Tansy's Continuing Education
Time is moving right along, and Tansy is stopping for nothing. In fact, though we had a bit of testing at the beginning, she has turned out to be such a loving and wanting to please pup! She is most similar to our dog Benji of the females in many ways. Tansy simply lives to work and make people happy! She has a great off-switch that came mostly built in. With the basic obedience strongly in place and her excellent impulse control, we have taken her into the field on multiple occasions now to start practicing with sheep, and she now also helps to put chickens up at night. Oh the glee!
Tansy is not an extremely drivey dog in that she has a loose and happy manner that is not intimidating. What our rams do find intimidating about her is her very lack of fear and her natural confidence that she never seems to question. She does not need to be right up on their tails to make her point. One of the things that we love about her! She seems to bounce with happiness and direction in the field without running the sheep too hard and is happy to make her moves at a distance without feeling the need to assert herself upon the sheep as long as they are compliant. That is not an easy thing to teach, and we are so grateful that she seems to have this intuition innately built in! "Easy" and "That'll do" have been rather fun games, and as long as we're happy, she doesn't seem to have any sadness at what chasing she may have been denied. What a GREAT pup! As a side note, I have to say that we've wanted one of this line for a long time to combine with Benji's line, and we are not disappointed! I'm so thankful that we were blessed to get this dog!!! (A big thank you again to Rebecca and her Sunshine and Ryman's Hunter!)
Interesting things about Tansy: We have had to teach her that visitors' shoes are allowed. There haven't been many opportunities to teach this lesson, but when there are abandoned alien shoes, she will remove visitor clogs and place them in an arch away from the side door at a decent distance. We bring visiting shoes in the house at this point, and Tansy may get a bit of a time-out if caught. She has seemed to get the idea, but we still find this habit very amusing! She has her own ways of order and communicating for sure!
She is not a "Yes-Man" personality. In fact, I would call Tansy a supervisor. If others are taking care of the need, why should she jump in? Rather, Tansy will sit back and watch and learn. If something needs doing, however, she is right there. The mailman doesn't phase her. After all, someone should stay back with the peoples while the others go to protect the front gate! I love that she knows that the role of "protect gate" is filled. Her confidence and her humble wanting to make us happy are a perfect combination!
Tansy is starting to pull chore wagons (lightweight and short time periods, as she is young.) She has learned "Up," "Whoa," and is learning "Gee" and "Haw." She really wants to pull more weight than we'd like to give her. She is a strong and motivated dog! Very happy to be useful, and whoever needs her is who she loves best!
As far as the rest of the dog-pack, Winnie is sister, Lorna is like a momma, and Benji is a continual source of awe. So funny to watch those pack dynamics! Tansy is so loving to them also, but has no qualms about grabbing Winnie's ear tufts and walking her where she thinks tolerant Winnie should go. Winnie doesn't seem to mind, but loves having a sister to play with. Lorna has been a constant companion, insistent stick champion, and teacher of all boundaries and rules. She is not cross or unkind, but gentle and persuasive in her methods. Benji is rather more aloof to those silly stick games. Tansy finds him fascinating and will often run up to get a close read of his face and hoping for attention and approval. She will give him a rather quick, but undignified kiss on occasion, which he bashfully accepts. It's all rather sweet!
As far as playing with us, I've always had the feeling that Tansy plays with toys as a way to interact with us.... as if we were the puppies who needed playing with! And perhaps she's not wrong! She still seems to live to make us laugh and is so very jolly. If I have a treat and say, "OK Tansy, what can you do?," she proceeds to turn a circle, roll multiple times on the floor, throw herself into a "lay" with a thump, offer her belly, and sit eagerly interchanged with something we call dancing. "Do you want food?" "Bark!" Tansy answers! She delights in delighting. She is very very gentle with her mouth. She almost seems to want us to win if there is a bit of tug-o-war. Her mouth is so soft, you almost have to push the toy in as we go about this facade of pretending to wrestle and chase. Who could ask for more! Lorna's pups are coming soon. I am hoping that Tansy will be a big help, and I know we will really appreciate her gentle ways when they get here and she is able to meet them. She started out as a nanny, and I think she continues to grow into this role even with the sheep. We are all her charges. I honestly don't think she ever saw herself as a puppy as I'm thinking about it now! She was born to protect and serve, and she had to learn that at times this was our job. Now that she understands, our mutual trust and bond is so much the stronger. In fact, she is always so close or running straight to us in a way that makes getting solid pictures of this blonde bombshell difficult! But Tansy is growing up so well. And I believe that she will continue to be doing some teaching of her own as time goes on!
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This blog chronicles our very full life here on WoodSong Farm. We will share everything from dog to sheep stories, unique wooly works, to animal husbandry tips we pick up along the way. I hope this helps to give you an idea of what our extended farm family and wooly projects are like, and that we may somehow benefit everyone who reads about our journey.