This is a blog about animal behaviour and training. My obsession with animals has been a lifelong one. It took me a long time to be able to pinpoint exactly what I found so intensely exciting and interesting about them. Eventually, I decided it was the way they could open up a world that was completely foreign and laregely incomprehensible to me every time I took a moment to watch what they were doing. It was natural that I should devote a lot of my time to learning about animal behaviour.
This blog is called hareandhunds because that is really where my zoological studies and animal training collided. I was doing my honours project (on bird behaviour) when a very small leveret came into my life. A leveret is a baby hare. Hares live exclusively above the ground, unlike rabbits, and rely entirely on their ability to flee from danger faster than they can be chased. They are very nervous animals. I named my leveret Kitten, not realising at that point that baby hares are not called kits. The name stuck, though.
I slowly and painfully got to know this wild animal. It became apparent to me that despite three and a half years of tertiary education and a lifelong interest in animal behaviour, I didn’t know very much about it from a practical sense. The internet was not a great repository of hare-related information, and I eventually had to accept that the only one that had a clue what was going on and what Kit needed was Kit himself. I was forced to try to listen to him. It took me a long time to hear him, and in the process I learnt more about dogs than actually owning dogs had ever taught me. Granted, there is not much about hare behaviour that is remotely like dog behaviour, but it was the different perspective that I found so valuable. At some point I realised how stunted my relationship with my corgi, whom I had grown up with and treated as my oldest and truest friend, was compared to my relationship with Kit. I had a terrible revelation that I had been the one that had stunted that relationship, broken it beyond repair with sheer ignorance. I vowed the next dog I had would be raised like Kit had been. I would listen.
Four years later I got my first hund. He’s a Finnish Lapphund, a breed I picked with the hope that I would get something smart, a little independent, and not about to kill my hare. I discovered raising a dog like I had raised a hare was not entirely possible. I made mistakes, but Kivi Tarro the Lappie is a darling and the kind of dog you can afford to make mistakes with, bless him.
Eighteen months after Kivi arrived, my corgi passed away and I got my second hund. Erik the Tall is a Swedish Vallhund. He is quite quirky and requires some pretty proactive management and training. He is not the kind of dog you can afford to make mistakes with, bless him.
The hunds and the hare were the beginning of my training and ethology journey. I hope that I can pass on some of the things they have taught me, and that the journey of knowledge-seeking they set me on will continue long after they have all left me.