is a very important learning experience for them, as they learn to live in a larger space, and to interact with other pack members and of course, the livestock. I really believe these weeks spent with other pack members, livestock, poultry, and children on a regular basis is why our puppies are so confident and ready to learn when they arrive at their new homes. Because they’re way too young to spend nights out, of course they do still go back to their pen in the evening at feeding time. Here are some still photos and videos along with their 6 week individual photos, enjoy!

Bella and Faith watching over the kids…

Happy Spring Equinox ! The Stars are Five weeks old🌞

Everyone is growing, developing their own little personalities, and exploring the world. Mama Bella is not all that thrilled that her kids are now able to leave their shelter and wander around on their own. She typically starts shooing puppies back inside as soon as the sun starts to set. Here are individual photos, and a video….enjoy!

They grow up so fast….

Cabo and Bakira’s litter is 8 weeks old today. I can’t believe they’ll be leaving for their new homes in just two more weeks. Just in time for Bella and Cabo’s litter to arrive around February 13th. No pups are available unless today’s ultrasound indicates more than 12 puppies(I really hope not!!😳). However, Tomas recently achieved a really excellent PennHip rating, so I will likely have a Tomas x Nellie litter later this year. Anyway….here are some photos, and a short, after breakfast video of the pups and Bakira and their buddy Owen the Corgi getting ready to head out with our ewes and lambs.

When Your Dogs are Barking Hysterically….But You Can’t See Why, Take a Second Look.

Last Saturday I woke to my dogs pitching a fit. It was cold, late, and I really didn’t want to walk outside, but they were showing no signs of slowing down. I went outside with a flashlight to check….nothing. I told the dogs “that’s enough” and went back to bed. I could still hear growling and intermittent barking…that’s not normal, so I didn’t go back to sleep, instead I turned the tv on. About 15 minutes later everyone was at it again and I could hear some of the dogs jumping at the fence, so I grabbed my flashlight and went back out. This time I didn’t need my flashlight because the reason was apparent. There was a group of abandoned mobile homes on fire about 1/4 mile across the road. FD was called, apparently someone thought it was a good night to commit arson….anyway, next time my dogs all bark for nothing in the middle of the night, I will definitely take a second look!

Bella, Faith and Allie taking a well deserved nap…

Hillbillies 9 months…

I love watching these pups run❤️

Their Favorite Part of the Day

They love it when I open the gate to this little pasture in the morning❤️