Tuesday, November 18, 2008

"Go Fine Me Sheep"

This has pretty much been the theme of our work sessions recently. Who thought hiding sheep in a 40 something acre field with hills, shadows, a pond, and trees, would be so much fun! Well, it's tons of fun and if you don't think so... let me explain. First you need somewhere to put your dog while the sheep are being set. Then you need someone who can move the sheep to the undisclosed location with their dog. 
Finally you bring your dog out to the field, and ideally they don't see where the sheep are before you get there. Then the magic words come... "Chesney, go find me sheep." He LOVES this sentence. After you give this command and if you know where the sheep are, you usually give a directional command, either "go-bye" or "away", then off they should go. 

Chesney didn't always know what this means, however, he did know find it, and since we are working sheep I think he is smart and put 2 and 2 together. At first, he would kind of run out trusting me that there were sheep out there, but not really sure if or where they were in the field. Now when I send him he goes out confidently after three sessions of this AND as soon as we get to the field whether I plan on sending him or not, he is looking for sheep.

One of the reasons behind doing this was to build up his confidence that he can do things correctly without me there or in sight. He is starting to bring me all the sheep he is sent for along with getting much straighter on his fetch. 

Chesney also got put back in the packed pen since it had been a while working in a small pen with lots of sheep. The first time there were 30 sheep in a stall about 10yrds by 5 yrds. 
When he would go around if the sheep didn't move, he would try a heel, and if they still didn't move he would go over top them. Good to see him being confident about where he needed to be and how to get there. 

With doing some chores like moving sheep for other dogs to work in different pens and fields keeps him doing real jobs. Along with things like shedding to sort some off a group then move them somewhere while the other group stays in the same field teaches him that shedding is important for certain things. We also worked on penning. We shed a group off and pushed them down the hill to the pen and they were a perfect group for this since they didn't readily want to go in. Persistence and some adjustments on Chesney's part got them in the pen. We let them out then took them somewhere else while the group up top was being worked. 

They've been good last few sessions, and they've been fun!


Samantha ~ Holly and Zac ~ said...

Nice shots Danielle, especially those last two of Chesney in stalking mode and the one of him with the sheep. He looks great and it sounds like he is doing really well. :-))

Danielle said...

Thanks Sam, He is doing really well. I count down the days until the weekend for when we get to go back and work.