We took Roxie, our 2 year old English Shepherd, to a herding clinic, which is a class to evaluate a herding dog and get pointers from a trainer, on Saturday. She flunked! She had no desire to move the sheep around, but she was very upset by a trained border collie that was there to keep the sheep from scattering while each dog attending took a turn to evaluate their herding instincts. The only thing Roxie herded was the herding dog! She placed herself between the border collie and the sheep and demonstrated some fantastic maneuvers to keep that dog from reaching the sheep, even to the point of running over its head. In just a few minutes she had figured out the nuances of the border collie's body language and was able to anticipate its every move. The border collie, to say the least, was not impressed and had a somewhat confused look on its face. I was very impressed that the dog was able to work with that kind of distraction and maintain its focus. The instructor commented that's the first time she's ever seen anything like that in all the years she's been working with herding training. And I was impressed that the instructor didn't just tell me to give up, but gave me lots of useful information to help my wonder dog understand that she's supposed to herd the sheep, not the other dog, and further impressed that she didn't roll on the ground laughing. Yup, Roxie's unique all right. Where was my video camera? In the truck 1/4 mile away, with my husband who was smart enough to stay out of the pouring rain.
Now here's something you don't see everyday - One of the other dogs attending was defending his owner from the sheep so the instructor had her put the dog up on one of them so he would see they weren't killer sheep. Now that's the first time I've ever seen THAT - and someone did get a picture.This is Palmer and her dog Shep, with Becky the instructor. Sorry, I don't know the name of the sheep, but she looks less than thrilled about the whole idea of training for a new circus act.
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