We started 2014 by adding two new family members. Since we live out in the country with chickens, rabbits, and soon to have cattle, we decided that our security system needed an upgrade.
Prior to moving to the country, our city-dog had never met a stranger she didn’t like or love. Although she barks at any approaching vehicle within an acre or two, she rolls onto her back for a belly-rub as soon as someone gets within touching distance. I think if she could talk, she would show them to the jewelry and fine china.
After reading about various dog breeds, we opted for the Rottweiler breed since they have a good temperament and were originally bred as herding animals. We found someone selling Rottweiler puppies on Craigslist and just fell in love as soon as we met them. Yes, love at first sight happens with puppies! We took the last two girls of the litter, with one being the runt. At 7 weeks, one weighed 7 1/2 pounds and the other 10 pounds.
Osa, on the left, and Greta, on the right
We knew when we got them they would be two handfuls, but we are ready for the challenge. We set up their beds in the brooding room next to the garage, but we just couldn’t let them suffer through sub-40-degree temperatures so we put their kennel in the kitchen for now. They will be outside dogs (eventually), and they will guard the chickens and house someday, but for now, they are just beautiful little fur-balls to love and train.
Between training sessions
We are going into our second week with the Rotties, and they bring us so much joy watching them play together and romp after the toys.
Last weekend, I cooked a big pot of beans and added a leftover ham bone from Christmas dinner. I wasn’t sure how puppies would react to such a large prize, but instinctively, they tore into it with their little razor sharp teeth and demolished it in about two days. There is a small knuckle bone left, and they play “catch-me if-you-can” as soon as we hand it to them. So much fun!
Playing tug of war
Now, for Page 2 of this story; the puppies’ introduction to Kiki, the female Australian Sheppard, didn’t go as expected. As soon as she saw them, she took a sniff and decided she wanted nothing to do with them. OH NO! Kiki likes everybody and even the chickens aren’t intimidated by her, so we had to figure out what she didn’t like about the new puppies. As soon as they came close to her in submission, she tried to nip at them. (Time to read Cesar Milan’s blog!)
We tethered both puppies to one leash and took them for their first walk outside. Almost immediately, Kiki ran up and became very nervous. We will have to keep a close eye on them until the puppies get their manners and work on socializing them. Several introductions later, Kiki and the Rotties still have tension between them that will have to wear off slowly with continual exposure and assertive discipline from us.
For Caleb, life wouldn’t be the same without a dog or two around the home.
Integrating Chickens, Dogs and Cats
Introducing the pets to the chickens has been a little more challenging than originally anticipated.
3 Things to Know Before Getting a Homestead Dog
Homestead dogs provide your family and farm with love, protection, and help around the property. Originally published in November of 2017.