Sunday, June 29, 2014

Herding With The Big Dogs!

Watch for Stout & me at a border collie trial soon!  :)

Yes, Stout had a big adventure at our herding lesson last week! And I about had a heart attack!

We were working in the regular field at Fairwether, doing some out runs, fetching, etc. Just normal stuff. We had 5 sheep in with us and the rest of the flock was out in the BIG field.

Anyway, one of our sheep broke away from Stout. He went to bring it back. Normal Stout stuff  :)

But this sheep chose to run straight into the fence near the gate. It hit so hard that it bounced the gate open. It then ran through. Stout followed.

Now Stout & the sheep were in the HT field. The sheep runs for the gate to the big field, with Stout in hot pursuit. The gate to the big field was open!!

Oh no! The sheep is busting ass down the hill to his friends. Stout is bounding after it, having to bounce occasionally to see over the tall grass.

I'm still in the original field, just watching. The remaining 4 sheep & I are just staring in awe, watching Stout fly across the BIG field.

Wendy yells something about going over the fence. I reply "Stout didn't go over the fence, the gate was open!"  Duh. She yells back "No, you climb over the fence and help him!" Oh yeah, that makes more sense...

So I climbed over the fence, having flashbacks to 2nd grade when I ripped my pants open doing the same thing at softball practice...

About this time, the rogue sheep has joined his 500 other friends (ok, maybe there weren't quite 500, but it sure seemed like it!). Stout hits the bubble of the big flock and seems shocked to suddenly see all of them!

He then does the most amazing thing. He proceeded to push them across the field ever so nicely until they reached the fence at the very far end. It was at least a mile (probably not really, but it was a freaking really long way!). I held my breath, waiting for them to bust through that fence as well.

Nope. Stout holds back, they all turn and he falls in behind them. Wendy is yelling "Tell him he's a good boy!"  :)

So now I have a herd of sheep coming up a fence line straight at me. Unlike another corgi I know, Stout does not run them over top of me  :)  I was waving my stick in the air, jumping up & down, so he could see me & know where to bring them. It was kind of cute to see him hopping up to see over the grass & sheep butts!

About the time I'm trying to figure out what I should do with the whole situation, a sheep breaks loose from the herd. I swear it was that same damn sheep! Stout takes off after it, again. Thankfully, he only got about 100 yards away when he got distracted by the 4 sheep that were still in the original field. I called him back and he proceeded to fetch the ~50 sheep back through the open gate into the HT field.

I got his "lie down" and called him off. And I finally breathed. Good dog, Stout. That'll do  :)

Here is a photo representation of the whole ordeal:

(You may have to click on the photo to get a bigger view)

See? It was a really big field!

Stout was so pumped up after that  :) He thought he could conquer the world! But not until after he cooled off in the pool. And then rolled around in the grass like a doofus...

So maybe I wasn't that far off when I said I wanted him to do B Course Sheep  :)