Lola the Herder


Up to this point, Lola has displayed many traits associated with her mixed breed of German Shepherd and collie.  She’s loyal, protective, playful, excitable, full of energy, and an attention seeker.  However, she hasn’t really expressed much of her herding instincts up to this point and she’s a year old, so I wasn’t really expecting much from them.

Over the weekend, I realized that she did have some instincts in this department though.  At the campground, she is attached at the hip with my SO.  I had no explanation for this behavior except that we were in a different place and she had different needs.  But this weekend, as my SO and his father talked to a group of people away from where I was standing, I noticed her nudge my SO on the leg.  Not hard, just enough to try to get his attention.  A few moments later, she nudged again.  That’s when it dawned on me.  She isn’t really attached to his hip, she just expects him to be attached to mine and when the two of us are not together, she feels a need to bring him to where ever I am and vice-versa.

In the wee hours of the morning, she proved that her herding instincts were kicking into high gear.  She is finally, officially, a herder, much to my heart-pounding horror.  Around 1 in the morning, we were out for a potty break when she darted across the yard with enough force that all I could do was hold on and go with her.  I didn’t see what had captured her intent interest until she scared the shit out of it and it rushed from behind my neighbor’s central air unit directly at me.

At first, I thought it was a giant rat.  And I let out a small squeal while making a mad dash away from the thing.  Then as Lola ran towards it, chasing it closer to me, I realized it was a small opossum.  Yep, still not a huge fan, but it is an improvement over a rat in the dark.  The more I tugged on her, the more convinced she became that she was doing a good thing.  I thought I was going to have to stun-gun the damn possum before I got her under control and we got away from it.

She had no intention of killing it.  She didn’t try to attack it.  She really was herding it towards me, like some sort of Doggy Prize that would get her praise.  Which is sort of a sticky situation.  I had a border collie years ago and it used to herd animals to the front or back doors.  So, I don’t know whether to tell her good job or bad dog.  I don’t want to dampen those instincts, I found them quite handy when my nephews were very young.  The border collie would keep them in the room with the adults and he was very gentle with them.  I’m hoping Lola has the same instincts and behaviors.  So far, she has shown to be very good with children, even young children.

On the flip side, I have no desire to have more possums sent my way in the dark of the night.  It makes me freak out just a little bit.  I might have change from a stun-gun to a cattle prod…

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2 Comments

  1. Maria D.

     /  July 20, 2016

    Yeah, at 1 am I too would have squealed at some animal coming towards me. Our border collie used to herd us (my sisters and I) when we were kids too – they are very protective of children though so they are a good breed. Hope your SO is feeling much better and that you are able to get some writing in.

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