First night in the kennel: I put my good old quiet dog, Tip, in the pen next to Ace for company. Tip has performed as an admirable facilitator many times in the past 12 years. However, after two nights of listening to this puppy cry, Tip began avoiding me. Then he disappeared completely. I cannot outrun a 13 year old dog. Nor can I locate him if he chooses to hide. And all this time I thought he had gone deaf.
- First time tied up: The first several times I tied up Ace, Puncher was tied right next to him. It teaches him it’s no big deal. He stays quiet and relaxed because she is. I tie the dogs while riding my horse in the arena. It’s close enough to give a correction and far enough that they can just chill out. It is imperative that my cowdogs learn quickly to be tied and be quiet. Puncher made the first time a charm for Ace.
- First time in the truck, first time going to town, first time in the crate, first time in the house. etc etc Every day was a first of something. Puncher taught freshman orientation.
- First time to “Get a Drink”: Ace doesn’t love water like Puncher. But then Ace has never had the opportunity to get really hot yet either. He did fall in the pond over his head a couple times. Not a superior first experience.
- First Horseback Ride: My horse, Paint, is an extremely broke horse that is bomb proof with dogs. Ace has been around Paint in a controlled situation almost every day. Ace already had a “come” and “down” command on him and scores of miles with the 4Wheeler before we ever rode out with the horse. Puncher is 100% broke to the horses. This all ensures a simple, safe, and fun little jaunt to get the puppy some exposure to being out on the ranch with a horse. Again, I will say that this is very controlled setting and will continue to be for Ace for quite some time. Next to the cattle work, the most important thing he has to learn (for me) is how to be around a horse. I’m making it fun right now because he’s a puppy. There are never any cattle in sight on these jaunts. No other dogs either. Just the four of us.