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Chore's accomplished, with the dog!

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It was an amazing moment on Saturday when Timber and I were able to, as a team, pen two ram lambs, medicate and turn out.


Timber is 18 months old, he's been getting weekly lesson, and I just began working him in our lessons his past week. Our sheep have never been worked by a dog. Timber has helped a few times, but only on leash and our other dogs have done 'obedience herding' to help create shoots to move the sheep, although the sheep are not impressed with those dogs, and it's a mutual feeling from the dogs.


On Friday, I just couldn't wait any longer and we went out for a short work session, just did a few short outruns, worked on that'll do and called it good. I was very pleased with him, he handled the crazy, young sheep very well only sliced in once, and was overall really trying. I'm sure he was thinking that I have no idea what I'm doing and he'd like a better handler, but he was very patient with me while I stood there planning my placement, his placement, the sheep, which direction to say, remembering to back up, etc.


On Saturday I needed to deworm two ram lambs. We have an 8'x16' pen built in one corner of that pasture and typically dbf stands at the gate and I walk Timber up on leash and we have had some success being able to pen them. Having a little confidence from Friday I decided Timber and I would try the task on our own and off leash. We got the sheep to the fence line about 30 feet from the pen quite easily. The first time I was too far back, thinking Timber would need some support and the sheep took off from our pressure, took a hard left before the pen and back to the north end of the pasture. This was SUPER exciting and Timber almost went into chase mode, but took my second down command :)


Once again I stood in the middle of the pasture figuring out where I should be, where he should be, where we wanted the sheep to go; the whole time him glancing, sheep, me, sheep, me; I'm sure just wanting me to hurry things up. We once again successfully got the sheep to about 25 feet from the pen opening. This time I stood closer to the gate and let him walk them up on his own. They thought about bolting between us once, but Timber covered the gap, good thing b/c at this point I was moving and talking in slow motion. We penned the sheep, I put him in a down on the outside of the gate and he held them in the far corner so I could walk right in, no having to lunge and trip trying to grab one. When it was time to let them go, I was able to flank him to the far side of the pen told him to stay there (which he actually did), the sheep moved to the gate, and I released them.


This was amazing. After about 20 years off and on of having sheep, chasing sheep, slipping and falling in mud while trying to corner sheep, and a little, ok a lot, of cussing at sheep; I can't believe we didn't get a 4 legged partner to help with this sooner.


The dbf and my Dad were very impressed when I came inside. Apparently they watched from the warm kitchen window; evening drinks in hand.


I would love to trial some day; but this is the reason I wanted one of these special working dogs. While we have a long way to go and improvements to be made, we are definitely on a pretty exciting journey. Thanks for reading.

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Great job Julie!! Timber has learned a lot and is growing up. I'm glad he is showing you how useful he can be. He's going to learn so much more in the next couple of years. Feels good, doesn't it?


One of these days we'll have to get the brothers, Hap and Timber, together for a reunion!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you all for your support. It is a warm and fuzzy feeling and pretty amazing at the same time making the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I keep catching myself watching Timber, not working him :)


ETA: Elizabeth, we may be making a trip south to Northern California late spring to visit one if my sisters, maybe we could arrange a pop in so you could meet Timber, and so we could finally meet in person!

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