Good lesson today! We worked on some pretty basic shedding concepts and she did really really great. I was very surprised and pleased. First we shed two groups of lambios and they were hungry and the grub was good so they were happy to stay separated.
Soda worked one group, keeping them from running to join the other group and I'll be damned if she didn't truly understand what she was supposed to be doing! Then we shed off 1 lamb at time to join the other group and that was hard for her and she *almost* gathered the whole group, but took my redirect and kept the rest of the lambs with me. I was pretty frickin' impressed--more so that she seemed to understand the concept of what we were doing. It was really exciting.
We worked on whistles more, and she is so sulky about it. I don't really know why or know what to do to help. I think it may be busting up her confidence or she hates drilling? I don't know. But we're working working working on it and I hope in time she'll get it, so I don't have to scream 100 yards away.
After our real lesson was done we sat around and watched the other lessons and I got it in my head that I wanted to see what Soda would do in a pen with cattle. Terry has a about 6 super duper ultra dog broke calves and I thought "what's the harm?" So I asked her if I could throw Soda in (after checking to make sure they were super dog broke and weren't going to try to stomp her to death) and Terry said "sure... why not!" Now, I don't know if anyone remembers the last time Soda encountered a cow, but it was pretty damn funny.
Soda's a much different dog and a lot more confident so I thought the results would be different and they were!
We went in the pen and Soda just looked like "what the hell, dude?" and I made the cows get up--they were lazing in the sun-- and pointed at the cows and said "get 'em!" Soda looked at the cows, looked at me, and then wistfully looked at the sheep in the pen next door. I don't know if you've ever seen a dog look wistful, but it's HILARIOUS. She was being pretty clear that she would much rather be working the smaller, lighter, much less scary sheep next door. I laughed, then made the calves move some more and gave her a flanking command. She did and got close and was like "O. M. G" but kept working (with a slightly worried look on her face!). She had trouble getting them off the fence because she was afraid to go between them and the fence, and I can't blame her, one took a quick cow kick at her and she got nailed, so I did the best I could to draw them out.
She really wanted to head them--that make her a lot more comfortable. One of the calves put his (her? not sure) head down and I let Soda grip him and she said that was super scary but also kind of fun. She took a couple of FAIR! shots. I let her move them around some more and practiced a little fetching, but it was a small pen--think round pen sized--and they kept going back to the fence.
Soda got kicked and rolled by one of the calves but she wasn't hurt nor was she doing anything wrong. I think they kind of figured out that Soda is puss and doesn't really know how to work cattle, but we ended on a positive note and I let her head them to hold them to me and that made her feel good.
Honestly, I think we may try it again. It was fun and new. I don't think Soda could ever be on rough or unbroke cattle, but this sort of thing may be good her. It really let her practice being assertive without sending animals flying everywhere. Terry said "Well, that didn't go too bad! she went around them!" Not too bad indeed.
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