Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sheep Herding

My friend, Alex, had taken her blue heeler, Tilly, to a farm about 40 minutes from here to be evaluated as a sheep herder. With real sheep. I was immediately intrigued. The dog trainer that I had last winter had recommended that Gracie be trained either in herding or agility. So this morning I took Gracie for her evaluation.

And forgot my camera! Arrgghhhh!

But it would have been difficult to take photos of Gracie herding anyway, because I was in the pen with her. I do promise pictures next week, because we are going back. Gracie was not real sure what we wanted her to do. She did chase the sheep, but then she would become distracted. OH, look, mom, sheep poop. I must sniff that!

To back up a bit, you are in the penned area with 6 to 8 sheep, the trainer, and your dog. You are basically moving the sheep and the dog is let loose to herd them. New dogs have a problem when the sheep go into a corner, or stay against the fence. The trainer let one of her dogs, Wizard, loose to move the sheep away from the fence. Once Gracie saw what Wizard was doing, she followed his lead. It was amazing. We finished on a very high note, with lots of praise. And, yes, we are going to return. Plus next week, I am bringing Sarge along as well. My little, anxious, nervous Sheltie. He may surprise us all.

Gracie is exhausted. This is a very good thing. We had a great day.

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