Introducing a New English Shepherd Pup

July 21, 2016

picture of farm collie pupIt’s been over 2 weeks since we brought home the latest addition, and boy! Has it been busy.

When we lost Toby I wasn’t so sure I wanted another dog, and most especially not right away. First off I still miss him so much, and secondly… I also remember what work it is to train a pup!

But after a little time passed, I got to wondering, “Well, if we DID got another dog, what kind would work best here on the farm?”

I looked at lists for the smartest dogs, the best working dogs, the longest-lived dogs, and on and on… and nothing seemed just right. I finally decided if we got another dog, it ought to be something like Toby.

Since he was a mix of Border Collie and English Shepherd (Farm Collie), I looked into those. Of the two, I thought the English Shepherd would be the best fit. I read breed descriptions which almost always included info that it’s not always easy to find one of these dogs.  I suspect that’s because they aren’t a popular companion breed like Labs or German Shepherds or the little toy dogs.

So just for kicks I looked at the English Shepherd site to see if anyone had pups. Turns out they did, but only a few were anywhere near. And when I checked into some of those, the pups were already spoken for.

To make a long story shorter, it became apparent if I wanted a English Shepherd pup, I would need to speak up for one right away, or wait another year to get one.

I spoke up. 🙂

Choosing An English Shepherd Puppy

Once I made up my mind to get one, I narrowed down the breeders that were relatively close and still had pups available. I liked the looks of this pair of parents, and the description on the website.

pic of 2 farm collies

I contacted the breeder and he was so helpful and patient! I finally decided on which puppy I wanted, but the next problem was the timing. We needed to go to West Virginia to visit family first, and wouldn’t be able to do that until the little guy would be 10 1/2 weeks old, instead of the usual 8 week old. But Jeff of Hill & Hollow Farms worked with me, and agreed to hold on to the pup until we could pick him up.

Bringing Home Our New Pup

We picked up the pup on July 4th, and the trip home went well.
07-04-16 pup
When we got home, The Farmer introduced the pup to the other critters on the farm, especially our Maremma Sheepdog, Tasha.

pic of man and pup

The other critters: llama, goat & sheep, would be a harder sell on this new creature! I took him out to the pasture where they were, then put him in his kennel. (You can see one post of the shed where his kennel is in the video.) He was a little upset and yipping, but I think he was more upset about being penned up, whereas the llama was upset because there was a STRANGE DOG!

We’ve been through this before though, so thankfully I know this is temporary. She’ll have to sniff him a few times and decide if he’s safe, but eventually they’ll reach detente.

A Few Days Later

It didn’t take long for the older dog, Tasha, and the cat, Sheldon, to get used to the newcomer. In fact, they both are long on patience when it comes to this pup. Take a look at this video to see what I mean — I took it when we were walking at dusk, so it’s a little dark, but you can still see the action!

He grabs the fur on Tasha’s face and they’ll go round and round for a long time before the pup gets distracted by the cat or Tasha finally gets fed up and runs off… then comes back to play some more.

Both the older dog and cat run and play and roughhouse with the pup, which is great! I’m sure it helped him get over missing his litter mates, and it helps him get more exercise. A tired pup is a little less likely to get into trouble!

The Next Phase

Now that he has acclimated to being in his new home, and the other critters have (mostly) accepted him, it’s time for the training phase.

Of course that’s a lot more than just basic commands like “Sit”… he is learning all kinds of things! Like getting along with the cat. . .

picture of English Shepherd pup and cat

And he has to learn to respect the fences, allow me to handle him all over – including looking in his ears and mouth, be calm if I put my hand in his food when he’s eating, not to jump up on people, and one of the hardest… DO NOT CHASE THE CHICKENS!!

Oh yeah, that one’s going to take some work!

There are just so many things to think about and be sure he learns. I go out 7 or 8 times a day to walk him and sneak in some training… he’s still young, and puppies don’t have a very long attention span!

But even when I’m bone weary, I hold tight to this thought…. all the work I put into this pup NOW will pay off for years to come.

And that will make for a happy dog and happy people.

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