Kangal Dog Puppy

Kangal Dog Puppy

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Last post

I don't know how to say this, but the short chapter of Arie in our lives came to a sudden close early this morning. Little did I know it when I stayed up late last night putting together the video in yesterdays post that it would actually become a kind of memorial for Arie and that I'd be burying her today. My worst fear for her was realized as she got out on the highway and was struck and killed by a car or truck. We can only guess she was chasing a deer some time just before sunrise. A very kind lady came knocking on our door about 6:45 am to see if she might belong to us. It was apparent Arie had been there for awhile. Somehow the electric fence around her 1+ acre paddock did not deter her from getting out. It was working just fine when I turned in for the night and fine this morning so we can only speculate as to why it did not keep her in.

I am deeply disappointed by this unfortunate event. I immensely enjoyed raising Arie and working with her every day to see her turn into such a wonderful LGD. After watching the video I posted about wolves in Wisconsin I can now even more sympathize with hunters who loose their dogs after spending all the time and energy it takes to raise a dog and train it only to loose it in a most unfortunate way. And I've heard many stories over the years of hunting dogs chasing game across a road and getting killed that way. This has happened to me once before many years ago with a female Fila Brasileiro I once owned. The dog bolted from me chasing after a rabbit which went across the road and she too was killed. This morning brought all that back to me in vivid reality.

I had originally hoped to breed Arie a time or two as long as she stayed true to the breed. Yet, there was a point when I considered having her spayed when she was exhibiting aggression toward the stock. However after the summer when she settled down considerably I began to entertain the idea once again of having her bred at least once in order to obtain some more dogs and to perhaps recoup some of my investment. That is all history now.

I can only hope that at some point in the future I can obtain one or more Kangals once again. They are truly some impressive dogs. I'm going to miss Arie for a good long while.

For my own reference and who ever might find interest in the record of this blog I plan to keep it and not remove it from public viewing. Maybe later on I'll post some more of my experiences with Arie that never got put on here.

Thanks for following our posts on our first Kangal Dog puppy. Sorry to have to break such sad news.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Test run

In this video the pictures show a test run of Arie hanging out with the main flock of sheep for the day. I put her shock collar on as a precaution in case she got any ideas of being inappropriate with the livestock. Not that she would have received a shock but only the tone just in case. But, it was never needed, she behaved perfectly, as you can see in the pictures.

In the close ups of Arie you can see a new "battle scar" next to her eye. Presumably it's from an altercation she might have had with a ram. My guess is it would have been from that same ram she had a skirmish with a week or so ago when he was attempting to bestow her with unwanted affections.

Loves to be petted

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Here's a goofy picture of Arie. Obviously her snout is not really this long it's just the distortion from the camera angle and all that. Just thought it was a funny picture.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Wolves in Wisconsin

Watch Wolves in Wisconsin on PBS. See more from WPT Documentaries.

Hoop house finished

Here's some pictures of the finished hoop structure. Now we are ready for winter. The sheep never needed such a nice place to winter over, but I wanted Arie to have a dry place to go to when she ever she wants. Makes a very nice dog house.

Normally Arie lays just outside and watches over everything. The buildings are located on a high spot and that's usually where she rests.

It's hard to tell in the pictures, but I got Arie a new fluorescent orange collar since hunting season is here once again.

She is again enjoying plenty of venison scraps and bones besides chicken.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Construction project

Every spare minute I've been working on this hoop structure for Arie and the sheep to have shelter this winter. As of today I am pretty much done with it. I was going to build this last year but winter snuck up on me before I got to it.

