Myka, the youngest of our two dogs, came to live with us from an animal rescue centre as a 12 week old puppy who had clearly been removed from her mother too young, had by that point had two further addresses before ending up left at the centre and had clearly suffered some abuse. We wanted an older dog, something the same age as Bryn but the rescue centre simply took us "round the back" to introduce us to the pup they wanted us to have despite my protests of "But I never ever want a puppy again!". (This was because when Bryn ended up coming to live with us after being dumped in a bin at around 8 weeks old he was my first dog, I much preferred cats. I have never forgotten the 3 months of Post Natal Depression which I went through with Bryn).
Anyway, we ended up with this scraggy sorry looking little thing who's heritage was questionable. She's now 7 and turned out to be a natural born comic, completely unladylike and a totally stinky muck magnet. Good job we love her (so does Bryn by the way). When we first took her to our vet for her vaccinations, Louise looked at her trotting along at the side of us and said "Ooo. Designer shabby chique!"
We do know that she has an awful lot of terrier in her (bearded we think) and some border collie, a combination which makes her a feisty dog who is happy to take on much bigger dogs if they threaten her.
Bryn, who weighs in at 46Kg and certainly has Labrador, staffordshire bull terrier and rottweiller in him,
had always assumed he was a little dog and had never figured out that his teeth were for anything other than eating dinner and tearing chewy toys apart. This is the boy who was chased up the lane by a chauwawa (or however you spell it). The same boy who seemed to firmly believe that if he sat behind a Daffodil, you couldn't see him, the same boy who frequently had me chewing my knuckles in frustration whenever he decided to be an adolescent and the same boy who spends his evenings sat on the floor of the lounge staring at me......all evening...... .every evening!
It is Myka who finally, (and unfortunately) taught Bryn that a dog's job is to bark furiously if anyone dares to walk past the house or use the public pathway at the side of the house, or chat as they stroll along the Trans Pennine route running along the back of the garden or if any other dog is walked past our house. Bryn is nearly 12 but after all these years I still damn near have heart failure when he barks unexpectedly. As big as he is, his bark is even bigger.
It is because of Myka that Bryn discovered what his teeth can be used for. Despite both my dogs being on leads Myka was targeted and attacked by a (oh God, I wish I could spell) Wiemeraner (tall, good looking grey thing) and a collie when she was around 20 weeks old. Somehow and whilst still on the lead with me trying to get my dogs away and "politely" advising the other dogs' (male) owner to take control of his pair; Myka simply flipped the, by now astonished, Wiemerama straight onto it's back. I felt a tug, dropped Myka's lead and, very luckily, managed to grab Bryn's collar in one hand and use his lead in the other to haul Bryn's head back as he suddenly went full on for the attacking dog's throat. He missed by a hairsbreadth. Both the other dog's realised their mistake and ran whilst they could. From that point on Bryn seemed to realise that he wasn't actually a pint sized pup and that, if needs be, he didn't necessarily have to run away like he had before if another dog glared at him. Thanks a bundle Myka!
Anyway, the point of this day's ramble is that, due to Myka's terrier part and the potential for trouble, whenever we let the chickens out of their run and into the rest of the garden for an hour or so, we make certain Myka is kept indoors, (much to her disgust). This means that on those hot sunny days which happen so often in England, if the chickens are having a garden moment we still have to have all our doors closed.
Last weekend I decided enough is enough, Myka was just going to have to learn to behave, that chasing or attacking the chickens is not acceptable and that everyone can be in the garden together if she follows these rules. So I went for it. I was in the garden working & I had let the chicken out to wander free. I then took a deep breath and opened the French windows where Myka was, as usual, sat staring at the chickens like they were dog TV. Luckily Myka is very responsive to commands and tone of voice, so I made sure that I knew, (and that Myka knew I knew), where she was in relation to the chickens. I kept saying things like "Steady Myka, leave it, good girl, settle, no etc etc. My Bantam Drew was a little uppity and avoided being in the same space as Myka (which obviously made Myka more interested in her than in Harmony). Harmony remained cool and casual, although she did get a tad "huffy" whenever Myka tried to sniff Harmony's bum.
I repeated the exercise the next day and we can now, finally, leave doors open on milder days (another joy with Myka is that she is a quick learner). Never forget however, this is my world we are dealing with here.................
Currently Harmony is sat asleep in the kitchen where she has discovered the central heating radiator and apparently it's just the best thing ever and it's lovely and warm and it's everything a chicken could desire and she's finally inside the place where the Big Chicken (me) goes.
Myka, meanwhile, is very happily sat in the chicken run. Ho hum.