Sunday, August 17, 2008

SUPER Herding Lesson

Bug and I had a herding lesson with Colleen yesterday. Katrin and Monty were originally scheduled to take the slot before us (for purposes of carpooling and turning Bug onto the sheep) but couldn't make it, fortunately Blue and Iris (AS) could.

Bug went first. Colleen had me take him completely off lead and run around cheerleading. The Bug STAYED WITH ME!! The Bug was INTERESTED!! Holy crap!! He was a COMPLETELY different dog than at our previous lesson. This was the make or break lesson, in that we were going to just revisit herding next year if he didn't have more confidence. Well, hooray Buggie!! It seemed like he got pooped pretty quick, and I think that is probably related to the stress as well as the heat and actual activity.

At one spot in the pen his nose kept hitting the ground and Colleen asked if we plan on doing tracking. I think both Ike and Bug would like tracking and am hopeful that I can get into the tracking club's fall seminar. Colleen thought he would be good at it. I know I asked Katrin about it when he first came home and she said, "he's a corgi - YES, he'd probably be good at tracking!"

Then it was Blue and Iris' turn. Blue had taken Iris to an Intro to Herding seminar in the late spring/early summer and Iris thought the sheep were a bit too big, but really liked the ducks. Fortunately Colleen has ducks, so if Iris didn't turn on to the sheep she could work the ducks. However, Iris turned onto the sheep while Buggie was working them! When she got into the pen she was happy and ready to work.

Bug found the ONE piece of shade outside the pen to lie in and watch Iris. I was pleased that after initially rolling about and drinking water he settled down and watched Iris, Blue, and the sheep very attentively.

Then we put our dogs up and Colleen got her bitch Hannah out. Colleen wanted us to work with Hannah so we could learn the mechanics of controlling the dog's movement with the rake with a dog who knows what is going on. I went first and it was kind of a disaster! Hannah decided I am a "soft" human and ran roughshod all over me!! Oye! She was very naughty and because of my inexperience with the rake I was a major contributor by giving her mixed messages. The good thing is that it made it VERY obvious when I did the *right* thing!

Colleen explained that the rake should always be at about the dog's girth line, not ahead of it because then you are reversing the dog's movement and not too far behind it. If you are lagging too far behind you need to reverse your direction and wait until the dog circles around and essnetially runs into the rake line. I had a lot of trouble shadowing Hannah. She is very fast and you are not supposed to run and yet you need to shadow the dog.

Finally Colleen took pity on me and had Blue work with Hannah. ;D Needless to say, I have a LOT to learn!!


GeeRome said...

Congrats on the good herding session. I've had both my guys tested for herding instinct, and they had a really good time. No big plans on pursuing it more, though. Lots of other things on the go!

I'd really recommend tracking, if not now, then a couple years down the line when you pooches start to slow down. My older Sheltie LOVES tracking. It's amazing to watch them doing something that they just KNOW how to do ... no real training other than polish. Sort of like herding! haha

Jules said...

Thanks, GeeRome. It was a lot of fun.

Everyone keeps telling me about tracking - once you know the basics you can play and have a very good time. I think Bug and Ike would LOVE it!

Dawn said...

Tracking is fun too, and just like herding, the dog gets it WAY before the human does! Sounds like you had a very successful day and learned alot. I need to get my kids out to some sheep, I jus thave to figure out how to make it work.

Blue said...

Bug was awesome! He didn't seem nearly as worried about the sheep as you said he was before.

By the way, I LOVE that photo of Iris. Thank you so much for taking the photos of her. I meant to get the camera from you to get some photos of Bug but just spaced out on that. Duh! I'll have to remember to bring my camera next time.

Jules said...

Glad you like the pics! Yes, he was SOOOOOOOO much better. Hooray!!

Holly said...

YEAH!!!! Go Bug! Go Iris! Herding is so much fun!

Diana said...

Yea Bug!!!!! Diana