I had turned our old horse barn into a house for Arie back in the spring and then just added this hoop house onto it. Last winter I kept Arie in our big green house during the nights. Now with this structure, her and the sheep can go in and out as they wish and I don't have to worry about them getting too warm.
Arie is maturing nicely. I really like her personality now that she is settling down and getting out of that puppy stage. She loves to get petted and rubbed and excepts it without trying to play and gnaw on me. She still occasionally, will gently play with the goats and sheep but it only lasts a short time and she gets it out of her system pretty quickly. However I recently observed her interaction with a ram. The ram was intent on licking Arie's hind end. She kept walking away from him not caring for his advances. When she was tired of it she wield around with a snarl and teeth bared. The ram attempted to head butt her, she evaded the butt then laid into him with lots of snarling and teeth. She grabbed him by the check and quickly pinned him down. Upon which time he immediately submitted to her and she instantly stopped administering the discipline. She calmly walked away and he then left her alone. My first reaction was to intervene because I was standing close by. But, I restrained myself to see what would happen. I was glad I did not interfere because it played out well. Arie put the ram in his place. Although she made lots of noise and appeared at first to be overly aggressive, in actuality she simply disciplined the ram from the behavior of putting himself in a place he had no business being. I checked the ram over and he was not injured in anyway. Arie only grabbed him hard enough to take him down and pin him. As soon as he submitted she let him go. I found this interaction very interesting.

Makes me wonder how often these scenarios play out when I'm not around. Obviously they have the relationship all worked out. Intact rams and goats can be extremely obnoxious at times. When ever I work out there around them I keep a cane pole near by to give them a light whack on the ankles if they get too rough close by to me. I've been butted by them before and I don't care to have my leg broken or knee damaged, so I train them to stay away from me with that pole.

Nature is usually pretty tough. Every kind of animal we have ever had has a pecking order. From every kind of poultry clear up to horses. It can often become quite brutal. Which is a shocking thing for people who grow up watching TV shows where animals talk and act like humans. So many people try to imagine animals with human attributes, but in reality animals are simply animals, they are NOT people.

From observing the barnyard I long ago came to the conclusion that when people are behaving badly they are behaving just like animals. Animals can at any time act out with extreme viciousness. That is one reason why I first thought of using a shock collar on Arie when she was behaving badly towards the livestock. However I stopped using it quite some time ago. I didn't want to use it and when I did I used it very sparingly. I only used it when I had the timing down perfectly. And when I did it only mimicked the harshness of nature anyway. When she chased or bit at the animals she got a correcting zap. Far less correction than what she did to that ram the other day. In short time all I had to do was use the tone feature on the collar. The tone had nearly the same effect correcting her from the unwanted behavior. With her sharp temperament I really believe the collar saved me a lot of time and effort. Looking back on it even with advice I received on the contrary I believe it was the right tool for Arie and her aggressive temperament. Especially when she was in that naughty adolescent stage.

After having more experience with Arie and seeing her personality evolve with time I am more convinced that the collar was the right tool for her at that time. I went through a period were I was very unsure because of some of what I was seeing on the Kangal Dog discussion groups. Probably 99 out of 100 Kangal Dogs wouldn't need it, but Arie was tough and still is. She don't take any guff out of anything! She's the boss and she knows it! Even at a young age.

To date I'd say Arie is the best dog I've ever had. Back in early Fall I had the electric fence turned off because a lot of weeds had grown up on it. On a couple occasions Arie got out during the night. She never ran off like I feared she would and one of those nights she curled up and slept directly underneath my bedroom window. The weather was still warm enough outside to keep the windows open so I am assuming she somehow knew that, that was the room I was in. I would guess she could smell me. Not that I am saying I have excessive body order or anything like that. :) I'm saying she is very smart. The second time she got out we had just gotten up in the morning and we were surprised to see her leisurely strolling past the dining room window. Again she stayed around and did not roam off, even with deer and all kinds of animals of which she might chase.

