But mom, you said to keep the sheep out of the exhaust pen.
My tri-colored Border collie sees the world in black and white.
Niki is the most challenging, most affectionate, cutest and hardest working dog I own. But, she sees the world differently than my other dogs.
At the sheepdog competition this past weekend, I used her to exhaust sheep for the pro-novice class. The sheep weren't so sure they wanted to go into the exhaust, or holding pen, at the end of each competitor's run. The pen was unfamiliar, and sheep don't like unfamiliar.
Niki loved running out onto the field, collecting the sheep and directing them to the exhaust pen. She enthusiastically did her job time and time again.
On the second day of the trial, the sheep no longer saw the exhaust pen as an unfamiliar, scary place. Instead, it was a place where they could eat hay and get away from the dogs.
So Niki's job description changed.
Her job was to make sure the sheep did not get to the exhaust pen during each competitor's run. At the end of the run, though, she was to let the sheep into the pen.
And, that's where she got confused.
She was all into keeping them OUT of the pen at ALL times. That was great when the handlers were competing, but not when they were finished. She was not going to let those sheep into the exhaust pen EVER.
To get the job done, I resorted to keeping her on leash, opening the exhaust pen gate and keeping her out of the way so the sheep could get into the pen.
It's Monday now, and I'm pondering how to help Niki understand that her job description can change every five minutes.
The good news is that she wants to work with me. The bad news is that I've got to figure out her language.