At some point working with livestock, you start to realize that a lot of things might be easier with a four footed helper. We have friends whose dog can be sent out to round up the horses and bring them in, and have watched dogs keep sheep from going through gates at a word from their owners. I've seen dogs follow their people around, just happy to be with them, and happy to do as they are asked when a job shows up for them to do.
Now, a dog like that takes a lot of training and work and love. But then, you get a lot of love and companionship in return, as well as the practical help.
Since Duggan went over the Rainbow Bridge, we've been missing an inside dog. Well, okay, some of us have been missing an inside dog ... The Reluctant Farmer is pretty reluctant to have dog hair in the house again, and I can see his point. But, The Reluctant Farmer is also pretty reluctant to spend any more time than necessary chasing stubborn livestock, so, he's been convinced that a farm dog would be a good thing for us.
Besides, as much as we love Bob and Mac, a dog that lives in the house and plays with the kids (without knocking them over inadvertently) is something we'd all really enjoy.
So ... I started looking. We wanted a dog with one of the herding breeds as part of it's genetic makeup but balanced with something a little more laid back, in an effort to reduce the intense herding need that some working dogs have.
Today, we found him.
This is our as-yet-unnamed 8 week old puppy. He is half lab, one quarter border collie and one quarter heeler. His mother is the collie/heeler and very friendly. The puppy has been very well taught by his littermates and previous owners not to nip and seems very quiet and happy.
He cried for about a minute and a half when I put him in the crate to drive home ... then quit and went to sleep. Once we got home, he wagged his tail at everyone, wandered around the house, followed us, sat on our laps, snoozed with The Reluctant Farmer for a bit, and managed to go to the bathroom outside!
He is, understandably, pretty wrung out with all the changes. He is tucked into a crate at the moment and resting fairly quietly. He cried for several minutes when we put him in, but we moved the crate so he can see us and he seems to have relaxed. Of course, it is all very stressful when your littermates are suddenly gone, and you can hear big dogs barking outside, and everything smells weird.
It's been a long time since I was involved in puppy training, but I do remember what all is involved ... and this little sweet heart certainly shows all the signs of being worth the trouble.
Now we just have to find out what his name is. :)