Monday, April 15, 2013


Mel asked me if Tanner has moved closer to the donkeys and if they get along.  This is actually a fascinating question, at least to me it is:)

When Ramsey was born, Tanner was very respectful and would not come anywhere near Emma and her new baby.  Now that Ramsey is a bit older, Tanner still keeps his distance, but it is back to the preRamsey distance, which is just outside the barn.  The only time he has ever ventured into the barn while the donkeys are in it was when I tried to sneak a jollyball in there for them.  Tanner, of course, knew immediately and started plotting.  He waited until they were distracted by breakfast and then sneaked in, like only a BC can, to rescue the ball.  If I tie the ball up in the air where he can't reach it, Tanner sneaks in and around the barn whenever the donkeys are outside, trying to figure out how to get it down.  When the donkeys are in the barn, he sits and watches, all easy nonchalance, waiting for his chance.  I can distract him with something else, take him for a walk, leave him with Farm Buddy while I am away at work and the next day (or month or year) he is right back waiting for his chance to save the ball from donkey predation.

Tanner is wary of Emma and stays well clear of her.  Ramsey is wary of Tanner and stays well clear of him.

Tanner and Emma will sniff noses, but only of there is a fence between them.  Even though my fence is just a strand of electric wire, well above his head, Tanner is very aware of where it is and what it is.  It is a boundary that horses, donkeys and cows are not supposed to cross.

Border Collies are fascinating, wonderful, neurotic creatures.  Watching Border Collies and donkeys interact is amazing, frustrating, puzzling, humbling and absolutely priceless.


  1. Our neurotic rescue terrier has, after 18 months, finally stopped barking furiously at the horses. I suspect it's just to lull them into a false sense of security.

  2. That last sentence so sums up BCs indeed!

  3. On the exact opposite end of the spectrum are my labs.
    Smarty- Equines are much larger than him and not to be trifled with. If they happen to be in his yard mowing grasses, then Smarty parks himself on the deck and stays there.
    Butch- sees them as invaders and if they are in his yard he barks at them...for about 5 seconds and then goes and lays down because he is tired.
    Mason- thinks that horses are the coolest animals on earth. He likes to sniff noses with them to say thank you. He is thanking them for the endless supply of tasty horse poop to be eaten when it is warm, and retrieved when it is frozen.

  4. Oh the mind of a BC!
    It seems the BC and the donkeys have a relationship that works well for them except when the ball is suspended. I can just see the BC trying to work that one out :-)

  5. Love the picture in my mind of Tanner trying to rescue the ball from being tied up!! BCs can be so obsessive about things, our lab is much the same especially with balls. Our dogs and mules respectfully like each other through the fence but know each other's boundaries, the mules are nonchalantly tolerant of their 'own' dogs but not anyone else's! The cat however, sleeps on the mini mule's back or with the minis in their stable and often accompanies the gang for a walk - we think she reckons she's part donkey too :-)

  6. My favorite kind of posts: interaction/herd dynamics. So interesting.