If you’ve been reading here long you know that our pets are a huge part of our lives. With four dogs, two cats, a guinea pig, a fish and a few chickens you might say we are pet lovers. It is a lot of responsibility, but since we are home almost every day the majority of the day, it doesn’t seem so bad. People have asked me how we manage to take care of everything without going crazy. It is a big job and I couldn’t do it without help from my kids.
I had a lot of pet responsibility when I was a kid. We raised rabbits. I had a dog. Once I had a baby raccoon and later a fawn that I raised. I always knew I wanted my kids to be raised with pets and know what it is to care for and love animals.
We introduced the chickens to our lives just a few months ago and we have really enjoyed their peculiar personalities. My kids do almost all the work. They get the eggs, feed them and check on them each day. I don’t even have to remind them to do it. The chickens have been a lot of fun for them.
We have always had dogs, but we fell in love with the Australian Shepherd breed a few years ago and now have four beautiful dogs. But they are high energy dogs who, left to their own devices, will find trouble. We started out training all our dogs to a leash and a few simple tricks like sit and fetch, but after a while we got lazy. We stopped teaching them things and pretty much stopped giving them the discipline they needed. We let them just play in the yard every day with the kids for exercise, but they really need more attention. We realized that when we started to see some problems.
Mr. Darcy chases the UPS man.
Sophie runs wild, disappears and sometimes chases tractors or horses. She is also a barker.
Daisy is a perfect dog, except for the licking and the herding. She likes to lick Sophie’s face which infuriates Sophie and causes a major dog fight. She tries to herd our caged animals like the chickens and the guinea pig.
Hazel, the new puppy, recently was led astray by Mr. Darcy to the road to chase a car and now she likes hanging out in the ditch chasing cars from one direction to the other.
Remember the evening Mr. Darcy helped himself to all the baked chicken I had just made for supper? It was right around then that he led Hazel to the road and introduced her to the wild and crazy sport of car chasing. That almost got him listed as free to good home on Faceobook. It was chaos around here. Our dogs were running the show. Something had to change.
Then I guiltily realized it was all our fault and we declared no dogs off leash and reinstated the walk.
Hazel is also a tail biter. Daisy is the only one of our Shepherds that never had her tail cut. It has made us realize how important tail removal is. That tail is always getting into trouble.
So the whole family, or 3 of us or 4 of us, whoever wants to, gets a dog on a leash and we walk around several times. The first few times we did it Mr. Darcy, seeming to realize it was a form of punishment, refused to walk. He laid down, bucked, snorted and rebelled. We walked anyway, dragging him along behind us. Eventually he got with the program and has turned into a decent, submissive dog.
After two weeks we are relaxing a bit on the leash law. But it’s all first walk and then freedom now. None of that free-range do exercise yourself stuff like before. And now we are careful not to let them out unattended. They are now under close supervision.
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