Friday, June 3, 2011

Meet Jet, our Border Collie!

This is Jet, our Border Collie (BC). On the other hand, you could just as easily call him The Sheep-i-nator!

Jet came to us after he was live-trapped by the local Animal Control, because he was feral & kept killing chickens at local farms. NOT very popular with the farmers! We were Jet’s last hope before being euthanized.

When Jet joined us, it quickly became clear that he was a Hunter Extraordinaire! He stalked the squirrels & bunnies outside of our fence regularly. At the time, my house had a significant mouse problem due to pipe chases in the slab foundation. It was not uncommon for Jet to stalk, kill, & bring me mice regularly. Gee, thanks, Jet!

The biggest surprise about Jet was his HUGE herding drive! Now, unless you own herding dogs, you probably don’t realize that a herding drive is a modified prey drive that has been bred into these dogs for hundreds of years. As demonstrated by his hobby of killing chickens, Jet clearly has an intense prey drive. And most BCs have some level of herding drive, but Jet’s is GINORMOUS!! 

One look at those sheep of ours, & he dropped immediately into that slinking crouch so characteristic of BCs. If you’ve ever seen the movie “Babe” [a “must-see” for herding fans!], Jet’s herding movement matches Rex’s, the lead BC, as well as his attitude toward those silly sheep. That first day, “step by step, inch by inch” he drew closer & closer to the sheep, while they got more & more freaked out about this new threat approaching them. Finally, he pounced, & the sheep went WILD! 

To put it bluntly, Jet kicked some major sheep butt that day, & they learned to live in fear of the big, black BC.

We were so impressed that we tried Jet out on some other sheep in another pasture. His ability was so powerful that he couldn’t work the sheep in the same pasture or they’d run off in terror. Jet had to move into the next adjoining pasture in order to work the sheep! That’s how POWERFUL his herding ability is! Later, we learned that Jet had been a fully trained herding dog & goose dog (to clear golf courses & airports) in his previous life. But it was with us that Jet found his true forever home, as well as a chance to exercise his TRUE calling – knocking some manners into those silly sheep!

We have a couple of very stubborn ewes. One even earned the name “O.B.” because her true name is “Ya Ole B****!” Obviously, since we are also 4-H leaders, we needed something a bit more child-friendly, so "O.B." was born. Stubborn as they are, those ole ewes have never tried to cross Jet again since that very first day. In fact, they live in terror of having Jet even come near the sheep pen. 

Jet is now about 14, the Old Man of the household. But if he is walked out by the sheep pen on leash, those sheep still run as fast as they can to the other end of their pen. Anywhere away from the BC! 

Quite literally, Jet rules!

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