When I first get home from work, the first thing that I do is let my dogs out. Then, if they are not already there, I move the sheep and cattle down into the back pasture. Last night when I got home, Gel was down at the pond smooshing with my landlady. The high winds we’ve been receiving discombobulated his run and the door won’t always stay shut so he gets out. Okay, I thought, Fern can bring the sheep and cattle down to the back pastures. To date, she’s only taken the sheep down on her own.
Fern let me know she was up for the challenge. I sent her in to the fenced in area and she quickly brought out the sheep. I brought her back in and she got the cattle out. Then, I sent her to retrieve the sheep and brought them to where the cattle were waiting and we all proceeded down to the pastures. Granted, she had it pretty easy because the cattle now know the routine and are happy to head down there. When we were finished, Fern all but did the happy dance as we walked down to the pond to retrieve the still absentee Gel. He came up with us and headed to the fenced-in area thinking we were going to take the sheep and cattle out. Too late Gel. Pay more attention next time to the white car coming into the driveway.
It amazes me how much instinct is bred into these dogs. Almost from the get-go, Fern knew to keep the stock to me (called balancing) as I move and to gather them and bring them to me (rather than chase them away or hold them to a fence). I worked her a bit on flanks this morning and plan to start formal training this weekend. Having power steering on her will be extremely beneficial. Lessons learned from Gel, get driving practicing going as soon as she understands her flanks and get her on whistles as soon as possible. Fern should pick up driving easier than Gel did. She has no problem walking in straight on stock and doesn’t seem overly distressed by walking behind stock. Gel hates it. He wants to go to their heads. Gel is likely never going to be a good driving dog.