The (to be) mighty sheepdogs

Small puppies, great journey – and a special day.

While Finland was celebrating 100 years of independence, early December 2017, two little sheepdog puppies made a journey from one end of the celebrating country to the other. The destination was Teeriniemi in Finnish Lapland.

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Puppies soon changed their arrival shyness to curiosity. They are gowing fast and learning new things even faster. One day they will be very large sheep guard doggies – and their heads will be very full of sheepdoggy wisdom (and probably some sheepdoggy sillyness too).

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“Take us to your leader.”

As instructed, puppies observe the sheep – and sheep observe the puppies – from behind a fence arrangement. This is the set up when they are not being supervised by their humans. Under supervision, same space can be shared.

Lambs had not seen a sheepdog before and seemed to think that these aliens were suspicious. Old ewes seemed even more worried. Puppies already knew this and that about sheep : they have spent also their early puppihood in south surrounded by sheep.

Puppies have had also regular guided meetings with chicken and rabbits. The first reactions of these animals was astonishment. They looked like they had seen a creature from outer space. Only cockerels have not lost their poker face in front of these aliens. They actually have a lot to say to the doggies and doggies listen with their head on one side.

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Canis lupus familiaris.

Half dog – half polar bear? 3/4-Moomin? Not sure, but probably not. Sylvi and Aapo have definetly sheepdog ancestors, thousands of years of sheepdogginess actually. Their roots are in the italian mountainside, where their relatives still protect sheep from volves. The recorded history of Maremmano-Abruzzese goes back to the Roman era. Oh dear, our dogs have a lot longer recorded ancestory than we do.

Sunset 1:30 p.m. – twiligth helps to melt into the croud.

Lapland days are short and mystical this time of the year. But on the other hand, that means a lot of quality indoor time close to the sheep.  Building a strong and caring relationship with sheep is, after all, a high priority.

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A dog, a sheephouse and a mid-winter afternoon.

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And the night may not be as dark as one would think. And positive experiences bring light to the darkness too. Two of the young rams have already wagged their tails happily for the puppies, who have dared to give the rams their first friendly greeting licks.

We are heading towards the New Year 2018 – and later towards the Year of the Dog. Perhaps this is the reason the cockerels have so much to say to the doggies: smooth transfer from Year of the Cockerel to Year of the Dog must be secured.

Cluck cluk and woof woof.

In Teeriniemi, 29th December 2017

Anthony & Päivi


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