Saturday 3 July 2010

Kales progress

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Yes he's cute, but aren't they all? Before everyone thinks they really want a collie pup just remember that their bodies and minds require a heck of alot of exercise. A collie with an idle mind is not always the sweetest of creatures.

I have had Kale now for a month. In his first week he learnt what the word NO meant. A shake of the scruff of the neck just as his mother would do and a stern utterance of the word 'no' and he soon understood what life was about, this is always followed by 'good boy' when he finally does what is expected of him. To date he has been very quick to learn.

Chewing can be a great problem. Pups are teething and want something to chew on. Left to their own devices they can ruin any number of items so I always give them a 'toy' - a sheeps horn. Anything he is found chewing is taken off him, he's told 'no' and given his sheeps horn to chew on. Within two days he had the job sussed, to the point he doesn't like either of the other dogs to get one of his horns (they were brought up with horns too so still enjoy a chew on them). He chews the horn, plays with it, worries it, has imaginery games that only a puppy can have but he is safe from being scolded, it is his to do with as he likes.

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The first week also saw Kale introduced to a quad bike, a ford across the burn, gates and fences which needed negotiating and so it has gone on. The one day he did not enjoy was when he was introduced to his chain. He was tied up somewhere safe and left to his own devices. There was quite a bit of yipping and yelping, he chewed as hard as his little puppy teeth would allow, pulled as hard as his strength would allow, got truly frustrated until it dawned on him that there appeared to be no form of escape from this dreadful burden. He is now 'halter broken' and is going for walks on his chain, learning not to pull and to walk in close to heel.

At the moment he is being introduced to the lie down command, basically a stop command to a collie. I try to vary what he is learning each day so he doesn't get bored with the repetition of one thing and to date he seems to revel in all of it. There is absolutely nothing seems to phase him and he already thinks he ought to be chasing sheep, however this is dangerous for a little pup, they can get frustrated that they can't run as fast as the sheep but also they can get hurt and that would knock their confidence so he just has to be patient on the sheep front.

He travels everywhere with the other two, very rarely being left behind.Carrying his bait (lunch) with us. My job involves travelling to many different farms and he seems to find this interesting, he has met many people and a few other dogs. Cats looked like good fun being the same size as himself but after a couple of swipes across the face he isn't just quite so sure anymore. The hissing and spitting just added to his curiosity, however, the drawn claws across his snoot (nose) made him sit back and think.

I am impressed with the little fella to date but he will soon be growing and needing more excersice and greater mental challenges, the bubble may burst yet, it's in my hands how he will turn out, I just hope I don't let him down and that he grows into a useful, well mannered sheep dog.