The Surprise Deer Test

Sugar just passed the “surprise deer test”.  Have you heard of it? That’s when you and your farm dog come across a few deer by accident.  You’re surprised. The farm dog is surprised.  The deer are surprised.  What happens next is called the “surprise deer test”.

So, I was particularly startled. This cotton-tailed doe had crossed the stream and was grazing right up near the back of the ranch house.  Right by the picnic table. That never happens. My Anatolian usually sees to it that no wild animals even think about entering the ranch house yard. But not today; I guess Freyja is getting old.  I had coffee in-hand for a sit down by the stream while Sugar played by the shore.  She’s been feeling neglected since Josie’s pups came along.  So, I’ve been trying to make it up to her with some additional quality time. 

When we rounded the ranch house corner, Sugar saw the doe and the doe saw Sugar.  The doe actually let out a high-pitched squeal in surprise.  I wondered, “what the heck was that sound?” Both animals froze.  Those two were only ten feet apart.  I didn’t know what was happening until that good-sized doe jumped, turned and took off for the woods.  Sugar leaned forward.  She was looking like she was going to follow the deer across the stream and into the woods.  But, then it happened.  She looked back at me.  Before she moved an inch, she checked-in with me first.  In that critical, high-anxiety situation that you cannot easily train a dog for, she held.  I smiled.  I could not believe it.  “Sugar, here.”  She came.  I smiled again.  Shook my head and muttered to myself, “I’ll be.”

Then my young black and tan English shepherd and I turned and walked straight over to that big box of large Milkbones by the garage door.  I might as well start calling it the Sugar box.  And so now here we are once again; Sugar sitting at my feet with a biscuit while I write another brag dog story about her.   Solid gold, Tennessee brag dog. 

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American Farm Shepherds Illustrated is the full-color newsletter published by the Old-fashioned Black and Tan English Shepherd Association. In each quarterly issue you’ll find award-winning photography, historical research, and of course feature stories about these heroic dogs! Each printed issue also includes an up-to-date breeder directory, upcoming litter listings, and letters from members of the Old-fashioned Black and Tan English Shepherd community. Subscribe Now to have American Farm Shepherds Illustrated delivered by U.S. Postal Mail directly to your mailbox each quarter.

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