After dog sitting for Jess' parents dog, we saw how well Ultra got on with having a play buddy. Zen and Dot are older and have earned their relax time at our farm. Zen has put in his fair share of raven chasing and skunk killing. And Dot, well, she is moral support and good at it. So we went on the search for a buddy for Ultra.
Female guardian dogs are know for getting along better with males. With Ultra eating 5-6 cups a food a day at only 4 months we knew we wouldn't be able to have another LGD as our fourth dog. So it was down to either a terrier type to help keep our vermin population down or a herding dog: heeler, aussie, border collie, mcnab blend. The heeler brought up a concern for nipping. And aussies, no way did I want another power puff to brush. We are not your typical "little dog" people, so terriers were seeming iffy. And I found out that jack russle terriers were a totally no go as they have major prey drive and kill everything small including chickens. But other terriers, especially rat terriers stick to the smaller vermin.
So after researching breed traits I had narrowed it down to a rat terrier or the right blend of herding dog. I wanted to get a younger dog as it is easier to train and acclimate to all our animals. But not a teenie puppy. When looking at rescues I was bummed because many of the animals had issues and then the rescue also wanted to charge $300-400.
So a craigslist scour of most of Northern California began. I happened upon a listing in Happy valley of rat terrier pups needed homes. After contacting the owner I told her about our farm set up and asked if the pup, who was a 7 month old Rat Terrier mix, was used to other dogs, cats, and chickens. With some back and forth emails we both agreed that he seemed like a fit. Luckily she was willing to share some of the drive and meet us in Williams. We picked the little guy up and found out his name was Marley. Our son is a big fan of Bob Marley so we kept the name. It seems to suit him.
After Marley's the long trip of over 5 hours, the little guy he was tired and out of sorts. That started the rough intro as Ultra, the not so shy giant, thrust her nose under the car at him with a friendly grin. But Marley was startled and took off like a jack rabbit, bouncing all over our yard. After slower introductions over that evening and the next day they were all fine. In fact, Ultra and Marley soon became great companions. She tries to use him as a chew toy too often but he holds his own and let her know his limits of rough housing. She has a hard time keeping up with his fast and furious speed but she is getting faster and stronger. Last night I peeked out and they were both sleeping on the same dog bed head to head.
Marley is due to get fixed, with an appointment already set for July. And then he will start his vermin hunting training with our friends rat/fox terrier Tao. We also think that with Marleys moms size of 35 lb he has decker rat terrier in him, which would fit with his look.
We can't wait to see what fun these two will have together and are glad that it is working out. They are both a great pair of farm dogs, both big and small.
Our little pup is getting so big. She is about 4 months old and learning a lot. She is working on walking well on a leash and getting used to the chickens. She has sit, wait and lay down great. We are still working on her returning when you call her. Most days, when it get hot...well 80 - 85 here is hot, you will often find her staying cool and out of the sun in the rabbit barn or under our rosemary shrub. In the picture she is enjoying a treat from Nanas visit.
She has a new friend coming soon. We are adopting a rat terrier mix, named Marley, that is 8 months old. They should be a fun pair of companions.
Pyrenees have this great ability to get so muddy and dirty and then later they are all white again. But who doesn't like to have a warm soak anyway.
We have an outdoor claw foot bathtub. We were both done and Ultra seemed curious. Jess plopped her in and she was having a blast, chomping at the water and chasing her wet swishy tail. Now the problem was getting her out- typical kid. We got her out and she went right back in by herself. I was then worried that she would continue this and not be able to get herself out. Well she flopped out just fine. She went and dried herself in the sun by the chickens.
Now the only problem is, when we are filling a bath we have to watch out for her thinking it is her turn first. Silly puppy.
We drove to Red Bluff and beyond to get our new little LGD (livestock guardian dog). She is a sweet little pup that is 7/8 Pyrenees and 1/8 Akbash. She was the pick of the litter from a group of 5 girls and 1 boy. Her mom and the rest of her litter were living together in the sheep night pen. She was learning the ropes of being a good keeper of sheep while playing with her fluffy litter mates and 2 bigger half brothers with Russian names I can't remember.
So after going over details and visiting with her breeder we headed back the long 4 1/2 hours to bring this girl home. A few little tummy upsets on our notorious roller coaster roads and much drool later we arrived home at 6pm.
Our little Ultra had a big meal after her road tummy settles and meet our crew of old "seasoned" dogs- Zen and Dot our border collie mixes. Friends yet...well no...but patience and plenty of sniffing we will settle for warmish acquaintance for now. After such an exhausting day much sleep was needed. So this little puffy of a pup snuggled in to an big fluffy dog bed and started her first night guarding the porch. ;) She is doing great with "coming" when called and we are working on "no mouth" when she tries to get too mouthy with her sharp puppy teeth. The next lessons while reinforcing "come" will be "sit" and "be easy" with the chickens and cats to start. She is pretty easy with the cats so that isn't much of a challenge so far. Once we have basic mastery of the P&Q of puppiness we will work on socialization and the scope of the yard and duties.
ULTRA's name has the meaning of "on the far side of, beyond.” But also means extreme or mega which we think this pup will be. Beyond our expectations of wonderful.