Barn Dogs.

When we acquired Birgette back in October, one of the qualities I was looking for was the broad "potential barn dog".  When she actually became a part of my family, I found that I couldn't break my little pack up.  Savannah would be fine at the barn, but antsy without Scarlette.  Scarlette couldn't go to the barn because if she got loose, I'd never see her again.  "Independent" is an understatement.

Given that innate ability that dogs have, Savannah seemed to have understood last Saturday that Scarlette wasn't coming back.  She handled me taking Scarlette away with uncharacteristic nonchalance and even seemed to handle the actual euthanasia with aplomb.  One day, my girls will teach me their secrets.

So since I wasn't mentally up for riding that day, but desperately wanted to go to the barn, I took Savannah and Birgette on a test run.

Common sense dictates that a decent barn dog needs to know two things to stay safe:  to stay and to come.  Since Scarlette, my first dog and first real experience, had the recall of a rabid squirrel, I sorta expect all dogs to wander aimlessly into highway traffic.  So I took Savannah and Birgette into a large pasture on a leash and let them look at the horses.  All the boys obliged by coming up to the fenceline for sniffs.

In short order, I had let go of leashes and was tossing a ball.  Then, still leashed but loose, I asked them to go with me into the barn.  It's a sort of liberation for both of us.  I hate the cost that it came at, but I'm happy that these girls are getting new experiences now.

Since that first little adventure, I've taken them to the barn two more times.  I think they're going to start accompanying me at least on weeknights, when it's a tad bit cool, and early Saturday mornings.

They'd flushed out a rabbit, which thankfully they couldn't catch.
This last time, there was another person there and I rode - two big question marks that I'd had.  They were polite around the other person but not pushy and still maintained all eyes on me.  I want them to be obedient with strangers, but still look to me for confirmation.

The riding went a hundred times better than I expected.  A) I was on Whiskey.  B) No one got kicked or spooked.  They did initially follow a little too closely to the hooves, but I think that's going to take time.  Also, I've taught Savannah to heel too goddamn well.  Where does the dog walk?  On my right.  Where does the horse walk?  On my right.

But overall, this made my heart so happy.

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  1. You needed some heart warming. Nice to know you've got legit barn dogs to accompany all your adventures!

  2. Love this positive change/new adventure with all the crap you've gone through recently. Dogs make the barn so much better for me personally!

  3. <3 this! Kona is (very slowly) attempting to become a barn dog. I'm just not a very good trainer, hah

  4. Lovely. My dog is super to ride out with but terrified of car travel so she has to stay home :(

  5. My heart is happy for you! Barn dogs are the best. Especially when they can trail ride with you!