Friday, January 9, 2009

A Tail of Two Puppies


When we attended the Homestead Heritage Craft Fair this last November, I had the opportunity to observe their sheepdog demonstration. Needless to say, I was impressed with their ability to round up animals. With our attempts at rounding up animals either gruelingly on foot or industrially with trucks, I thought that having sheepdog capabilities around the land would be of great benefit to all involved for all of the various animals we have to sometimes corral and/or separate. The Homestead Heritage folks had decided on Border Collies for their herding breed, and so I figured I would follow suit at some point.


Well, that some point came quicker than I had expected. Recently, an ad was placed in the local classifieds paper for registered border collie puppies. Even though they were pricey as registered dogs, I called, in case the owner had or could recommend non-registered ones which would cost less. When I talked with the owner and explained what I was looking for, it so happened she was moving and was willing to sell one or both of the remaining registered pups from the latest litter for 40% off. We thought that was just too good to pass up. At first I thought we'd only get one, but then reconsidered, given the deal she was offering, that the two dogs would have each other, and to allow us to potentially breed them; and so, we decided to get both the male and female she had left.

And here they are. We decided to give them Scottish names because Border Collies originate from the border area of England and Scotland, and we named them different sounding names to help them differentiate between themselves when being commanded. Please meet Brodey (pictured to the right above) and Nessa (pictured to the left above). They're quite playful and friendly, and we look forward to being able to train them to be functional animal members of the community:






Here is a video of them just after arriving here on the land:

video


The Lord is gracious in granting us these animals, especially in the way He did; and we pray for guidance in training them.

-- David

10 comments:

Ginny said...

How sweet! I love watching herding dogs at work. I hope you are able to get them (and yourselves) trained well. :-D

Manette said...

We have a male Border Collie named Hank who is 2 years old. He is the smartest dog that we've ever had. We don't have any large animals that he can help with, but he is sure a help with putting the chickens to bed each night. Every time I tend the chickens, he is right there beside me, trying to help.

I'm sure that you will be pleased with your new helpers. Just remember that Border Collies MUST have a job to do, if you don't find them one, they will find one for themselves (which you might not like).

You have two cuties there.

Manette

David and Susan Sifford said...

Thank you both for your comments and for the information!

-- David

Christopher said...

Please don't breed sibling dogs to each other. Inbreeding is dangerous and stupid and entirely unnecessary even for experienced breeders, and it doesn't sound like you have a history with breeding dogs or with Border Collies.

If you're worried about the cost of a registered dog, are you going to spend the thousands of dollars it takes to do DNA tests, and OFA or PennHIP? Such things might not matter to you if you simply want a working dog, but they matter for the breed and for the future generations of Border Collies.

I had the breed more than 20 years before I felt comfortable enough to breed, and I did a lot of homework, numerous health tests, and proved my dogs in both work and sport before I thought about having a litter.

If you've never had the breed before, how do you know if your dog is of a quality that deserves to be bred? Compared to all other breeds, BCs are amazing. But don't let that fact make you think that your BC is amazing enough to breed, let alone inbreed with a litter-mate.

You'd be wise to have them desexed so they don't have an inbred ooops litter on you when they get the chance. And BCs are smart enough to get the chance.

Anonymous said...

How cute! But oh boy, now you've got your hands full!! Ha! Yes, I bet they're smart. A couple of my farming uncles had border collies.
Are there basic command classes locally to take them to, or herding training classes locally? If they were mine, I'd take advantage of such classes if available. In the long run such training would be well worth the investment.

Chloe, our current yellow lab is the smartest we've ever had, which I could see since she was a puppy; but we didn't get her to classes. Though she's learned alot with our novice ability to train; she's a rascal sometimes!! Of course we don't have the acreage/animals she'd thrive with either.

Thanks for sharing,
Beth

P.S. Got your card and my tag yesterday, Sue. Thanks! (smile)

David and Susan Sifford said...

Christopher,

Thank you for your information and concerns.

I don't believe there was whatsoever any sort of indication in our post that we would be inbreeding them. According to the breeder from whom we got these dogs, we still have several weeks before the earliest time we could have them "fixed"; and so, we have that time to decide which directions we might go with them (to breed or not, building kennels to separate them, etc.), other than the planned purpose of them herding animals. I understand your concern; but we have several other species of animals around here, and we have to deal with this inbreeding potential all of the time.

BTW, and I believe this was implied by our post, these dogs do have papers, and therefore are already going to be registered with the ABCA by the breeder who has been breeding border collies for several decades.

Thanks again, and rest assured, with the Lord's help, we will always try to practice proper animal husbandry.

-- David

David and Susan Sifford said...

Hi Beth,

Not sure about a very local training option, but Homestead Heritage I believe does training. We are still investigating and studying as to how to best proceed.

Thanks much,

-- David

debylin said...

They are adorable! Can't wait to meet them! I was raised with dogs, mostly black labs. These to are very smart dogs and like to hunt. that is what my dad used them for. They are very obediant as well. I am looking forward to when Bill and I can get a dog at some point in time.. But I better focuse on getting down there first.
Debylin

Beverly Adams said...

Cute puppies. My husband has two brother BC's that are just a year old now. It's been an adventure and like folks have already said, if you don't give them a job, they will make one up. Ours work cattle. Their names are Nop and Glyn.

Just wanted to comment about the ropes they are tied to...they will chew them up. We use cables when they have to be tied, which is only when we're going to town and they are left at home. They also get leg bones from the butcher to chew on.

Also, one of you needs to establish yourself as their master. They need one boss, it prevents confusion. With us, DH is the boss and I'm their momma. They will obey me when papa is not around, but papa is the lead dog! They both sleep on the floor next to his side of the bed on their sheepskins. (yep, they are spoiled!!)

They are adorable and you will be amazed at how intelligent they are. Have fun and post lots of videos of them as they grow.

David and Susan Sifford said...

Hi Beverly,

Thank you very much for those points of information. We have already found out about chewing through a leash. :) We have them in a pen now during the day so they don't have to be tied up all of the time.

Thanks again.

-- David