N loves dogs.
In fact he loves the animals on the farm in general, wanting to help out, going to speak to the cows at the fence, looking at the piglets. It always amuses me that if I take him to a farm park though, he won’t join in with feeding the animals at all.
There’s always dogs on the farm and most are for working purposes. My father in law has a pretty ancient black labrador who ventures out for a hobble and a stroke. She’s always been more like a pet because she’s the only dog allowed in the farmhouse, having a bed in the utility room.
The OH has 2 dogs. One is a springer spaniel. She was a fully trained gun dog when he bought her, and just always wants to work, so she only roams when the OH’s with her. Nose to the ground always.
The other is the black labrador. She’s brilliant. We picked her up from a farm near Birmingham when N was 3 months old. It was an interesting experience taking a baby to look at and choose a dog! She was bought to be used as a working dog at the shoots. But has turned out to be gun shy which is a shame.
She just loves people, and especially children, having grown up as N has.
So N’s a natural round dogs. He knows what he can and can’t do with them, how to stroke them properly, and when to avoid or approach them. He is definitely a checker before seeing strange dogs, pointing them out, but he’ll always see if we’re ok with him stroking the other dog first in case the dog’s not used to children.
One of the sheepdogs has currently got pups. So he’s been down to his uncle’s place where the puppies are to see them. Very cute, but a shame they’re not up at the farm for me to nosy whenever I want!
But N’s favourite is our black labrador. She is a little loony (aren’t all labs?!), and will quite happily sit or lie there waiting to be stroked…then all of a sudden she’ll just decide to go running off as though she’s a greyhound. All the way round the house and lawn before trotting back as though nothing was the matter.
She loves to meet cars as they come up the drive. N has decided that when she’s at my car door, really she’s waiting for him to get out, because N’s her favourite. Hmm, not sure about that. It’s really, anyone who’ll take her for a walk.
If the weather’s nice, and N’s pottering in the garden, she’ll quite often hang around. Sitting on the front step, or lying there in wait for a tummy.
N has decided that he’s a dog whisperer.
The dog isn’t trained at all. She’ll vaguely sit, but mostly when she wants to. She’ll lie down but only because there’s a chance to be tickled. She doesn’t understand stay or fetch. There’s just no need for her to being out loose on the farm. When she’s taken for a walk, she’s generally on a lead, or if loose in a field then she will generally come if shouted for. Otherwise she’ll just make her way back to the farm.
But N thinks that he can control her.
The other day she was sitting on the front step, and N was walking round. The dog obviously, was watching and following his moves. Because wouldn’t you if someone was wafting around in front of you? But N decided it was all down to his signals.
His next attempt was throwing a stick for her. As I mentioned, the dog has never had a ball thrown for her, or a stick, so has no concept that she’s meant to chase it, pick it up and return with it. She’ll just chew up a stick and then leave it when she gets bored.
N threw the stick.
The dog looked.
And sat down.
After a while, the dog decided it was time for a ‘nutty’ run round the house. Much hilarity from N who tried to chase her, then gave up, coming back saying ‘Mummy, Fern’s running so fast, we’ll wait for her to come back’. And wait, and wait. She’d obviously found something much more exciting to distract her before coming back for another tummy tickle.
N also likes trying to persuade her to go in the back of his gator for a ride. I think the cousins tried it a while back and she wasn’t impressed, so I wasn’t going to lift her in for him. He gave up on that idea, and instead nearly ran her over. Here’s hoping he’s a better car driver when he’s older because he’s too easily distracted now.
I’m not sure dog whispering’s really for him, but it’s great to see the two of them such good friends. I suppose now he’s got some sheep of his own, he’ll be asking for a sheep dog before long.
Are you dog fans in your house? What pets do you have?