Herding Lesson, part 2 – for the sheep this time

Having decided that Mobi was ready to try herding on his own sheep, my herding instructor, Patsy, her dog Didi, my friend Robin and her dog, Rusty, as well as Mobi and I headed over the sheep pasture.

First order of business was to corral Paridot, our llama. His job is to protect the sheep from predators, including dogs so it would not have been fair to expect him to tolerate three strangers in his field. With the advice of my friend, Julie, who sold me Paridot, we decided to put him in the shelter, tethered to keep him calmer but facing the action in the field.

First, we had to catch him! Patsy and Robin moved some panels around so we could hopefully channel him into a smaller space to get his lead rope on.

They did a good job of herding him into the smaller shelter.

Once in there, after the lead rope was on, he easily was moved into the bigger shelter. There, he supervised the whole herding lesson. Marley, sensing food was coming, decided to remain in the shelter with Paridot.

The rest of the sheep were a little confused at this point.

"Paridot, why are you in there? We don't think we like this!"

We decided to start with Didi and let her work the sheep before Rusty and Mobi gave it a try.

Sid was very curious.

"Who are you and are you coming in?"

We rapidly discovered that with the big shelter in the middle of the pasture, the sheep could just run around it and get away from the dog.

So, we re-arranged the panels and anything else we could find to create a barrier. I think Patsy and Robin thought they were creating a jumping course for horses!

But it worked!

This gave the dogs a better chance to move the sheep effectively. Here is Didi putting them through their paces.

Of course, it wasn’t all cooperation. After all, these sheep have only been worked once before by a dog so they still have a lot to learn.

Sid, "Dog, who made you the boss?!"

Winnie, "Why does she keep following us?"

Rusty and Mobi got a chance to try out their herding skills. It was nice that Didi had tired them out a little!

Mobi, "OK, I'm starting to get the hang of this, I think."

I think everyone – people, dogs, and sheep – learned something at this lesson:

People – get more panels – they really come in handy!

Dogs – we CAN make those sheep move!

Sheep – respect the dog (most of the time).

Llama – some dogs are ok but not sure about these, yet.

Didi, "Lesson finished, Sheep."

Thanks for the help, Patsy and Robin (and Didi and Rusty!). Someday, Mobi will be working these sheep on his own!

Published in: on April 28, 2011 at 4:42 am  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. great commentary. I learned something too. Thanks

    • Thanks! It was a learning day for all of us!

  2. I’m glad that you can channel your sheep’s thoughts. I like to know what they are saying.

    • Well, it’s just a “best guess” (but don’t tell them I said that!)

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