Saturday, November 5, 2011

Ducks and Sheep

Today Irie had her first herding "lesson." She was introduced to call ducks. Diane warned me at this age you often do not see sustained interest and not to worry. I should be happy if she showed any interest.

Diane went and rounded up 4 call ducks and put them into a vari-kennel. Irie had a chance to sniff them at the vari-kennel, then we moved to the control pen.

In the control pen Diane took one duck out and asked me to hold the duck facing me and pet it. When Irie came to smell its bum, I was to pet the duck then pet Irie.  We did this for a bit and then Irie started licking its foot.  At that point we released the duck facing away from Irie so she could follow it. Diane also released the rest of the ducks. I started moving the ducks and making funny noises. As soon as Irie came over I stopped moving and allowed her to continue to move the ducks. We did this quite a few times.

I was really pleased that she showed "sustained" interest in the ducks. When they were loose in the control pen she did not take her eyes off them and continued to move them.

Diane also had us drive the ducks back into the vari-kennel.

We stuck around to watch one of Diane's students work on a holding exercise that involved a chute. Irie was very interested in the sheep, too. At one point when the sheep were packed in the chute Diane suggested we put Irie on top of the ram. The first seminar I did with Jan she mentioned this was a common exercise people did to build the confidence of dogs and she used it a lot with Shelties.

We put Irie up on the ram and she just sat there sniffing, not worried at all. Diane moved one of the heads of the ewes close to Irie so she could sniff her. Then Irie decided she might as well lay down, since the ram was so soft and warm!

After Diane's other lesson we got to move the sheep back into the big field, I did most of the work, not Irie! Next lesson will probably be in early January as Diane will be trialing down south in December. We can work all winter because we will be working ducks and can use a stall.

It was a great "lesson" and I am so happy with Irie's interest!!


Diana said...

How exciting!!

Holly said...

Sounds like a great lesson!

Taryn said...

Wow! Now that's getting an early start! Lucky, Irie! Did you get any photos?

Jules said...

No photos or video. John was planning on coming but was sick in bed with a cold. Major bummer on both counts!!

Kathy said...

how fun, I love watching dogs herd and puppies are too cute, she sounds like it went so well.