Sunday, May 27, 2007

Sheep? Did someone say sheep?!?!?

Thursday was a good day down in the pasture where we go sheep herding. Chesney did very well. We worked the sheep in the larger of the two paddocks and continued to practice our fetching and small outruns. Chesney at first was having a hard time listening to the "lie downs" I was giving him but settled in nicely and much quicker this time than he did last week. He made some new friends today. A little black/white girl named Piper who was so attached to her owner it was beyond adorable. Miss Tikkle was there and as sharp as usual. She is such a cool little dog. Then came Sprout, a young girl that was brought trained to work on a goat farm. She was sharp, good little dog that unfortunately was starting to develop so bad habits that Anna was trying to get her out of. Chesney and I got to meet Lucky. A very pretty red tri girl, who is also Tikkle's grandma! That girl can work some cows! She did well today. Then there is little Mr. Rain. Boy was he cute! Only about 3 months old and the sweetest little guy you would ever meet. Poor thing got a dreadful fox tail up his nose though and didn't get the chance to work before he was whisped away to get it taken out.

After Chesney's first trip out on the sheep the second tim
e we were asked to move the sheep to the outside main (rather large) pasture. I was kind of nervous but I had faith that Chesney would listen well and things would stay relatively under control. For the most part they did! I was struggling and fumbling a bit on the hills and gopher holes as I was walking backwards and a rather brisk pace to try and keep ahead to the sheep's fast pace because of Chesney's quick pace! Phew! Alas to no avail I got trampled on... And it wouldn't be the last time for the day! So out in the big pasture we practiced our fetching some more. And some gathering and getting around the sheep and at the top of them cutting in on a straight line... It was good. We put them away and Chesney rested for his third time out which was going to be "functional work" as I like to call it.

On to the functional work... We helped with turning the sheepies out for the night. Chesney and I went to get a rather large group (or larger than we've ever worked with). There were some real buggers in that group
and one male tried to stand up to Chesney, who stood his ground and forced the sheep to move! Way to go Chesney! I had him circle a few times each direction so he could get a feel for them and also get used to working in smaller tighter spaces. Once I opened the gate the wanted to break, but I was ready for it and got Chesney in a good position to be able to stop them. Which he did quite well. We took this group of sheep for a "walk" then turned them out and headed over to the other smaller group to get them turned out. I went into the larger paddock with Chesney at my side (good dog for staying with me!) and we were going to get the 5 or so sheep out of the small pen they were in to join them up with the 3 school sheep already in the paddock. Well it seemed like a good idea to take Chesney in there with me. This pen, let me explain, is about 4'x10'... not very big for a dog, its person and 5 terrified sheep! This has disaster written all over it! One of the sheep head butted Chesney, who stood his ground and changed the sheeps mind that that might be a good idea.

Now, getting 5 sheep out of a pen that small past a dog is exhilarating to say the least! Yes this was the second time of the day I got trampled. Quite funny actually because I should have seen it coming! Get up dust myself off and try to collect my dog who is running a muck after the scattered sheep. Comical.... Right!?!? Not so much. Finally I get everything under control and in good spirit take a bow to all those who were watching. Chesney
and I get the sheep out into the open pasture and take them for a walk again but only a short one because Chesney had over heated and was going to injure himself if I didn't stop him. We went to water and he sat in the trough for a good 5 minutes. All in all it was a great day and I couldn't ask for a more rewarding thing to do with your naturally born talented sheep dog!

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