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Growing a Kelpie...

 
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Ok, check your Gaelic mythology, but I'm pretty sure Bailey is a Kelpi, in disguise. And, not a very good disguise, at that. Irish Wolfhound are considered by the AKC to be the tallest breed of dogs, and they're definitely TALL. I'm 5'4", and sitting on her haunches, at just shy of 10mos old, Bailey can lay her head up the center of my chest, and very nearly lick my chin. Her head is bigger than mine. The bottoms of her paws are bigger than the palms of my hands, reaching almost to my first knuckles, and were have no idea exactly how much she weighs,  but at her last vet check, 2mos ago, she was already about 105lbs, and I'd I had to hazard a guess, I'd put her at about 120lbs, now. She'll continue to grow for approximately another 8mos. Her dam was almost 160lbs, and her sire was about 180. The thing is, these aren't prone to being fat. This breed is long, lean, and lanky, like a greyhound, but built more like Arnold Schwarzenegger, in his body building days.

Sight-hounds bred for hunting and vicious battle, these war dogs are the reason wolves are extinct, in Ireland, and could take down elk and wolves alike, solo. They did their jobs so well, they nearly went extinct, until the breed was revived, in three 1800s, by an incredible gentleman, who saw them as too amazing to let them die out. He took the ones he could find, and mixed them with Great Danes, and a couple other breeds, trying to rebuild them to something as true to the originals, as possible, without too much dangerous inbreeding, and it's believed that the originals were even bigger than today's IW. Their massive size, hunting ability, and war capabilities made them an incredible asset, and they were restricted to royalty only - for obvious reasons. While not territorial, they will die to protect their family, but their prey drive makes them terrible LGDs. Yet a 30" gate keeps Bailey out of the kitchen, because (again, like greyhounds) they're runners, not jumpers. At this age, Bailey's jaws could take off my arm - yet, as the breed is also known for, with her family, she is loving, and lets me reach down into her throat (!!!) to retrieve her beloved-yet-verboten string-cheese wrappers!  These dogs are aptly known, in modern times, as 'majestic goofballs'. Galloping across a field or through the woods, as their incredible ancestors did, or even standing or sitting at attention, one can easily see them as the awe inspiring, noble creatures they truly are. But, at home, their highly social, relaxed and playful, noisy, goofy - and often unintentionally destructive side comes out, especially if they get bored &/or lonely. Bailey has eaten/destroyed 2 door frames, the stairs, the hardwood floor, the back of the leather couch, the rug pad (while we were removing the cow-skin rugs, to protect them until she get through her chewing everything passed - holy HELL, I hope it's just a puppy phase!), shoes, 2pair of prescription glasses & at least 3 of the cheap readers, hats, 3 heavy-duty leashes, the dining room bench, 3 dog beds, and more. But, in the first week after we brought her home, she also saved our barn & goats, chicken coop & chickens, and who knows what else, from a fire!

While they're not all 'extreme chewers', our precious Bailey absolutely is. We get the 'Super-Chewer' version of the Bark Box, for her, and so far, only 1 whole toy, and half of another (it was a 2-in-1 toy) have lasted more than 5 minutes. John bought a 50foot horse training lead for her, so we could take her to the park, and let her run (she will never be intentionally off-lead, for her own safety. Sighthounds are notorious for being hit by cars and simply disappearing, because they tend to be so focused on whatever gets their attention & runs, that they don't stop running until they catch it, or die trying). It lasted only 5 minutes, at the park. It restricted her run, so she turned her head, and in a single bite, sliced right through it. Thankfully, I was there, in front of her (with my little Cavalier pup) and saw her running free, and called her. John was out of breath, from being dragged (his own fault - he threw her ball too far, lol), and in her happy excitement, she'd completely tuned him out, in favor of the chase. I'm just glad he threw the ball in my direction, and that we'd spaced ourselves apart as far as we had!

It's been a wild 8months, since we got her, and I'll add pics, below.

Edited to add: in this thread, I've really only intended to document and share our crazy experiences, in raising this incredible, sweet creature.
 
