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Thread: Kelpies as pets vs farm dogs: foster pup

  1. #1
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    Default Kelpies as pets vs farm dogs: foster pup

    At the Million Paws Walk, I was given the number of a shearer who had left his details with a rural pound because he was looking for a female kelpie to use as a working dog. It's probably too late now, but the reason why I haven't called him is a. the dog is currently a 2.5 drive away from where this guy lives and he'd have to be able to assess if she'd be any good with sheep I assume (I'd love to watch that though!) and b. I'm just not sure what is the right thing for this dog now.

    My first reaction was: How awesome! This dog might live its life doing what she is meant to do. Then I met someone who tried to convince me that all farmers are cruel to their dogs which I KNOW is absolute BS, but I did have to think of a couple of rescue stories from farmers who dumped their very old dogs at the pound because they could no longer work. On the other hand, most would just shoot them and I don't necessarily have a problem with that, as long as they've been treated well while they're alive. And she is desexed, so dumped litters would also not be an issue. Then again, he may not even want a desexed dog...

    But my biggest issue is, this pup would be regarded as utterly spoilt in the eyes of any farmer. Living in the city, in a tiny house and yard and limited time available to exercise this dog, I cannot treat her like a farm dog. City people doing that is the main reason why these dogs become problem dogs in the city. So she has had unhindered access to the house, is never locked outside, sleeps on my bed, gets fresh bones almost daily, has 'interactive' toys around, gets patted a lot, gets lots of treats for being calm and polite, etc. She's turned into a real snuggle bum and I encourage it because I've always expected for her to live her life as a pet and not as a farm.

    Would it ever be right to let her go to farm to be a farm dog after the effort we've (as in me and her) put in to turn her into a family pet suited to suburbia? We've had her for 6 weeks and she is getting better and better at fitting in.
    Last edited by Beloz; 05-26-2014 at 01:54 PM.

  2. #2

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    Why would it be too late now ? As far as I am concerned - nothing ventured nothing gained !

    It wouldn't hurt to phone this gentleman up and talk to him.

    Farm dogs need good doggy manners also - so the training the pup has had will not go to waste !

    Working pups do lead a very different life than their city cousins - but that doesn't mean it is worse - just different.

    Who says that this pup would not be inside on the couch with her new owner - watching TV after a busy days work ?

  3. #3
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    I have a working kelpie who is also an indoor dog and pet as well as my working dog. But to be honest given the choice she would far rather be working sheep and lives for the days I work sheep with her. Working dogs need good training and manners or they are more of a liability. She would trade all the interactive toys which she does like by the way, especially her ball, for a life of working sheep exclusively.

    Yes if a dog doesnt work out they do sometimes get shot this is pretty common. My shearer friend will do this although it is not something he likes or does lightly and his favourite old kelpie is retired and living with him becuase he couldnt bring himself to shoot her when her working days were done. The shearers I know treat their dogs well almost like one of the family particularly the single men. If the dog does not have the working traits the shearer is looking for ask him to return her. He would be happy to do that I expect.
    Last edited by Kalacreek; 05-26-2014 at 02:53 PM.

  4. #4
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    There is a $30,000 kelpie living the fat life in Adelaide somewhere. The current owners found it shot, dumped and still alive somewhere out on the Sturt Highway near Hay.

    I knew someone who rehomed her ex racehorse to a farmer - and he didn't tell her he wanted to go hunting and shooting while riding the horse (some people are really stupid). so the first time he fires the gun - while on the horse and it naturally freaks out, so he shoots the horse as well. ARGH.

    So I'd want to see this man working with the dog - and see what he thinks is ok and not. I've seen a farm hand scream at and beat one of my uncle's kelpies because it didn't do what he wanted. Farm hand got the sack soon after when my uncle saw him in action. My uncle found that unacceptable. I found it horrifying.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the input! I'll give him a call. I suspect the distance will still be a big hurdle. Though I'm willing to invest 5 hrs driving to get her a good home. I think I'll cry if I get to see her trying to work the sheep.

    The other night this pup was fast asleep on my legs. When someone whistled on the tele. She jumped straight to her feet, nearly fell over, then stood there on the bed looking around in a "What?! Where?! I'm ready!" way, before finally lying down again and going back to sleep. I never even whistle for her.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Beloz View Post
    Thanks for the input! I'll give him a call. I suspect the distance will still be a big hurdle. Though I'm willing to invest 5 hrs driving to get her a good home. I think I'll cry if I get to see her trying to work the sheep.

    The other night this pup was fast asleep on my legs. When someone whistled on the tele. She jumped straight to her feet, nearly fell over, then stood there on the bed looking around in a "What?! Where?! I'm ready!" way, before finally lying down again and going back to sleep. I never even whistle for her.
    I really don't see what the problem is here ! Is this pup a 'foster failure' or what ?

    The distance you are talking about - isn't there someone else in the rescue organisation that can do a yard check ?

    If you are talking about a shearer interested in this pup - which yard or whose yard are you going to check ?

    Just phone him and see whether he is still interested !

  7. #7
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    Yes I would talk to him. Ask him bluntly what he is looking for and and what will happen if the dog doesnt work out. Without knowing anything about the dogs breeding it is hard to know what her herding characteristics are likely to be. The shearer will most likely want a good yard dog I would think. Just because the dog is a kelpie doesnt mean it will have what he needs. Is this dog a free dog or is the shearer going to have to pay for her? You need to make sure that his intention is just not to get a free kelpie in the hope it may be a good worker and then readily dispose of her if she is not.

    Most the people I have met are fairly good with their dogs, my neighbours and shearer friends are, but of course there are the people who are not. It is a fine line with working dogs between those who see them as disposable items and those that dont. The dog usually has a very good chance of being valued if it is a good worker. If it is not in the eyes of the owner then the ending is not always good.

    With the right person kelpies make fine pets. So if you are at all unsure about the shearer and his intentions then dont stress yourself out and move on from it.

  8. #8
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    I thought I had a great home for Jess to go to as a pup. Reports that this share farmer was a great bloke...till... the farmer that lived on the same property said all his dogs were kept chained and there was not enough drums as shelter and they had to compete for the food available. I had promised her on the reports of others who did not see him all the time. Jess went to my FIL. As a pup I never had her inside as I knew she was to be an outside dog, she seemed to thrive over there. After she had to come back here she became house trained within about 2 days.

    Any posts made under the name of Di_dee1 one can be used by anyone as I do not give a rats.

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