If you were a sheep living at the home of someone who trained herding dogs, here’s how your day may go: Early in the morning, you are separated from your pals along with three or four other sheep and get put into a round pen with no grass or water. Then it begins, dog after dog comes into the round pen with a human and you get run around and around and around. Then they bring in puppies and they really chase you and the humans think that is cute. Sometimes you get so scared, you run into a fence. The humans laugh and call you a stupid sheep. Sometimes the dogs bite you, sometimes even drawing blood. Hours later, you get put back into the pasture with the other sheep, only to have it happen again the next day and the next until you decide you are not going to do it anymore and you get labeled “sour” or a “knee knocker” and get sold.
I feel bad for the sheep who are used as “school sheep.”
I keep going back to Bill Berhow’s section in the sheepdog trainer book and thinking to myself, that’s the way to do it: let the work train the dog. None of this sticking a bunch of sheep into a round pen and letting dogs and puppies run them around and call it training. Even worst, inviting a bunch of friends over with their dogs and having a party of it. Not my idea of fun, for me or the sheep. I guess I like my sheep too much.