Saturday, December 11, 2010

to be continued

Gibson got a chance to herd his own sheep this morning. Well, two of them. I put two older Scotties in the main paddock and gated the others in the back pasture. I thought we could do some basic circling, practice balancing sheep, and work on our lie downs. I was so excited.

It was a disaster.

No one got hurt, and I'll share the whole story later. But let's just say there were ewes leaping over gates, me grabbing animals by the horns, a broken fence, a frustrated person, and very very happy border collie having the time of his life.

18 Comments:

Blogger Cindy said...

Good grief. Sounds like a real learning experience (don't ya just hate those sometimes?).

December 11, 2010 at 11:11 AM  
OpenID chickadeeworkshop said...

Sounds like the only happy camper was Gibson. Better luck next time.

December 11, 2010 at 11:20 AM  
OpenID nytesong said...

Glad no one got hurt! Pretty soon Gibson will be an old pro. =)

December 11, 2010 at 11:23 AM  
Blogger Jill said...

Ooh. Does he think working is situational, like only at the lesson farm? Sorry for you & the ewes.

December 11, 2010 at 11:24 AM  
Blogger Kris said...

I'm sorry, I just had to laugh. I could just see Gibson all over the place with sheep leaping all over the place. And poor Jenna! We certainly do learn as we go along. It WILL get better.

December 11, 2010 at 11:33 AM  
Blogger Moose Nugget said...

Oh! I want to laugh and cry with you all at the same time!

A "lie down" dog when you get in and a good stout cup o Joe is in order...

December 11, 2010 at 12:33 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

It was more funny than scary, just a crazy spiral of events.

December 11, 2010 at 12:35 PM  
Blogger Axeboy said...

Experience is an expensive teacher... I had a similar experience chasing Scottish Highlanders thru the Adirondack mountains last weekend (during hunting season). Good times.

December 11, 2010 at 12:42 PM  
Blogger Norma from Misty Haven Alpacas said...

Chuckling at the scene of the choas in my head. Only because no one was apparently hurt and Gibson had a great happy time.
N

December 11, 2010 at 1:23 PM  
Blogger Kathy said...

Sung to the tune of 12 Days of Christmas:

Two sheep a-leaping,
One Jenna screaming,
And a very happy border col-lieeeeee!

I bet by next year, he'll be much better!

December 11, 2010 at 1:40 PM  
Blogger Paula said...

Very funny , Kathy.

Are the new sheep dog broke, or did Gibson just forget all his training?

Poor Jenna! Well, it'll all come together eventually. Hang in there.

December 11, 2010 at 2:16 PM  
Blogger Quail's Hollar Farm said...

Well that sounds like the usual day over here, don't worry we've all been there before. At least the collie had fun!

December 11, 2010 at 2:56 PM  
Blogger Jackie said...

Nothing to worry about. There's no good dog that doesn't just want to chase sheep!
Now if he'd gone in there and looked at you blankly and then wandered off, you'd have a problem !

December 11, 2010 at 5:06 PM  
Blogger Jenny Glen said...

Jenna- a tip: the more sheep the better. Two are too little. Never less than 3 with a young dog and if you do more like 6 (or more)you'll find your sheep calm down quite a bit. Think of their flocking mentality. It makes them feel safer. Stay in a small area and don't have the other sheep on the other side of the fence where the ones inside can see them - it draws them to jump. Put Gibson on a lie down and stay as you enter the pen. If he won't stay, put a long line on him and practice it before you work him again. Make him stay by the gate and you go get next to your sheep. (I found that when I trained my first farm dog, an automatic lie down as we entered the pen was always helpful) Then, as he gets close to them, you stay with the sheep and push him out until he's behind them. You'll get it. It's harder to do without the supervision of a trainer but it's the best way to advance. Trial and error.
In case I forget to tell you later, DO NOT let him near them when they have lambs. Scottish Blackface are notorious head hunters when they have lambs and you don't want to ruin or get Gibson hurt. Wait until the lambs are older before you work them. They are my favorite sheep and it reminds me of my first flock of 6 on my little tiny farm with my first dog.

December 11, 2010 at 11:08 PM  
Blogger Jackie said...

this reminds me of our beloved Fly - she had been condemned to death as she was too strong onto the Welsh Mountains on the farm where she came from, and tended to get in and bite their legs.
The farmer had lost patience with her (and beaten her senseless) and labelled her a sheep worrier.
We took her in, and out she went, first day, onto our downland hillside, beautiful pear shaped outrun, what a glorious dog ... and then she decided to bite the leg... of a North Country Mule with lambs at foot!
Fly she certainly did, right up into the air, over the hedge and into the next field!
She's never bitten a ewe since! Bruised her pride and saved her life.

December 12, 2010 at 11:39 AM  
OpenID ruralaspirations said...

This is probably one of those times you'll look back on in a couple of years and laugh about over some homebrew. I don't have a working dog, but she still provides me with a great many moments of frustration and worry that we'll never get our act together. It's all part of the journey! :-)

December 12, 2010 at 2:53 PM  
Blogger Aurora said...

Speaking of sheep - just watched through Netflix the story 'Sweetgrass' described as: An unsentimental elegy to the American West, “Sweetgrass” follows the last modern-day cowboys to lead their flocks of sheep up into Montana’s breathtaking and often dangerous Absaroka-Beartooth mountains for summer pasture. This astonishingly beautiful yet unsparing film reveals a world in which nature and culture, animals and humans, vulnerability and violence are all intimately meshed.'

It runs about 1 hr 40 min and is incredible; just be aware there is some really colorful language at times! Regardless, I thought about you Jenna, if you haven't seen it I highly recommend it.

December 12, 2010 at 3:17 PM  
Blogger Joleen said...

As long as everyone is ok, no worries. Someday you'll 'write the book' on sheep herding Jenna!

December 12, 2010 at 4:33 PM  

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