It takes a village to raise a child.

This applies to puppies too.  I’ve watched as the cats provided some education to our newest youngster, as our cats have done with other puppies.  This morning I realized that the pool of educators was a bit larger.

Banner is similar to the boys when they were growing up.  This means a number of things, but one of these is that she loves to run.  The boys weren’t bad when it came to encouraging excitement, but Banner has taken that up a notch, or two. She will antagonize a cat to cause it to react or run, with a preference for the latter.  This may sound like prey drive, except that she seems much more interested in the chase than a catch.  She just wants an excuse to run. It is her favorite activity.

She has discovered that the “dorm mom” cow and the set of replacement heifers can provide some excitement, but they have become accustomed to her and are surprisingly less troubled about her then they would be about a “real” dog.  When she thrusts her face through the fence to lick, they may jump back, startled, but they will also come forward again.  Cows, like Newfoundlands, experience much of their interpretation of the world around them by their tongue.  Horses do this very little; they aren’t typically lickers. However, horses, especially the (now 34 year old) Arabian mare, can be very reactive to a Newfoundland head thrust through a fence, particularly when there is a licker associated with it.  So Harmony will spin around and go for a sprint at times, providing some good satisfaction.  Brandy (Quarter Horse) and Whippoorwill (1/2 Arabian) react with a little less satisfaction.  Brandy is suffering the pains of arthritis in an aging horse.  He is now 27, and he is getting a bit cranky.  When bad weather stays too long, this escalates his agitation level.  So, he can be reactive, but not in the way that Banner seeks.

This morning, Banner was outside with Greg while he was feeding.  She enjoyed running around in the snow, and she ate her fill.  When this interest began to expire, she looked for something else to do.  She thrust her head through the fence to instigate excitement in Brandy, who was eating breakfast.  Brandy had a lifetime experience of being a picked-on younger brother, so he responded quickly.  He reached right back through the rails and nipped Banner.  He nipped just the right amount for a correction, with no intention to harm.  Banner, true to form, had a “you can’t get away with that” reaction, so she waited a moment, then did her head thrust maneuver again, but clearly with more reservation.  Then she decided that she should go elsewhere and look for something else to do, perhaps someone else would give her what she desired, with a little alteration in her cache of expectations.

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