New puppy learns the ropes

dog treats

What a challenging summer this has been! Like everyone else in the heartland, we have found ourselves trying to make hay while the sun shines, and it has proven to be an ongoing battle.

With hay down now, we have high hopes of baling tomorrow, after finally seeing a stretch of sunshine in the forecast. Fingers crossed that another front doesn’t blow through to change it.

Growing like a weed

One thing that has grown wildly this summer has been our new pup, Kip, and he continues to impress us with his eagerness to be a part of things on the farm.

Yesterday, while busy pulling weeds, which have most definitely been a bumper crop for everyone, I felt a nudge under my elbow. This is something our dear old Billy did every chance he got when he saw one of us standing still, and in my distracted state of mind I found myself calling out his name before I caught myself.

I have tried hard not to compare the young pup to the grand old dog, knowing there is no replacing such a gem. Kip has settled in, calmly finding the cool shade under the porch as a great place to hang out so that he doesn’t miss our comings and goings.

Picking it up

There have been boundaries set, with reminder sessions along the way, but this little fellow has proven to be a quick study.

He learned to stay out of the driveway, to stop at the curve in the lane when I walk down to the mailbox and not try to follow. He only broke the command one time, and he looked as surprised as I was to find himself where he was not to be.

I saw right away that this pup broke the wait command to chase after a bunny. One stern talk and he now knows to wait patiently, no matter the distraction.

He has shown a healthy interest in the sheep and has moved them about in the pasture with enthusiasm. He carries himself with great pride after a herding session but is also good about calmly waiting to be summoned.

This morning’s early peace accord involved a young kitten, which Kip had carried from the barn. I heard it, then saw it, and rushed to its rescue. There were no wounds, and the kitten scampered away unharmed as Kip learned yet another lesson.

Puppy problems

The biggest aggravation is the age-old shepherd puppy desire to grab any inanimate object and drag it to his favorite resting place of shady lawn under the big maple tree. We have found everything from a heavy wrench and a screwdriver to a pillow that he has claimed as his own.

There is an old stuffed bear that has taught Kip to use a soft mouth, a lesson that surely saved that kitten. Anyone visiting surely thinks we have a toddler living here by the looks of our messy lawn near the house.

Training a puppy again has been both fun and maddening, but it is all worth it in the end. A new landscaping plan has been put on hold, as my memory recalled that a fresh bed of top soil filled with tender plants is like calling out the wild in a shepherd pup.

Spare yourself the headaches when possible, praise what gets done right and everybody wins.

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