Tag Archives: Pups

We’re lambing and another new arrival

And we’re off…

Lambing didn’t get off to a great start; sadly we lost Big Bertha. We’ve had her many years, and she was a great character. The vet diagnosed twin lamb disease, but she didn’t make it and never gave birth.

Next came triplets, one of whom died, and then another set of triplets and another death. Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you just can’t save them!

Since then we’ve had some lovely healthy ones, so things are looking up.

Well, we have taken the plunge and got another puppy, a little girl named Tilly Rose. She is the sweetest thing, and we’ve already started clicker training her. She is responding well and should be competition for Toby in the tricks department.

Speaking of Toby, we finally got his hip scores back, and they were excellent, so we hope one day to have a litter with him and little Tilly, of course, that will depend very much on her hip scores and temperament, but both parents have all the right credentials so far.

The weather, as always, is a challenge, and now we are once again under a blanket of snow. The dogs are loving it, and luckily all the ewes are tucked up indoors with their wee ones or waiting their turn to lamb.

Toby Pup’s Marathon

Toby Pup enjoys a (KONG) Marathon play session!

With Toby Pup’s episodes of high energy occurring at regular intervals, he really benefits from having something to focus it on. Thankfully, the KONG Company’s range of Marathon toys play right into his paws!

These fun rubber toys have a recess in the side that is shaped specifically to hold a Marathon treat firmly in place. The treat is mostly beneath the surface of the toy, and whilst Toby can still reach and taste it, it is deliberately difficult for him to get a good hold on it. Also, as he does manage to wear the treat down, it goes deeper into the toy and becomes harder to reach.

One added bonus we found is that the toys are hollow, allowing for small additional treats to be hidden inside as an extra incentive!

Toby has used his Kong Marathon Ball several times now, and although he has obviously got better at it, it still keeps him very well occupied.

Here he is in action:

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Toby Pup and the Treat Ringer Orb

Toby Pup tries out a Treat Ringer Orb from Starmark

Toby loves trying out new toys for us, and today we introduce him to the Treat Ringer Orb from Starmark.

Starmark’s Treat Ringer toys are made of firm plastic and they have a wide outer with a hard to reach rail inside.  Edible Treat Rings are pushed onto this inner rail for your dog to try and remove. Not easy!

The Ringers are supplied with some treat rings, but they are available separately too for when you need to refill.

For most dogs it can be quite a challenging toy at first and during Toby’s initial 20 minute session he did not manage to remove one singe ring. However, during play the rings do become softer and easier to work.  Plus, as with most toys, dogs become more adept over time so in subsequent sessions he does manage to remove the treats eventually.

A couple of months on, and Toby still loves it!

See how he got on in our video below:

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The pup challenge

We experience the highs and lows of a new puppy

As the clock struck midnight on the New Year, instead of knocking back champers, we were wrapped up in bed with a Lemsip!  We had succumbed to the virus that seemed to be sweeping the nation and it made life with a lively puppy just that bit tougher.

Toby was, of course, adorable but on top of that he was hard work.  We have had many puppies in the past but as they grow, you quickly forget the bad bits!

Lack of sleep, they like to wake early, taking them outside (in bad weather) every half an hour, trying to stop them chewing, especially electric cables that you never noticed before and keeping those needle sharp teeth out of your flesh!  Not to mention the feeding four times a day!  It’s a full-time job and not for the faint hearted.

We are very lucky in that we work from home so we could be with him 24/7.  Heaven knows how people cope when they have to go out to work.

A dog crate was an essential piece of kit, especially for those much needed moments of respite and invaluable overnight.  Clicker training helped to calm him down and focus his mind for short periods, often leaving him needing a nap and us with some breathing space.  We tried out plenty of toys and he loved most of them, but not for long enough. His attention soon returned to chewing rugs, furniture or shoes, that someone had foolishly left lying around.

Two other problems we encountered were sheep poo, and Jack our Border Collie.  The field we walk them in has recently been vacated by our pregnant ewes and there was plenty to interest him.  We couldn’t get his nose off the ground and quickly taught him a “leave” command, which works about 30% of the time. Jack was a bigger challenge – whereas both Archie and Daisy have welcomed new pups before, this is Jack’s first one.  He didn’t react very well and although the 2 shepherds would tolerate Toby, Jack was very snappy.

We tried to work this through by taking them out to one of our large sheds and training them together.  Jack realised that being with Toby meant positive things rather than negative.

To a certain extent this has calmed the problem and Jack’s snapping seems to be much more ‘warning’ than intent. Toby does heed those messages when he isn’t hyper-excited, and more often than not, Jack prefers to move away rather than getting involved. We still have work to do, but we are happy with the progress so far.

Despite all of the above, Toby has been an absolute joy.  He is so bold, intelligent, quick to learn and entertaining and he’s certainly taught us a thing or two.  Last week he started his clicker class and we were very proud of him.  He behaved beautifully.  But we won’t be resting on our laurels, there is homework to be completed and we are well aware that once he gets comfortable in the new training environment, he may not be quite so polite and well mannered.

Pictured below are the items we found most useful for Toby:

Toby loves the Everlasting Treat Ball

The treat-filled Tuggy is a hit!

