Thursday, October 13, 2016

Everybody Loves Leashes

Hooray for Rufus - he finally got his head tied to a post! As you can tell by his expression, of all the new games we've been playing, like taking the halter on and off, or having ropes or towels draped on his back, being tied to a post was not his favorite game so far.  But this was a big accomplishment for us, and I was nervous to try it.  It's a step we needed to make before we can call the farrier or the vet, so we celebrated with nibbles of sweet feed until we both got used to the idea.  

Rufus actually seems to like the attention of getting his halter put on.  He comes right to me, and holds his head still.  The leash (my horse owning friend says I'm supposed to say "lead rope") isn't scary to him anymore either, and he lets me clip it to his halter.  Yesterday, he even let me lead him by the leash (yay! our first walk with a lead rope!) to a sturdy post so we could try tying him up.  

A few days before, Brandon and I stood outside the fence and called him over, and then tied him to the post while we were on the outside.  Tricky of us, right?  Then we sat in the grass and watched him while he figured out he couldn't get away.  I was worried that he wouldn't want to lead to the post since he might remember being tied, but he was cool with it.  For a few kernels of sweet feed, he might do anything!

Our game was interrupted, again, by Wendigo.  Rufus is staring into the distance at that little white spec, which is Wendigo, chasing the route of the neighbors car after it sped up their driveway.  Sigh.  I had to untie Rufus and go bang on the dog food can until she came home.  But, once she was back, Rufus let me lead him to a different post and tie him up again.  This time I left him while I went to retrieve the curry comb and when I came back he was calmly waiting with no tension on the leash.  I think we got this!  

The dogs and I are getting better at walking as a pack too.  Unless I'm trying to manage them both with one hand, while I take pictures with my phone with the other, I'm able to keep us organized and be the confident pack leader that I know Caesar the Dog Whisperer wants me to be.  When we get out of sync, we stop and wait for Rufus to catch up with us.  When things are going well, they calmly sit side by side and wait for me to stop talking baby talk to the donkey over the fence.  

This is what happens when I loose my focus - a doggy pile up!

Walking with Peaches on a leash is a different experience.  She darts and pulls in every direction looking for tasty nibbles.  I like to bring her out of the pasture so she can eat a diversity of plants and brambles, but I have to stay within site of the other goats or she gets upset.  No one is happy when Peaches is upset, believe me.  

She likes to climb into little trees and eat the leaves and little twigs.  If she ever gets ten minutes alone with one of my fruit trees, the tree will be toast!  She's taller than me when she's on her back feet, and she knows how to bend the branches down and call for the other goats to help her hold it in place so she can eat it.  I'm tempted to just let the goats out without any leashes, since they like to follow me, but I'm afraid I would loose total control and they would end up on the roof of the house eating the satellite cables or something equally destructive.  We like leashes.  

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