berocca Posted August 7, 2007 Report Share Posted August 7, 2007 Well I have been really keen to get Delta (8 months) down to try her out on the sheep since first picking her up at 8 weeks. She has come from working lines and all her parents, grandparents etc are successful working dogs and I'm hoping she will be too. The club I took Cody to don't like to start dogs before 6 months unless the handler knows what they are doing. Since she turned 6 months it has rained every Sunday except the weekends that a trial was scheduled and training was off anyway. I finally got to take her today and as a last minute decision took Charlie as well. I have seen absolutely nothing to suggest that Charlie has any herding instinct whatsoever but figured the breeds are in there so I might as well take him along. I took Delta out first and the trainer wanted to start off in a pen with about 20 sheep in it. The poor thing took one look at this mob of sheep staring at her and went and hid in the corner. She was absolutely petrified and no amount of coaxing could get her near them. The trainer had a real "just need to get her close and instinct will kick in" mentality which seemed a little odd but I figured he knew what he was doing. After 10 minutes I decided to get her out of there and grabbed Charlie. He was more interested in the trainers dog, the sheep poo, the trainer, etc. He was aware of the sheep but wasn't particularly interested in them. The trainer walked him through the sheep to separate a few of them and dropped the lead. He went and circled them without hesitation which shocked us all. We left the lead to trail after that and discovered that I have a dog who does in fact have herding instinct, keeps a good distance from the sheep, and immediately returns to my side when told to . We stopped for lunch and I got talking to another trainer. She has done a range of dog sports with her dogs and seems to be more focussed on the dogs than the sheep. She told me that she would take me into the round pen after lunch to see how they went. There is only 3 sheep in there so I thought it was worth trying Delta again, plus this trainer was going to work at Delta's pace. With a lot of coaxing (and yummy frankfurts!!!) she eventually walked up to the gate and sat for me. We took her in and slowly walked around the pen. It took about 20 mins to walk right the way around as every few metres she lay down for a minute but got back up again on her own and kept going. Just like as though she had to gather her thoughts before going on Just before we got right the way around she actually looked at them, started to step towards them but when she moved suddenly the sheep took off which startled her again lol. I took her back to the car and played with them for a bit before taking Charlie in. He dragged me the whole way to the pen and was so eager that every time we made him stop he would only get to about 7 secs before getting up again. Which usually turned into about 30 secs coz I wouldn't let him walk up again until he waited for 10. I wouldn't normally make a dog wait that long but he has a bit of the cattle dog "Charge!!!" mentality that I want to get under control early. He still listened to whoever had his lead which is what impressed me. Cody was an advanced obedience and agility dog before I took him down there but he became deaf when he could see sheep. He never made it off the lead... Charlie seems like he will be better though, just by talking to him while watching what he did he started to work out some of the commands anyway. By saying steady before the lead went tight he generally backed off a little and if he lunged and made it tighten he started to automatically sit as he knew he would be asked to lol. I will take them down again next weekend to see how they go. I'm hoping I might have finally found a sport that Charlie enjoys- he already does obedience (which is pretty boring anyway) and has been doing agility for a few months but he doesn't have the spark in his eye that Cody had and Delta definitely has. Agility is it's own reward for Delta and Cody was the same. With Charlie; however, he will do what I ask and is reasonably reliable on all the obstacles but he is very easily distracted and switches off halfway through the lesson. He really shocked me today though. I really didn't think he would want to herd at all but figured I might as well take him as some dogs can surprise you when they actually see the sheep. He certainly did that! The same lady is going to help me with Delta again next weekend which is good as I dont want her to be scared off this early. I'm confident that she will make a great worker once she gets over her fear of the evil white things! Mind you, my dogs are probably at a disadvantage by having me as a handler lol. I walked in and went "Oooh... there are sheepies! Can I pat one?" Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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