Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Changing Things Around; Moving to the Pasture

Sunday morning, I worked Spot again by myself in the small pen. This time I didn't use the long line. And, I added the silly Barbados ewe to Spot's working group. I was just thinking that I needed to make things more difficult even though I wouldn't be taking him out to the bigger pasture, by myself. 

Working him without the line on, in the small pen, was really no problem. I think we will need the line in the big pasture for a while. The little Barb ewe also works just fine in the pen. But you let her outside, and she just wants to RUN. Not good for a puppy. 

On our next outing during the week, we worked in the bigger pasture, with some help to make it happen. I didn't want to take Spot out into the pasture, by myself. Too many things could happen, such as a sheep could jump out of the pasture and I'd be stuck trying to get it back by myself...or could run out on the road and cause an accident. No, I wanted our first couple of pasture works to have a helper with a backup dog, on standby.

I don't have pictures of our pasture outing but we did finally get successful. Once we got the right arrangement of sheep figured out (no white ewe who is behind the Barb in the top photo) -- as she also wants to run off to her buds-- and the right places covered, Spot and I were finally able to do some walkabouts in the pasture. Yippee! It took some perseverence, and I am very grateful to my friend and her dog who helped us. What troopers they are! The key seemed to be for me to walk right through the sheep and then Spot would cover and go back to balance. It's so hard to pick up on what works and what doesn't, when you are working all by yourself. Having an observer is much faster and better! What's the old saying about two heads are better than one?

The sheep we're using for Spot that are working the best, are yearling white wethers that we bought last year, as lambs. They are a Dorset/Dorper cross that we have bought some of before, for dog training. They work out quite well for beginner/intermediate dogs. I'm glad we have them. I would not like it to have the horns on the Scottish Blackface powering towards me with a puppy behind them, right about now!

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