So my little spacey Macy has been with me for one full week now. I just love her to pieces she loves everyone and everything.
I am very grateful to the following people for my new furkid:
- Tanya MacAllister of Poet’s Vision Aussie Rescue (for having the faith in me to let her come to live in Nova Scotia)
- Adina MacRae (one of the best dog trainers in Canada hand’s down) for helping me find her a ride to Nova Scotia and for all her help with my heart dog, Nelson over the years too)
- Lauren Grant (Standard Poodle mom extraordinaire) for bringing her from Ontario directly to me
Now some of my friends think I’m crazy, but I did this on purpose you know and not just because I recently watched “a Dog Year”. I chose a herding breed because I felt at this stage in my life with the knowledge I’ve gained and the community that surrounds me for support I am up for the challenge.
Macy does have some challenging habits of course as a 15 month old rescued Border Collie / Australian Shepherd mix.
Well she only has one issue, that is a strong herding drive which makes her want to chase anything moving fast. Even if it’s a chickadee flying through the back yard. The funny thing is Nelson was an excellent bird dog and a friend of mine said “what if your new dog is bad with birds” and I said no worries it will be fine. Famous last words.
No problem we can do this thing. Early this morning I took her birding with me as I knew I would be a great distance from the birds I was seeking so she could not disturb then. So I tethered her to me using a Beyond Control Leash and a No Pull Harness from Canine Equipment (subdivision of RC Pets who I work for). This worked great as she still got to be with me for a few hours outdoors and I had my hands free for camera and binoculars. She met two of my birding friends and was sweet and just a little jumpy. She does win hearts with those ears I tell ya.
I think taking her birding today was not only good for me but good for her too as it seemed to desensitize her a bit to the birds. I’m sure it’s a bit of counter conditioning to work at a distance like this and have the reward be standing in a mud flat with your person. Good to know I can take her sometimes but later I did not take her because I wanted to get closer to a target species and didn’t want her to flush them. Sometimes it’s about Macy, sometimes me and Macy, and sometimes just about me.
So after sharing my home with a young herding dog for a week I have discovered that they have two speeds, asleep and zoom. They stick close to you and nap at your feet wherever you are and do what you do. So when we eat supper she eats too even though her food may have been sitting there for hours. This is very powerful as you can harness that to direct behavior. I’m sure that will be more challenging for me, but hold great reward. Upon reading and contemplating this behavior it makes complete sense if you think of the sheepdog and the master working the sheep together on long days. Not a dog for everyone, but a great dog for a lady that visits pet stores for a living.
I’ve also discovered that Macy is generally disinterested in food and quite a fussy eater but Erin at Global Pet Foods in Dartmouth (close to where I live and get my human groceries) gave me a bunch of samples to try and today we settled on Fromm and it was a great choice because she ate a double serving when we got the bag home! I’m not too concerned that a Border Collie mix would be willowy and not a chow hound but nice to know I can count on her getting some good nutrition in her to keep her healthy. Kibble is not the best thing you can feed necessarily but it’s easy and well balanced and I will supplement with healthy table scraps. Macy gets our leftover rice, broccoli, green beans, carrots, or other healthy things as long as they don’t have sauce or spice on them. For treats she gets a piece of my apple, melon, banana, and the like. She does not beg but she does like to have a bit of what we have to make her feel part of the family. We put in her bowl after we eat so as not to encourage begging as she is so good now.
Her water is Brita filtered as mine is too as there is a lot of chlorine in my city water. As I have little interested in brushing her teeth I will start treating her to raw meaty bones to keep her pearlies white. I am often asked about these things by friends so writing them here as my personal how to guide that might help some people. We did get a bag of soft treats that were expensive but will go a long way for backyard obedience training. Again, Macy is fussy and she picked out some Nutri Source at Global Pet Foods in Truro when we visited. Don’t worry, we’ll be visiting all your pet boutiques soon as she will be my “road dog”.
As a pet sales lady I believe very much in the products I represent. I am currently using 5 products from RC Pets and they are all fantastic.
- All Webbing Training Collar (excellent as it pulls tighter so she can’t slip out of her collar and escape – don’t use all the time but for heeling work in the neighbourhood it’s great if she decides to give chase to a motorcycle for example…yup)
- No Pull Harness (excellent so she doesn’t hurt her neck most of the time when we are walking as she does pull to try to get to birds and things…yup)
- Beyond Control Leash (wonderful to tie her to me for hands free birding in combination with the harness)
- Technika Utility Clip Collar (the best webbing collar on the market IMHO with a “lock robster” buckle – she wears this always outside so her tags are on – in house at night no collar)
- 6” Patterned Leash (to match her purdy “back to the wild” martingale of course and it matched her pink Technika collar too)
I wouldn’t dream of buying another brand even if I didn’t work for RC.
Today is the first day I felt that Macy was truly tired. We had several hours of birding to start the day and met new people and saw horses then played ball in the yard at the end of the day. Tired mind, tired body, good Border Collie.
Here are some photos of my new girl loving life. She’s a keeper.