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Our first time on sheep!!!!!!

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Disclamer: The Topic Description is Ouzo's personal opinion - he is solely responsible for such statements.

 

So we took the big step and scheduled an appointment with a great trainer. Million of thanks to Laurae who made this possible!

It's about 1 hour away from where we live, in a land of farms and sheep, horses, lamas and everything else! I didn't even realize there were such things around Denver (yup, I'm a city girl who moved here 2.5 years ago, excuse my ignorance :rolleyes: )

 

When we got there, the trainer had another dog in the pen, and Ouzo instantly became interested in the sheep and everything that was going on. When our turn came, the trainer took him by the leash and got him in the pen with her. Well, that's when Ouzo showed he is a big moma's boy!

 

 

Mommy told me not to go with strangers...

 

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Lady, I don't know why you want me to go with you...Have I met you before?

 

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Moooommmmyyy!

 

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What a big wus!

 

Cathy then asked us "Does he want his daddy, or his mommy?" "I think he wants me", I said. Which was true.

Because the INSTANT I stepped in the pen, Ouzo found his courage again and this is what we saw the next seconds!

 

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Great improvement, but it didn't stop. He went into a running frenzy, trying to keep the sheep together and make them stop moving.

 

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He didn't even glance at me after I got in, so I slowly retrieted and eventually got out of the pen, leaving him with the trainer

 

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He kept running in circles, changing direction, but never actually stopping. Of course any of his manners went out the window (or out the pen) immediatly after he saw sheep. Sit? What's that? Down? Ha! You're so funny!

 

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When the sheep finally surrounded Cathy and stood still, he found his OUTSIDE voice, and man, that was LOUD! The second one would move, he would get in their face and yell at them. Morron.

 

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This is a dog who in every day life is not a barker. Bwwaaahhahaha, tell that to the sheep! I don't know if he was scared or what was going on, but he sure yelled at them. Keep in mind, this was the first session - there were 3 total. By the second time he got in the pen, he calmed his barking at Cathy's command, and the third time was even better, he only barked a few times.

 

(con't)

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I think he only once touched the wool, but he mostly showed off: these are just scarry looking pictures, no contact was made. The trainer was right there and wouldn't let anything happen.

 

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(My dog is nuts.)

 

It got better each time he went in. He started actually watching Cathy's eyes and checking if what he was doing was ok or if he will get a verbal correction

 

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He once was too fast and the whip thing who was supposed to hit the ground in front of him to stop him made contact with the B&W predator: squinting Ouzo :D (ETA You can see it better if you click on the picture to see it enlarged)

 

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I have more running pictures, but they kindda make me sad, him chasing the poor sheep in circles. He did seem to have a sense of when to change directions, how to keep the runnaway sheep together with the rest of the flock, but you cannot do this at 200 MPH!

No grace, no finesse. Like a buldozer planting daisys :D

 

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Calmer following Cathy

 

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He managed to sit a couple of time, but not even one down. When asked to down, he offered his paw to the trainer :rolleyes: It was just him and the trainer, who is so knowledgeble and patient that I trust her with everything.

 

We will go again in two weeks and see if the craziness has subsided.

 

His tail never went all the way down, he saw this as big fun, not work, which is something we hope to see changed next time.

 

He acted like a hyped up 5 year old at the fair, everything was excited and no manners were left in his fried brain.

 

I don't know if there is hope, I sure wish there is, at least he didn't act bored (ha!) or terrified by sheep (although the barking might have been a fear reaction?!).

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Great picture series, Anda! And, cut Ouzo some slack - he really didn't know what he was supposed to do! He's used to chasing dogs around at the dog park. :D I have seriously considering trying Allie on sheep and even have the name and number of a trainer (which I have been too chicken to call, so good for you for trying). I think I'd better work on her down a little more first, especially after hearing about your experience. She would probably offer to shake, too. :rolleyes: I'll be very interested in seeing how the city dog fares at your next lesson -- be sure to post!

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Sounds like there is plenty of hope, Anda. Ouzo sounds like he had a pretty typical introduction to sheep. Most dogs "forget" the everyday commands they usually know automatically and many also want to get in too tight right at first in the round pen. It sounds like he was trying out lots of different things with the sheep. When you said he would change direction by himself in an effort to control them, if he was going toward the heads, that's a good sign. His willingness to take direction from Cathy was a good sign, too. It sounds like he had a great experience (except for accidentally getting whacked with the stick--did I read that part right?), and next time should be even better! Yay--go Ouzo!

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Laura, thanks for the vote of confidence for my nut dog :rolleyes: And you read it right, he did get a wack over his head by total accident, Cathy appologized for it, she said he was too fast for her and landed in the wrong place :D but Ouzo didn't have any hard feelings, he was all grinning in the next second (got the picture to prove it!)