A week or so ago Arie found the hide to that fox I killed a short time ago. She went into full aggression mode and wanted to rip it to shreds. Of course I'm saving the pelt and did not want her to eat it so I put it away. It was fun watching her try to find that thing again. It's like she doubles in size and transforms from this docile and placid dog to 100 % varmint hunter. An amazing transformation. I'm always amazed.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Job well done

The other night we were sitting around a camp fire with Arie tied up nearby. She began to bark at something in the darkness. My first thought was that it was probably some deer which are almost always out in the fields at night. I went over to her to let her know it was alright. Then a minute or so later she barked more persistently, until we heard a chicken squawking rather loudly. At that point Arie was really onto something and was barking with much intent, though she was tied securely to a fence.

I grabbed my 20 gauge and drove out in the truck where the chickens were being kept. I found a chicken that had certainly been molested by some critter. I scanned the area with my head mounted flashlight and saw some eyes peering at me a ways off. So I got in the truck and headed for it with the headlights on bright to get a better look. It was a fox! I chased it up into the woods where I could no longer drive. I got out and scanned the woods with my light. The eyes showed up again then disappeared. I was facing the highway and didn't want to shoot towards it so I circled around, then the fox eyes glowed back at me in the darkness again, I took aim and pulled the trigger.

It just so happened that the shot in the dark took out the foxes heart and it dropped in it's tracks. If Arie had not alerted us I might not have gotten to it before it killed the chicken. As it turned out the chicken was alright it only lost a patch of feathers on it's neck. A very close call for the chicken.

Again Arie has done her job! I am more than pleased with our amazing Kangal Dog!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Mellowing out

I presume because of the hot humid summer we've had and from the flies which tormented her, Arie has mellowed out in past weeks, considerably. And she is now 15 months old which I am sure plays a part. Being older she will naturally settle down.

But, I think the somewhat harsh conditions have matured her maybe a little faster than if she was a house dog.

Here Arie is relaxed and being watchful after a later summer rain. The flies have let up and do not plague her as bad, plus she has built up a tolerance for the ones that do remain.

With Arie's maturity has come much better behavior toward the livestock. Her playing stints are far less frequent and her seeming aggression has abated much. Although she will still put the goats in their place if they come too near her food. If they are nearby when I put down her food they make a hasty retreat. That is their cue to go some place else.

I'm quite enjoying the calmer more reliable dog that Arie is becoming.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Coyote thwarted, did her job

Last weekend I was woken at 2 am by Arie barking ferociously. It was continuous and it brought me out of my deep middle of the night sleep. I figured I'd better go check to see what was up.

After quickly getting dressed I stumbled out to the truck realizing I should have at least brought my shot gun but, in my sleepy fog I figured it was probably only a deer she was barking at so I continued on my way. As I drove out the headlights caught a familiar site, a coyote, and a big one at that. It was near one of our movable chicken pens and was making a hasty retreat. The fact that it was near the chickens made me angry so I took pursuit in the pickup truck. I quickly caught up to it and the coyote knowing it was in imminent danger took off like a shot. I should have slipped the truck into 4 wheel drive because my tires were spinning easily in the dew laden grasses. Nonetheless I got right on it's heals and pursued it for a good 8th of a mile zig-zagging across the field. It got away once we got to the fence line.

Upon inspecting the chickens I found that in the pen where I had first seen the coyote by there was a couple of dead chickens. That little rascal found a way to get them by reaching in through the wire with it's paw and pulling them to him where he could chew whatever he could get ahold of. One chicken had it's leg chewed off. Another had it head chewed off and two more were wounded. In the dark the chickens are sitting ducks. Too stupid to keep out of reach.

I wasn't very happy about the losses but, I was VERY happy with Arie. She did her job! She let me know something was up. If I hadn't come out I'm sure our losses would have been much greater.

So until we can better reinforce our movable pens we put them right close to Arie's 1 acre paddock, where she is now loose the entire night. The pens are within a couple feet of the fence. It would take a very bold coyote to try anything now. If a coyote came that close to the fence I'm pretty sure she would somehow manage to go over the fence to get to it.

I was going to put the pens right in with her but, Kelli reminded me that the goats might climb on them so that is why I put them next to where she is instead.