Toby with the Puller

Perfect for controlled walking

 

Merry Christmas from the Team

Celebrations and chaos

 

Toby

We collected our new boy, Toby, at the beginning of December.  We were worried about his long journey home in the car, but thanks to some very good advice, we all arrived home unscathed.

He travelled on the back seat in a small crate in which we had put a very comfy bed with high sides so that he felt supported but could move around.  The door was open but we fitted a barrier so that we could put hands in to comfort him but he couldn’t get out.

After some initial fidgeting, he slept most of the way and wasn’t sick at all, which was our biggest concern.

He has settled in well, in fact you would think he’d always lived here!

Archie loves him, Daisy tolerates him but Jack is not very keen.

Whilst we’re waiting for him to have his second vaccination, we haven’t taken him into the big field to run with the others so socialisation hasn’t been easy in cramped conditions.  We are working hard to try to get them all to feel happy and relaxed together but the nippy little pup is proving to be a challenge.

We have, of course, started clicker training and he’s taken to it like a duck to water.  It’s truly amazing how quickly he picks things up.

Speaking of picking things up, he does seem to be rather obsessed with stones!  We’ll have to train him out of that before he starts swallowing them!

It’s going to be a busy Christmas here, with not much time for relaxing in front of the TV thanks to our new arrival.

Best wishes to everyone and we hope you have a peaceful and enjoyable Christmas with your four legged friends!

The new recruit

We meet the new member of the team

With the sad loss of our beloved Fin at the beginning of the year, we felt there was space in our home for another glorious German Shepherd so we have been on the lookout for a pup.  There were surprisingly few available in this corner of the country, but last week we got a call offering us a short coat, black and tan male and we didn’t have to think twice!  At the weekend we travelled over 100 miles to meet him.

At 5 weeks old, he was a tiny wee thing but his ears were up and he was very bold, not at all shy.  We met the parents who were lovely, friendly dogs, so of course we said yes!

We are collecting him at the beginning of December and are already making preparations for his long car journey home and puppy-proofing the house. Although we’ve had many pups over the years, you quickly forget how much looking after they take and chaos they cause!

Daisy, Archie and Jack will have to be introduced to him carefully, Jack being the only one who hasn’t encountered a new pup before.

We have him booked on a clicker training course in January and are looking forward to sharing all his adventures here in Tales from the Croft, and through Twitter and Facebook!

Here he is in action!

Just Jack

A BC joins the GSDs

We spent the early part of the month chasing sheep around.  The lambs needed tagging and the girls needed a pedicure.  After the 5th lap of the field we decided that there had to be an easier way.  We never saw our neighbour break into a sweat when rounding up his flock. Why? Because he had a dog to do it for him.

On a number of occasions we have attempted to persaude our German Shepherds to assist us but this always resulted in them rushing into the middle of the group and scattering them in all directions, taking us even longer to complete the task.

After much deliberation, we decided we were going to get ourselves a sheepdog.

A local farm had a litter from a working bitch and so we went along and collected our new pup, Jack.

We have only ever had Shepherds so it was something of a culture shock to suddenly own a Border Collie.

Our 3 GSD’s have welcomed him into the pack, despite his bad manners and sharp teeth.  For us it has been a huge learning curve.  He’s very people orientated and loves to be picked up and cuddled, unlike our aloof shepherds.

Training him to herd sheep will be our next challenge. We have a book to guide us and are hoping that he has inherited a natural instinct from his mother.  He is certainly having a go at herding geese!

The new boy

We welcome a new addition

We are obviously gluttons for punishment, and recently acquired Archie our GSD pup.

At 8-9 weeks old he is a real live wire, and is having a great deal of fun antagonising Fin and Daisy with his antics (and sharp teeth!). Not least of which is hanging on to one end of their Romp n Roll toy while they try to carry the other end! Light hearted fun, with a bit of noise thrown in…

Apart from the odd mishap, he has fitted in really well and has been socialised brilliantly by the breeder. We have been keeping up the good work by making sure he meets the postman every day, and delivery drivers when possible, and he is also enrolled in some local training classes. We do most of the training ourselves at home, but it is extremely useful for him to meet lots of other dogs and people.

Welcome Archie!

Blooming Daisy

A new pup helps mend our broken hearts

Life has been slowly returning to normal at the croft, after a difficult August.

Two of last year’s lambs have been sent to the abattoir and should be back from the butcher shortly, and we recently acquired some broiler chickens for the pot (one of which has already been sampled!). Apples and plums have been picked, and the grapes are very nearly ready to be harvested too.

Whilst our remaining three GSDs have adjusted to the new ‘structure’ in the pack, we have found it much more difficult to deal with. After considerable thought we finally succumbed, and made a new addition to the household in the shape of a small white GSD puppy called Daisy.

She will never replace Molly or Amy, but her antics have been a real tonic. Her puppy behaviour (polite description) never ceases to amuse, amaze, and even shock us, and it has certainly been a while since we felt the pinch of a small pin-like puppy tooth! It is hard to be sad with a puppy in your presence.

The clicker training has begun, and she is responding nicely (within her short attention span), and once her homeopathic vaccinations are complete, we hope to start introducing her so some of the livestock.