Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Confidence in a young dog can be a tricky thing.  Today, I went to Ken's to drop off his horse.  I also hauled my dogs with me.  We only worked Ryder, mostly because I was wanting to see where he was in his training progression.  The best way to see "holes" in your dog is to take them somewhere strange and put them on new sheep.  My initial plan was to get Ken to help me work on our outruns.

The two ewes I had dropped off there last summer had lambed.  This was Ryder's first exposure to lambs.    And to momma ewes.  Overall things went as expected.  Poorly.  The poor boy wasn't entirely sure what to do with the lambs.  Our first little work went well, he walked carefully behind them, sniffing their butts.    He kept everything moving and together.  He was astonishingly gentle with them.

As we began to work on outruns, he began to leave them behind.  This part was not cool.  Ken said this is common, as many dogs weren't sure what to do with lambs.  It would have been different if black sheep was as good a mom as cream sheep.  Black sheep just left her babies and she hung with the middle and front of the flock.  Cream sheep was a fire breathing dragon of a momma.  (This is good.)  She kept her baby close and was more than prepared to take little charges at the dog.  My little Ryder man was not sure what he should be doing.

He was getting in trouble for leaving the babies behind, but when he was by the babies the momma was charging him.  Eventually, he started to figure it out, and when momma made some unearned charges at him he leaped up and bit her on the nose.  This made me very happy as he's not inclined to grip or bite.  Good to know he will if he needs to.  He was also quite thrilled with himself and got back some of his confidence.  That was where we ended.  With him feeling happy and good about himself.

Side note:  Ken's neighbor (1 mile from his house - you can actually see this other house from his place.) came home the other day and found a grizzly in his yard.  When the vehicle drove in the bear stood up on his hind feet.  It's made everyone more than a little nervous, particularly as it happened at 1 in the afternoon.  It's not far from Ken's mind about the kids getting on and off the school bus.  The proper authorities have been notified.  It certainly made me think twice about wandering around his place by myself.

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