Arie doesn't miss much. She might bark allot but, now with hearing the difference between her casual barks with her serious barks I can better know what is happening out in the fields. When that coyote was out there she was dead serious and extremely intense.

She was on high alert the rest of the night. I know this because I sat out there in the pick up truck with my shot gun the remainder of the night. Arie never stopped running back and forth along the fence line all night long. I could see her running back and forth in the moon light. I finally went inside when the sun came up. But, Arie did her job, I couldn't be more happy.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

First night

I got some fly repellent for Arie because the flies have been plaguing her so badly. It's made for horses actually. It helps quite a bit, I'd say it keeps about 80% of them off of her, but they still worry her. She hates the sound of them buzzing around her head even when they don't land on her.

It's been hot out and when she frets over the flies all day, she gets pretty heated up. Earlier in the week when I got in from working I took her for a ride in the truck just to give her a break and to cool her down. She seemed to appreciate it.

Yesterday I took Arie to town with me. Now when I open the door on the truck she bounds right in to the back seat. Until recently most of the time she'd put her front feet up in there then wait for me to give her hind end a boost. But, now she especially likes going in the truck because it means getting away from those pesky bugs.

After, returning home from going to town it was getting toward evening, I kept Arie with me as I did the chores. By this time of the evening the flies aren't near so bad and it is nice to see her out enjoying the freedom and not hiding away. This is usually the time she emerges from her house to run about the one acre paddock. When I take her around with me I often keep her on a nylon lunge line which is a long line designed for training horses, this I was using last evening.

I've had a rule which I've adhered to for years to not ever, ever, ever tie a dog to the rear hitch of any kind of vehicle. We personally know of two different people who did this and accidentally drove away with their pets, resulting in one death and severe damage to the other. Until getting Arie to tie a dog to the hitch is just something I haven't done. But, as I take her around doing chores there's just been nothing else to tie her to so I have been doing that around the farm with her. I am just very, very careful to not be absent minded when I do it keeping much of my focus on her as I work. You might be wondering where I am going with this story but, rest assured it doesn't take a bad turn. Last night I had her tied to the rear hitch on my truck while I was carrying some buckets of grain. Some of the family was sitting at a camp fire with a friend and I heard my daughter call out to Arie kind of urgently. I dropped the buckets and came running to see that Arie was no longer tied to the hitch. The line was there but, she wasn't.

What happened is, she saw one of the cats and snapped the metal clasp like it was nothing when she hit the end of the line chasing after that cat. The lunge line is not a light weight thing it is made for horses. The line itself is made of heavy woven nylon and the clasp is heavy duty metal.

I ran around and found Arie circling the barn which the cat apparently had run into. She was on the hunt. When she gets aroused like that it seems like she doubles in size. An impressive site. Even though she was in hunt mode, she came right to me when I found her.

Well, that is the second time she's been loose and has made no move to run off which makes me happy. We used to have a dog a female Lab/Chow that whenever she got loose she would never come back unless I bribed her with food. I'm glad Arie isn't like that.

Arie has been doing well with the little flock of male sheep and goats and I've been thinking of letting her stay loose with them at night. I always put her in a smaller pen during the night because i haven't entirely trusted her with the livestock. However she has been doing much better and I have been considering her first night. I still haven't trimmed weeds around the electric fence yet and still do not have it turned on. So with that I have been holding off as well. But, after seeing how she didn't run off I thought maybe I'd try her out. So last night I did it and left her loose with the sheep and goats all night unsupervised.

This morning I woke up shortly after 4 and was wondering how it went, and I really hoped she had not found a way out of the paddock. I got up and looked out the windows scanning the area to see if she was loose. So far so good there was no site of her. So i got dressed and drove out to the paddock. At first I saw no sign of life, but then one by one I saw the sheep and goats curled up sleeping sound. I didn't see Arie any where and went to check her house to see if she was in there. I figured she'd be sleeping just as the livestock were. I opened the door and called her name but, to my chagrin she was not in there. My mind began to race, envisioning her spotting some critter out side the paddock in the night and finding a way to get out and take pursuit. She was no place I could see. By now, I thought, "if she was loose she would have found me" since she likes the truck and almost always comes running when she hears it.

