Marley the sheep stands out from the flock in the best way.
Jane Bayliss lives in Western Australia with a mishmash herd of animals. She has a rabbit, a dog, a horse, and, last but not least, a sheep that thinks she's a puppy. From a young age, Marley was treated as part of the family. She went everywhere her humans did--even to work--and the little farm animal quickly turned into a beloved family pet.
As Marley grew, Bayliss saw no point in telling her that she was in fact a sheep and not a puppy. The lamb was perfectly content to play with her family and spend her time indoors. She learned agility better than a lot of dogs, and she even uses the doggy door to get where she needs to go. Her family also taught her a number of tricks usually reserved for dog training.
Sheep don't always make good pets, but Marley is certainly special. Sheep have strong flocking instincts and can be frightened when handled by humans. Bottle-fed lambs, however, are often easily trained--as long as the trainer has the right kind of knowledge. Sheep can be taught not to go to the bathroom inside, and positive reinforcement with food and a clicker is an effective training method.
Sheep are known to be affectionate animals, and many breeds are recognized for their intelligence. Sue Weaver says training a lamb is sometimes easier than training a puppy. But it's always important to remember that sheep are all individuals. They have varying personalities, and they're not all suited for life outside the barn.
In Marley's case, she's adapted well to life as a house sheep. Her family can't imagine their lives without her.
What do you think of keeping a sheep as a pet? Let us know in the comments.
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