Saturday, October 11, 2008

Ok, so maybe I'm a slow learner...

When I got engaged to Spice, I announced that to a friend here, and he (married with children) shot back with the speed of a spinal reflex "Slow learner, huh?"

Spice was not there at the time, but has heard the story repeated on occasion.  I think she's forgiven him.

I've taken on another dog that amounts to something of a genetic crapshoot.  Maybe; I hope; less of one than Bruce was.  (I really recommend people read the story of Wully I linked to before- it doesn't turn out the way you expect.)

The new puppy is 10 weeks old; female instead of male; and a cross between a Catahoula Leopard Dog female and a Boxer male.

I'd never heard of a Catahoula Leopard before- but it's a herding dog, bred first for performance and temperament, not color or form- and probably the deciding factor in my jumbled calculations, bred for working hogs.  And cattle.  We almost acquired some hogs this fall- with the specific intention of pasturing them under some of our tree crops.  Controlling them is going to be work, and the lack of a fully trained dog was part of the reason we didn't.

So, this is Delilah; and Smidgen, of course.  As far as I can tell, other crosses of Boxers with longer muzzled breeds wind up with a normal long muzzle, not the short bulldog face Boxers have.

Reports on the web about Boxer crosses, and Catahoula crosses, tend to be good; there's actually a small industry for "Boxadors" and "Bullboxers".  Both breed are "wonderful with children" - and protective.  And there are several stories about people who actually own both Catahoulas AND chickens.  yay.

The fact is, of course, even with purebreds, each dog is a genetic lotto ticket.  I confess to having a soft spot (in my head) for hybrids.  You can lose the bet, either way.  If this one doesn't work out, we may well try some of the purebreds that are used commercially for chickens.  Yeah, they exist!  So far as I can tell, the top choices are Maremmas, or Anatolian Shepherds.   Both really really pricey, and at least as much of a handful to train and keep, so far as I can tell.

Delilah so far looks very promising -(at 24 hours...).  She loves being with us, she sticks close when we're outside; she behaves well on a leash.  

2 problems.  She howls if you leave her alone.  Which I'm expecting her to get over in a day or so, once she learns she's really home, and safe, and not about to have her life turned inside out again.

And- she climbs.  No, really- Catahoulas climb trees- straight up, like 15 feet; using their sharp claws.  Didn't know that one before we found her climbing up into places no dog has ever gone in the house before.  Fun.  Just means dog-proofing places that weren't before- and as soon as possible, she's supposed to be a 95% outside dog, anyway.

Many thanks folks for all the good wishes - and good advice.  In fact, we'll be taking some of it; we're going to try using the muzzle process.  Getting an older dog, already trained, wasn't really an option- it would take too long for us to find an appropriate one where we are; we did look into it.

And we'll be doing one other thing differently; in another month, we will be looking to add a second puppy.  Once Delilah is really bonded to us humans; adding a canine playmate might well help burn off excess energy, looking for trouble.

That's the idea, anyway.  The lady at the shelter agrees.  We'll see.


Theresa said...

Delilah looks quite charming, and your daughter is adorable as usual! Thanks for adopting from a shelter - I hope all the people and critters will get along well. Did Bruce go to a new home? I hope he didn't have to be put down or anything - that would be very sad.

Nancy M. said...

The puppy is cute. I hope she turns out to be what you need.

Smidgen is beatiful!

Greenpa said...

Teresa- yep, we prefer to get an animal from the shelter- the need is so great. Or a neighbor, which is where our cats come from; in this area most farms still include animals, which means barns, and hay, which means mice, which means- barn cats. Always too many.

Bruce's future is a little uncertain; we were able to find a friend in the city with a fenced yard, and kids- but he's used to a wide-ranging freedom; and he's certainly headstrong. If he doesn't work out there, they'll have to find a shelter for him.

and Nancy m- I have to agree about Smidgen. thanks. :-)

Crunchy Chicken said...

She climbs trees? Good luck to the guineas :)

~J~ said...

a beautiful dog and a beautiful little girl

Anonymous said...

Just read the post about the dead chickens. My dog, as an almost grown puppy, found that killing chickens was really fun. My grandmother suggested an old "remedy" to teach the dog not to kill chickens. It sounds gross but it really worked- you tie a dead chicken to the dog's collar by the legs and leave it there. It'll gnaw off most of the chicken but most likely part of the chicken will stay with it. Leave it on until just the feet are left (about a week), it will not kill another chicken again. I think the dog just gets so grossed out by a dead thing smelling like chicken hanging onto it that swears off chicken killing forever.

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