Monday, June 8, 2009

Our Working Puppy!

These photos demonstrate to me the Tatra's innate capabilities: both to learn quickly and to work well with distractions and other animals. With a little bit of patience and a couple of good corrections, Sartaj (now 10.5 mos old) has grasped that these three week old ducklings are neither snacks nor toys. He has known them since they were a day old, and they've piqued his curiosity from the start. For the first few days, we kept him tied up and allowed him simply to observe them when they were out of their brooder and then released him to sniff once they were back inside. Next, we let him approach them on a leash to sniff, correcting if he tried to put a paw on them or appeared to be stalking or chasing them. We praised him when he so much as took his eyes off of them, which was not often at first. Eventually he learned not to approach them aggressively and even to ignore them to an extent. At two weeks of age, they moved out of the brooder and into their coop, and once again he was tied up when they were let out in order to learn where he was expected to wait. As you can see, he progressed rapidly over the past week through the leash phase and now displays great discipline while unleashed. Not only does he know where he's expected to lie and return to, but today he helped me to herd them back into their coop, coming directly to me when I called and then waiting as I moved and repeating the process. As a team, we worked them across and down a hill and safely back home. I am very proud of him and continuously impressed by how quickly and eagerly he learns. Lately, he is also doing a great job watching over the property and sniffing out gophers for me to trap before they eat our trees!
Update 6.9.09: 10 new tatra puppies born this morning at Gnu Hampshire Farm!