I went into the paddock and looked down near the thicket by the pond hoping she might be down in there. I called her, whistled and clapped my hands, still nothing. My mind continued racing. I was trying to remember if she still had her tag on her collar, (it kept falling off) and if I actually marked her collar with contact info, which I have been meaning to do. I was beginning to form a plan for searching for her around the area, thinking of which neighbors to call first to see if they'd seen her. At what seemed to be the peak of my growing anxiety all of a sudden there she came bounding out of the thicket happy as a lark to see me. What a relief! I thanked God out loud and walked out to meet her. The first night was a success after all. The sheep and goats were good and well, with no evidence of any excessive playing. All went well and Arie seemed to thoroughly enjoy her first full night of freedom.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Flies and an 'escape'

Here Arie is trying to escape the flies.
They drive her absolutely bonkers. In this picture she is under this lean-to because I had made her come out of her house where she will stay during the entire day.

The flies have been bothering her for the past week especially. The problem is, she will stay inside ALL day long then at dusk she comes out and is raring to go ALL night long, barking incessantly.

I've been applying an herbal bug repellent but, they still buzz around by her which drives her crazy.

In the late afternoons I've been letting her out with the sheep and goats. She has been doing well with the four but then just before I turn in for bed I go out and put her in a smaller enclosure where she can go inside a pole building. The pole building is her "house" where she eats and sleeps. However during the past week she refuses to come out until it is almost dark and the flies are gone.

Several evenings ago when she was loose in the big paddock with the sheep and goats she escaped for the first time ever. I believe from hiding out ALL day long and sleeping most of that time she has a lot more energy now at night which may have contributed to her escape. I have had the electric fence turned off as well because I need to go around and trim some grass that has grown up on it. So the fact that the fence has been off didn't help either.

I always thought that if she ever got loose that I would have a hard time getting her back. Especially if she saw a deer I figured I might not ever see her again. Well, that night our daughter came to me and said she could hear something under her bedroom window. She thought it sounded like some kind of an animal. So I went to her window to see if I could hear what she had heard. It didn't take long and sure enough I heard the same thing, it was definitely an animal, then silhouetted in darkness I saw Arie's light tan body. It was Arie and she was loose!

I quickly ran out side and called her. To my relief, she came bounding up and greeted me enthusiastically! I began to pet her, telling her what a good girl she was and she rolled over, like she often does, to get a good scratching. So I led her to the truck and drove her back to the paddock.

I was glad that all the work I've done with Arie has paid off. She actually came when I called her which was surprising because out in the paddock she may or may not come when I call her. I suppose with her running free in an area she isn't real used to I probably was a familiar thing to her which probably gave her some reassurance.

A funny thing about Arie being out running around like that is, she found my collection of animal skulls that I keep out in the yard and she was playing with them. Now I realize that might sound like a strange thing, a "collection of animal skulls", but when ever I skin out an animal I keep the skull. Kind of a hobby of mine. But, thanks to the skulls, my daughter heard Arie out playing with them. And that is what she was doing when I looked out the window as well. It was quite funny really.

I don't know what actually prompted Arie to get out that night but, so far she has stayed in the paddock the past couple evenings even though I know she now knows how to get out. But, soon I'll have the electric fence going again and that should help.

I hope to install more fencing before the season is over.

On a side note.
Arie has almost shed out entirely, her winter coat. She looks different now. Her tail is the last thing to shed. I would guess in another week her shedding will be complete.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Just doing her thing

In this video Arie checks out the two young rams she grew up with. She had just previously been playing around in the pond.

Arie running around and enjoying the pond

This video was taken today.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

5-24-11 One year old

Ariella in her 1 acre paddock.

