Being on a farm means there’s lots of animals around. N is certainly learning how to care for them, everything about them, and an appreciation of them. But most of the animals are livestock rather than pets. Even the dogs are working dogs (well, apart from the old or gun shy ones). But get new puppies on the farm, and it’s like having a pet for the short time before they start training and the OH gets stroppy that we’re making them soft. Having puppies around is certainly a good way for children to bond with dogs.
We haven’t bred from our dogs for a few years now. After having the last pup from one of our litters get a type of cancer and die at only a year old, it put the OH off, and he bought dogs instead. So we have the black Labrador, who we got when N was 3 months old. She’s gun shy despite her working background so lopes around the farm, not a working dog, but not quite a pet either.
There’s also a springer spaniel who we had fully trained. She’s now getting older, but is still a little nuts as most spaniels.
My brother in law has dogs too, including sheepdogs, but we got a new puppy a few weeks ago.
She’s really adorable. N loves her loads. He has lots of time for the dogs – especially the labrador as they’ve grown up together. But having a puppy, he’s taking it upon himself to make sure everyone is walking it when they should. He also tells me the type of squeak she makes when she wants to go in the field to relieve herself (I’m sure N is making that up!).
So far, it’s looking like she’s better trained than either of the other dogs who think nothing of making a mess in the run bit of their kennels. All the dogs before the current ones were always trained to go in the field, so hopefully the pup will continue the way she has been doing.
The pup’s lucky because her sister was bought for nephew number 3. It means they get the chance to see each other and playfight which they do a lot of without hassling the labrador.
I think N is going to be really close to this pup as she grows up. He really enjoyed going out on shoots last season, and this year I’m sure he’ll want to again. I don’t know if the pup will be old enough and calm enough to go out for a short stint on some of them, or whether they’ll wait until she’s trained next year, but I’m sure N will want to learn how to manage her and control her on shoots once he’s a bit older.
At the moment it’s all about fun and play when she’s let loose in the field and garden. He’s not too keen on the fact that she seem to like his wellies and chews any shorts he has. Thankfully she’s not taken a fancy to my toes in flip flops like labrador puppies seem to.
It’s great having another puppy on the farm, and she’ll be good for N to learn more about keeping dogs. N’s confidence with dogs is so different to my experience as a child. I was always scared of dogs after a little yappie yorkshire terrier once nipped at me. It was only once I was secondary school age I started to be comfortable around them, and now like them – apart from little yappy ones.
Are your children dog fans? Do you have pets?