- Adventures of a Crazed Shepherdess and Her Long-Suffering Husband -
Monday, March 2, 2009
Angus Rua (Gus the Red)
Last summer, I began looking for a herding breed of dog. As the flock grows, it is becoming more difficult to manage without the aid of a trained dog. Our preference was to adopt or re-home a dog. I have been following www.petfinder.com but the several dogs I was interested in never worked out. Well, as they say...when one door closes, another one opens...
We are now the proud new owners of a 6 year old Border Collie who has had training in herding sheep. He has a very gentle spirit and does have an "off button" while in the house. His former owner felt he needed to be on a farm to work and do what he does best. We feel fortunate that she decided he could live with us. The above photo is Gus and his former mom showing us how he does his stuff. He was able to move the Shetland rams from a wide open, one-acre plus pasture to a pen several hundred yards away. Now I need to take herding lessons with him to keep him sharp and help me to learn how to work with him.
Gus has been very helpful the last few months. Sheep get out of their pens from time to time and he is great at working close and holding them so we can catch the woolly buggers. He has saved our backs on more than one occasion. He is a nice addition to our home. He loves face rubs and catching the ball with our black lab, Sylvan. And our cat is amused and entertained by his constant interest.
However, the llamas aren't so sure about Gus or our Black Lab, Sylvan. One of the reasons we have the llamas is to help guard the sheep from canine predators. We have to be sure that the dogs don't get into the same enclosure as the llamas. They may just try to stomp a dog to death. The llamas have learned that the dogs are part of our farm flock but their instincts would prevail and they would most likely protect the sheep.