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Canine and Cats, Oh My.


I used to be clearing out the (approach too many) photographs on my laptop computer, and bumped into this video from years in the past. It just about sums up the connection between canine and cats: Extremely variable, and at all times fascinating. Some canine are greatest mates with cats, some ignore them, and a few both chase them, or attempt to herd them. Or are afraid of them, usually for good purpose.

Within the video, you’ll see Maggie, on the left, defending Nellie from Willie. Willie, like many Border Collies (together with Skip) understand cats as bizarre, mushy-hoofed livestock. Maggie, alternatively, was protecting of Nellie the second they met. What I like most in regards to the video is Maggie’s facial features. She is without doubt one of the most expressive canine I’ve ever recognized, and normally has both a candy, passive resting face (the actual Resting Bitch Face), or radiates pleasure like a sparkler. She completely able to throwing shade at occasions towards me or one other canine if Princess Margaret feels her royalty will not be being honored, however I’ve by no means seen her look so critical. What Willie want to do is herd Nellie as if she had been a sheep, and on a number of events, nip at her if she doesn’t obey. Why isn’t she transferring away after I strategy like a stalking predator? How can I achieve management of this creature I’m genetically programmed to herd? Poor Willie.

Equally amusing to me is Nellie’s conduct. You’ll be able to see how confused she is by Willie’s conduct–as in, not. However is she reveling in Willie’s lack of ability to do what he needs to do? Or simply having fun with a pleasant roll on the rug? Making attributions about psychological states is a harmful sport typically, however on this case, it’s laborious to not think about that there’s one thing happening associated to Willie.

Skip got here to us, reportedly, having by no means seen a cat in his life, and his conduct mirrored that. He seemed shocked the primary time he met ours, started to chase Polly one night time (simply stopped, however Jim, Polly, and I had been equally frightened for a protracted few seconds), after which morphed into attempting to herd the cats. He grew to become a canine who was was really obsessed, and I had my work lower out for me in these early days. At first I couldn’t get his consideration when he was looking at a cat. Right here’s a video of the method we started bduring the primary few weeks, notice how “Look” didn’t work, however “Home” did. (Which implies, “go into the home.”) It seems like nothing, however significantly, this was large progress on the time.

After a number of extra weeks, he got here away simply on the first attempt, however so long as Nellie and Polly had been right here, he by no means gave up responding to the cats as in the event that they had been tiny sheep.

All this acquired me pondering about how fascinating, and diverse, are the relationships between canine and cats. Finest mates. Enemies. Livestock. Predators. Prey. Younger mammals to be nurtured. Play mates.

As you’ll be able to think about, given the subject, it was not possible for me to not fall down the google rabbit gap of “canine and cat movies.” This one cropped up straight away, and I embody it as a result of 1) the German  Shepherd within the second video is simply too lovable for phrases, and the bulldog canine within the third section scares me due to all of the physique trapping and neck biting. (Is it too late to rescue that cat, or is it simply me?)


I’d like to have a dialog in regards to the relationship between canine and cats. Your experiences? Your ideas? I’m early in mulling on this, nevertheless it does really feel prefer it’s a relationship that’s usually stereotyped and simplified. However, it feels way more difficult and fascinating than is commonly given credit score. I’d love to offer it our consideration.

MEANWHILE, again on the farm: We’re simply again from the Star of the North Sheepdog Trial in Minnesota final weekend, and what a beautiful weekend it was. Right here’s the view Friday morning from our camper:

The colours had been non cease:

I used to be disillusioned in our runs although. Skip ran too huge on his outrun on his first run, missed the sheep fully, after which flanked so huge after I requested him to return towards the sheep that he ended up on the set out pens. Lastly, after about THREE YEARS, he got here again to me calling him, and acquired on the sheep. We had a beautiful run after that, however after all, misplaced a gazillion factors. His second run had a great outrun and fetch, however we acquired overwhelmed by a wily previous ewe who took benefit of me stopping Skip quick a number of occasions, and we had a multitude of a drive. I really feel badly that I let him down. He runs waaaay too huge, particularly when he’s confused, however, nonetheless, I didn’t do my job effectively sufficient. Sigh.

However, nonetheless, it’s a sport, proper? It was beautiful all weekend, if a bit nippy. Okay, it was actually chilly the primary day, within the 30’s and low 40’s, however once you’re surrounded by this, how dangerous can it’s?

On Sunday Maggie and Skip acquired to assist set out sheep for the Novice runs, and had a good time. Right here’s the place we had been compelled to work. Poor us.

Maggie and Skip traded off, whereas laborious working Samantha (out of the picture) let 4 sheep at a day trip of the pens. Thanks Samantha for making it straightforward for me, and to John Wentz who did the higher a part of the setting out. We had been simply the transition crew (it was a good distance from the pens to the set out, and over the crest of a hill), however we had a good time. Because of Pearce Ward for placing on such an awesome trial, and to everybody else who labored so laborious to make it so. (I’m particularly speaking to you Claudia and Maddie!)

After the Novice class was over, Skip acquired to maneuver the sheep that had been left over to the opposite set out pens for the Open class. We loved it equally–I like actual work and by no means get sufficient of it on our little farm with our tiny flock and small pastures.

I hope there was a lot of good in your weekend too. Inform us about it, and add your ideas and experiences of canine and cats getting alongside. Or not. You understand, like “cats and canine.”


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