a blog about Kilt and her kids plus Trouble our JRT mascot.

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Sequim, Washington, United States

Friday, April 15, 2011

Silent gathers

Today I came up with a GREAT exercise.  A silent gather.  Oh, that's not new, ya say?  Well, add to a flock of about 60 sheep some 40 goats.  Throw them out in a field together.  Walk clear to the other end of the field (200 yards) and send your dog.  Mums the word.

 My dogs are whipped.  Like beat.  Sheep are easy to gather in comparison to goats.  Sheep just drift along grazing.  Goats do what ever they feel like doing.  It's like gathering oil and water.   It really intrigued me to watch each of my dogs individually work this puzzle out.  Drum roll please. The award goes to YOKO.

Jet made this sweeping wide gorgeous outrun, but was puzzled as to what to do when the 40 goats didn't stay with the sheep.  He would stop and look to me for direction.  Kilt took the easy way out.  Just bring whatever is coming and to hell with the rest.

And, then there was YOKO.  It must have taken her almost 10 minutes to get all of the stock, goats and sheep to my feet.  She worked hard.  Wearing for 10 minutes in the grass and having to hit goat after goat with her teeth exhausted me just watching her.  But, I didn't say a word.  She worked it like a jigsaw puzzle.  She would stop and check her sheep knowing they were "drifting" in the right direction and then she would rustle up her goats taking the Billy's on if needed.  She always knew where all of her stock was all of the time.  The little dog that could.  I was so impressed.  I am so glad I never gave up on Yoko.  I thought about it at times.  I enjoy her so much.  She's making one heck of a ranch dog, just like her mother.

I wished someone could have filmed her.  Intuitively she knew who was going to turn in the correct direction, who she needed to watch, and who needed a bit of teeth for encouragement.  She never left any straggler goats that got down in the wash.  She always noticed them and wrangled them back to the group.  She wasn't lazy like her mother and she didn't need me to say a word. Yoko is turning into an amazing dog. :0)


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