Dog vs. chickens: the dog won

No, I don’t have any gory animal-fight photos to show you! We went into this spring figuring it was the year of the chicken, especially when we knew we had an offer of two hens from our friends at our local farmers’ market, but we’ve got a little side-tracked (though my better half is insisting that we can probably manage chickens this year too; I’ve told him, “good luck with that” in the nicest way possible, though I am open to him being right).

We’ve talked about getting a dog ever since we planned our move out to the country, and that conversation has been ramping up steadily over the past year or so. My husband was really the hold-out, as he didn’t grow up with dogs like I did, and only had the example of the many unruly dogs that he has met over the years. A visit to a new client, a top breeder and trainer of labs based just a few minutes away from us, changed all of that for him when he saw the wonderfully behaved and well managed animals in their care. The eleven-week old puppies who (mostly) follow instruction beautifully, even as they wriggle with natural puppy energy, knocked him (and me) over. The impressively behaved, warm and friendly older dogs sealed the deal.

On the same visit we met Reggie, one of the eleven-week olds and the only one from his litter not already promised to someone on a waiting list. Reggie was darling and we took to him right away. We agreed that we’d talk about things more seriously and perhaps get the boys out to meet him and see if they were a good fit for each other.

They were! This weekend Reggie will visit our home for the day as we start the process of getting used to each other while he finishes his training (six to 16 weeks is the all-important window in training a puppy, which I certainly never knew). The people raising our dog are truly amazing and we know they will be a continuing resource for us as we settle in with the newest member of our family.

Now, all you farm and country-based folks like ourselves who are dying to share advice or hard-won learning on how to approach life with our black lab puppy, please do spill the beans. We’d love to hear all of your stories!

Promise I’ll post a photo soon; he’s pretty sweet.

17 thoughts on “Dog vs. chickens: the dog won

      1. Oh I must go and check that out – it’s been a while since I visited her site (which is fantastic) and that sounds so good!

      2. Dave says to get the book, “Water Dog” at a used book store. It has everything you need to raise a Lab, and he and his dad used it to raise their many labs growing up on the farm.

  1. What fun! Dogs and chickens, oh my.

    If Reggie doesn’t work out, don’t forget there are always many, many fantastic dogs, from purebreds to puremutts, worthy of a good home like yours, at all the local pounds.

    1. Thanks Fiona! Yeah, we deliberately did not go the route of a rescue dog, for a couple of key reasons. The main one for us is that we have a child who has some demanding medical and behavioural needs, and we didn’t want to have to deal with a dog that might need more special attention than we could give. We wanted a more straightforward commitment with a beautifully trained dog. The commitment for us is still a very significant one, but more we’re hoping it will be a bit more straightforward and less bumpy. We have had a rescue gerbil before, and would get a cat from the pound in a heartbeat if we were getting cats (unfortunately my eldest is allergic). I’m totally with the you!

      1. A rescue gerbil – who knew!

        Might be fun for your family to spend some time with Reggie (cute name, by the way) while he’s with the trainer so you all “speak the same language,” as sometimes clear communication with a (new) dog is tricky, particularly for people who are less experienced with dogs.

      2. Reggie was already named by the breeder/trainer as he happened to be the one dog who didn’t match anyone on their current waiting list, and we didn’t find out about him till he was 11 weeks, but it is cute! One of his brothers is Archie, which gave the breeder the idea for Reggie’s name! We’ll definitely be spending some time having our family trained too, as we want to be sure to continue the good work started by the trainer. We definitely feel like newbies at this!

  2. Oh, you’re going to love having a dog, except on the days when you totally regret it – kind of like having kids lol….seriously, I only had one dog growing up, so have always considered myself a cat person, but having our dog for the past ten years has changed that. My neigbour breeds chocolate labs, and field trains them in my hay field (when it’s not 4 ft tall as it is right now). They are beautiful dogs, nice temperament.

    1. Wonderful to hear of your good experience and really appreciate the positive feedback on labs. I also grew up with dogs, but have never had a dog as an adult, so it’ll be an adventure!

  3. Congrats on the new family member! I predict your husband will quickly become the biggest Reggie fan in the house – that’s how it worked for us anyway. Looking forward to seeing the pooch!

    1. I love your prediction and will certainly be watching for that relationship to blossom! I’m hoping to share a picture this weekend.

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