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The Education of Ben

Discussion in 'Livestock Guardians' started by Beekissed, Sep 26, 2015.

  1. Mar 25, 2016
    Mike CHS

    Mike CHS Herd Master Golden Herd Member

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    This is the last of our household things so just the car and clothes for the next couple. Evidently there was more holiday traffic for Easter (or something). It took us almost 2 hours to get through Atlanta and Chattanooga was even worse. It was a crawl upon entering both places and stayed that way until well outside.
     
  2. Mar 25, 2016
    Baymule

    Baymule Herd Master

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    Mike, it's almost here. That final, last trip. It's a darn good feeling. Everyday my DH and I count our blessings, we admire the sunset, the sun rise, the moon, the gorgeous greens of the trees and grass. Even in the winter with leaves stripped off the trees, leaving their bare gnarled branches exposed against the sky, we are in awe of the beauty and grandeur that the Lord has made. You're almost there. :thumbsup
     
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  3. Apr 3, 2016
    Beekissed

    Beekissed Herd Master

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    Ben took the longest walk today that he's ever done off the property and he did it off leash...getting him prepared for his other job of walking Mom out to the mailbox and keeping her safe there and back.

    One aspect of the job is not to range too far ahead or into the woods on the walk that he loses sight of Mom...he must stay near and when she stops, he stops, when she walks, he must walk. She stops to pick up limbs out of the road and such, so the dog must be patient and wait for her to get done and continue on.

    Another aspect is to come back when called~immediately...when the neighbor's dogs are barking and it's tempting to go down to their house for a visit, or if a car comes and we want the dogs close to us when the car passes by, etc.

    Another part of the job is to sit and stay at the last bend of the road, as they cannot go up next to the main highway...too quickly they can get out on the road and people just fly down that straight stretch of road. They must sit and stay, watching Mom walk that last part and then return to them in the bend before they can turn towards home.

    Again, Ben acted like a much older dog, heeled for most of the walk, ranged ahead when told he could do so but returned with the slightest recall from us. He heels so close that he's touching my leg most of the time...and his behavior prompted Jake to heel as well, which was comical.

    Ben did excellently the whole way there and back. One time as we were sitting and watching Mom walk the final leg to the mailbox, Ben started to go to her but one word, "Hey!" from me and he wheeled immediately, returned to my side and sat down. Both sat there until Mom came back to the bend and I told her to release them from their stance by saying, "Okay!"....immediate response! Both bounded up to her and settled into the road pace home.

    I was and am continually impressed by this young dog's swiftness in picking up on our direction, even anticipating what we want...he acts much more mature than his age. He'll be 9 mo. old this week and no signs of suddenly chasing chickens or any other unforeseen bad behavior.

    This dog doesn't take any repetition to pick up on something and that's just a huge blessing to me...a perfect dog to have in your old age when one often grows impatient with the follies of youth. He's intelligent, gentle, affectionate and confident...couldn't have asked for a better addition to the homestead. He impresses everyone who meets him.

    He's still quiet, only barking at night and only occasionally, which tells me he's only barking at the more serious threats walking by this meadow. He doesn't bark at strangers when we are out there to greet them, just watches on alert.

    It will be interesting to see how he acts when young chicks arrive this spring and also when we get a few kittens. How he acts with the very little animals will tell a lot about his nature, but I suspect he'll be just as gentle with them as he's been with Aliza.

    Long story and too late to make it short, but Ben's education continues and he's still earning top marks from me. Mom's real tickled with him too and is relieved to find she can manage him quite easily, even though he's so big and strong. Just a great dog!
     
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  4. Apr 24, 2016
    Beekissed

    Beekissed Herd Master

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    Watching the dogs play this morning, as per usual, and it brings a smile to my face...thanking God once again that Jake now has a companion, for good social life, for play and for exercise. When he was a pup, he used to play ol' Lucy, my GP mix female, into the ground...pulling her by the leg across the yard to make her continue the play. Eventually she'd end it by going into the dog barn and lying down, maybe give a snarl and lunge if he persisted.

    Well, Jake has come up with his own end to the game if he wears out before Ben....which doesn't seem to happen often, even though he's 10 yrs old. The other morning I could hear Ben barking insistently over and over, short yips~not a bit usual, as these dogs are mostly very quiet and an insistent, rhythmic bark is sign of trouble. I got out of bed and went to the window to investigate, to see Jake lying out flat and still as the grave, while Ben barked at his face and then would look at the house, bark and give a look.

    Well...I'm thinking, "Jonny's in the well!!!" ala Lassie and I watch carefully to see if Jake is breathing or will move, twitch, something! Ben continues to give this bark and look, seeming to get more agitated as this goes along. My heart starts to race and sorrow, thinking Ben has given the old coot a heart attack while they were playing. I watch for a few minutes longer and then get my boots on to go.

    As I finally get the back door open to investigate, the sound of the door revived my "dead" dog as quickly as a wink....

    He was just done playing and had utilized the possum's defense, the old rascal! :thThen I had to worry about my OWN heart, it was beating so hard.

