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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Shepherding

I'm all unpacked now from our show weekend. All the dogs have been out for a hike and so I turn my attention to the sheep and take them out of their pasture for a little graze--as they have been baaaaing at me all day telling me the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. I took out Crochet and her daughter Pooka2. Crochet has not been formally trained at all as she does not live with me on a full-time basis. Pooka2 lives here and so has practical working experience. They were both working as a great team. (Last year I sold most of my ewes and lambs and so only have 3 bitchy ewes.) In fact, watching the dogs work if seems they can read my thoughts and really it is my body language that they act on, with very few words required. If one compares this to the "sheep herding training" that we all sign(ed) up for it goes to show us how very, very much we miss out on learning about our dogs and their communication with the livestock. Again, time is our enemy with formal training schools/lessons where we pay huge amounts of money for 1/2 hour lessons with lots of movement and lots of noise quickly taught. If you watch the video you can see that the sheep were heading towards the forest (to the left). I do not allow them into the forest so I may have made a step in that direction. Immediately both dogs understand their services are required and what needs to be accomplished. Very subtly and very quietly they place themselves in a position to block the sheep. I could have called out a "come by" and got everyone moving faster, but to watch how SUBTLE the dogs were being was a joy. An "instructor" may have said the dogs were eating poop or grass or deemed them "off contact". But, they were working and thinking and communicating! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsGNgwO5oBg&feature=youtube_gdata

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