Saturday, November 22, 2008


When Tessa went out of commission, I had six sheep, six sheep who were not dog broke.  While lovely for Tessa to tune up her skills, not so lovely for starting Reba in a controlled manner.  The difference between dog broke sheep and normal sheep, is dog broke sheep will run toward you and have figured out being close to you is a safer place to be. Normal sheep will run all over the place, scatter and not necessarily want to be near you. 

After a conversation with Ken, I discovered he was busy and wasn't using Flint.  A gleam developed in my eye, and some sweet words later, Flint temporarily became mine.  I was keen to get started and wasted no time in putting my new project on sheep.  My sheep who had been worked a little by Tessa, were not so keen.  In front of my astonished eyes, I watched them scatter and hide.  Literally hide.  They would run into the tall, dead grass and lay down.  The dog would then loose them in the grass.  Some of them ran into the dry slough and lay down in the depressions.  Clearly dog breaking the sheep was going to be slightly more challenging than I had anticipated.

After much running, sweating and yelling, Flint managed to get five of the sheep into the corral.  Poor Flint was out of shape and huffing pretty good at this point.  Normally you would take the herd of sheep to the loner and collect up, however, afraid I'd never get them back in I chose to leave the ones I had in the corral.  Realizing I was running out of dog, we took a water break, then went after the final sheep.  Wanting to save my dog, I brought my trusty grain bucket.  Nope, not interested.  Fine be that way.  Sending Flint, we encountered a problem, this sheep had it's fight on.  It faced up and proceeded to refuse to move.  Deciding some artillery was needed I gave Flint his bite command.  Bang!  Right on the nose.  Still no movement.  Again, and again.  Still no movement.  By this point the sheep is bleeding and I'm realizing nothing is going to get this thing going.  But I don't want it to win the battle.  The last thing I want it to figure out is if it fights then it doesn't get worked or gets to do what it wants.  

Back to the barn Flint and I go.  Rope in hand I go back to the sheep, place it around it's neck, send Flint to the hind.  I tug, Flint bites.  And no movement.  Until the sheep lies down.  Flint is wiped, I'm tired and aggravated.  So I leave the sheep.  Not great training but sometimes you need to know when to quit.  I could have fought until the sheep died but then all I'd have gained was a dead sheep.

I've had Flint for around a month now.  And I'm pleased to announce that my sheep are kinda, sorta dog broke.  Enough that I can work Reba, with Flint waiting as back up for any bolters.  Which is all I need right now.  

(P.S.  Flint is for sale...)

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