I get asked a lot if all my dogs work….the answer is yes they do. They also all started out in the house. Purpose bred puppies don’t need to sit in a pen next to livestock to develop instincts,they’re born with them. They don’t need to be left in a pen alone next to livestock to form a bond…they need to form a bond with you first, the rest will come and it won’t take 2 years for it to happen. Bring your puppies in, love on them, take them with you to do chores, and even run errands. No, leaving the property with you won’t instill bad habits either! It will just give your dog more experiences which actually helps them develop better threat assessment skills. If you have older guardians, sometimes they’ll teach by example. Livestock guardian breeds are meant to work in packs, or at least pairs. Leaving a puppy in a pen to “figure it out” is never going to substitute time spent with your dogs and livestock.

Tomas
Harley
Tiles “Cabo” giving Bakira kisses
Besi, our old girl doing her favorite thing….
Faith x Tomas litter at 5 weeks
Harley is my best puppy nanny

Bella’s Puppies Have Arrived❤️

On September 29th Bella’s trio of puppies arrived; two males and one female. Because we’re just starting the Halloween season, we decided ghost names would be fun….introducing Phantom, Spectre, and Banshee. All puppies are spoken for, but we do have a waiting list started for our Bakira x Cabo litter expected in November.

Phantom
Spectre
Banshee

Going Home Day

The pups are almost all on their way to their new homes. Good luck sweet babies, I can’t wait to hear how they are getting along. Here are photos of pups with their new owners, and for four of the puppies, with our favorite transporter Aaron and his lovely wife Liezel, owners of PhilAm Transport, thanks for getting them to their homes!

Wednesday….

Cabo and Bella waiting at the vets office. Her for a preg check, him for his annual health and dental checkup. She’s due at the end of the month, we’ll have a puppy count on the 25th and I’ll start contacting applicants. Cabo got to stay to have a cleaning and two broken teeth removed, poor guy. He’s home recovering now…but he’s still giving me dirty looks.

The Willis’s (Almost) 8 week Individual Photos

Here they are! They were NOT thrilled about having their photos taken as they were all pretty involved with wanting to rip the towel in the above photo to shreds. I’d been using it to make sure their faces were clean and they didn’t have any straw hanging off their noses…so they of course wanted to make sure it was dead, and really resented being pulled off for photos, and having to have the sun in their eyes…..and yes, they are huge!

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….

Happy 5 weeks!

The Willis’s are 5 weeks old, and as you can see….not wanting for groceries! They’re living outside full time and will start going out to the pasture with mom now that the smoke seems to be clearing. The weather and smoke from the fires has been pretty rough on everyone; I’m just thrilled to have WiFi back, and clear skies! I will be scheduling phone calls during week 6 to discuss various puppies and transport plans, and answer any other questions. Here are individual photos, and a couple of videos taken yesterday and this morning. You may notice little Blind Date is missing from the individual photos…..because she is so much smaller than her siblings, for the moment I am holding her back. She is healthy and doing everything she should be doing, but she does tend to get pushed off food and knocked around a lot by her much larger siblings. Although she’s a tough little thing I just don’t think it’s in her best interests to keep her outside 24/7 like the rest, and until I get a vet clearance that she’s as okay as she appears, I’m just taking a watch and wait approach with her. I hope you enjoy the photos and videos!

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.