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Settled In

February 1st, 2014

Tara has been here four months now and she finally seems like she’s at home. She’s happy as a clam watching over her ducks/chickens/guineas.
Tara 2
Our electric fences took a beating in the big ice storm so we took them down. Now she’s tethered or leashed to make sure she sticks around. She’s pretty good about staying close, but every now and then the urge to look for coyotes and foxes gets the best of her and she’ll head off into the woods.
Tara (1)
Almost every day I take her on a hike to look for coyotes and fox tracks, she has a blast. Every now and then she spooks the odd squirrel and really wants to chase it. Needless to say, I’m glad I’ve got biceps from gardening so I can keep hold of her leash.
Tara 1
All-in-all she’s doing a great job. She even helped us keep the flock safe from a fox last week. This spring we’re hoping to start installing welded wire and electric perimeter fences around the pasture. Then we’ll let her run freely in that area.

Isn’t she a lovely chiots?

She’s a Keeper

October 12th, 2013

Miss Tara is really settling in.  I figured you’d all be clamoring for an update. We finally got her new tag with our address and phone number, I’m sure you can guess that we found a handmade version. This one is from The Copper Poppy, a small shop in New Hampshire.
Tara 5
She is really getting the perimeter training and has been doing very well at it. We purchased a roll of surveyors tape in yellow to mark the area we want her to stay in. Yellow and blue are both colors that are easily seen by dogs, we wanted to give her visual clues, particularly in winter when the leaves are off the trees. Right now it’s the edge of the woods that make up the perimeter, but when the snow starts piling up they won’t be as prominent.
Tara 1
Tara 3
Tara 2
Mr Chiots has been taking her around the perimeter several time a day, at first she was leashed, but now she gets to run free. She rarely needs correction to stay inside the perimeter. A few days ago, we let her off her chain and she raced around the perimeter as fast as she could. It made us nervous as first to see her take off, but she ran right around the area we’ve been training her to. Training a new dog reminds us how much work we put in with Lucy, she’s great, not because she’s just a great dog, but because we put in many hours of training. Investing time now with Tara will pay off in the future.
Tara 4
I now even let her outside without being chained or leashed, of course I keep an eye on her. She seems quite happy and has done very well with the chickens and the ducks. She still doesn’t have our trust fully, someday she’ll earn her stripes and be allowed out without supervision, that will take a while though. We’re happy she’s progressing so well.

If you have a dog do you let them run free or do they need to be chained or behind a fence?

The New Chiots

September 24th, 2013

If you listen to Cultivate Simple, you know that we’ve been talking about getting a new dog.  We have been talking to a breeder of Anatolian Shepherds in Ohio who feeds raw and follows natural protocols for her animals.   The plan was to get a puppy from her, but she contacted us a few months ago about a four year old dog that was looking for a new place.
Tara 2
Tara 4
This is Tara, the new resident chiots (don’t worry, Lucy is still around and kicking, but she’s retired to a life of rest). Tara has had a few rough patches in her life.  She was purchased by some people in Canada and wasn’t treated very well. They claimed she was aggressive and were going to put her down when she wasn’t very old, the breeder knew she wasn’t and fought to get her back. When she finally got Tara back, she was placed with an animal behavioral specialist for a while to make sure she didn’t have aggression issues. After being given the all clear, she moved to a farm in SE Nebraska where she had goats, chickens and ducks to watch over.
Tara 3
They decided to downsize and didn’t really need Tara anymore, so they wanted to find a good home for her where she could have a job to do and animals to protect.  The breeder thought we might be interested and after much conversation with the current owner we decided she’d be a good fit for our little place.  Transport was going to be an issue, but luckily, the breeder had a network of people willing to help.  After asking, she found a very generous guy that was moving from California to Connecticut and was willing to pick her up on his with through.
Tara 6
Tara 5
Last Friday, he met Tara’s parents in a parking lot at 3 am in Nebraska.  At 7 am on Saturday morning, he arrived in Connecticut (his brother was traveling with him and they took shifts and drove straight through).  I left Maine not long after she arrived in CT and picked her up at 1 pm.  She made the trip to her final home. This was a photo of her when I picked her up in CT.
Tara 1
So far she’s been great, very sweet and gentle. No doubt her personality will start to show more and more as she becomes comfortable. She will probably also start testing her limits as well as dogs are prone to do, particularly dominant dogs.
Tara 7
She’s settling in, getting to know us and the animals that live here and our workflow.  So far she’s contained to a leash or a chain until we’re comfortable that she views Chiot’s Run as her new home.  We’re working with her daily on perimeter training so she learns the boundaries.  Hopefully she’ll be a big help with our predator problems.

Do you have any working dogs at your place or have you seen working dogs in action somewhere else? 

Reading & Watching

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.