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Saturday, June 9, 2007

My sheep worked today

My sheep worked hard today. So did I. They've gone to bed now. I'm about done too. Today we had 24 dogs out. 7 during the first lesson session; 17 for a club that wanted an introduction to sheep herding. Some of the oldest lambs worked today and they learned how to stay with the big sheep. They learned it didn't do any good to run off trying to find momma to protect them, they were on their own. They learn quickly. With good dogs, kind dogs, dogs that only wanted them to return to their handler and stay in a nice tight group. It's good for them to learn to run back to the human and to the safety of the other sheep. The human becomes more important. The few sheep that don't get it don't get to stay. They don't ever seem to understand that there is safety in numbers, safety being close to the human. Of course, nothing really happens to them far away from the others or the human, but they think it will, they aren't happy about that. They have too much fear and can't overcome it. Those sheep are best retired, sent to another flock where they can run at the sight of a falling branch. Or perhaps to the freezer. That's not a happy life for any living thing, fear of anything that moves. So, the lambs are learning to stay with their group and near the human. The humans learn to watch sheep's ears - forward or back. Head carriage - down or up in alert mode. Tails tell stories too. I am proud of my lambs. There are some very good working lambs in this year's group. They learned quickly. They acted like they've been doing this for weeks on end. Good lambs. Good dogs. Good humans and good company. A good working day.

1 comment:

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Do you work your Shetlands? I have heard they don't "herd" very well!