Saturday, September 24, 2011

Snapshots Saturday: Kid Gene

I only want to produce English shepherds who have the kid gene.

That means they don't just tolerate whatever damn fool thing a kid does to them, they generally like it.

I want to see the pups become one big wiggle when they see a human child. I want them to leave their masters' sides to snuggle a toddler.

Pip and her sister Roz came with it. On the ride home with them from their breeder's, we stopped at a rest stop. The girlpuppies saw some children at a distance, and were overcome with joy. With careful selection of males, all of Pip's descendants have retained this magnetic pull to children, and a gentle and indulgent nature with them.

Today I gave a presentation on choosing and raising a small farm dog at the Mother Earth News Fair, courtesy of the nice folks at PASA.

Actually, I gave it twice.

The pups (the five who are still here; Gilda went home Thursday) were supposed to be part of a friend's stockdog demo, scheduled back-to-back with the presentation. Rachel never made it, apparently thwarted by the ebil power of PennDOT. So neither did the slow, fat ducks we hoped to "start" the pups on today.

Instead, at the command of a torch and pitchfork brigade, I did a repeat of the lecture, and the pups, Gramma Pip, and Uncle Cole then became the main attraction in the livestock pen. It was large enough that they could retreat from attention if they chose (they didn't, except to play briefly; naptime in the small puppy pen was enforced). The stock panels allowed petting access but not picking up. Also allowed Jane, who is an X-dog with the power to walk through walls, to slide out several times, but we retrieved her with the help of her admirers on the other side.

The awesome puppy-wrangler Rebecca Hostetter and I got pretty fatigued counting, counting, counting puppies. We each got to briefly visit the rest of the Fair when we rounded them up for naptime. Not enough time. Too many things to see. I cannot return tomorrow, but next year ...

For the participants at the Fair who have asked for my Powerpoint, I will have it online this week some time, and will post a link here when it is up.


  1. Looks like everyone had a great time. Really pleased Sagan got this a experience before I picked him up. Is there a size, or gauge specific to this type of stock pen?

  2. What a great day for all, kids and pups.

    I am going to seriously miss hearing about/seeing this litter. To me they are the ideal dogs. You have given them a great start. Thank you for sharing these few precious weeks with us, and congratulations to the lucky winners, who get to take them home.

  3. Eric, it's standard cattle panel, the kind with graduated spacing, so it's spaced a bit tighter on the bottom side. 16' long, 42" high. Same stuff you see in my goat shed, or the foster kennel (where the turkeys were in turkey jail when you visited). Handy stuff. Strong and not too spendy.

    I don't recommend it for confining dogs on its own, as even a pretty big dog will stick his head through. So problems with fence-fighting, biting hands, getting heads stuck. I lined it with welded wire in the kennel area.

  4. Im just at your blog for the first time. We have a 15 week english shepherd, four kids under five, a small farm, and are learning how to raise a puppy! I would love to see your power point, did you ever get it posted???


I've enabled the comments for all users; if you are posting as "anonymous" you MUST sign your comment. Anonymous unsigned comments will be deleted. Trolls, spammers, and litigants will be shot.