Robbie is now one year old. He knows many many commands, however; he is strong minded and does not want to listen all the time. He has a great desire to please and to play, but his herding instincts are becoming stronger and stronger. He does not always know HOW to get the sheep where he wants them to go and often guides them the wrong way, but we are working on that. It is a slow process with these sheep too, as they do not flock and the Karakuls are not herded. Instead their instinct is to scatter. Robbie loves to play fetch with his ball or his toys and will run for a long time bringing them back. Joseph is teaching him to sky watch to keep the birds of prey away from the farm. Robbie just wants to chase something, and birds are as good as anything. I am pleased that he does not chase any of the ducks, geese, chickens or turkeys that free range here though. It has take quite a while to teach the dogs that they must leave the birds, as well as the goats and sheep, alone if they are in the farm yard.
Robbie has one big problem. He chases large animals, especially the llamas. Twice all the dogs packed and hunted down the male llama and if I had not arrived in time, may have killed him. I believe he was attempting to breed the females. In breeding they bite the legs of the females to get them to kush, which is to go down on their knees. Then they mount them and are not very gentle, often biting the neck of the female as well. This agression could have been misconstrued by the dogs and all of them were in the pasture at 4 am, attacking the male llama. I have no idea how they can get out of the fence. Well, Robbie and Harley jump it with ease, but I do not know how the others are getting out. This llama incident happened a second time and Ofcharka and Harley were right in there. They are livestock guardians and are not supposed to kill their own stock.
Anyhow, Robbie will be a great dog when he matures. We will continue his herding training over the next year. I was proud of him today. The sheep were on the driveway and I let him out. He quickly herded them back into their pen and was waiting for me when I arrived, tail wagging. He goes in the car or truck with me almost all the time as well, and now, since the llama incident, he is sleeping inside along with Joseph, who is a bad dude when it comes to chasing llamas as well.Robbie has reached his full stature and has lost is puppy appearance, now looking more like a classic border collie...simply beautiful.
Every morning and evening Robbie comes to get the sheep and goats with me. Some days he has work to do when a wayward critter has not followed the flock, but most days, it is just easy. I open the gate and the animals go out to pasture in the electric net fence and at night, after disconnecting the current, I open the fence and the gate for them to come "home". There is a treat of grain waiting now, not much more than a few mouths full, but they love grain. Because the ewes are lactating and most have twins and the goats are due to birth in a week, they are getting a little supplement to their pasture.
Robbie jumps in the pen by jumping onto the top rail of the fence and then in and goes out the same way. He does so when I tell him to, otherwise he waits to be invited to help. Other than his jumping on people, which everyone detests, me included, he is a great dog. I am so glad he chose me!
Robbie is almost a year old. There are many behaviours he displays absolutely typical of border collies, such as his constant presence by my side, his need for approval, his need for attention, his love of fetching a ball, and his love of chasing things that move. We are working on his commands, and although he knows many, he is sometimes reluctant to perform them. He is strong minded and strong willed and very smart. When I spray the hose, catching the water trail is a good game for the 3 herding dogs, Joseph, the Lassie collie and Sofi and Robbie, the border collies. Robbie waits behind me and watches and when he sees the right opportunity he jumps in and catches the spray at the nozzle, that way ensuring success. The other two dogs chase the end of the spray. I taught Anna, the now deceased female Lassie collie to hunt the skies and she taught Joseph. Joseph is teaching all the other dogs. There is a raven interested in the lambing pen, and Robbie is the only one who can climb the fence and jump into the pen. There is not a place on the farm he has not figured out how to get into or out of. A 4 foot fence is an opportunity for him, so penning him is out of the question. If he stays home, he must either be tied or put inside. He has managed to slip every collar he has had, to date, 6 of them or bite through the steel cable that holds him. Tying is temporary for Robbie. Jumping is another issue we are working on constantly. Perhaps in another year...
He is a sturdy dog and did well with the cattle. Perhaps that is his calling. I plan to find some one to help me train him for sheep because that is why he is here on the farm. He does a great job as a guard dog, barking and chasing to deter predators, along with the livestock guardian dogs, who bite and bark.
Robbie's presence has made life better and I am grateful for him. Thank you Creator for my little border collie. He is really amazing.
Robbie wants to be loved so badly that if I so much as mention the name of another dog he tries to push in front so he still gets the petting. He was very bad yesterday, biting the pot belly pig as we were trying to relocate her to her breeding pen, but he was not the only misbehaving dog. Sofi and Joseph were right in there too. Sofi does not listen and is too fast to swat too. Robbie still jumps and I am now working very hard on that again. He is excellent in the car and goes everywhere with me. He knows as soon as I have a purse or keys in hand that we are going some place and he readily jumps in. He is a good car dog, though lately he wants to meet everyone who is near and does not want to listen when I tell him to stay in the back. We are working on that too.
To aid him with his contemplation skills and leash training, Robbie was tied up today while I did chores. I kept an eye on him so he did not tangle himself. He whined a little but was quiet after a while. When I took him off the lead after an hour, he was willing to mind much better. What I need to do is to spend some one on one time with him and work on his attention skills. It isn't that he does not understand commands, he just does not want to listen. Ah those teenagers!
Robbie is turning out to be everything I had hoped for. He wants to be with me 24/7, but has learned to sleep in his kennel at night and stay in the porch when he is inside. Because the dogs run through the barnyard and eat every kind of thing you can imagine, as well as walk in it, they are not allowed in the house, only the porch, but the porch door is wide open and they can hear and see me most of the time. Robbie is learning to stay down. Jumping on people is still an issue for him,though he is getting better. I have taken to carrying a pocketful of cat kibbles, a treat all the dogs love. When I want to get their attention, they get a kibble treat. This is helping remind Robbie that he should not chase the cows and sheep and he has a job to do.
Today I took him in with the goats and sheep as usual. I want to get his attention to mind what I am doing. Currently he is most interested in finding tasty tidbits to eat in there. As disgusting as it sounds, all the dogs do the same. I am hoping his instinct will jump start him to herd soon. He would rather chase. Sofi surprised me today and helped me move the sheep. She is a city dog but was very valuable this morning while Robbie stuffed his face. He has a big dog bark now too, so when Peter is out protecting at night, Robbie can bark and scare the bad things away too. He is a big little boy!
Robbie will never replace Josie, my long time friend who left us a few weeks ago, but he sure reminds me of her in his little border collie ways. He does the slink and the side step and the little hop when he turns just like Josie, but he comes close like a rescue border collie thatI rehomed, named Mike. She was too agressive to keep, beating up the dogs quite badly. She went to a one dog household with a little old lady who will overindulge her in every way, including love her to bits. It was a perfect match.
Back to Robbie though. When I went to see the pups, he came to me first. He did not stick around since they had just been let out but he did come back when I called the puppies and over and over again her returned to see what was going on. I had my heart set on a female but he won out hands down. He learns quickly, as smart border collies do. He already knows sit, sleeps through the night in his kennel and is almost there with "go back". The llamas do not like him for some reason and want to hurt him so I am trying to keep him out of their site. They did not bother any of the other puppies, so why Robbie? I do not know.
I am grateful for little Robbie. He is full of love and will make a great sheep dog. We are going to start on the ducks pretty soon, now that he is more familiar with the farm. He has no trouble chasing the little goats, so with ducks, being only a quarter of the size of a pygmy goat, he should be fine. Isn't he adorable?