Sunday, November 30, 2008

Barclay's herding lesson

Barclay had his 4th herding lesson today. This is at Brigand's Hideaway in Brush Prairie. They have lots of sheep to use and a round pen. There are always lots of people there working sheep with their dogs.

He has been doing really well, but he still likes to grab at the sheep. Normally the teacher uses a regular fiberglass staff to guide him, but today she brought a rake. When she said she would 'bring the rake next time', I thought it would be some fancy tool, but no, it's a rake :)

Here's Barclay trying to grab a sheep from behind.

So she uses the rake to put a barrier between him and the sheep, and it's wider than the staff so he notices it more, but he can still see through it.

Guiding him with the rake she had him doing smooth circles around the sheep. She also was able to reverse him and get him to circle the sheep in the other direction. She can spot every little good thing he does, and point it out. And she's really gentle with him and gives him breaks, and doesn't push him too hard or stress him out. I think we all have fun! Except maybe the sheep.

By the time we headed home he was tired and dirty, and slept all afternoon!

Does this easygoing training method work? Well this morning I was letting the sheep hang out in the front yard while I cleaned their stall, and I forgot to close the gate to the main pasture. I spotted it about the same time mom-sheep did, and we raced for the gate, but the herd beat me to it and blasted out into the main pasture! Oh no, how was I going to get the sheep and goats out of there by myself, with 2 acres for them to run around, and Dave already gone to work? Barclay raced out after them and they went around the corner of the paddock where I couldn't see them. I was still wondering what I was going to do when suddenly here come the sheep - with Barclay behind them!! Zoom, back through the gate they go into the yard! I was so happy I hugged him and showered him with treats!! Normally he would have chased them all over the pasture with no rhyme or reason, but for some reason he turned them around and brought them back to me - maybe just dumb luck, but it was just what I needed!


Goofy said...

Yay, Barclay!!!

dotoner said...

that's amazing! Steak dinner for the pup~!!

Anonymous said...

Barclay is sooooooo smart... Good pup!!!!!!

annaliese said...

I didn't know you were having him trained--are you planning on more sheep, maybe? :)

StefRobrts said...

More sheep? Well, I was tempted to have mom bred this year for spring lambs, but decided we had enough mouths to feed already! But lambs are so danged cute, I'd love to have some around again. Maybe next year :)

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Woot, Woot, Barclay!! That is such awesome news. And he's obviously learning and having fun at the same time. What a success!

I love that last photo of him, muddy paws and all...and a great big happy dog smile, too.


Oh, and I've got a little something for you, too:

A Jewel for you!

New Mexico