I was admittedly a little worried about how Mina would handle moving halfway across the country.
She is a super submissive dog who really likes a set routine, expectations, and she gets a lot of comfort in knowing who her people are, where her people are, and knowing her environment. She doesn’t like getting in the car, she’s anxious in new places, and she can be skeptical of people and things she doesn’t know. She’s a great dog, but I think having been dumped at the shelter twice has left some lingering trauma on her psyche.
Luckily she made that transition from shelter dog to barn dog much better than I had originally anticipated – you never really know with those city raised dogs how they’re going to take to all that. She listens pretty well though, has great recall, and isn’t the type to wander off. I think she really liked the idea of having a big space that was hers – hers to rule, hers to protect, etc. She knew that Texas farm from corner to corner, she patrolled it, and she thrived in that role and routine. So uprooting her from there, when she really hadn’t been settled in for very long (hard to remember I only got her last summer!) was a concern. I didn’t know how she’d take yet another drastic life change, a new farm, different people, etc.
Really though, she’s handled it exceptionally well. I think because she’d settled into her farm dog role so well there, she seamlessly adopted the exact same role here. It took her a few days to relax and realize this was her new space, then she was like “aye aye captain” and took her job and ran with it. Well ok, her perception of her job. Really she doesn’t have a job at all, but she takes the farm dog thing very seriously.
Mostly I think she sees herself as head of security. She figured out the farm boundaries very quickly, and the people who are allowed to come and go here regularly. Perimeter control: check. Personnel authorization: check. She herds the squirrels and the birds from the places she thinks they shouldn’t be. If anyone shows up that she feels shouldn’t be there (aka someone that isn’t here on a daily basis) she is front and center to find out what their reason is for coming onto her farm. One day I’m pretty sure she scared the living daylights out of the UPS guy because he dared to just BACK HIS TRUCK up to the barn without first acknowledging her existence and authority. She ran up to him barking like she isn’t actually the most submissive dog on the planet.
When I’m riding she parks herself either at the entrance to the arena or in the parking area at the front of the barn and every few minutes she’ll get up and walk a lap to patrol. She keeps an eye on me and an eye on everything else that’s going on. If I go out on the road to hack she sits up at the barn parking area and waits for me to come back, which… is really nice. One of my biggest concerns about this farm is that it has regular 4 board fence, no no-climb, so she could easily just leave the property whenever she wants. She did that once, in the first few days we were here, but once she figured out the boundaries she has yet to step foot outside them again.
It’s a little bit cute how seriously she takes her role and how convinced she is that this is HER farm and she’s here to protect it. Well ok it wasn’t cute the first couple days the barn manager’s kid was out of school and he came down to help mow… Mina was like INTRUDER ALERT, STRANGER DANGER, I DO NOT KNOW YOU, YOU ARE NOT AUTHORIZED. Poor kid. She would definitely never bite someone (I think she’d rather die) but she does put on a very convincing show of barking until she decides someone is allowed to pass.
I’ve joked about finding a little Security badge for her to go on her collar so she looks more official. I mean, no one tell her that these squirrels are toying with her and she misses half the deliveries because she’s dead-ass asleep on the couch half the time. Those are minor details. Mostly I’m just happy that she’s happy and settled in here so well… it’s been a definite relief.