We have fields, paths, and woods at our place. Not a lot of water, but some drainage ditches, a small (very small) pond, and a lot of big mud puddles. Some tall grass, bramble bushes, and man-made hills from digging out drainage ditches. A lot of variety for a young cattle dog to explore. And we’re blessed to be able to train the dogs off leash from a very young age. With cattle dogs coming “pre-programmed” with a good recall, it’s a great way to start their training.
But I don’t usually take a new puppy into the woods the first couple weeks they come home. The farm paths and open fields are a better place for them to get to know “home.” Their legs are short and their eyesight is short and even their noses can get overwhelmed easier with all the new-ness they’ll run into.
Red, for example, came from a suburban townhouse with a postage stamp backyard and a linoleum kitchen to play in. So, the farm, the yard, the house, the livestock, the vehicles…so much change for her to take in those first few days!
But puppies (particularly cattle dog puppies!) have a lot of energy and curiosity to burn. So within a few weeks, it’s time to venture into the woods and tackle bigger, better, and more diverse environments.
The woods are a great place to burn excess puppy energy! There’s hills to climb, logs to jump over or wiggle under, holes to dig, puddles to splash through, bushes to get tangled in…
Red managed to get into quite a bit of trouble her first afternoon. First, she managed to dig up an old deer leg bone that I had to chase her down over. (We learned with Coal that puppies are particularly prone to intestinal parasites from scavenged carcasses.)
Then she found a snakeskin–which I thought was a real snake at first!–and I had to chase her down over that.
Then she got stuck trying to grab a pinecone and duck under a log and I had to wiggle her back out. But she also got lots of exercise, lots of stretching and balancing, running, jumping, climbing…
And the final result, besides building her strength, agility, and endurance (which doesn’t need a lot of help!)…
As cattle dog owners like to say…a tired cattle dog is a good cattle dog.
Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram to see more cattle crew adventures. I love taking pictures with #justwalkingthedogs since I’m out there 3-4 times a day! What’s your favorite place to take your dogs for exercise and fresh air?