Sheep Thrills

In preparation for breeding Isis in the fall of 2015, I really wanted to take the leap from training herding and practical farm work, to competing in herding trials.  I think it's very important if you are contributing to a breed's population, they should be able to do what the breed is bred to do.  (This led to 10+ years of throwing bumpers and ducks around in the bush, to put field titles on my tollers).
Finding a weekend to go to a herding trial has been really hard, with the juggling of agility competitions and judging, rallyo judging, training seminars and other commitments a free weekend is hard to find!  However, there was an AHBA trial at the end of October (2014), that I could make it to, we just needed to get some regular training in!
So.  I bought six sheep.  They hung out in the front yard, and occassionally the back yard.  They dealt with the invasive Japanese Knotweed in my flower gardens that I've been trying to get rid of for ten years.  They made the 'check your shoes!' rule go from casual to strictly enforced.  Sheep poop gets everywhere.   While the girls were here, we did some training with other folks who were interested in trying herding.  Enjoy!
Blaze - always ready to follow her stomach......anywhere.
Brown Betty - still waters....
Spot - self explanatory if you could see her bum
Witchy Mama - sure to test a dog, esp if the dog is not confident
Lambie - WM's lamb from this year, she grew up fast!
Annabelle - sweet little white ewe, would be perfect for a petting zoo!
So, Isis and I did go to the AHBA trial, and for her third birthday on the Saturday, she gave us two Qs, and her first herding title!  Isis can now add HTAD1 to her name!
On the Sunday, we chose not to move up to the next level, as Level 2 of HTAD requires a good 30 foot drive, done independently away from the handler, which I knew we didn't have.  So we stayed in level one and got some more experience with different sheep.  Out last run of the weekend was 87/90 so we did good!
Here are some more pics from our fun with the girls, before they left for the farm.

Here are some pics of baby Isis, some of her first exposures to sheep...

First time on sheep, 5 months old IsisIsis Herding Instinct Test 7 months, second time on sheep

Isis Herding Instinct Test 7 months, second time on sheep ISIS, 5 months and 7 months, I believe

One of my best learning experiences in herding, was the weekend I started Indy on sheep, with Scott Glen at a training clinic organized by the Working Australian Kelpie Club Inc.  With Scott guiding us, we went from first time on sheep to the small field in three days.  Indy is a great yard dog, and does most of the practical farm work we do for friends when they're shearing, dipping or otherwise tending their sheep.  A "yard" dog, in kelpie speak, is a dog that shines in close quarters, in the pens, the race, the to drive the stock away from the handler, or towards them.  (Not always safe to be standing where a bunch of cattle are going to come thru).  A 'paddock' dog (like Isis) finds their strength in the big fields, gathering in the stock to the handler, and able to run, sustained, as much as necessary.  Hopefully Ezra (our new pup), will fulfill the promise I see, of being balanced between the two skills.  


Here are some pics from that clinic with Indy:

Indy watching the sheepIndy learning to get around all the sheepIndy learning to get to the balance pointIndy getting a stop

Working Australian Kelpie Club of Canada Inc, Kelpie Gathering, Sept 21, 2015

We had a great time that day....20 Herding Instinct Tests with everything from German Shepherd Dogs, Poodles, Corgies and Shelties, and a couple of Border Collies too.  We also offered an Agility Fun Match, and had a great picnic lunch.

Here are some pics:

Most awesome herding we'd ever seen by Poodles...and these arent' the same Poodle!  Four Standard Poodles with Sherry Stanley of Beaucaniche Poodles all did a great job and earned their HIT!