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Jake loves the goats. He loves to be around them, to watch them, to kiss them on the nose, etc. But he is right in there if he sees that we are doing something with them. He has now taken on a new job all on his own. When my husband grains the young does, who are now in the same pasture with the older ones, he has had to hold the older animals at bay with a cattle pole while the younger ones eat. Jacob watched all this with intense interest for a while, and then jumped in one day to help. He now keeps all the older does away all by himself until the younger ones are finished. He seems to understand exactly what is needed. When the job is over he very happily trots away with a silly grin on his face. He doesn't have any drive to just chase for the fun of it.
Jacob is sweet, mellow, calm, and easy to train... He loves to "work", but only when it involves the people he loves. He has never gone into a pasture to work stock on his own, although he has had plenty of opportunities. We don't have a lot of time to spend training a working dog when our herding needs are so limited, but the few times that we had a problem and asked for advice from people on the list, he responded to what we did so fast I would hardly even call it "training". He had a few weeks at the beginning when he showed signs of being very dominant and strong willed, but by three months that tendency had disappeared (a growth phase, perhaps?). He is now the most gentle, sweet dog one could hope for. He is super enthusiastic to work when he thinks we "need" him, but otherwise he is just content to snooze in the sun, hunt in the fields for snacks, or play with his buddies (both the four-legged and two-legged varieties). He is a small-farm dog in a million.
We currently own two female collies of the standard AKC rough collie
type (mother and daughter). Unlike many typical show-type collies, however,
these two demonstrate many instinctive working traits. They guard our 76
acre farm (we raise dairy goats) quite successfully, although they are
not as aggressive towards other dogs as we would like (they are downright
friendly with many male dogs). However, they are remarkable in all other
respects, protecting the chickens from hawks, herding the goats, caring
for newborn baby goats, eliminating wildlife pests such as rats and groundhogs,
and doing many other tasks, all with little or no training.
Bobby, just a few weeks old, son of Jenny and Jacob. There are 9 in
the litter, light and dark sable, tricolor, and bi-black. The bi-blacks
might develop tan points later on as they develop (reported in Vanderlip's
book to happen in sometimes in Collies), or they might stay bi-black. Either
way, cute as a button!
Jacob, holding down the fort while Jenny is busy with their pups.
Jenny, anxious to get back to her pups.
File update: June 7, 1999.