This has been a rather busy week. I began it with a case of the flu. This was followed by two nights of Parent Teacher Conferences, one night and one day of University. By the time Saturday rolled around I was a wee bit tired. Tired enough that I needed a nap when I got home from school. (Sarge hurt his back and was waiting for his snow tires - so no visit this weekend. ~And yes, things are going well...) Sarge called me an hour after I fell asleep as my wake up call.
Eyeballing the fading daylight I decided to run out to the farm and work the dogs. My poor babies had been cooped up with minimal interactions and stimulation over the past four days. I began with working Diva. She's coming along. Her listening is improving and she's starting to view me as her "team". Quickly loosing light I decided to kill two birds with one stone. I wanted to work on Diva's drive and still needed to work Ryder. Taking a leash I hooked one end around Diva's neck, and snapped the other end onto Ryder. Asking to walk up he led his sister behind the sheep. Diva is at the drive stage where she wants to stay right by my feet, she'll only go if I'm walking right beside her. Ryder however will drive an easy 100m away from me. It was pretty funny watching them figure out how to work together. Ryder helped Diva learn to walk up to the sheep, and Diva shared her enthusiasm with Ryder.
Today when I worked them, I was also chasing a fading daylight and thought I'd once again work them together. I began by working Ryder. I was surprised at how confidently he went out down the field and gathered the sheep. It was an epiphany. Ryder is getting broke. He's starting to know his job. The sheep have had a dog holiday all summer and are rather zesty. They have no problems breaking for the corral to go hide in the shelter. Ryder was even able to go after them, and bring them back from the corral. This meant he was working out of my sight. I waited and sure enough the sheep appeared over the hill, heading back out into the field. Unleashing Diva, I worked both Ryder and Diva. Sending them on outruns, and having them do short drives.
The one thing I found interesting was how even if I set them up to go one direction, one of the dogs would want to go the other direction. They consistently wanted to do this. I'll have to ask someone who knows more about working multiple dogs to find out if this is a natural "team" instinct.
The dogs and I had a lot of fun either way.