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Tuesday, May 05 2015


Sunday we drove over to another pasture to pick up the sheep and bring them home. Lily came along to load them. Mesa came along to watch, and maybe play a bit. The sheep haven't been worked by a dog in a long, long while and so even the "knee-knockers" had forgotten that Knee Knockers do less work. Lily ran out, picked them up, and jogged their memory.

Sheep who come to the human and stay close to the human (i.e. knocking your knees) are safe from the black & white devil. (Border Collie) and don't end up running as much as sheep who attempt to hook it for the back pasture. Running only works when used against the cripple dog with the bad back who cannot outrun fast sheep. If used against the Red Troll Dog, it is futile, and there can be, and usually is, a running penalty. (This is why the Red Dog is not often used on sheep. Human gets VERY angry when the Troll dishes out a running penalty.)

Because the paddock the sheep were in was small and Lily was handy to clean up the mess, I let Mesa in there to see what she'd do with sheep. At first she bowled right through them like she was trying to pick up a spare. Sheep went everywhere.

But the day was hot, and no one was really into all that, so in very short time the sheep and the pup got into the groove in a loose accumulation around me.

We peeled Mesa off on a good note and she'll be put up for another month. She is pretty interested but I want to dog-break the sheep some more and move them into a round pen before she tries her hand again when she's older. She isn't ready for formal training yet and I don't want to put a bunch of pressure on her since she is still a baby with lots of growing up to do.

I just want to get her used to the idea of dogs helping with chores. As she gets older, and gains more control over her body and her impulses, she'll get more freedom to accompany me while I do chores. I didn't do this with Trace. We kept him locked away from the stock because he was so bad about sneaking out to work them on his own. Lily was always by my side and it shows in her approach to working stock. She immediately tries to figure out what the job is and what she can do to help. Trace was a lot slower about doing this. Mesa doesn't show as much eye and serious obsession as Trace did at this age though. She is still very much a bumbly puppy chasing bugs in the yard, and there is nothing wrong with that because she IS still a puppy.

Working stock is hard work and it can be very serious life and death work, so I'm in no rush to hurry her into it.  Sheep and goats can be fun and games, but cattle are the Big League and since we have all three species here, Mesa needs complete control over both her body and her impulses before she jumps into the deep end of the pool.

Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 11:55 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Comments:
ROFL!! My red dog believes in giving running penalties too. Unfortunately, he also causes the running sometimes, so I really don't like him dishing out penalties. Do you think it's a red dog thing, or a cattle dog thing?
Posted by Patty on 05/05/2015 - 07:03 PM

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