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What to do with real sheep?

Guest Margaret Wheeler

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Guest Margaret Wheeler

The sheep are lovely and light right now. They are not overly fond of me or Nell but not panicstriken either. I like this because it feels "real," without getting us in too far over our heads.


Two interesting situations have arisen with these nice sheep:


They move away from Nell quickly but they don't move onto me for safety. They move at an angle seemingly intended to pass me and escape the both of us. If I down Nell to slow them up, they really become the masters of their own ship going wherever they please. If I stay quiet and let Nell take the initiative, she runs a complete circle around them coming close enough in front that she slows them and turns them toward me a bit at the same time before she returns to a spot behind them.


From past talks with you, I know that I Nell and I can probably learn a lot from these sheep and that there isn't a single right way to work with Nell given their behavior. What do you think of her circling? Almost all the time now she is willing to do what I ask of her and so I am starting to worry that I will discourage her from covering her sheep if I keep her too far off or if I let them run past me without allowing her to control them by coming around them.


We tried a little driving with them and that seemed to go well. Maybe we should spend part of our time with these gals in the pen (instead of the small field). I never felt like things were going wrongn this morning, but I did feel like I might not be taking full advantage of good sheep who were offereing me a chance to learn something new.


<small>[ September 29, 2003, 12:05 PM: Message edited by: Margaret Wheeler ]</small>

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Guest Carol Campion

I think once you are asking questins like this, then you are ready for the next step.


Start sending her a litle farther on her ORs. Or if she is not ready for that, hold her down while you move the sheep farther away on the fetch so when you pivot to work send her on a flank or the top of the OR, she needs to be farther away than before. You will see her possibly pull in to get as close to where she is used to being. Here is your opportunity to push her to a new plateau. Make her learn to stay farther away from her sheep. She can learn to move them with her eye and not her physical presence.


Also, keep working on off balance stuff as well as balance stuff to keep her flexible in her thinking. She has a ton of balance and you need for her to be flexible as well as balanced.


If she will drive a little, go ahead. Call her into the face of the sheep and turn them at this age so she doesn't get trained only looking at the back end of sheep. Otherwise, she may be one of those dogs that is uncomfortable walking into the face of sheep.

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