Arie is now one year old. She turned a year May 24th.

Everything is green and it has warmed up finally.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Digging for gophers

Kangals are known for digging. Here Arie shows true to form. She's been hunting for gophers for about a week now but, just the other day learned to excavate their tunnels to get a little bit closer.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


I felt sorry for Arie today. She was standing in foot deep water in almost the same location as in this picture which was taken April 29th but today she touched the electric fence with her nose. Ouch! She yelped and spun around and when she did her hind end hit the fence and it nailed her again. She then bolted into deeper water, wielded around while still yelping then kind of half barked, half yelped in the direction of the fence.

She was really spooked after that and wanted to go back to her pen. She kept sulking around and looking all around for anything else that might harm her again. I loved up to her a bunch and put her back in her 16'x16' pen. She was exhausted from the event and slept for a couple hours. After that Arie was almost back to her old self though still a little bit wary.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A cute picture

I took this picture back on April 2nd. I thought it was cute of Arie and a sheep peaking through the fence.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Fencing~ As of yesterday we've nearly completed reinforcing the entire perimeter of an existing paddock with cattle fencing, to be more secure for small livestock and Arie. We originally built it to keep in horses. It's approximately 350' x 130' , just over 1 acre, and is enclosed with 4 strands of high tensile electric wire. Later we added 3 more strands of low tensile electric to keep in sheep. This was good until a few of the woolly creatures found out that if they pushed through quickly they could escape without getting zapped. So a couple years ago we stopped using it for the sheep since every couple days we'd have to round up a few renegades who thought the grass was "greener" on the other side.

All we need to do now is re-string some of the low tensile electric and add a strand to some low spots, check the electric connections and it will be ready to go. This should keep in any dog as well. Even if the electric quits working it would keep Arie in long enough for me to find the malfunction. Our experience with electric fencing is that it is not fool proof. A number of factors can cause it to stop working, bad connections or even dry conditions can make it fail. We have pure sand under our top soil so drought conditions will cause a bad ground. During those times we pour water on the ground rods.

So yesterday after I installed a new gate I immediately took Arie out there for a good run. I have read that Kangals will explore the far perimeters of any enclosure and she held true to the what is said about them. Right away she trotted down around the pond and followed the very edge of the fence. I was happy that every little bit she would look in my direction keeping aware of my whereabouts. She explored the other side of the pond. Soon she worked her way back toward me and I got to see her run at or near full speed. Very impressive! I've heard that Kangal Dogs are fast but, I finally got to see it first hand. I've seen her run in a smaller 100' x 100' corral, but there isn't enough space to go full out.

We had to go some place so I only let Arie stay out there for about 20 minutes. Later today I plan to spend some more time with her out there. Today we are getting another snow storm so we are taking a break from working on the fence.

Before anything we had to clear out the weeds.

The paddock is just over an acre. The spring fed pond is in the low spot at the tree line.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


About a week ago our snow finally melted with temperatures in the 6o's. And corresponding to the melt Aire has just begun shedding her winter coat. Last week I noticed a change in her coats appearance and texture. This week it is beginning to form little clumps that can be easily pulled out. The shedding process is starting. From pictures I've seen of Kangals that are shedding they look very similar to how my Siberian Husky used to shed. Kind of wolf like and in clumps. Come summer my husky took on a more sleek appearance. I think Arie's coat will be similar to that.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Spring time snow storm

We have quite a bit of deer bones and scraps that I have been feeding Arie all through the winter. In the below pictures she is enjoying cleaning up any left over meat sticking to a leg bone. These pictures were taken just days ago after we got a big spring snow storm here in the northwoods.

Arie gets every bit of meat off the bones as shown in this picture. And eventually will gnaw the bone down to pretty much nothing.

Here she is relaxing after having gotten her fill.


Last week I heard Arie howling for the first time. Some fire engines were going on a call, sounding their sirens which made her howl. I was surprised at how much she sounded like a wolf. She had a long, deep and drawn out howl which sounded remarkably like a wolf.

