Thursday 21 October 2010

Kale - an update

I'm often asked how Kale is doing, he has quite a following outside of the shepherding world being a cute little pup that won over a few hearts.

There is the lady who got lumbered with him at Falstone show, her husband was locked in the industrial tent judging and she felt at a bit of a loss, so whilst Shep was busy helping in the sheep lines the kindly lady wandered around with Kale on his chain. This was the first outing for Kale at a show, he'd never seen so many people at once, let alone all the pens of sheep and other dogs and he was left in the hands of a 'stranger', the lady enjoyed his company and it was a great learning curve for the pup.

There's the other lady who kindly allowed me to gradually introduce Kale to her three dogs. He went through a stage of showing anti social tendencies towards other dogs, due in main to meeting one which did not like him and being quite a brazen chap he decided backing off was not an option and in future he'd throw the first punch so as not to get caught out unawares! (unfortunately, his owner had similar tendencies in her youth so couldn't really blame the little fella) anyhow, meeting three sociable pet dogs did young Kale the power of good and he is now more than sociable in a doggy crowd.

He's been learning more than just the rudiments of becoming a sheep dog. Shep does rake the roads a bit, works on many farms and meets a variety of people and dogs both young and old, a relatively well mannered and well habituated dog is a must and Kale has been learning social skills alongside sheep dog skills. He is coming on leaps and bounds and as already said has quite a 'fan club'.
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He's quite a cheeky little chap, with an immense curiosity. However, sometimes his bravery lets him down. The first time he went for a walk in woodland he was very excited, off his chain he was quite game to go exploring and a deafness over came him. However, as I stood still and left him to his gambling around an insecurity arose, there were shadows and movements he was unaccustomed to, I followed the quite woof he emitted to find a pup relieved to see me, the same fear that overcomes a child who thinks they've lost their Mam in the supermarket had overcome the pup, a gentle word of assurance and all was well although his selective hearing was better tuned in after that.

A similar situation arose one day on a farm, Kale decided he'd sooner not come back to me when called, an exploration was the order of the day - into an open doorway he wandered, heavens knows what spooks were hidden in that dark old stone building he'd just entered but after a minute the same quite woof was heard and Kale returned only too pleased to see me, lying down on command he received a reassuring pat to the head and all was well. I also find it reassuring that the bond is formed, on the few occasions his brazen and adventurous streak has left him feeling insecure he knows where to head for security, he knows where he is safe and who he can trust, a trust which will hopefully go a long way in his future as a sheepdog.
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The 18th October saw Kale reach six months of age, a strong well covered little fella, he seems to be well balanced both mentally and physically albeit he still hasn't grown into his tail. The wolf like amber in his eyes appeals to me, his grandfather (Tyne) had exactly the same eye in his head as Kale has, hopefully this is a good omen.
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The photos were all taken back in September and I feel quite sure he has grown even more since then. He is slowly learning to ride on the back of the bike, having travelled on my lap for safety since being a little pup he is now getting far too big and heavy, I don't know his weight but he is solid and feels like a ton weight. It is difficult if the other two are with me to balance all three on the back of the bike so there is still the exception to the rule when he is allowed to travel on the front but it is becoming impractical and increasingly difficult.
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Like Moss (Kales uncle, seen here in the foreground) Kale has finally got one ear which stands erect, there is no doubting the fact there definitely appears to be a family resemblance.

So, there you have it. Kale at six months of age. He has been allowed off with sheep once or twice and does what you would expect a young dog to do, he shows no fear just an immense desire to do the job (in his own fashion at the moment), he still squats to wee - not quite mastered cocking the leg yet! but did show a great deal of interest in a bitch on heat just the other day............ with the result he went off his food for two days!! I am still well taken with the little fella, he is getting more responsive to commands as each week passes and definitely shows huge potential, there is no doubt his destiny is in my hands, if all goes well he ought to have a promising future, I just hope I don't let the little fella down.