I went herding with Epic on Saturday. It was a lovely morning to be outside. My feet were pretty toasty in the rubber boots, but I was wearing a t shirt and shorts so it wasn't too bad. Today we working on fetching the sheep from about 100 yards and a little exercise to get Epic more confident about getting sheep out of a corner.
Getting the sheep out of a corner or off a feeder can be a lot of pressure for a younger dog. Sometimes when the dogs are feeling too much pressure they will shut down and not get the sheep. I kept setting Epic up to have to get the sheep out from the corner of the barn. At first it was difficult for him to get all the sheep, and for me to make sure he finished his flanks without turning back. But by the end he was much more confident about charging in there and bringing the sheep to me.
We also started to stretch out his outrun. He was up to about 100 yds by the end of the day. He stays pretty wide and doesn't tend to scatter the sheep at the top of the run. He is quick to cover the run-away sheep, but can't always manage to get them all back- soon enough. A couple times we sent him on a blind outrun (he could not see the sheep), and he trusted us enough to take the flank without knowing what he was getting into. That was a good sign!
We even managed to sort sheep in a fairly calm manner. I think that involves improvements in skill on both our parts. I am getting to be a pretty good sheep sorter/ wrestler.
Too bad I didn't take any picture of video. I can't wait for Deborah to get back with our good cameras so we can catch the dogs in action.
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