So, Cord and I had our first official herding lesson on Sunday. By official I mean I actually took the stick and worked with the dog myself instead of having the instructor work with him. Now, I’m not a total stranger to herding; Checkers and I tried it for a while, and although he seemed to thoroughly enjoy himself, I never really “got it”. For the most part, it was just me watching him run off with my sheep. I finally lost interest because I never got any better, which I chalked up to poor instruction. Now I have this little red demon that comes from herding lines and I feel obligated to give it another try – – with a different trainer this time.
Cord, himself, has been to see sheep twice. The first time, when he was 5 months old, was just to see if he had any instinct. It was obvious he did (no surprise there!) but was still very young and immature. So, on the advice of my trainer, I allowed him to grow up some before starting serious training. The second time was really just because I loved to watch him enjoying himself that much!
Alright, back to today’s lesson, it went something like this:
Cord: Sheep, sheep, get the sheep, mom get out of the way!! Get the sheep, get the sheep, turn, spin, get the sheep, you’re in the way again! Get the sheep, get the sheep, sheep, sheep, get the sheep, and stop waving that stupid stick in my face!
Staci: O.k., remember to push on his shoulder, “get out, get out”, why won’t he move out? Don’t let him too close, “get back”, how’d he get over there? Block him, wave the stick in front of him, smack it on the ground, he did it – “good boy”! Not bad, now the other way. Push on his shoulder, “get out, get out”, now he’s got it, turn and walk backwards, crap, here come the sheep, wave the stick wildly in the air, trip over the sheep and fall on your ass. Do I hear snickering from outside the round pen??
All things considered, it wasn’t so bad. We did better our second go round, and I started to get a feel for it. Cord stayed farther out and the sheep didn’t feel the need to run me over. I really enjoyed herding this time, with this little red dog, and am looking forward to our next lesson. I’m no worse for wear, just a bruised hip and some skinned up knuckles. Cord only had to suffer through a bath once we got home and was happily sleeping next to me while I typed this.