Wednesday, March 31, 2010

No, it's Summer.

  75°F yesterday, today, and warmer tomorrow.  Last night, for the first time since late October, I let the fire in the woodstove go out.  We'll need it again, I know- but not for a week or so.  I'm glad we're not making maple syrup this year, and very sorry for friends who were counting on it for income; I think there have been around 3 days with the necessary temperature arrangements for full flow (25° at night, 45° day.)

  Just like that, poof.  Not terribly unusual here, actually, but a shock to the system  A week ago I was walking with the YakTrax, on 1" of mud over ice; now I have to remember to widen my stride- no ice anywhere.

  And- we've had no rain in March; so it's unusually dry; farmers getting worried; and there's a desperate shortage of rainy days, in which to do rainy day chores.  Like blogging, of course.

  One of the incessant chores- training the two puppies.  Which I promised pics of long ago- here are a couple:

  This is Schatze (click for bigger).  Back in the first post on these puppies, Belinda referred to the German Shepherd part of these pups as "German Shedder" - and I freudianly misread that as "German Shredder".

  I think I was accidentally correct.  And Belinda was  too, of course.  Here's the other of these sisters:

This is Daisy.  Daisy looks exactly like one would expect a Collie x GS to look.  They're from the same litter, but Schatze is different- she looks more like her dad was a Doberman.  We keep intending to ask the shelter lady if there was a Doberman hanging around at the right time.  It's possible for pups in one litter to have different dads, yes?  You can't see it in the pic, but Schatze has a tail that curls tighter than a husky's; cute, but I'm constantly wondering where it came from.

  They're both very promising; very affectionate and wanting to please, and as obedient as they know how to be.  They're still on chains when the birds are loose; not quite willing yet to trust them entirely when they have the chance to romp and chase and "play" with the birds.  Daisy has needed very little correction around the birds; seemingly willing to just look on, once it was explained she was not to chase.  Schatze needs a little more, but not all that much.

   The training is something you can't shirk, of course; has to be done, now, if they are ever to fit in and do what we hired them for.  And the sooner they're off the chains, the better all around.  They tolerate it fine; usually just lie down in the sun and sleep- but- they are shredding everything they can reach.

  off to work.


MiscellanyEsq said...

They are both very beautiful dogs. Looking at the picture of Schatze makes me feel like I'm looking at a human face. Eerie, but cool.

Wish we could send you some of our rain from here in the Northeast!

Greenpa said...

Paul- "Looking at the picture of Schatze makes me feel like I'm looking at a human face. Eerie, but cool."

I think your perception is quite accurate; there is intelligence and self awareness in there. Easier to see in the cross-breds than in purebreds, I think.

Daisy can give you the same look. They have this thing they do, ever since they arrived, where both come to me for reassurance that they belong here- and both put their muzzles into my one hand, simultaneously, side by side, very quiet. And they look up at me.

:-) very cool.

Sharlene T. said...

I was thinking the same human Schatze looks. Isn't it interesting how animals figure out a way to really connect with us?! 8-)

belinda said...

Lovely Girls.

When I first looked at Schatze because I ran first to Kelpie cross, we see a lot of them over here though I imagine they might be quite a bit more rare over in the US, but with the tail curl and the fact that she looks almost full German shep sized that is quite unlikely. Your thought about a Dobe would be a lot more likely,I don't actually know what tail set dobe genetics is currently throwing cause until very recently they have been routinely docked over here.

The bright side is the more oral the dog the easier it is to teach the skills needed for contextualised bite strength.

Kind Regards

Anonymous said...

What beautiful dogs you have. They both look very intelligent. I'm sure they will be the workers and companions you hope them to be. Enjoy!


vertalio said...

I think you right re: crosses being more aware than previous dog was so mixed we couldn't even tell what his parents were he inherited sharp hearing, scent, sight, webbed paws, great patience, and defended the place fearlessly, though totally trustworthy with children. Dove in a tidal river once to help a child to shore. Your dogs look to have that.

And I'm with Paul...we just had our second fifty-year flood in three weeks.

Shadow said...

The curled tail is pretty common in mixed breed dogs, reading about feral dog packs shows a predominance of curled tails in their bodies. Seems to be something that you almost have to breed against (a-la purebred dogs).

Both dogs looks to be very smart, which I'd expect from a shepherd cross. I do hope they work out and learn their jobs well. At least both breeds in their makeup were designed for obedience. That'll go a long way.

Anonymous said...

Schatze - good looking dog (love GSDs)
does not look human (I am not so self centered as to believe that only humans are self aware)
but does look like a very INTENSE dog
our own very purebred GSD puppy has much more of a goofy look
I don't have enough experience to argue about pure vs cross breeds, my puppy seems to be plenty smart.
I suspect a LOT of intelligence in animals - ever since reading about prairie dogs. I would attribute their eagerness to please to understanding that they owe you their lives.
Where as mine did me a favor LOL

And yes how could i forget - a chain is what I need (after sewing the leash second time) - he just wants to get closer to the chicken poop ... i mean coop - eats the sh.t, would probably eat the cheeks too
How did you "tell" them not to mind the birds?
I used the shock collar a couple times - did not have the time to do much more.

Good luck with your puppies.


Greenpa said...

Shadow- interesting stuff about tail genetics.

TJ - how did we explain to them? After our first catastrophe with trusting a dog too soon, we got a bunch of really useful advice from the readers here- and we took all of it.

We have an older dog who is just totally relaxed about the birds, and work one young one on leash with the old one off, demonstrating. Seems to help. The work the young one alone. After they behave themselves perfectly on leash several times, we go to off leash with the "e-collar".

Lots of reps! My basic rule for almost everything now:

If you find yourself thinking "this is probably enough; this will probably be ok now..." IT'S NOT!!

Work until you're absolutely certain it's enough.

CuriousNomad said...

It snowed here this morning. How are you?

curiousalexa in Maine

Greenpa said...

Curious- good timing! :-) And thanks for asking, it matters.

Karen said...

I wandered over her from Sharon's and this caught my eye. Beautiful dogs. I've done a fair amount with dogs over the years and I picked both girls as GSD x collie before I scrolled down to Daisy's description. The color pattern you're seeing as Doberman in Schatze is bicolor black and tan and it present in both GSD and collies (with white markings as the tricolor collie). Tricolor smooth collies often get pegged as Doberman mixes because people aren't familiar with the body structure under the coat. Since the long coat gene is uncommon in GSD, the short coat is what you'd expect from the cross as well. Both breeds also have their share of dogs with tails that curl more than the ideal - that could well be the throw of the genetic die adding up. Daisy's sable is also present in both breeds.

That playing with the birds you're seeing is likely coming from herding instinct - neither breed herds like a border collie, but both have their own style - hard to say which either might have or maybe a combo. Think about adding in some herding training, or at least teaching down at a distance. But if you do herding, at least look into how the breeds herd to see what they might be like - GSD are tenders not drivers.

Both breeds like to be with their people and to have a job. The GSD are typically less interested in interacting with strangers - not agressive, just aloof and watchful.