Wednesday, December 29, 2010

What I Didn't See

Over Christmas break, I've been reading Temple Grandin's Animals in Translation and Animals Make Us Human. Last night, I read about how humans often miss visual details. Today, I put it in practice on the herding field. During the herding lesson, I sent Caeli, my Border collie, on an outrun to fetch 10 sheep who were eating hay in the middle of the field. My instructor and her dog were standing nearby to simulate a trial situation. When Caeli lifted, or moved, the sheep from the hay, I focused on Caeli -- that she responded to the down command and that she did not rush the sheep. My instructor told me to down the dog and then have her bring the sheep back to the hay. As Caeli was turning the sheep back toward the hay, I noticed three ewes eating hay. "Where'd they come from?" I asked. "They never left," she said. Apparently Caeli had only picked up some of the sheep, and I was too focused on the dog to notice.

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