Saturday, April 4, 2009

Adventures in Herding

There is a facility about an hour's drive out of Saskatoon that offers herding lessons and workshops. Dog Tale Ranch is a fabulous place and Arlette is so incredibly helpful and knowledgeable. A group of us went out for the afternoon to introduce our dogs to sheep. Romeo has met sheep once before when he got his Herding Instinct Certificate at the age of 11 months, but since then his life has been sheep-free ... unless you count the freezer full of sheep for dog food, that is.

Romeo had a great time and actually started to catch on quite well near the end! It started with a lot of barking and splitting the sheep up, but once I figured out what I was supposed to be doing it worked out a lot better. By the end of the afternoon, Romeo was able to get the sheep out of corners (most of the time) and move them about half way around the arena. I'm sure he would have done better if he had a handler that had half a clue. The instructor even referred to him as "a dynamite little dog"! Go Romer!

He had such a good time and caught on really well, I'm eager to be able to get out there again. They are holding some clinics this summer, so maybe I will sign Romeo and me up to see what else we can learn.

The other dogs that went, Kit and Sam, both Border Collies, had a jolly good time as well. Kit was amazing for her first time seeing sheep. She clearly knows what to do and sank right into the role. Sam was just glad to be out playing with his "mom". Once all the snow melt and we are able to work out in a paddock, we will likely all go out again to let the dogs go at it.

Here are a few of my favorite pictures from the day. Thanks to the camera-people!

If anyone wants to see all the pictures from this afternoon's herding adventure (including all the blurry and unflattering ones), Here is the link for the Picasa album. It also includes pictures of Kit and Sam, as well as Jade the beautiful resident Border Collie that was polite enough to let our green dogs work HER sheep!

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