Now that Decker is better trained on sheep and also minding a lot better, I have started letting him do chores.  Doing real sheep work is a good way to get dogs much better at trial work.  It is a form of seasoning that makes sense to them.  Sometimes the light bulb can go off-"oh, I get it now!-that is why I have to lie down...".  Real work can take patience on that handler's side though.  

A few days ago, I had Decker bring out the sheep to put them into the field to graze.  Well, I gave him too big of a job to do for just beginning to learn chores.  I have a sheep shelter with three sides for the sheep.  Around the shelter, there is a fence with at least four feet around all sides.  In my brilliant design, this allows the sheep to have shade anytime of the day.  The problem with this design though, it's tough for the for the novice dog to move sheep out.  So, smart sheep can possibly outwit the dog by running around and around the shelter, and lot exiting the pen.  This happened to Decker.  

He also needed more support than I gave him.  I just stood at the gate, and sent him, and thought the sheep would cooperate and leave their pen in order to graze.  We had a big wreak and she sheep refused to leave.  I want and need him to be successful.  So after the big wreak, I came into the pen and helped him by blocking sheep from the ring-around-the-rosy.

Today, his chores went much better.  Right away, I came inside the sheep pen with him, and had him bring out the sheep.  He did just fine.  I even was able to slow him down, and have him work quietly.  With the sheep safely inside the field grazing, next came the goats.  Goats are generally more difficult to heard.  Additionally, there are several who will jump up on a little doghouse to get away from a dog, so I came into their stall to help Decker.  He did great.  They cooperated with him and he drove them out to the field with the sheep.  He was very proud of himself.  I wonder if he is starting to understand it all and if he had that light bulb go off in his head!

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