And speaking of wolves I have been hearing reports that the wolf pack is back in the area as people have been hearing them in various places. They had moved on the better part of last year and now they are back which makes me glad we have Arie. I realize she alone would be no match against a pack but, she can at least alert us if any comes anywhere near the animals.

I noticed something recently as Arie is spending more and more time with the main flock. She likes to lay amongst the sheep when I throw down fresh hay as shown in the picture from the last post. The thing I noticed is she almost mimics the sheep when they munch on the hay. She sees them doing it and now she has begun nibbling on it too. The first time I saw it was on a night like in the below picture, Arie was all stretched out being lazy, she worked her self over towards some fresh hay and began chewing on it. She wasn't eating it but, it sure seemed like she was imitating what she saw. I thought that was a very interesting thing. I've never seen anything like that, up until now that is, since she has done it numerous times since.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Doing great

I've been thoroughly enjoying watching Arie behave well with the sheep. I've always enjoyed seeing ruminants out grazing and it is the same for me to see Arie hanging out with the sheep doing her job with her naturally protective instincts.

She has been doing very well. Yesterday a sheep came up to her which made her a little playful. The collar is equipped with a warning tone so I briefly activated that and she instantly refrained from her playing posture.

So far so good! I can hardly wait until she can be fully trusted and spends her first night with the main flock.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

On duty

In the below pictures Arie is only alerting to a cat but, she needs to be watchful to keep our animals safe from predators. She is a fine watch dog!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Interesting turn

For several sessions I did not have to use the collar at all. Arie gets it! She has minded her manners well. But, the other day when she was out with the sheep I was doing some work on my truck. I couldn't see the corral very good from where I was at so every little bit I would walk over to check on everyone.

Well, one of the times I looked I was shocked to see that Arie had somehow gotten Pixy, one of the ewes, down on her side and was playing tug-o-war with one of her hind legs. It just so happened I did not have the transmitter with me so I ran in there and reprimanded Arie verbally. I took her by the collar, put her in a smaller pen and closed the door. So then I went and checked on Pixy who had gotten up and ran to the other end of the corral. Upon inspection everything seemed fine with the ewe other than a small limp. Arie had not bitten down hard enough to break the skin.

I was convinced that Arie was only playing since if she had been serious Pixy's leg would have shown it. At the minimum the skin would have been broken.

Arie was still eager with excitement so I ran to get the transmitter for the shock collar then let her out of the pen. Right away she wanted to continue her play so I gave her a correction. I stayed out there for a while and in all she got 3 corrections. In one session she made up for all the past days where she did great. But, with the last correction she no longer was interested in playing anymore.

The next day I put her back in with the flock and watched them closely. Arie kept her distance and was content to explore the corral. Once I saw she would be good I went about my business, keeping an eye out from a distance. Probably an hour went by and movement caught my eye, the sheep were running around I my first thought was that Arie was running them. After checking them out I couldn't believe it. Pixy was now running Arie.

The day before, I had strongly suspected that Pixy might have started it, because she is one of the boss ewes and has battles now and then with the other sheep. Pixy was chasing Arie all around the corral but, Arie was minding her manners and did not attempt to play or defend herself other than some gentle mouthing as seen in the second picture below.

Pixy would charge at Arie and she would do her best to side step and evade the ewe's butt.

I was proud of Arie that no matter how much Pixy pressed her, she would not retaliate.
Today she was out there for over half the day and all was well. She did not try to play or chase. Pixy tried a little bit to show Arie who's boss but, Arie was very good natured about it and dodged any attempts by Pixy to dominate.

I'm happy with this new training tool. I never was a fan of shock collars but, in this situation it seems to be a good fit. So far we are seeing positive results.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

First heat

This afternoon when I was checking on Ariella I noticed red blood under her tail and upon further inspection I could see that her vulva was swollen. Her first heat! Our baby's growing up!
I was anxious to see how she would do with the sheep today and when I put her in with the main flock she was excited and wanted to play, forgetting yesterdays lesson with the new collar. So I had to give her a correction which has lasted all day. She's been perfectly fine so far. I'm hoping it won't be long until she is completely reliable with them.

