Welcome to Bit of Honey Training LLC

Welcome to Bit of Honey Training LLC
Welcome to Bit of Honey Training LLC

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Fason Explores the Arena, Welcome to New Dog!

This weekend Fason has really started to settle into the routine here at Bit of Honey.  I got a nice round pen photo, a good photo of him during his first turnout in the big arena, and a nice headshot with the mountains.  He is also realizing that we are at higher altitude here in Colorado.  Bit of Honey Training is approximately a mile above sea level, and after five minutes of hard running and playing he is quite out of breath!  He only romps around for a short while, then quickly approaches me and follows me around in our liberty work routine.  On Friday he was pretty hot after playing and I swear he planted his sweaty face in my hand and said, "What happened to all the oxygen?  Can you scratch my forehead?"

Overall he is easy going and friendly, and has a big swinging walk that is to die for. 


Might Fason understand he's no longer the newest animal on the ranch?  I got a new border collie this weekend.  He moved in to help Mahzi the lab and Miles my current border collie with the workload as I move Miles into a management position.  He turns eight this year and is slowing down with only his three legs.  Miles will still be going to expos and horse shows with me this season, but he just can't continue the day to day, all day, physical labor around the ranch at home.  The new dog was living with an older couple in Windsor, but since border collies need more exercise and job satisfaction than can usually be found in a residential area they decided to give him to me so he can come work at Bit of Honey. 

He is a beautiful three year old with lots of energy, and he happens to fit my dog color scheme really well!  He looks a lot like Miles, just with less white on his face.
He spent yesterday with me doing barn chores and watching riders.  I had him tethered to me by attaching a dog leash to my belt.  I'll do this for about a week until he understands he is supposed to follow me around and stick with me.  Once he knows the voice commands and hand signals I use (which are a little different than the traditional dog training cues) he can start being off leash with Miles and Mahzi.  So far the dogs are having a jolly time together, wrestling and playing and talking.  The new dog is also learning about horses.  His first time watching Sara the grey arabian in the arena his herding dog brain thought perhaps he should chase her.  That's another reason I have him on a leash until he knows the rules.  It's very dangerous for a dog to chase horses, they cannot be herded like sheep or cattle, and will go after a bossy dog. 

True to his border collie intelligence he has figured out very quickly what is allowed and what is not.  He was a little nervous around one of the horses this morning and curled his lip at her, so I gave a little jerk on the leash.  That was the only discipline he needed.  There was one other time he was feeling intimidated and he lunged at one of the geldings because he didn't know what to do, but a quick "NO" from me, then briskly walking the other way as a distraction solved that easily.  The border collies are sensitive, so it is important not to over-correct or they start to worry.  So far he has only made each mistake once, and as soon as he knows what the behavior standards are he is fine.  If I have to go into a pen with a horse I tie the dog to the fence outside so there's not the safety issue of dog plus leash tied to human plus horse to cause mayhem.

Another new interest for the dog is my barn cats.  They are very dog savvy, and have their own ways of dealing with young canines.  Initially the dog thought perhaps they could be chased, but it of course didn't work since he was tethered to my belt.  My cats know how all this works, so Z my calico stays out of the way and up high, but Sabbath likes to tease the dogs.  He saunters by, sashaying his tail in the new dog's general direction.  He will even get close enough to touch noses with the dog, but if the dog makes any sudden moves Sabbath will sit down and smack the dog on the face.  He doesn't use his claws, but this always startles a dog who is expecting to give chase, not get slapped!  This only happened once, and the smart new dog then began looking at Sabbath with a deferential sidelong glance.  The dog also now gives him a very wide berth when Sabbath parks himself in a doorway and the dog and I have to get past him. 

Many more episodes of "training the horse-training dog" to come! 

No comments:

Post a Comment