Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Elk Herding

So, my exotic dog breed of the month I just highlighted was a reindeer herder. Well, did you also know that Border Collies have history herding reindeer and elk too??

I discovered recently a website for a ranch in Alberta, Canada whose top dog was a border collie named Whip. Whip is actually an uncle of my Scott. Small world huh? Whip apparently worked all stock you can imagine up in Canada, from your standard sheep, cows and ducks to horses, ostriches, elk and reindeer! http://www.bergenranch.com/Dogs.htm

Whip and Scott do look similar; they have super thick long hair and similar builds. They appear to have the same "pushiness" as well, being able to work just about anything you ask them to. I seriously think this elk-herding thing runs in the family.

We have an elk herd that comes through our neighborhood all the time. While I know better than to "work them," I do utilize Scott to push them off my property every once in a while. They eat my bird seed, rip off branches from young trees, decimated my veggie garden last year, and create holes in our yard (they can weigh 800lbs or so!). There is one elk, in particular, I've named Gertie. She is collared and she is the least weary of people and dogs. I am certain it was Gertie who walked up onto our front porch this Spring and ate my potted plants!

So, here is Scott. This is the look I get when he knows there is something up that he wants to be a part of. It's his "poker face" if you will - I can totally see right through it. Alright Scotty, you wanna go out and see the elk?? I already know the answer to that question.

The elk. All cows and some calves. They're slightly ticked off that I'm out there with Scott. Two are nervous in this photo, one is not. Can you tell which one hasn't figured it out yet?

I will not let my dog herd the elk, especially in someone else's yard. So, Scott was told to "lie down" in the street while I took photos of him with the herd. Some of the cows are quite bothered with Scott's presence, so they headed back into the woods right away. Others, stuck around, including Gertie and her buddies who were on the other side of the neighbor's driveway.

"Scott, they're almost all gone now." The very first time Scott saw the elk last year he barked and growled at them. Then he realized, "hey, these things are like wild cows. I think I like that." Again, just want to state that I don't herd the elk with Scott. I will, if in my yard, have Scott walk up on the elk to move them back into the woods. You never know if the cows, or sometimes the young bulls we also have come around, will charge your dog or you!

And there's Gertie and her "clique." While her two girlfriends took off, Gertie stuck around until the end. She should be our neighborhood mascot I guess.

Here is Scott walking back to the house after his day of elk herding. A job well done Scotty!

Mattie thinks Scott is da bomb when it comes to herding. However, she isn't so thrilled about getting sniffed on camera...

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