Maybe it’s because it was Monday, or maybe it was because I fed him before he left, but Gel was horribly off today. I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he was not feeling well rather than outright blowing me off. Tomorrow, however, we are going to have a lesson on listening skills. Part of the reason could be that my whistles are bad and the sheep were wicked. There is one Jacob sheep with horns straight up in the air and he charged both Gel and Fern several times. On Wednesday, he’ll be removed from the group so there will be no injuries.
Fern was amazing. I can see the light bulb has gone on and she’s starting to take flank commands. I was also pleased to see her outrunning skills have returned (at one time she was running up the middle of the field). I used her to sort the sheep so I could use a smaller group and let the other group rest. On Wednesday, we’ll sort the sheep into three groups so we are not using the whole flock at a time. They work better in smaller groups. These sheep are fat and out of shape. It doesn’t take much to get them blowing.
I tried to work Split on the whole flock, but she was clearly in over her head. Once we split the group, however, she worked them wonderfully! She’s now going between the sheep and the fence with ease and starting to grasp the concept of staying behind the flock. She was really good at the farm and when we were through with the demo, I was able to let her run loose with the other two dogs and she behaved beautifully. There are small pens of sheep and other animals throughout the farm and she called off everything the first time I asked. Good girl! I’m very happy with this dog.
This morning, we solidified plans for demos at the local Christmas Tree Farm. I don’t get paid for doing these demos, but it’s good experience for the dogs.
I’m beat. I went to bed way too early last night and paid for it this morning when I woke up at 2 AM and couldn’t go back to sleep until around 5 when I fell into a heavy sleep only to have to get up at 5:30. I managed to get everything done and be on the road well before 8:30. On Wednesday, I’ll have to leave a bit earlier so that I will have time to sort sheep.
Until later …