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.
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❤️
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❤️
We are thrilled to announce the results of our first Embark DNA testing! Links are posted below, but will also be added to each dogs description when I finish updating. Congratulations Hoof and Fangs Faith, Madridsky Dvor Yamir, Madridsky Dvor Yunona, and Tiles De Abelgas! We are still waiting on Marcias results. I can’t wait to submit the rest of our pack for testing as soon as the swabs arrive.
Bella, Yuta, and Yamir did not spend their early months learning about livestock. All of these young dogs are Russian imports from the same breeder, who did expose the puppies to goats during their first weeks. When they reached the US in June of 2019 Madridsky Dvor Yunona (Bella), one female went to her new home where she became a family guardian and pet. Madridsky Dvor Yamir and Madridsky Dvor Yuta, Bella’s litter sister, went to California as breeding prospects, where they spent the next 4 months in a kennel atmosphere.
In September 2019, Bella arrived here after her owner realized existing health issues made it impossible to keep her. In October, Yamir, and Yuta arrived as failed breeding prospects. All three were full of energy, and like the majority of Spanish Mastiffs, all were very sweet and willing to learn. Initially, as with all our new dogs and puppies, all three were kept with us almost constantly. That means indoors when we’re indoors, out doing chores with us, learning basic leash manners, and commands, and even trips into town to the feed store. This is an important aspect of training as it socializes the dog, gives them various experiences to draw on as working adults, and gives the dog a sense of belonging as well as an education regarding normal day to day routines. This all contributes to the dogs first ideas about threat assessment. We do this with each dog for as long as we feel the dog needs. Our plan was to introduce the new teenagers individually, and at their own pace. However, Tiles de Abelgas (Cabo) had other ideas, and one morning, after their first few days here, he took it upon himself to open the gate to the yard the three were turned out into every morning to have breakfast. He took them around the property himself, introducing them to the senior dogs, turkeys and chickens first, then over to the sheep, where most of the pack live, and finally, over to meet the Nigerian Dwarf goats.
After recovering the reins of authority, it was decided that Cabo’s actions were in fact a possible indicator that the three were ready to progress in their training.
As I watched all three over the next few weeks, I was so impressed with the willingness to learn, and the sensitivity of all three. Rarely did I have to correct more than twice, and those times were usually due to the excitement of the moment. All three displayed the ability to transition from attentive, nurturing guardians, to fierce protectors when needed. As they grew and became more physically fit, I noticed a definite improvement in both structure and movement.
In January, lambing season began. At this point, I had to make a decision regarding whether it was safe to leave the teenagers with the flock unsupervised. While they had made fabulous progress, I knew it was a lot to ask of such young dogs with so little training, so in the interest of protecting them and the sheep from failure, I moved Bella and Yamir to the goats with Josin. Yuta stayed with the rest of the pack in the sheep pastures. Initially, she spent most of the time loose in the pastures under my supervision, and always under the watchful eyes of Cabo and Marcia. At night I would bring her in. After going through half our lambing, and observing her submissive behavior with the new mothers and their lambs, I decided to let her fly solo overnight with the rest of the pack. Yuta performed beautifully, and never looked back. Because it was clear that she was not going to be a breeding prospect, we decided that when the right home came along, and she was old enough to spay, we would place Yuta. She now resides at Sarah Keiser’s Wild Oat Hollow with Hoof and Fangs Basko, one of our Dorito litter pups from 2017, where both guard Sarah’s livestock, property, and family.
Bella and Yamir continued their education with Josin, until February when the two intact males had three altercations in as many days. At the time, I thought it was because one of our other females was cycling and it would blow over, unfortunately the cause was more serious, Josin was suffering from a neurological disorder, that didn’t become apparent until later when we began seeing changes in his gait. I think this may have been the reason for Yamir’s aggression as we have tested him with other males here and it hasn’t repeated itself. Josin has since become a house dog where he can relax and enjoy his retirement. This left Bella and Yamir as the sole guardians of our does right at kidding time. Bella and Yamir had been off tether, with the pregnant does for several weeks with no issues, but Josin had always been there supervising. I still wasn’t all that comfortable with the idea of leaving two 13 month old teenagers on their own with does who scream during labor and delivery, and then suddenly drop tiny, squirming aliens onto the ground covered in what looks and smells like a snack. Kevin boarded up the jump gate, and Bella and Yamir were able to observe from the other side of the fence. They weren’t happy, but again, I didn’t want them to fail. I’ve posted two videos of our first Nigerian doe to give birth this year and Bella and Yamir’s reactions. I found it interesting that Pigeon, the Nigerian doe in the video, actually chose this area closer to the dogs to give birth. This is her third year here. The previous two years she chose to go into an enclosed area to kid. I was also impressed with both Bella and Yamir’s abilities to contain themselves, although on this day the award goes to Bella for her poise under pressure. Watch the body language going on….while I stand by my decision to close off the jump gate, Yamir, especially is very excited…I’m impressed with the progress these young dogs have made in such a short period of time. This would not have been possible without great bloodlines. Thank you Natasha Prudnik for breeding these sensitive, fierce, wonderful dogs, and thank you Laura Underwood, for trusting me with them.
She’s protected her family from a burglar, fought off a rattlesnake, now she’s apparently homeschooling during quarantine❤️ Thank you for the adorable photos Dominique!
You can fit into places the teenagers can’t, as Dixie demonstrates in this video. Happy Sunday🙂