Kit and Kavi with Pigs


Kit and Kavi Rounding Up Pigs

The “Puppies” are no longer so little. They’re taller than their older sister Katya. They’re taller than our daughter Hope when they stand on their hind legs. They’re about as tall as their mother Lili at the shoulder. They’re closing in on their father Kavi, although he still greatly out masses them with his bigger shoulders and chest.

The puppies have been getting a lot of free time this past month and doing well. They’ve been putting pigs back in when one does the occasional escape. They’ve been keeping chickens out of areas the birds are not supposed to be in. They’re getting their basic training down.

The last couple of weeks I’ve been taking them out in the fields as I check pigs and fences. Kavi’s been working with them, teaching them the ropes of herding. Currently they “bring to me.” This is an instinctive hunting behavior – bring the prey to the leader for the kill. Much of training is building on instincts. They’ve learned to move out and gather pigs bringing them in and circling to keep the pigs together by me.

Later we’ll move pigs forward. The latter is harder as it requires us to create a funnel with me moving forward at the back. We’ve done it some but they can get too eager and want to bring the pigs back to me, to close the neck of the funnel. In time the puppies, I shouldn’t call them that now, will know how to move the animals between the fields, where the livestock should be and other tasks.

Our dogs are both Livestock Herding Dogs (LHD) and Livestock Guarding Dogs (LGD). I refer to this as Livestock Guarding and Herding Dog (LGHD). Another term is simply working farm dog. Both behaviors use some instinct which can be maximized through training. By teaching the dog many “tricks” they have a large repertoire to draw on and a longer working life.

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About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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2 Responses to Kit and Kavi with Pigs

  1. So Walter, do you let the boars run all the time with sows ? How many boars per group of sows ? Do the boars fight much ?

    And…the group of rocks in your photo looks exactly like a group I saw in Kinvara Ireland in the yard of a “Tiny cottage ” I rented there. They called it a fairy ring.

    • We have two breeding herds of sows although we’re in the process of merging them. We run the boars with the herds full time. The know how to do their job better than I, at least with sows. :)

      The rocks were placed by yours truly. The are the markers where generations of our dogs have gone to rest. They are a pleasant spot to sit and watch the field as I did long ago with those dogs. The newer generations often sit with me. They particularly like the high perches where they can look over their charges. The biggest, squarest rock is called “Coy’s Rock” where he and one of his mates were buried. He was the original sire of our pack. Over the generations the ring will continue to curve.

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