Today Bug and I went out to Two Shadows Farm for a herding lesson. Colleen had us work in the smaller pen, so Bug would hopefully be more comfortable. He definitely still thinks the sheep are a bit strange and doesn't understand that he is controlling their movement. However, he was immediately willing to walk with me up and after the sheep (this is how we finished last lesson).
Colleen decided to go get her 2 yo Terv Talia for Bug to watch herd. We let Bug and Talia play first and they were a good match in personality and playing style. Bug gave Talia his belly a couple of times but he wasn't melting the whole time - he was playing, too.
He was really interested in Talia working the sheep but not willing to give chase with Talia. We did this for a while and then Colleen put Talia up. Bug was definitely "looser" and more confident about the sheep after watching Talia. Still not 100%. Colleen had a couple of suggestions. The next lesson we have scheduled, Monty and Katrin will also be going. Bug can watch Monty work the sheep first. She suggested that I work with one of her dogs so I can start to learn more of the basics, while she holds Bug outside the pen. Hopefully we will make the Bug want to work the sheep with me! : D
She also suggested taking him somewhere that has sheep and c/t him for watching them. He was fascinated by her sheep on the hill - all eyes and big ears, but he didn't want to look at the sheep in the pen with us - they were too close!
So, I need to find some sheep nearby and get Bug closer and closer. We are going to give it two more lessons and then shelve it until next year if there is no real progress. Colleen thinks as our relationship continues to develop and Bug gets more confident it will probably affect his confidence with the sheepies.
There was a lot of stress sniffing (and delectable smell sniffing) going on, but
I definitely saw an improvement from last lesson where I felt like I was dragging him about!
5 days ago