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assessing readiness for ewe and lamb chores

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Hi Beverly.

I was wondering how you decide when a young dog is ready for work in situations where it might be challenged such as working with ewes and lambs? Are you looking for a certain level of training or attitude? Obviously there will be a lot of variablitiy from dog to dog. I was just wondering about your ideas on this subject.

Thanks in advance,


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I don't like to put a dog in a situation where I don't know what will happen until I am confident that nothing that is likely to happen is likely to damage the dog's self confidence. So I am reluctant to work lambs or ewes with lambs who might hit my dog until he has shown me that being hit is unlikely to hurt his feelings.


Sometimes this is not until the dog is two years old or older. Other dogs have such self confidence that I will happily take them into dangerous or tricky situations much younger. I'm afraid it will depend upon how aggressive your sheep are and how self confident and brave your dog is.


Dogs become braver and more self confident with age. It is very easy for a small thing to shake the confidence of a young dog who, faced with the exact same thing, six months later would not be bothered. I tend to err on the side of caution.



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Thanks. I tend to be cautious myself. I just asked because I have a 19 month old that seems pretty sure of herself. I think it's more than just young dog enthusiasm. I use her a lot for routine sorting type chores. I'm sure it wouldn't hurt to give her the extra time though.

Thanks again,


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