After Porter’s lesson with Wendy, she asked if I wanted to test Stout on the stock. I hadn’t done it up to this point because I thought he was too young. I was afraid he was still too clumsy & awkward to move out of their way if something were to happen.
But he is 4 months old now (plus 1 week!). And he’s doing all these body awareness tricks in our online class with Silvia Trkman. And I had watched how Wendy introduced dogs to stock on Saturday. So I figured he might as well get his first glimpse of what his forefathers were bred to do :)
So I put Porter in the car & grabbed Stout. I had brought my camera so I could take my “Stout A Day” photos later at Sandra’s, but I didn’t take it with us into the paddock. I assumed Stout would need me out there to shadow Wendy as he was introduced to the sheep. I didn’t think I’d be able to take photos as I boosted his confidence. After all, all of the dogs tested on Saturday needed their owners in there with them…
I was wrong.
After getting reacquainted with Wendy (he acts like he hasn’t seen people in years, even if he saw them a mere 10 minutes before…), the sheep moved in the corner of the pen. He stopped doing his “Gumby Guinness” (that’s what she calls him – especially when he rolls around like a wet noodle when you scratch him) and locked his eyes on those sheep. He completely forgot I even existed.
And so it began. She walked him around on leash, moving the sheep, telling him what a good boy he was. When she stopped them in the corner, he took a step forward, sat down, and just stared. I like to think he was “holding them,” but he was probably trying to find the weak one of the herd to pick off later for supper. He’s quite cunning like that.
They moved them some more. The next time he held them, he just couldn’t contain himself & was jumping & barking at the end of the short line. (I think at this point he had pinpointed the weak one).
There was no “coo-ing,” no baby-voice, no cheerleading (well, there was praise for how well he was doing), no trying to turn him on… He just got it. He really did well. He didn’t even eat that much sheep poo while he was out there.
I asked Wendy when they were done if I should bench Porter & start working Stout instead. She just laughed.
What does that mean? What did I get myself into with this puppy? :)
Stout wanting to use his new herding knowledge on some cattle.