I went out with the intention of breaking things into smaller pieces for all of the dogs. Instead of asking Gel to shed, I gate sorted and worked him on small groups, something I know he doesn’t like. He has to be precise in his movements or he’ll loose the sheep, which he did a few times and I got after him when he did it. We worked on penning, something we haven’t done in ages and again, if he got out of contact with the sheep, I growled at him. Finally, we did some driving and he actually did quite well. He stalled out once and I growled at him to get up and he didn’t stop again. We got a very nice cross drive.
At first, I wasn’t going to work Split on the small group, but the first group contained three of my well-dog-broke Dorper ewes so I decided to use them. She surprised me. The excessive flanking all but stopped. She’s outrunning quite nice as well.
I went back to get another group of sheep and had a hard time getting Gel to focus on the task at hand. There are two pygmy goats in the fenced-in area and the ram was trying like heck to breed the doe. Gel got caught up in that and was blowing me off until I went in there and got after him. The second group was lighter and I elected to not work Split or Fern on them.
For the third time pulling out sheep, I used Fern and this time pulled out the whole group (the ram was being obnoxious and I needed to get him out of there). At first, she tried to bring out the pygmy goats with the sheep, but she is very easy to redirect. With the larger group, I worked on driving with Fern and called it a day.
The rest of the sheep were in an adjoining field and I sent Fern for them. I told her to “look” and then sent her away and she went out, hopping up on her hind legs to see over the grass until she found the sheep.
On our way back to put the sheep up, Red came home and showed me one of the cats that lives up there who is very sick with an upper respiratory infection. Unlike most of the cats up there, you can handle him so I brought him home to see if I can patch him up.
It seems as though this has been a lost day.