by Susan Sullivan
|Dallas working the ewes and lambs on his third lesson.
Photo by Dawnmarie
Over the next few lessons, we worked him in the PT arena. We started the basics of moving the sheep on the road by using the one-sided road along the fence. We also cut the flock down to our ten, quietest sheep for this as roadwork is very exciting for beginning dogs. With ten, if the dog decides to crash into the border, I can reach out and correct him with the crook. Colin learned to walk backwards and I walked in the back of the flock to make sure the dog did not get behind the sheep. Soon the dog was able to take the sheep around the arena with Colin leading the group and get them to the three sided graze. There we’d let him work for a while with out saying a word to him. He was focused and really watched all the sheep. At this time we also started to have Colin work on stand stays with him at home. Sheep herding is impossible without a reliable stay and tending is no different. The handler needs a stay to get the sheep in and out of the graze, in and out of the pen, during the pause and the bridge and often on the roadway. I like to see GSDs and other large breeds do stand stays as it is much less exciting for the sheep. Sheep are easily startled when a large dog gets up from a down. With all his show training, stand stays were easy for Dallas and he caught on very quickly often stopping and standing in the right spots without any command. With his stand stay in place, Colin could also put the sheep into a pen.