Insert perfect weather. Imagine sunshine, light breeze, 21 C (about 70 F). Next create a pastoral scene with a flock of sheep grazing peacefully in the field. Add in a dog and a girl. Perfection.
I had gone out to the farm with intentions of walking the dogs in the grazing reserve with mom, but my mom's got a more active social life than I do and she was going dancing. My father, who's busy trying to kill off my dog sheep wanted me to go look at one. Off to the barn yard I go. This is one of the sheep that had an unfortunate run in with a round bale last winter/spring. He had broke his leg, dad splinted but he's still not using it. It looks like the hoof is dead. It's all shriveled up. I'll call Ken but if the sheep isn't going to heal right then it's time for him to be put down.
Seeing the flock of lambs grazing a bad thought entered my head. While I know I'm supposed to be taking it easy I've been feeling some intense cabin fever. Ryder spotting the sheep pretty much sealed the deal. He stood still. A paw in the air. Ears perked up.
Intent. On. Sheep.
I couldn't deny him.... so we went to work.... and it felt awesome to be doing something!
We had a bit of a rocky start. I'll admit I really missed Tessa. The sheep were quite flighty (they're lambs), and Ryder got chasey and didn't want to get around and cover. After I got him settled, the sheep settled and I pretty much stood still and let him work at keeping the flock (around 30 sheep) together. It was great for him to think and work. You can see he lacks confidence still and I'll need to work on that but he is such a gentle and quiet worker. I *heart* Ryder.
I was a bit concerned about my ability to control Diva but felt she deserved a work as well. I walked her out on her leash. Got in nice and close before releasing her. She was fast and tight but quickly settled into working the sheep. She has so much power. It's amazing to watch how easy it was to move this flock. The sheep once they settled became quite heavy and would challenge or ignore the dogs. This meant the dogs had to work to drive them towards me. She listened quite well, amazingly well given the lack of body pressure I was able to put on her. She had the biggest doggy grin when I pulled her off the sheep. I *heart* Diva.
I had so much fun. I'm still smiling even though we really didn't do much from a training perspective.
Tomorrow we may have to repeat the activity and I'll bring a camera...