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!
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.
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.
A little late in posting but our weather here has been crazy, so no Wifi! Bella delivered 11 healthy puppies on Feb. 11. All but two are male, no puppies available. Cabo, the only OFA rated excellent male Spanish Mastiff in the US and Bella’s hip certificates, DNA panels, and other health testing can be seen in their albums if you are in my Working Spanish Mastiffs with X Rays and Other Health Testing FB group, or I can provide them on request. Puppies are UKC registered, microchipped, fully vaccinated, wormed, receive ENS, leash training is started as is crate training for puppies who will be shipped. All our puppies are exposed to our sheep, goats, Kune Kune pigs, turkeys and chickens, as well as to cats, small dogs and children, and of course I am always available for a phone call, text or email if you have any questions.
Bakira delivered 5 beautiful, healthy male puppies on December 10th. Mom and pups were vet checked and everyone is doing great! Bakira is a fabulous mama, I’m very proud of her. Introducing The Muscle Cars; Hoof and Fangs Shelby, Chevelle, Charger, Road Runner, and Judge, and congratulations to their new owners, Tabatha, Tucker, Pru, Roxanne, and Colin. Here are a few photos and a video of our new little family.
Tiles de Abelgas x Madridsky Dvor Bakira
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!
I love watching these pups run❤️
They love it when I open the gate to this little pasture in the morning❤️
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.