    This morning, the old dog wore out the younger, I do believe...sometimes it's the other way around. :D Both are wiry, fit, springy for action and doing well as working partners here.

    I need to work with Ben about calming down when first greeting company, but I've been busy this spring....sometimes I forget he's still a pup and still needs direction and a decisive,firm correction about getting into people's faces for affection. He's such a hog for that....mostly I have to instruct the humans on not rewarding this efforts and withholding their affection until he calms down, so as not to reward the wrong behavior. Us humans are really, really bad about that!!! :confused:

    Both dogs are doing great at keeping the wildlife off my wood's broodies at night, though they are a small distance from the dog's boundary. Now I've baited a beehive, trying to lure in a wild swarm this spring, and that hive is just over the edge of their boundary as well....hoping the local black bears will keep their distance from that hive due to the presence of my vigilant pair.

    Got them some huge pork bones for gnawing...Ben really needed that occupation, as his job here is rather small and he does get bored enough to drag things out into the yard to chew on. Wish he had sheep to guard but this is the job...he's doing great so far.

    Everyone loves this dog and are impressed with his intelligence, his very evident joyfulness and his quiet, calm demeanor in a dog so young~except, of course, when first greeting people and wanting affection. :rolleyes: :D
     
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  5. Apr 24, 2016
    Baymule

    Baymule Herd Master

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    Raising a young dog to be a productive member of the farm family is quite a journey, both for you and the dog. Ben is taking his rightful place in his farm family.
     
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  6. May 1, 2016
    Beekissed

    Beekissed Herd Master

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    I've been gimping around lately from one foot or knee malady or other and he seems very concerned, walks closely to my leg, leans in and slows down like he wants to give me balance. I think this one could possibly be trained as a therapy/assistance dog if someone wanted to take the time...he's very intuitive.

    New chicks are hatching right now and it should be very interesting to see how he reacts to them. Got new kittens a few weeks back and he was very interested in putting them in his mouth...until the little kits spat, hissed and tried to attack his nose. Funniest thing you ever saw, seeing that big dog jump back in surprise! :D
     
  7. May 1, 2016
    Baymule

    Baymule Herd Master

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    Sorry that your "hurts" are making you limp. I take turmeric for my knee pain. Turmeric is for inflammation and it sure does the trick. I can tell when I miss taking it.
     
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  8. May 2, 2016
    babsbag

    babsbag Herd Master

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    I love reading about Ben, gives me hope for Mia...

    The kittens made me laugh as my Border Collies are always afraid of my cats. Even when I had cats that were declawed the dogs would never cross them. If I call one of the dogs and they don't come it usually means that there is a cat between me and them. Funniest thing ever to watch. I guess it is true what they say. "Dogs drool...cats rule"

    Glad that Ben learned that they are not to be messed with.
     
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  9. May 8, 2016
    Beekissed

    Beekissed Herd Master

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    Ben has met his first chicks....seemed curious but left them alone after a single verbal correction. Now he's ignoring the new family as they range nearby...that's pretty impressive when you think how erratic they move and how enticing they sound.

    He's been feeling his oats a little more lately so I worked with him on leash a bit and will do more of the same, until he can settle down and listen to certain commands more completely. Just the single session made a big difference in his behavior the following days, so a more frequent visit to those previous training points ought to reset his mind a good bit.

    He's just not been getting enough attention from me of late, due to a week away from home and the busy spring schedule and he's just not a dog one can leave to his own devises for long without seeing some over excited behavior upon greeting people.

    He's also still not respecting Aliza's space like he should and will deliberately try to get between she and I, bumping her with his body~which causes her to fall down~and also getting in her face with his face, which scares her.

    I finally got tired of this and gave her a small stick and told her she could bop him on the nose if he got too close to her face...she did it once, just barely catching his nose, and he got the message and backed off. She can't really remember to do this, so I took over the small stick and every time he got too close to her face, I gave him a light tap on the top of the head...only took a couple times of that before he finally got the message. This is such a sensitive dog that even the lightest little touch of a small twig gets his attention....can't imagine if such a dog fell into the hands of someone who was abusive, as it would just kill his spirit or turn him mean. That little tap makes him flinch and redirect his path right away.

    I want him to realize she is not just another dog, she is a part of me and must have her personal space and her status is higher than his on this homestead, even though she be tiny. When I worked with him on leash I let her help me lead him, hoping that would help him get that concept. Will continue to work on this issue as my busy schedule allows...I think it's going to become more important as he sexually matures.

    [​IMG]
     
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  10. May 24, 2016
    Baymule

    Baymule Herd Master

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    Our dogs adore out 8 year old grand daughter, but as our 1 year old grand daughter starts toddling around, I'll have to teach them to give her a little more space. Trip guards our grand daughter, even as a puppy. Parker, our Great Dane/Lab is protective of children. A neighbor lady started scolding her 3 year old here one day and Parker got between them and growled at her! We corrected him, but she was impressed that Parker wanted to protect her son-even against her.

    IMG2317-1.jpg
     
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