Carla Burke
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Da baby kelpie: Gotcha day!
When we picked her up, she was 9weeks old, and already weighed 32lbs. That pic of the three of usalso includes her dam, who was sitting downhill of me - she looks like she's eating my arm...
And those cowskin rugs were rolled up and put away just days later.
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Nov 25, 2019 GOTCHA!!!
Nov 25, 2019 GOTCHA!!!
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Home sweet home...
Home sweet home...
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Getting ready to leave her mama in Kansas
Getting ready to leave her mama in Kansas
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We weren't so sure about the 4hr car ride, but she did great!
We weren't so sure about the 4hr car ride, but she did great!
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Carla Burke
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Dec 5, the cowskins gone, our new 'rug' is a moving blanket. We hadn't quite given up on having a pad under it... yet.
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Carla Burke
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December 8 - her first car ride in the back seat, with the new doggie seat-protector/seatbelt thingie. It's kinda a hammock, attached to the back of the back seat and the backs of both front seats, with the bottom resting on the back seat. It keeps the seat safe from her, but it also keeps her from getting thrown to the floor, if we have to sip fast, plus, there's an attached clip for her harness, to keep her from jumping into the front, or becoming a killer projectile. Now, she sits with her butt on the seat(still fastened into the hammock), and happily drools on my head, shoulders, and the puppy in my lap.
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Carla Burke
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Our baby hero!!! Friday, December 13, 2019 (ok, it was almost 3weeks after gotcha day, not a week, as I'd said before. The date shouldn't have been lost on me! ) That particular Friday the 13th could have been utterly disastrous, if not for our sweet little hero! I'd started the fire, but had it(only temporarily, obviously) contained. I had to run inside for something, and was in for about 3 minutes, when Bailey went nuts, trying to get outside. I grabbed her leash and out we went - then right back in - I wasn't risking her! Because of her, I was able to get the fire almost completely out before John even managed to get outside.
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Scorched earth by the goat barn... I got it stopped only about 3feet from the straw around the open door...
Scorched earth by the goat barn... I got it stopped only about 3feet from the straw around the open door...
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A shift in the wind would have taken this fire straight to the (occupied)chicken coop
A shift in the wind would have taken this fire straight to the (occupied)chicken coop
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Carla Burke
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Dec 19th - at exactly 3mos old, her head is already almost as big as mine!
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Carla Burke
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New bed, for the New Year, because she's already torn up and outgrown the first 2!!
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Carla Burke
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Jan 4, 2020 was GOTCHA! dayfor Bailey's new baby sister, Charlie - a Cavalier King Charles, who finally, at 8wks old, weighed 5lbs. We're pretty sure that's about bailey's birth weight. On the 2hr drive home, we stopped at a Harley Davidson dealership, and took the pups in. That hat lasted until just after I shot that pic, and Bailey had had enough of it. We didn't buy hers, but Charlie's is now hanging on the fireplace mantle, because she finally outgrew it. Charlie is a whole different story, but we have to keep them apart still, because being impetuous and impulsive puppies, it would only take one playbill nip from Bailey to end Charlie's life. We're working toward both being loose in the room together, but for now, Charlie musty stay on the leash, in my hands or at my side, if they're in the same room.
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Carla Burke
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Jan 14 - come classic Bailey poses. Notice how much she's already grown, in relation to the new bed, in just 2weeks!
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Carla Burke
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At 4mos...
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Carla Burke
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The first half of February, 2020. We're starting to get strong clues that we may soon be facing lockdowns across the country, and we have an extremely active puppy, who needs socialization, in a very big way!
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Carla Burke
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5months old, February 19. Looking down freon the upstairs balcony, this mess used to be my favorite book on soap making...
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Carla Burke
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With Bailey not quite 6mos old, my 23yr old daughter, Keeli, came for a visit. Keep in mind, there is only 7wks difference in the puppies ages, in that middle pic, as Keeli says her goodbyes, before going back home to the Chicago area.
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Carla Burke
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Exactly 6mos old. That white gate is 30" tall...
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Carla Burke
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May 10, 2020 - her head is now bigger than mine, and her jaw big enough to eat my face off, should she so desire. Might I mention how happy I am that she loves our nightly game of blueberry chasing, better?
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Carla Burke
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Oddly enough, all I have for the rest of May & June are on John's phone, so I have to skip from almost 7months, in May to yesterday (July 11, 2020). We'd been in and out, all day, sipping in to check on the pups, take them out, and give them a bit of attention, in between. You know that lovely leather couch, in so many of these pics? Well...


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Carla Burke
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And yet, we love her so much, and we know this was sheer, unadulterated boredom. That's something we believe to be our fault, and we love her, dearly. So this was the last pic of the night. I'm pretty sure we will let her live to be 10mos old, this month. I also think I might be able to repair the couch at least well enough to keep it usable, until she gets through this phase, before we bother to replace it...
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OMG  Carla!   She has grown SO MUCH !! And so cute!
I was showing Liz the pictures of the Bailey zone and the destruction ...
Reading her your words and checking out the photo's  had us both gasping and laughing, saying how, as bad as molly can be... it seems Bailey can be even more exuberant!


