You’d think I would have learned my lesson by now. When starting a young dog on sheep, you need good, dog-broke sheep. I paid a lot of money for four, well-broke, but not sour, Dorper ewes. They were worth every penny I paid for them.
Now, here I am with a dog who hasn’t worked cattle much trying to dog break calves. Luckily I have plenty of long-distance support in doing it and I do have a better sense of what the final picture is supposed to look like. I also have developed a bit more stock sense than I had before.
Because Gel still doesn’t have a lot of confidence in working cattle and his eye is getting him in trouble, the game plan is that I am to be out there with him moving the calves around. They will move off my pressure, but Gel doesn’t understand that they are moving off my pressure not his. As he gets more and more confident, I’ll gradually start backing out of the picture. Gel used to come into stock like a ton of bricks and he could use that to his advantage now, but darned, I trained that out of him. I need to stop at Lowe’s on the way home and pick up a ten-foot length of 3/4 or 1″ PVC to make a longer stock stick so I can tap a calf if necessary to get her moving without getting kicked.
I remember like it was just yesterday my decision to sell the goats and buy sheep. Because he was being so pushy on goats, which he had to be. Whenever I had him on sheep, he pushing them as hard and I didn’t have the skills to work with that in a proper manner. I sold the goats, bought sheep and clapped down on him. I used to be afraid of light stock, now it’s the other way around. I want to go back to those days and do it over again!
Unfortunately, that isn’t going to happen, but I won’t make the same mistakes with Fern. I’m not taking any of the push out of her.
It’s much easier to slow a dog down that it is to speed it up.