Today is only Day #2 with my new pup but it already feels like he's been here forever. I was shocked to find just how much this breed of dog wants to be with humans. I'm not used to that. Our Golden Retriever will come find you if he smells food, but other than that you have to call him and hold onto his collar if you want him to stick around. Gyp on the other hand, is a permanent fixture at your side. His grin on his face fairly screams the words, "I'm so HAPPY that you're here! I want to stay RIGHT next to you!". It's been a refreshing change to have a canine who will pal around with you no matter what the task is; whether I'm doing fence work, or running. And on that note, this little guy is an excellent running partner. LOL. I'm up at 6am and by 6:30, Gyp and I are warming up for a morning run. I start out by walking up a big hill, and the crazy pup starts out by doing a funny scoot through the tall grass; bottom up, chest on the ground, his nose leading the way through the dew-laden plants, and a grin so big on his face that it makes a body fairly want to try doing it too just to see if it really is as enjoyable as he makes it look. The run down the hill is every bit as hilarious as he tries to go faster than me, then runs right into a big clump of thick grass which stops him like a brick wall. Or he ends up doing a somersault, head over heels, and typically ends up with a cleaver plant sticking to his head; looking like a mad hatter of the canine race.
Before Gyp ever came into reality, I knew I wanted to forgo the popular choice of store bought dog kibble for my pup and feed a raw food diet right from the start. I got a book about this idea few years ago; by the same author as my beloved book 'The Herbal Handbook for Farm and Stable', and the raw food diet was so simply laid out that I found the courage to do it. But there's always that hesitance... Will my dog really eat some of that stuff? We're on Day #2 with feeding raw foods, and Gyp is absolutely ecstatic about the whole thing. Should you be curious, here's what his feeding routine looks like (and he's a 20 lb. pup):
8am: Slightly less than a 1/2 pint of raw goat milk; warmed up and strengthened with 1 tsp. of Slippery Elm powder. Carob powder and honey will soon be added to this once I get some.
12pm: 1/3 cup of rolled barley that's been soaked in raw milk.
4pm: 2 oz. raw meat (warmed up; dogs don't like hot or cold food!)
8pm: 2 oz. raw meat, plus a sprinkle of kelp meal/powder,, and1 Tablespoon of finely chopped greens.
Gyp also gets treats to chew on during the day, to keep him busy. His favorite right now is chicken feet. Yeah, I know, it's gross. I've always heard that dogs liked to eat chicken feet, but I didn't really believe it because it seemed so -- yucky. But Gyp eats the entire thing, bone and all. Give him thirty minutes and you won't find a single trace of that chicken foot. So he gets those, chicken necks, and wings. It's good for his teeth, and it keeps him occupied.
Sleeping quarters are a bit of a funny subject right now... I spent over $100 to build a really nice run for him, and the little stinker has decided that he would rather sleep on the back deck, right in front of the door. I kept him in his kennel for the first night and apparently he yelped and howled like a caged monkey while in there. I never heard him. *blush* I don't sleep lightly these days. By the time dusk rolls around, I am bushed and I'm usually asleep before my head even hits the pillow.
One reason why Gyp was in his kennel in the first place was because he somehow managed to escape his puppy-proof run earlier in the day! So the next morning I reinforced it more. Ha! Take that, you adorable little fluff ball! No one outwits a farm girl who knows how to use chicken wire and wire cutters! I put that pup into the run last night; it was bed time and I was confident that he would stay put. Fifteen minutes later, a sister came up to me and silently motioned me to follow her. She led me into the laundry room and pointed out the door that leads to the back deck. I peered through the glass, straining to see what she saw in the darkness. Looking straight down, I half groaned and half laughed. Right there, on the mat in front of the door was my pup. Sleeping. All curled up with the tip of his tail over his nose. I left him there for the night, and found him in the exact same spot this morning at 5:45am. Turns out he had used his claws to pry a hole through the chicken wire, just big enough for him to slip through it and the original woven wire fencing that was in place. Well played, Gyp. Well played... Thou art a worthy opponent. This is almost as fun as keeping pigs! it's a constant mental challenge that keeps me busy and thinking. Hehe.
Having him around is already a boon. His mere presence keeps the goats and sheep at bay when I need them to keep their distance. Such as when I'm doing fencing repairs, or even wanting to pull one goat out for milking or hoof trimming. Gyp sits nearby; always tied to something and out of the range of the livestock; but he watches them with such focus that it makes me grin to see it. The goats get really wigged out when they find they're being watched so intently, and I can't decide who's more amusing to watch: the puppy who has what looks like x-ray vision, or the creeped-out goats who end up walking in tight circles with their ears out like airplane wings. He can't make up his mind about chickens just yet... He's unsure about them, but then his instincts kick in and he wants to round them up into a group. Not yet Gyp Boy; not yet. First you outgrow that puppy coat, then some lessons, and THEN we'll try our hand at herding something here.