Sunday, May 25, 2008

Herding - Does a Body (and Mind) Good!

This is Uncle Gizmo. He's 12, and he's the reason I started trekking 128 miles round trip to tromp around in muddy pastures. It's because Gizmo LOVES to go play with sheep. At almost 10 years old, I took Gizzer for an instinct test, and he was a natural. So, when the puppies were young, they started tagging along with Uncle Gizmo to lessons, and Sydney showed a spark for the sheep early on.

Yesterday, for a 12th birthday present for Uncle Gizzer, we drove up to Bridget's for a lesson. Syd went too, to see if she still had the drive.

I was happy with Sydney's behavior, mostly for non-sheep related activities. To avoid the biggest mud puddles, we went through a small yard to get to the sheep pens. Inside the small yard were 4 dogs. Two Italian Greyhounds (I think they were mixes, or the fattest IGs I've ever seen!), an Australian Cattle Dog, and a hairy Tibetan Terrier. Syd was afraid as we brought her through the gate, but she never showed an ugly face, and going through the yard the first time, she simply tried to avoid and get away from the other four dogs. After the lesson, on our way back out of the pens, Syd was calmer and not as worried about the other dogs as we went back through the small yard. It was a huge accomplishment IMO, for her to control her fear and not try to act out to cover over her insecurity.
I think it's safe to say that Syd still has the spark!

Video of Syd and Giz and their herding lessons is at . Listed in the "Videos" section.


dreameyce said...

She's really beautiful. That's what I need to do with my spitfire little bitch next. Galaxy was BORN to preform/work :)

Sarah said...

I highly recommend it, Syd's behavior is completely dependent on the amount of *quality* physical and mental activity she gets.

dreameyce said...

We do other performance stuff, but have only been able to dabble in herding sadly, since I don't have local access to a place for Cee to play with critters.... other than herding dogs, cats, and rats here! LOL