Take heart though. Molly just turned one year recently.  (only 102#) She is "starting" to calm down some.
I won't be letting Molly see that photo of Bailey in Johns lap...
Oh , and little Charlie is just adorable !
 
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Adorable. I love big dogs. She has grown like a weed! Is she a brindle? How tall will she be fully grown?! Charlie is cute too, but Bailiey is cuter!

My poodle is about 1.5 now and 25" at the shoulder, finally approaching "good dog" status instead of "crazy teenager".

I relied heavily on controlled demolishion with her as a puppy/teen. I gave her copious amounts of ,cardboard and paper and sticks to shred for my worm bin in an attempt to keep my house intact, if I was thinking ahead, I confined her to a exercise pen to do it. Other than a couple of computer cords  (including a $150 laptop charger - very good thing she is cute!), a hall rug, and a few particularly tasty pieces of my favourite clothing, my house survived unscathed, which I attribute solely to her having enough allowable things to destroy that she didnt get creative, it sure wasnt because of my good housekeeping! My dads puppy today ate two floor mats, and has eaten about a dozen pairs of shoes, a table cloth, a couple leashes, a harness, and God knows what else in the last month so I am feeling fairly smug about minimal losses, even if it did mean a whole bunch of sweeping of paper bits.
 
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Have you considered Kong balls / toys? I've never had a dog that needed the extra toughness, so I haven't used these, but they have a good reputation. I can't find the quote anywhere, but I used to get a pet catalog that advertised them as "almost indestructible". Allegedly, they used to say indestructible, until some guy gave one to his lion.
 
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I used cardboard boxes as the decoy, yes it makes a mess but my girl only managed to accidentally chew through one charger (while chewing a bone) as a puppy. Also the rope toys. she got very good at unpicking them, but it would keep her quiet for 15minutes or so.
 
Carla Burke
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@Thomas & Liz, thank you, and yeh... she's out there, lol. I think this has been an infiltrations learning experience, and we do love her more than I can put into words. But, she not sure I'd want to do this puppy stage with a giant dog indoors, again.

@Catie, she will top out at about 39", at the shoulder. Some do get bigger, but that's the AKC breed standard, and both her parents hit that, with her dad begging closer to 40". Right now, at less than 10mos, IF we were to allow her to put her front paws on our shoulders, and stand on her hind paws, she'd already be substantially taller than either of us. I've seen photos of people who have done that, and the tops of their dogs heads were pretty much bumping the door frames. Yes, she is a Wheaten/Brindle, and her markings show up much better, in the areas where John has been able to strip her coat. Their fur is considered a 'rough coat', and the protective coarse, longer, outer fur must be stripped/ plucked between the ages of about 8 - 12 mos, or their adult coat won't grow in properly. Now, getting these enormous, willful, almost frighteningly intelligent dogs to hold still for this process is a neat trick. It only takes once for them to figure out what you're up to, and while it doesn't hurt them, and they actually feel better, and their fur will be healthier, afterward, it's time consuming, and many of them have no patience for it. Bailey, of course, is one of those, lol.

@T, she has only had 2 of the kong toys that can stand up to her - the extreme classic 'snowman' shaped one, and the bone shaped one. Their fabric ones are useless, for her. I'm looking into getting some pieces of firehose. So far, I've only found it in a minimum of 25ft lengths, and most of them have been in 'used' condition. That means they've often been dragged through whatever is on the street, in driveways & parking lots, etc, which means motor oil is probably one of the last of my concerns, as far as what may have been absorbed into the fabric. That's not something I'd want to give my puppy.
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Better view of her markings, where her coat had been stripped
Better view of her markings, where her coat had been stripped
 
Carla Burke
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Skandi Rogers wrote:I used cardboard boxes as the decoy, yes it makes a mess but my girl only managed to accidentally chew through one charger (while chewing a bone) as a puppy. Also the rope toys. she got very good at unpicking them, but it would keep her quiet for 15minutes or so.



Our problem with things like cardboard, rope, cloth, etc isn't only that she tears them up and makes a mess; she also eats them. Even the stove fireplace, she didn't just chew on it, she chomps it up and swallows it. On walls, we've seriously considered a muzzle for her, because she is lightening fast at nabbing things like acorns, rocks, and chicken poop, and swallowing them, before we can react.

 
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