 

He did experiment with lots of techniques (if you want to call his crazyness technique), but none that involved staring calmly and strongly at the sheep and getting them to move in an organized fashion. He ruled by terror, which, we all know, is not an approach to healthy dynasties.

 

He was going for everything, Laura :D Heads, butts. But when a sheep would get out of formation, he would turn around and start running in such a way to bring her back and facing the same way as the other two. He was happy when all three were nicely alligned and running synchronized.

 

Deb, it took me lots of courage to finally decide to contact Cathy (got her name from www.littlehats.org) then after not hearing back from her after a couple of weeks, luckily Laura helped me get in touch with her and taa-daaa, we aranged for yesterday's session.

 

You know what got me hope? Seeing a big fat Rottweiler herd sheep in the big trail arena next to the small pen. If he can do it, then most certantly my dog can do it :D He was just taking commands, I didn't see him do anything than walk to the sheep as the trainers were directing him to do.

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Calmer following Cathy

 

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He acted like a hyped up 5 year old at the fair, everything was excited and no manners were left in his fried brain.

 

I don't know if there is hope, I sure wish there is, at least he didn't act bored (ha!) or terrified by sheep (although the barking might have been a fear reaction?!).

 

 

I like this photo best as Ouzo looks much more relaxed. He looks quite a natural on that one.

 

I think Holly would have acted much the same way and been like an excitable child. I am sure her manners would go out the window too.

 

The barking could have been a fear/excitement thing - Holly does that when she is in between the two phases, she is excitable but unsure of something and she will bark a very loud bark. JMO

 

It is good though that he calmed down, i am not sure whether Holly would have really.

She has seen sheep but is not over keen and is really scared of cows and horses so maybe she wouldn't be very good in a pen with sheep. Personally I think she would bark and run to the exit. :rolleyes:

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You know what got me hope? Seeing a big fat Rottweiler herd sheep in the big trail arena next to the small pen. If he can do it, then most certantly my dog can do it :D He was just taking commands, I didn't see him do anything than walk to the sheep as the trainers were directing him to do.

 

Um, yeah, I know that rottweiler...and I wouldn't exactly say that what he does in the arena is herd sheep :rolleyes: .

 

But Ouzo does sound like he may have potential. It's a rare dog who will work calmly and purposefully his first time out, especially in a round pen. Give it some time. :D

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Yup. I agree with Laura--he'll get calmer the more he goes to the stock. Their first introduction is a lot like a little kid at Disneyland for the first time--the big WOOHOO!! :D The majority are pretty much like Ouzo was. But, each time he goes, he should learn to relax and begin to really WORK them. Keep us posted on his progress,

A

 

PS Oh, and, while I don't know that particular Rottie, there are some in this area who claim to "herd," also. Mostly they just trot very slowly behind the sheep, who would follow the person whether the dog was there or not. That's a prime example of ACK herding. This Rottie probably has some nifty titles to his name :rolleyes:

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Well done Anda and Ouzo. It does look like he's made a good start, and it's very encouraging that he's prepared to take direction a(and correction) from your trainer. Now all you have to do is to start learning about what makes sheep tick :rolleyes: , so that you'll be able to learn to handle him too.

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Sounds like there's plenty to work with! Good thing you didn't see Ted's wheeee phase. Don't worry, wheee is much easier to work with than Where's Mommy?!?

 

It looks like there was even some progress during the session so you shouldn't hesitate to go back, and don't have huge expectations. It really didn't sound much different than most dogs starting out. Um, the barking maybe not so much - but Gus does bark at new stock he's exposed to still, even though he's a mature dog and fully trained on sheep.

 

Expecting a dog to work calmly and fully in control the first time they see stock is a little like handing a fourteen year old the key's to Daddy's 1962 Mustang - it's going to be an extraordinary teen that can both control the car and resist the urge to drive it 90 miles per hour. It takes time to develop both the ability to read the sheep and control their movements, and also to develop the ability to control their automatic reactions and tune them to your bidding.

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Sounds like there's plenty to work with! Good thing you didn't see Ted's wheeee phase. Don't worry, wheee is much easier to work with than Where's Mommy?!?

 

It looks like there was even some progress during the session so you shouldn't hesitate to go back, and don't have huge expectations. It really didn't sound much different than most dogs starting out. Um, the barking maybe not so much - but Gus does bark at new stock he's exposed to still, even though he's a mature dog and fully trained on sheep.

 

Expecting a dog to work calmly and fully in control the first time they see stock is a little like handing a fourteen year old the key's to Daddy's 1962 Mustang - it's going to be an extraordinary teen that can both control the car and resist the urge to drive it 90 miles per hour. It takes time to develop both the ability to read the sheep and control their movements, and also to develop the ability to control their automatic reactions and tune them to your bidding.

