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What do you do in the winter?


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Ah, a warm wind is blowing through and took away all of our snow, leaving thoughts of training... Winter will return of course so while I wait out these last few months, what can I do to with the dogs?

 

We are doing small barn chores. The dogs clear the pen for me while I put out grain. The drawback to this is that I want to be sure that the Shetland lambs (now 8 months old) are getting their fair share.

 

I'm also giving them a good run across the near field to keep them fit. (I'm getting a good walk too - it is very true that if your dog is gaining weight, you aren't getting enough exercise!)

 

What else can I do?

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We are doing stall work; calm movements, proper flanks, packing into corners (fetching and driving), going between sheep and the walls, releasing the pressure to let sheep through doors/gates, being calm up close to sheep, etc. You could work on a stand. Proper flanks from one side to the other while packing sheep into a corner with you off to the side could mimic what is needed at the mouth of a pen.

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As the sheep are inside over most part of the winter there is very little to do in the way of stockwork training, and this year it has been particularly bad.

 

But I shod the first of the horses, so I take Gláma along riding.

 

A friend of mine who lives about 50km further along the coast told me today he intends to start training his new youngster next weekend (weirdly his pastures are free of ice, contrary to ours) and I can go and visit him so we can get a bit of training till I can do something at home.

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Winter is my off-season for work, so I train heavily during this time. In fact, I love winter training, especially when the snow is about 1 ft deep or so. It really gets a dog pushing. I am fortunate that we are cold enough in Michigan to avoid ice conditions most of the time. I am also fortunate that my field is tiled, so I do not get bogged down in mud either.

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