Flicker’s Lair Blog

A different dog

by Heidi on June 12th, 2009
 
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Aspen is now living permanently out with Willow and they couldn’t be happier about the new arrangements.

Aspen, our Maremma sheepdog

The decision to move him out there was rather taken out of our hands, as you will know if you read regularly our big dog Zeus was rather poorly, and in his last days. Unfortunately Aspen took to dominating and bullying Zeus, which of course wasn’t something we could allow.

Willow was very happy to have him back with her. Aspen’s confidence with her has improved, when we first started taking him out she would jump all over him and was really dominant. Now though he pushes back and sometimes initiates the games.

Willow & Aspen our livestock guardians

We weren’t sure how long we were going to have to have them cabled together, how we would know that we could trust him. Again we had the decision taken out of our hands. The day Zeus died when Steve got home from work the two dogs were there together. When we went out to the barn not even an hour later he was gone! We were stunned, and really unable to process it. We spent an hour following him through wet fields with knee high wet grass in the rain. We lost him. We decided to head back home and come up with a new plan – and there he was, he had come home.

A couple of days later I went out and found him not attached to Willow but still just hanging out in the field. We were really pleased and thinking that maybe we had had our questions answered. It was the weekend and we would be around and outdoors so we decided to try leaving him free. He was great. He stayed in the field guarding the sheep exactly as we would hope.

Unfortunately in the next few days we discovered that he had a tendency to slip under the fence, tour around the outside of the property and then return when he was ready. Willow was superb and although she saw him do it she stayed with her charges and barked at him.

Aspen guarding our flock of shetland sheep

We aren’t happy with the idea of him roaming at will though so we returned to cabling them together. But they took to tying themselves to all sorts of things and getting stuck. So for the time being Aspen is cabled to a fixed point for the most part, but when we are around and able to supervise we attach the cable to Willow and let them have some run-around time.

Willow used to take off, and a while being cabled seems to have resolved that. We are hoping it will have the same affect on him. But just in case we also plan on adding some electric wire to the inside of the fence.

Even though he is cabled he is a much happier dog. When he sees us coming he gets up and he smiles and his tail wags. He is still nervous of sudden movements, but when he has been off the cable and we have needed to catch him Steve has been able to approach him and he rolls over and shows his belly.

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1 Comment

  1. Hooray for Aspen!!

    Comment by Emily — June 13, 2009 @ 1:42 am

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