More in the Life of Riley

Posted by Nerilie Watson on 7 January 2013 | 4 Comments


Riley came home with us in late June and has settled in well. He has grown quite a lot and is probably now about 12 months old or perhaps a bit more. He still has a puppy outlook on life and is quite a relaxed and soppy dog, loving cuddles and company.


Our fourteen year old moggy, Tommy, has accepted Riley and while he still prefers not to have a dog around, he is no longer scared of the pup. Riley was quite wary of Tommy for a while and still can’t figure out why he won’t play with him, but still holds a healthy respect for the cat. Even so, they will still share a bed for a while, usually until Riley wriggles too much and Tommy moves away.

After Riley had been with us about two weeks, we found he was scared of going in the car. Despite being a model passenger on the way home from the refuge, he wouldn’t willingly get into the car and had to be chased down and physically placed inside.  Once there, he wasn’t bothered at all and didn’t appear car sick or anything.  We soon figured out his problem; he was happy where he was and thought if he went in the car that he might get dumped again. With his university aged brother and sister helping, he was taken on various fun outings to the river, beach and to play with other dogs, or even just a ride to refuel the car.  He soon realized that he wasn’t going to get dumped and that car outings were usually really good fun. Now we have another problem. We have to stop him getting into the cars of visitors when they open the door as he will jump right in!


While doing his obedience training one night, Riley’s Dad picked up a large stick to throw it off the training area and Riley completely freaked, jumping up and down and trying to pull away. From this and other observations made when a sudden movement occurs, we think our darling boy may have been beaten at some stage. He is a gentle dog who is largely eager to please and with him probably having been beaten, we have to scold him gently for his doggy misdemeanours such as digging holes in the lawn.

Riley passed his basic obedience. It was a narrow pass as he was more focused on “farming” the treats dropped by previous dogs while doing their exam. Once there were no more treats, he worked much better with the obedience and squeaked through.

Our boy was described as a Kelpie cross and we were curious as to what other breed(s) were there as he has grown much bigger than a Kelpie. Through a bit of googling and talking to doggy people in the park, we determined that Riley has a lot of Huntaway in his parentage. With Kelpie and Huntaway in his breeding, it is no wonder he loves to run and run in the park and his favourite pastime is to round up the other dogs there.

Our boy is also very vocal which was another clue to the Huntaway. It is rather cute and his “talking” sounds and looks rather like a noisy yawn, but with quite a lot of expression.


When Riley was about 7 or 8 months old, we had occasion to baby sit a lamb for a week while her family were away. As he is so gentle, we weren’t worried that he might hurt the lamb but did consider that he might want to chase and play with it until she was harmed accidentally. We couldn’t help but laugh when they were introduced, as Riley was scared of her. So much for our big brave guard dog! He rapidly overcame his fear and they got along quite well although at one stage we went outside to find the pair of them panting and immediately gave Riley a gentle scolding for chasing the lamb. A short while later, Riley’s Dad realized that we owed him an apology as the lamb was running up to Riley, head butting him and then running away to get him to chase her!

When we had a warm day, we took Riley on his first trip in the canoe and he was beautifully behaved even though there weren’t any places he could go for a good run. He was very happy standing as far to the front of the canoe as he could manage and taking in all he could through his senses.


We made use of an opportunity to go away down south for a few days a few weeks ago and were busy packing the car and van and strapping the canoe onto the car. Riley was quite excited and got into the car and waited. It distressed us to have to put him in the yard and drive off without him. Apparently he was distressed also as his big sister told us that before we had been gone ten minutes, he went out the back and “gardened” by completely destroying a pot plant which was something he hadn’t done for quite a while and hasn’t done since.

Riley has well and truly settled into life with us and is our darling and an icon in the park with his rounding up of other dogs. He brought us a lot of love, fun, laughter and companionship and we all hope he will live a long, long time. 

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  • Great story and lucky Riley. Does he have one white sock ... I have heard this is common to Huntaways.

    Posted by Linda Mort, 08/01/2013 11:52pm (6 years ago)

  • This is a lovely description of Riley and his new family life. Your description of working out his ways and working solutions are gratifying. Thank you for sharing.

    Posted by Ali, 07/01/2013 8:43pm (6 years ago)

  • Great story. And stunning looking dog

    Posted by Greg, 07/01/2013 8:40pm (6 years ago)

  • What a wonderful story, made my day to read this, many thanks :-)

    Posted by Kendal Becus, 07/01/2013 7:51pm (6 years ago)

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