Follow Blush’s Litter (5) – Unplanned Adventure – 10 wks
Updated: Nov 1, 2020
Ranch life is full of surprises. Gates get left open, animals get out, and sometimes they simply swap places!
On this morning when I went to the barn I found the dogs, puppies, and the sheep, all not where I left them. This scared me and added a few grey hairs! I have been closely supervising the interactions between my two mentor dogs and the puppies because sometimes Rosie is a little too bouncy, and sometimes Sabrina says twelve is just too many puppies. The pups have always done well with the sheep, but they have had two sheep and now were in a field with ten!
The training I do with my pups cultivates resiliency and this was a perfect example of why that is important, because to all outward appearances the pups seemed fine. As the day progressed I could see signs of stress in the litter but by the next day they were back to normal.
There are three fields connected by the gate left open, and how that happened I have no idea but it had to be a failing on my part somehow. With every litter there is always some big unexpected thrill! I hope this was the last for this litter. Because of the character of these different areas it would have been very easy for the pups to get lost and separated from each other, which would have been traumatic for them. It’s possible that happened at some point in the night but by the time I found them they were a cohesive group.
I am in the beginning stages of working with barrier challenges with the pups, so this sort of necessary problem solving is new. It is noteworthy that the pups and dogs were not mixed. Either Sabrina and Rosie thought the puppy stall was more interesting than theirs, and the pups felt similarly about the stall I found them in, or quite possibly the older dogs claimed their new ground and didn’t give the pups a choice. An indication of true harmony would have been a mix of dogs and pups.
I put everybody back where they belonged and then stayed around doing chores nearby so that I could observe the pups. Out of them all there was one pup who’s behavior was very telling. Rosie likes to run at this little female pup, and the pup is good at quickly lowering to the ground, which makes Rosie just thrilled with herself. There is no malice intended on Rosie’s part; she’s just a pup herself after all. But there is still a big size difference between Rosie and the puppies, and they are not yet as emotionally resilient as they will be in another month, so I have made sure to redirect Rosie when necessary. In watching this pink pup today I could see her evening experience wasn’t altogether positive. She’ll come past it but I prefer not to allow setbacks like this to happen.
Here is the six minute video that shows the situation, and the behavior the frightened pup displayed.
Stay tuned – follow the litter to the next big change!