Kavi the Natural

This is Kavi, one of our fourth generation guardian dogs. As an adult he will likely look just like his mom and his aunt Kita in coloration. Here I caught him sleeping on the hay in the piglet’s shed on a crisp winter morning. He has been learning to guard them. Mostly I have had him work with the piglets and chickens although today he spent much of his time training with Kia and the finisher pigs and three boars we have kept back.

Kavi is exceptionally intelligent. In that respect he is much like his great grandfather Coy and he has Coy’s happy but focused personality. He is already showing herding skills at age six months which is very early. Last week I had let the chickens roam out of the garden area where they were in for the winter. Then I put Kavi in with them and he carefully moved them all back. We closed the door but then he found one more which was not cooperating. Kavi took its wing in his mouth and gently walked it over to the gate and then with his nose he shoved the bird through the hole below the gate. In it went despite the chicken’s protests. I was quite impressed.

Kavi also gets along very well with all the other dogs. He is a team player. He has the strength to lead but is also able to follow and not so foolish as to challenge the big dogs. Failing to know your place in the pack hierarchy can be a painful experience when the big ones are not only experience but out weigh you by a factor of two and a half. Napoleon, who got his name because of his very early personality trait, learned the hard way with Kita, Saturn and Cinnamon. Fortunately he did learn and now fits in well. Interestingly, in Napoleon’s case, his own break through seemed to come when he had Kavi and Kira, smaller puppies, to play with. When the much smaller puppies started playing with him he gentled and became more focused and really took off on his training at a more typical age.

Another thing I watch for is how the dogs interact with inanimate objects. Kavi is a manipulator of things. He moves objects around, explores them, picks them up and carries them, uses them to communicate, twists door handles, opens doors, etc. This goes way beyond the simple puppy mouthing of everything in sight or chewing. He is also able to learn “No Touch” and remember what objects are things he should not play with. Another dog Kia uses objects as communications tools and carries things. So does his father and grandfather. His great grandfather Coy carried tools between us on the mountain as we worked the sugar bush during tapping for maple sugaring. Coy’s manipulative skills went far enough that he understood to pickup a knife by the handle, not the blade – fine distinction. All of them fetch trash out of the brush along the sides of the road for me. This may sound like a trick but it shows how they interact with their environment. We have had a few dogs that just don’t do objects. They don’t make that jump in thinking. This leaves them less flexible and less able to learn new skills. So I watch for it in puppies.

We have had a number other dogs that show these sorts of herding and manipulative behavior at a very young age. They have all turned out to be exceptional guardian and herding dogs. Usually I have to train more even for basic work – to get them to push the chicken under the gate takes more than training. Kavi’s a natural.

15°F/2°F, 1/10″ Snow, Flurries, Partly Sunny, Windy.

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Kavi the Natural

  1. abe/happy says:

    Kavi has a beautiful coat colouring :-)

  2. pablo says:

    Dogs that pick up roadside trash! This is truly astonishing. (But I’ll bet your homosapien offspring give you fits sometimes. Ha Ha Ha.)

  3. karl says:

    I enjoy hearing about your working dogs. i hope that soon conditions will be more appropriate for us to get a working dog. (wife not incapicitated with hyperemesis)

    until then, i get to live a bit vicariously through your dog stories.


  4. P.V. says:

    Ohhhhhh He is Beautiful!!!! You are soooo lucky walter! I wish I could have a dog like that. Not taht I have any work for him to do. But he would then be my ecxuse to get animals which would mean I would have to move out of this city and to a farm. :-) See that would be his work to herd me to a farm. :-) :-)

  5. Pablo, our homo sapien offspring are trained for all the important things like come, sit, heel, etc. They are quite good. We’ve even tought them ‘speak’ which is very advanced for that breed. :)

    PV, you’ll just have get a dog to herd you home…

  6. Urban Agrarian says:

    Kavi has such a beautiful coat and he sounds like a natural herder. I love your dog posts and learn so much from them. How did you train them to pick up roadside trash? I once tried to train my dog to retrieve a ringing cordless phone. I was only partially successful. Any tips?

  7. Elizabeth says:

    I am wondering what breed of dog Kavi is. Thanks.

  8. Kavi and his family are a mixed breed. He is tiny bit (1/64th) Black Lab, a tiny bit (1/64th) German Shepherd and the rest is ‘other’. His older brother Napoleon, father, grandfather and great grandfather are the same body form, double fur coat, ears, etc but red/brown. His mother Kia and aunt Kita look just like him. His grandmother was white like Lili who has appeared here before and again the same physical form. We have been selecting for their herding, guarding, intelligence and other characteristics for four dog generations.

  9. La Sonya Luther says:

    I was very interested to know if you breed or raise pups for others as I am very interested in this type of LGD? If you could let me know that would be really great. If yes, will those puppies come with some training? How to go about obtaining a puppy or two if interested? Also what type sheep and do you sell lambs to raise? Thanks

    • We have a very, very long list of people who are interested in pups. Litters are infrequent as there has always only been one breeding pair in the pack, the Alpha male and female and they only have a litter every few years. I will put your name on the list but if you see the opportunity to get another dog, snatch it up as we might not have one available for a few centuries.

      People who’ve gotten pups in the past have gotten trained ones, partially trained and young untrained pups. A partially trained pup is a couple of thousand, has full exposure, has worked with our stock with us and its pack, knows many words and may have some return communication skills. It takes several years for a dog to graduate to the status of fully trained and they do life long learning.

      Currently we are sheepless but plan to get more soon. Cheviot is what we had in the past and I may return to that fold.

Leave a Reply to pablo Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.