Monday, March 16, 2009

Fresh Air!

Finally! A nice day so we could open the windows, let in some much needed fresh air and get some new puppy pictures! Honey's pups are "little dogs" now. At five weeks, they are full of personality and attitude. The growling and barking coming from the sunroom (aka the Puppy Room) is deafening at times! We're starting to see who's in charge, who is content to let the others BE in charge, and who is more concerned about what the other pups are doing.

We ventured out onto the deck for the first time this weekend. A little hesitation the first time, but the second time, they could hardly wait for the door to open! Lots of exploring and checking out the new sights & smells.

One thing I noticed, this litter is full of "watchers". They are very in tune with faces and look to see who's coming, and what people are saying. They will sit and watch faces for a cue. And they are very talkative- not just barky. They definitely respond! This is the same behaviour I saw in Honey at an early age. And it's one of the reasons she is "my" girl.

They've met our bottle baby lambs and some are more interested in saying "Hi" while some are more determined to have a good game of chase with the Shetland cross baby! I'm not sure who is enjoying it more!

We're working on paper training- with that many pups it could almost be a full time job changing the paper when they potty! Once they get breakfast/dinner, everybody heads for the paper. So far they are doing pretty well and they'll hopefully get a little more accurate with their aim!

It's hard to believe that they will be ready for new homes in just a few short weeks! It will be very quiet around here when that happens. We should be able to pinpoint who is going to which home in another week or so. With so many pups available, there are still pups looking for the right home!

New pictures will be posted tonight on our website.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Why we have English Shepherds

People ask why we got English Shepherds. If you don't know the breed, and you think "sheep handling", then most people think you would want Border Collies or Aussies. Each of those breeds has their strengths, but for me, this picture explains why we have, breed & raise English Shepherds.

We do some herding with our dogs- moving sheep around the property when changing grazing areas; or moving them to another pen. But we don't have 100's of acres and we don't need our dogs to do remote retrieval. I need them to help me out in fairly close quarters. So it's nice to have a trusted companion.

We've had some real issues with lambing this year- extreme cold, rain, flooding, snow, etc. So when the big breed lambs start arriving, they need a little more TLC than the Shetland or Romney's do. The larger lambs tend to be a little slower to get going. And in this crappy, cold, late winter weather, it's very easy to lose lambs.

I went out this morning to find a new Shetland baby running around and chasing the 3 week old lamb in an attempt to play. We found this pair of Lincoln crossbred ramlings also born this morning- another cold, wet, miserable day- but they were sluggish and cold. So we brought them in to warm up and get their legs under them. We wrapped them up with a hot water bottle and let them rest for a while. And this is where English Shepherds shine!

Bubba had to give them the first check up, but Honey decided they needed a feminine touch. I looked into the laundry room just in time to see Honey jump up and start adjusting the towels to make sure the lambs were covered and getting warm. She snuggled in with them for a while.

Apparently, having 11 four week old pups just isn't enough responsibility... At least she doesn't have to worry about the lambs nursing!