Friday, February 18, 2011

9 months old next week, new training tool

Next week Ariella will be 9 months old. I tried to weigh her at home last week but, her and I max out the scale so we couldn't tell what she weighs. I'm sure she is well past 100 lbs now. I'd guess between 110 and 120. Hopefully soon I will get her on the Vets scale so we know for sure. I'm curious. Measured her at just over 29 inches at the withers so I think she has stopped or slowed in growing taller. Now she filling in more and still putting on weight.
Today was a mile stone for Arie's training. I've been having a difficult time to get her to stop chasing and playing with the sheep. They have no defense and when they attempt to butt her with their big fuzzy heads all it does is egg her on. So I purchased a good shock collar.
I had never used one before but, understand that they can be excellent training tools when used properly. Well, today I got it all set up according to the manufacturers instructions and took Arie in with the main flock of sheep.
The sheep are now so leery of her that all she has to do is walk in their direction and they take off running. The running is more than she can take so off she goes chasing them. It didn't take long for that to happen today. The instructions say to use the lowest setting and work your way up until the dog responds. Arie has very thick hair around her neck so I started at level 4. This model has 17 levels. The first try at number 4 did nothing so I increased it to 7. Still nothing so I figured I'd better tighten the collar. Her hair is very thick. I tightened it one position. Then I cranked up the transmitter to level 15 thinking it would take that to get through the hair.
As soon as she took to chasing the sheep again I pressed the button on the transmitter and that time she felt it. She immediately stopped her pursuit of the sheep and lowered her head and I released the button. Then she began to scratch her neck with her hind foot. Too high of a setting but, it certainly got her attention. She instantly understood cause and effect and stayed far away from the sheep after that.
She came over to me and I gave her lots of praise and attention. I was glad she didn't associate me with the experience, though she did seem a little bit wary not entirely sure if I had anything to do with it or not. I had given her a sharp NO command just a second before I pushed the button. I loved her up real well, petting her and telling her what a good girl she was. But, she wanted nothing to do with the sheep.
She sulked around for 20 minutes or so and I stayed with her for awhile and after I was sure she would stay away from the sheep I went out of the corral and watched from the house. She sulked for about an hour altogether. With the contacts making a good fit level 15 was too high for her. So I made sure to lower it down to number 5. After a couple hours she was back to her old self and exploring all around and digging and finding things to chew on. However she did not attempt to chase the sheep any longer.
However, after getting back to normal, every time she went by the sheep they would take off running because that is what they have become accustomed to do lately. After a couple of times of that Arie couldn't resist and lopped along behind them. By the third time it looked like she was enjoying it. However she still was not chasing, rather it looked more like she was simply following. But, for her I knew it wouldn't take much to start chasing again so the next time she did it I gave her a little reminder zap on level 5. That did the trick and she was good for the rest of the time. She behaved herself for another couple hours and finally I took her back to the green house to be with the goat. I was very pleased with the results.
Even though I have been obedience training Arie she has a strong will and may or may not listen to a command, which I understand is characteristic of the breed. When guarding the flock they need to be independent thinkers. Even doing obedience work around the flock her drive to chase is so strong not much would get her attention. This new tool seems to do the trick though I am not a real fan of this method. I would rather just keep on with the obedience work but, I can see the chasing turning into a real bad habit. I plan to only use it as a last resort. And after seeing it's effectiveness today I don't think it will take many more times using it.
I know a family who trained their Shetland Sheep Dog to stop chasing cars with one of these collars. And the dog had a very strong chase drive. They said every now and then they have to use it again just to remind the dog. I'm hoping that after Arie gets out of her puppy stage that I won't have to use it anymore.