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Adventures with sheep


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Have to have a little brag. At practice yesterday ? our trainer up at her house about 300 yards away ? we?ve put our first packet of sheep back in a small yard, no problems, get our second packet out, bringing them across the big yard to the gate into our training paddock, when they spot another gate open ? in a corner ? too hard for Kirra to cover at her stage of training ? so there go our 6 sheep off up a hill in a narrow entrance which then widens out to give them access to a 150 acre paddock, which somewhere has ewes in it. This had also happened a couple of weeks ago, but on that occasion, by the time I?d put Kirra back in the car, and gone to see where the sheep were, I met my trainer (who had left the gate open) and she and her dog were able to get them back. She pointed out that we could have gone through the next paddock to get ahead of the sheep. So yesterday, when our sheep get out, we go into the next paddock ? that was interesting in itself ? Kirra was a bit put off by the different and larger paddock. We head uphill, keeping out of sight of the sheep which were still a bit ahead of us ? we didn?t want to push them further on. Right up to the top corner of the paddock we were in ? of course there?s no gate there ? so I left Kirra sitting at the corner, and climbed through the fence to go see if I could locate the sheep. Luckily they were downhill from us, about 200 yards away, against a fence next to a paddock where there were some ewe hoggets frolicking around. I went back to get Kirra, lifted her through the fence (of course I didn?t have a lead with me, did I), and then we went over and just walked down the hill, putting just enough pressure on our sheep to get them moving back towards the gate. I didn?t want to take the chance of trying to send Kirra around them, since this would have brought them back up the hill, and I wasn?t confident that we could control them that way yet. I was so proud of my little girl, who was able to keep beside me, more or less ignore the frolicking ewes who were rushing up to the fence to see our boys, and help me gently to move our wethers the 150-200 yards or so back down to the gate and into the yard. She might be a bit naughty in the obedience ring ? but who cares ? I thought that was true obedience for her to walk more or less with me and stop when I asked, when she could have created absolute mayhem.


It was cold and windy yesterday, and some of our sheep were a little crazy, so that some of our work in the paddock could have been a lot better ? but I still felt very proud of my little dog (and myself) ? we?d come up against a real work problem, and been able to work out a way of fixing it. My little dog learnt that it was worth listening to me ? and I learnt to check the gates first before I take sheep through the big yard!!!

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