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Canines and Cats, Oh My.


    I used to be clearing out the (means too many) pictures on my laptop computer, and bumped into this video from years in the past. It just about sums up the connection between canines and cats: Extremely variable, and at all times attention-grabbing. Some canines are finest associates with cats, some ignore them, and a few both chase them, or attempt to herd them. Or are afraid of them, typically for good cause.

    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 canines I’ve ever identified, and normally has both a candy, passive resting face (the true Resting Bitch Face), or radiates pleasure like a sparkler. She completely able to throwing shade at instances towards me or one other canine if Princess Margaret feels her royalty just isn’t being honored, however I’ve by no means seen her look so severe. What Willie want to do is herd Nellie as if she had been a sheep, and on just a few events, nip at her if she doesn’t obey. Why isn’t she shifting away once I method like a stalking predator? How can I acquire management of this creature I’m genetically programmed to herd? Poor Willie.

    Equally amusing to me is Nellie’s conduct. You possibly can see how careworn she is by Willie’s conduct–as in, not. However is she reveling in Willie’s lack of ability to do what he desires to do? Or simply having fun with a pleasant roll on the rug? Making attributions about psychological states is a harmful recreation generally, however on this case, it’s laborious to not think about that there’s one thing occurring 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 regarded 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 making an attempt to herd the cats. He grew to become a canine who was was actually obsessed, and I had my work minimize 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, word how “Look” didn’t work, however “Home” did. (Which implies, “go into the home.”) It seems to be like nothing, however critically, this was large progress on the time.

    After just a few extra weeks, he got here away simply on the first strive, 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 obtained me pondering about how attention-grabbing, and diversified, are the relationships between canines and cats. Greatest associates. Enemies. Livestock. Predators. Prey. Younger mammals to be nurtured. Play mates.

    As you’ll be able to think about, given the subject, it was unattainable for me to not fall down the google rabbit gap of “canine and cat movies.” This one cropped up immediately, and I embrace 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 canines and cats. Your experiences? Your ideas? I’m early in mulling on this, but it surely does really feel prefer it’s a relationship that’s typically stereotyped and simplified. However, it feels way more sophisticated and attention-grabbing than is usually given credit score. I’d love to present 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 disenchanted in our runs although. Skip ran too broad on his outrun on his first run, missed the sheep fully, after which flanked so broad once 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 obtained on the sheep. We had a stunning run after that, however in fact, misplaced a gazillion factors. His second run had outrun and fetch, however we obtained crushed by a wily previous ewe who took benefit of me stopping Skip brief just a few instances, and we had a multitude of a drive. I really feel badly that I let him down. He runs waaaay too broad, particularly when he’s careworn, however, nonetheless, I didn’t do my job properly sufficient. Sigh.

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

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

    Maggie and Skip traded off, whereas laborious working Samantha (out of the picture) let 4 sheep at a day out of the pens. Thanks Samantha for making it simple for me, and to John Wentz who did the higher a part of the setting out. We had been simply the transition workforce (it was a great 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 incredible 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 obtained 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 plenty of good in your weekend too. Inform us about it, and add your ideas and experiences of canines and cats getting alongside. Or not. You realize, like “cats and canines.”