Pic of the day: Tucker gets promoted

Tucker's in charge when we collect new puppies

And seems to change from bouncy puppy to calm, sophisticated young "dog of the world" in an instant!

Black and white smooth coated collie puppies
Currently known as Del and Jazz (left to right) the girls will make their chosen names known to us when they're ready

We’re told that Kelpies are especially good travellers.

Tucker’s already pretty well travelled, within Wales anyway, but we thought we’d give him an extra outing on Monday and took him with us to Brecon. We’d booked two puppies (Border collies this time) and thought Tucker might be a soothing presence for them on the way home.

Tucker took the whole enterprise in his stride.

For the first few minutes after we left home, Tucker eloquently put forward his case for NOT being confined to a cage in the back of the car, but he soon settled down and slept for most of the trip. On arrival at the farm at Cradoc, Tucker looked mildly inconvenienced to have been woken up.

We were met on the yard by a lovely tricolour collie and a Kelpie bitch. Tucker paid little attention to the collie, but he struggled furiously to leap out of my arms to get to the Kelpie. There’s obviously something appealing or familiar in a Kelpie that Tucker doesn’t recognise in a collie.

That particular Kelpie just happens to be Tucker’s grandmother, but surely neither of them knew that?

Black and white smooth coated collie pups
First things first - find out which bits are edible! Jazz gets to grips with her new bed.

It took me far longer to leave the puppies than I’d expected. We’d booked a female puppy from each of two litters. One litter had only one bitch, and the puppy from the other litter I’d seen at 4 weeks and instantly picked her out (smooth coated, very black, with prick ears. Naturally.) There wasn’t any reason to linger, but it seemed that, regardless of whether they were male or female, there wasn’t a single puppy I was prepared to leave behind.

Finally, drawings done, pedigrees compared, and anecdotes exchanged, it was time to go. Tucker didn’t turn a hair when we lifted the girls (currently named Del and Jazz) into the cage with him.

They all seem to have travelled beautifully together, but we don't know what Tucker said to them to keep them so quiet. Possibly he warned them about Alfie, as they’re extremely respectful of Alfie when he stalks past them through the porch.

That could just be due to the Chihuahua’s natural air of authority, of course.

Gorgeous view of the Brecon Beacons, Wales

Monday was a windy, rainy and sometimes sunny day, and this was the fabulous view that met us as we drove away down the farm drive. Imagine waking to see this - every morning!

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Pic of the Day: One last Kelpie fix

Perhaps the Kelpies have been getting more than their fair share of "Pic of the Day" attention recently.

Trouble is, they're so darned cute...

Will and Tucker are best friends and, although Tucker's tiny and Will's adolescent (Will could easily flatten Tucker if he felt inclined) they get along really well.

Red and tan and black and tan Australian Kelpies

Well, perhaps not so easily flattened - Tucker's nothing if not a plucky chap - but he still likes to have Will on hand when they're out exploring with the Big Dogs.

William has been with us for a fortnight now, and is beginning to settle in. We can always tell when a dog's settling in because he (or she) starts to show signs of testing the boundaries. Finding out whether he really REALLY has to come back into the yard with everyone else. And once in the yard, testing whether we really REALLY want him back in his pen.

It can be tedious for a day or two, but you can't blame a dog, especially a high-spirited, high-drive dog, for trying.

Gorgeous red and tan Australian Kelpie sheepdog
"Coming to get yer..."

I don't know if it's connected, but I know that when I had all my collies living in the house (well, there were only five) and needed to house train them, regardless of age they would take about 3 days to house train (if that). After a couple days of being completely reliable, there would be 24 hours when the dog could give the impression of never having had this house training lark explained at all!

Once through that one day, the dog was house trained for good.

I used to think it was just the dog asking: "Now, just let's make sure I'm clear on this...", but perhaps it was really testing my resolve.

Anyway, Will's testing might be inconvenient but it won't last long. I must remind myself of that, when I'm freezing, up to my ankles in mud, in a howling gale and short of time, but it's hard to sound patient and inviting between gritted teeth.

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