Is Wool Alive?

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When this herding dog saw a felted wool ball for the first time, he circled it, eying it, sniffing it, crawling up to it to nuzzle it and then backing away. He recognized the wool, but the wool did not move as a sheep does. After a while, he realized the wool was not alive, stopped herding it and had great fun with it. To be completely honest, the pictures are actually of his first exposure to a garden hose, but his owner said his initial reaction carried the same surprise and wariness.

The felt is so strong that not only did the dog not tear it up, when the wool was felted around an inflatable ball, his teeth did not puncture the ball, only the wool. His owner, Linda, said the ball is a special toy, to be taken out at certain times. While he did not tear it up at all in the short playtime with it, if given alone time with it, his teeth are strong enough to tear it to bits.

How do you get your dog to herd a ball without puncturing it? Wet felt it.

Linda and Kitty spent an afternoon with me experimenting with dog toys and wool, nylons and wet felting. They left with wool wrapped items to throw in the washing machine at home. You can see the prefelted items in the bottom right corner of the last picture.

  • a croaker (long roll in stocking)
  • a 12″ inflatable ball
  • a 1″ squeaker
  • wool balls

After wet felted, the croaker still croaked and the squeaker still squeaked. The 12″ ball did not fit in the leg of the nylon like the dryer balls do, but it did just barely fit into the waist of the stockings. You can see the funny creature with floppy nylon ears in the very bottom right of the picture.

Kitty and Linda are DIYers with Kitty traveling around the nation to dog shows selling leashes that Linda makes from braided leather.

Thanks to the New Hope and then the Golden Valley Farmers markets for introducing us.

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