Trip Is A Sheep Guardian

Baymule

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When we finally got sheep, all Paris wanted to do was attack them and all Trip wanted to do was play with and chase them. The sheep liked neither idea and all was chaos. I tried and tried and got nowhere. Frustrated, I just had to quit trying with the dogs. :smack

In the last few months, I have been working with Trip. He chased the sheep on the outside of the wire, I threw a feed bucket at him and scolded. :rant He stalked them while on the outside of their fence and I read him the riot act. :somad This went on while I was doing the evening feeding of the pigs, chickens and sheep. In the midst of trying to work with him, we had a crew here building our screened in porch, on weekends we had the barn builders. Three weeks ago I got deathly ill, so sick that I went to the doctor, first time I've been to the doctor for being sick in six years. :th Last week, on the 23rd, DH had knee replacement surgery and I didn't have time to be sick. :\ In between all this, Trip has made progress.

I started by letting him in the sheep pasture after I closed them up in their small pen for the night. He ran crazy around their pasture and tried to chase them through the wire. :mad: What I did was to grab Trip by the scruff of the neck and fuss at him. NO! These are MY sheep! These are MOMMA'S sheep! You DO NOT chase them!! Trip has an endearing way of squinting his eyes to mere slits, grinning, and conveying with his whole body how sorry he is. He is hilarious. After a few seconds, while he was still being good, I quickly told him what a good dog he was and praised him. He would actually behave himself for a short while.

Trip is a few days shy of being 16 months old now. A lot of the puppy in him is settling down. Several weeks ago, I started taking Trip in the sheep night pen on a leash. I have tried this several times the past months and it ended in failure. He tried to maul the sheep and I had to take him out of their enclosure. This time it was different. Trip was very, very interested in the sheep. They were still scared of him, but he crawled on his belly to get closer to them. Lady Baa Baa butted him and he cowed down to her. I immediately knew this was what I had been waiting for! :celebrate We progressed to the point where I dropped the leash and let him loose in their night pen. I even walked the sheep around the pen until they ran from me and when Trip lunged at them, he got scolded. We did this over and over until he no longer tried to chase them. :) Lady Baa Baa got downright onery towards Trip and butted him again and again. Sheepalicious joined the fun, causing Trip to stay out of their reach.

I started leaving Trip in the sheep pasture for several hours after we did our night pen training. He was restless, paced up and down the fence and clearly was not happy being there. :idunno I would then put him up for the night in his pen. For about a week now, I have left Trip in the sheep pasture all night, putting him in his pen during the day. He started enjoying being in the sheep pasture all night, but was always glad to go back to his pen the next morning.

This morning I decided to move the sheep to a smaller front pasture of about a half acre, so I could work with Trip and the sheep. I wanted the smaller pasture, so I could have better control over Trip. It was almost like he knew what I was going to do. I snapped the leash on him and in his excitement, he hit the end of the leash and laid me out flat on my back. There is nothing like starting the morning laid out in sheep poop, dirt, hay, with a slobbering dog wondering what I'm doing down there. :he I got up, let the sheep out of their pen, opened the gate, and they took off for the other pasture. I had already put a coffee can of feed out for them and they ran to go eat it. Trip wanted to run too, but I leaned back on the leash and pretended to be a boat anchor. :thumbsup

I called my husband and asked for the choke chain collar and another leash. He graduated from the walker to a cane a couple of days ago :clap and we keep the Kawasaki Mule parked by the front door for his traveling pleasure, so he drove up with my requested items. I put the choke chain on Trip and attached the other leash and we walked around the pasture and the sheep. My husband watched from the seat of the Mule with his leg propped up on the seat. The lambs ran, Trip tried to chase and I set my heels and hauled back on the leash about the time he hit the end of it. :gigPayback....... Trip got a serious scolding and he gave me his squinty eyed grin which said he was sorry. I had to laugh. After a bit, I dropped the leash and let Trip loose. Our neighbor, Robert, came up and we sat in the Mule watching Trip. He stayed very close to them, got worried when they got too far apart, and herded them back together. We enjoyed watching Trip bloom into the dog he was meant to be. My husband got tired and went back to the house, Robert borrowed the tractor, and I spent 3 hours in the pasture with Trip.

My husband made me a sandwich and iced tea for lunch, :love so I went to the house to get it, then dragged a chair back up front so I could watch Trip. I spent the rest of the day outside the pasture watching Trip. A simple NO! or my favorite-a deep guttural AAHHNNTTT!!! which strikes terror into the heart of any dog or child :lol: was enough to make him mind. A stray dog came trotting up the road and I stayed still and quiet. Trip was laying in the shade, watching the sheep with his back to the road. The stray got very interested and stopped to stare. A car came, the stray jumped out of the way, Trip turned to look at the car, saw the stray and jumped into action. He ran to what were becoming "his" sheep, sniffed noses with Sheepalicious, wheeled around and charged toward the stray. The stray ran into the cow pasture across the road from us and high tailed it. Trip ran down the fence line, chasing the stray away. :weeeI had to call my husband and tell him about it. He was so proud of Trip!