 

LOL - I like your cool car analogy, Becca! That's exactly what was happening, although I'd say he was acting like a 7 year old with car keys :D

 

And thank god the "I-wannt-my-momma" phase lasted only about a couple of minutes. Honestly, that was the most unexpected behaviour. I was kindda prepared to see a sheep race frenzy, but not seeing the wussy side of my boy. That came out of nowhere! Luckily it went back as fast as it appeared :D

 

And, as I said it before, my dog can take corrections like a pro :rolleyes: He's not AT ALL a soft dog, he's a hard headed mule who, if needed, takes a correction then smiles back at you "That's all you got?" but at the same time does what you ask him (but he'd never admit it's because of you - it was all his idea!).

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the key's to Daddy's 1962 Mustang

 

Not to be a PIA, but the first Mustangs were '64 (64 1/2 actually, if I recall correctly). It's just that I'm OLD enough to remember. Sigh. But we know exactly what you mean, and the analogy still holds :rolleyes:

A

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Not to be a PIA, but the first Mustangs were '64 (64 1/2 actually, if I recall correctly). It's just that I'm OLD enough to remember. Sigh. But we know exactly what you mean, and the analogy still holds :rolleyes:

A

 

I got my Daddy's 64 1/2 mustang- yep. that was the first year. BTW. I love the 3rd pic of him. I think that one is the best. His tail is J'd and he looks relaxed and natural. Not chasing or biting. Great pics and you can almost see that "light bulb" in his head turn on and say "HEY !!!! That's what I'm supposed to do". Great feeling!!!

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Go Ouzo!! It sure is fun, isn't it?! My boy was all style the first time he met sheep, head down, loping and circling. And he only looked back at me once. But, embarassingly enough, after ten minutes or so, when the trainer was about to take him out of the pen, he rolled over on his back for a belly rub in the middle of the round pen!!! :D :rolleyes: What a wuss...

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Anda, don't be too surprised if Ouzo acts way different the second time you take him! And the 3rd time will be even more dramatic. I was told this when Jackson had his first lesson, that they will go home and replay in their mind what happened, that they will remember and sort out what went wrong, and what went right. My trainer said usually by the 3rd lesson, they really start clicking on what they should do. On Jackson's 3rd lesson, we had pretty much agreed that he would only be working balls and frizbee's. He would ingnore the sheep, sniff the LGD's, check out sheep in the field behind us, etc., etc.! It was quite frustrating! But, I am hard headed too! So, I said one more lesson. The 4th lesson, she was blown away at how Jackson worked! Even her new 5mo. pup she was starting(she worked him inbetween Jackson's time with the sheep)running up and down the fence line, yapping, did not affect him. He worked and listened and learned!!! She said, that's a good dog, he spent his time thinking while he was away. And it really showed! So give him some time. You will be very surprised, I think, at the changes he will go through! Good luck!!!

 

Good boy, Ouzo!

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Yay, great shots! I'm glad you posted them. It's very cool, isn't it? Sounds like Ouzo did a fine job for his first time out, very typical. That he got better each time in the pen shows promise, too! Jack shows improvement each time he goes, I'm sure Ouzo will, too. I'm glad you're going to go back. :rolleyes:

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Oh my gosh!! Atleast he is excited about it, eh? These are great pics Anda. I'm thinking this went a wee bit better than agility?? :rolleyes:

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Not to be a PIA, but the first Mustangs were '64

 

I had no idea. I was going for as early as possilbe but was really trying to get to bed quickly and the internet was running slow as molasses on the machine I was using. Hey, only missed by two years. :rolleyes:

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Oh my gosh!! Atleast he is excited about it, eh? These are great pics Anda. I'm thinking this went a wee bit better than agility?? :rolleyes:

 

 

Amy,

 

No doubt this was waay more exciting than agility, for both Ouzo and I :D At least no one yelled at us for him marking everything. He even entered a pi$$ing contest with one of the resident Border Collies, Ben (a true working sheep dog), they both took turns peeing in the drinking water and in the pool, time after time. That's his kind of hang-out place :D

 

We're still going to have fun at agility, but there are too many rules for the kind of free spirit that abounds in Ouzo and defines him!

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Wow! Great pics and good job. :rolleyes: Looking forward to hearing how he does in the future visits! :D

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Heh, heh, that's great to see Anda. Seeing Ouzo on sheep just brought the biggest smile to my face. Good to see it happening in Colorado. Wish I could try Derry on sheep but frankly I don't think she's cut out for it. Ellie is but starting a nine year old might not be a good idea. Have yourself a great time but don't be too hard on Ouzo. My bet would be that each time you'll see loads of improvement, especially with a fine trainer!

Best of Luck!

-jay

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Way to go Ouzo!!!! That's awesome. It was the best day ever right? It was for me when I first took Black Jack to go work sheep. It's the greatest to see them work. Awesome pictures too :rolleyes:

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