We arrived around noon, so I could set Piper's crate up on the grass near the sheep pen. We spent about half an hour watching the sheep being run by other dogs, then it was our turn. Piper seemed curious and excited to be around the sheep. When we went into the paddock, she took an explosive turn around the ring, chasing the sheep like stink. Then she stopped. Wouldn't follow them when they moved, all she seemed to want to do was stand there and eat sheep poop. I'll be honest, I spent more time herding sheep than she did, that session. She had to back on a long time, so I could try to lead her closer to them. The instructor and I were stumped... she had done so well last year at the test, and went into the ring with so much zoom! Discussing it after, the instructor suspected maybe she is a little sensitive and one of the sheep have her a good stare down we didn't notice.
Later in the day we had another opportunity to work a different group of sheep. These ones were a little flightier, and moved more easily around the paddock. Piper did much better, and by the end of the session she was able to calmly move around the little herd and bring them towards me. Good girl!
I was so happy to end the day on a good note. I would love to do more herding with her, and the farm where we go is only an hour from where I live now, so it's certainly a possibility. Hopefully in another year or two I will a) have a little extra money to spend on herding classes and b) be stable enough in agility to be able to afford the time to train in two vastly different disciplines.
|Piper trying to gather the sheep. June 2014|