Lady Baa Baa must be in heat. Trip started licking her back end and that hussy stuck her tail straight up! I slipped up behind him, grabbed the end of the leash and hauled back on it while scolding Trip. If Trip approached Lady Baa Baa from the front, she butted him. But if he approached her from behind, she stuck her tail up for him. :barnie A lot of NO's and clapping my hands seemed to discourage him. Here's hoping.

Robert came back with the tractor and stopped to visit. The sheep had wandered away, Trip was laying in the shade, so I asked him, Where is your sheep? He got up, about that time, Sheepalicious came out of the brush and baa'ed loudly and Trip ran to her. Was she calling him to them?? My husband came driving up with a bottle of water for me, I got in the Mule and he drove us to the other side of the pasture so we could watch Trip do his work. We enjoyed the beautiful day and watching Trip become the caretaker of his sheep. We marveled at the guardian Trip was becoming right before our eyes.

Tonight Trip in is the sheep pasture, he patrols the parameter, barking a warning. He lays by the night pen gate, on guard to keep his sheep safe. In all this past week, he has not barked but very little at night. But tonight is different, Trip is at work. Trip is now a sheep guardian.
 

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That was wonderful to read Bay! So happy for you and Trip. Once he's established for real, maybe.... maybe... Paris could get in on the act and you'll have a true set of LGDs... Might be too much to hope for huh? Glad DH is doing better and sorry you were under the weather. Hope you're back to normal now also.
 

Baymule

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Trip didn't come from working parents, they are couch potatoes. Their owners shave down their heavy coats so they don't have to deal with a hairy house. We didn't have sheep when we got him, so his first introduction to sheep was that they must be new playthings. We've had a long road to get here, but we are here now.

I haven't given up on Paris. I have plans for working with her.
 

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This morning I let the sheep out with Trip in their regular pasture. I had to have that faith in Trip that he would do his job and walk back to the house. We watched him out the window with broad smiles on our faces. He stayed on alert, watching over his sheep. He didn't like them to scatter out and kept herding them back together. The sheep were getting confused by this and were leaving for our DD's to have lunch, so I put them back in their night pen. I praised Trip on the good job he was doing and we left.

Our truck broke down in out DD's neighborhood. Our DSIL came to the rescue in his Mitsubishi. The engine ran, everything worked, but the accelerator. So there we were, blocking a lane, wrecker an hour out and DH kept insisting that the little car would pull that F250 diesel behemoth. Nothing to lose, DSIL hooked up the tow rope and whaddyaknow, it pulled that big truck! :thHe pulled it to his house, the wrecker picked it up and took it to the shop where my car is also. Both broke down at the same time. :\

We took DSIL's Mitsubishi home. Trip doesn't know this car and when we pulled up to the gate, he came running to investigate. I decided to mess with him. I got out of the car, all hunched over, walked with a side to side lurching gait, which upset him. I ran at the fence and Trip went nutzo!! He barked his head off at me, then broke into his grin when I started laughing and he knew it was me. My husband said I was bad. :lol:

I let Trip out to play with the two house dogs while I did the evening feeding. Trip ran and played, ate horse feed and played some more. Then he went back to his sheep and waited by the gate for me to let him back in. :bow I am so impressed with this dog! :love
 

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Wow, broke down DH, sick DW, broke down car and truck... But you've got a great up and coming LGD! Oh and sheep with lambs... can't forget them.
 

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Last night I left the night pen gate open so Trip could go in the shelter if he wanted to. It has been bad weather and I decided to try the open gate, giving the sheep the choice to come and go as they wished. I watched closely all evening and all seemed well.

This morning, with my first cup of coffee in hand, I watched out the window. I saw Trip with his head on the ground, lift his head and put it down again. Instinctively I knew this was not good. :he Then a lamb jumped up and Trip put it down again. Coffee was left on the porch as I raced to the sheep. I yelled NO NO NO BAD BAD BAD! Trip saw me coming and let the lamb up. I put the sheep in the night pen, and Trip too. The lamb was a brown wether and he was panting, his head was all slobbered, but no teeth marks. I read Trip the riot act the whole time. I got hay and feed for the sheep. I purposely made the sheep run past Trip and he made a dive for the wether again. BOOM! I bounced the red plastic coffee can (feed can) off Trip, yelling and scolding. He cowed down and tried to find a way out. Haha, you are trapped in here with ME!

I even caught the wether lamb, cornered Trip and put the lamb on top of him, shaking my finger, scolding and whopping him on the nose with my finger. I let the lamb go and stepped it up on Trip. He ran, I threw the plastic coffee can at him and scolded. He ran behind the shelter, a dead end, and I threw the coffee can at him so hard, that it hit him, bounced off, rolled back to me and I threw it again. And again. I was MAD. :somad I yelled at him the whole time.

What a picture I must have made. In my pajamas, drizzling rain, cold, wet and muddy, mamma bear furious, having a Come To Jesus Meeting with a very contrite dog. Where's a video camera when you need one? :lol:

Trip found out what a mean witch I can be before my morning coffee. :rant So for now, the sheep are in their night pen, Trip is in the pasture, right now laying in front of their gate like a good guard dog. I go back to start, but not now in the rain. When the rain lets up, I'll spend another Trip day with him and the sheep.
 
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