Saturday, October 20, 2012

Working Sheep -- All Day Long

With a small farm flock of sheep, a dog is handy, but not necessary.

I'll use the Border collies to bring the sheep into the barn or to move them to a pasture, but for the most part the dog work on sheep is training for competition.

This week, Caeli got to do hours and hours of farm work -- and she's still smiling.

Our task was to sort eight sheep from a flock of 80 ewes, then move them to a spot in the 10-acre field where a dog in training would then fetch them.

Sorting out the eight sheep, I do by myself. Having a Border collie in the pen would stir up the sheep.

Caeli then moved the sheep to a certain spot in the pasture. (The sheep are just to the right of the barn.)
Then Caeli moved a distance from the sheep. But she had to be there in case the sheep tried to run back to the set-out pen.

She also had to stay in a down position as the dog-in-training ran past her to pick up the sheep.

That can be hard. Just like kids have to learn to share, Border collies have to learn that they must give up the their sheep to another dog.

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