Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Just As Nature Intended

Dinah had her first-ever sheep herding lesson today. This is a big moment in a herding-breed puppy's life; it's the day when a pup gets in touch with the instincts that drive its breed. When that instinctive connection takes place, you can almost literally see the light bulb turn on over the puppy's head. "So this is what I'm supposed to do with my life!"

My friend Fran, whom I met at a sock knitting class last winter, lives in the next town and trains and trials with Border Collies. She offered to get Dinah started on sheep this year, and today was the big day. Greg and I piled into my friend Maryann's car with her Beardie Camille and headed for our date with the sheep.

Fran took Dinah into the pen on a long lead and spoke encouragingly to her. The sheep moved. Dinah moved toward them. The sheep moved some more. Dinah moved some more.

As the sheep moved away from her, the light came on. Ding!

Nature took over, Dinah connected with her instincts, and she started to pursue the sheep on her own.

By the time we had finished our two sessions, Dinah was confidently going after the sheep without splitting the flock too badly. She hasn't tried to circle them yet, but she does head for their butts rather than for their heads. There's no doubt that she'll ace the herding instinct test at the Specialty in September.

It's Done!

Greg had something to celebrate this week, too. He finished the Sax Quartet. After he printed and comb-bound the score, he showed it to me in the same manner as parents show off their newborn children. He then shipped it off to the New Hudson guys, whom I hope will fall all over the piece and rush to get it recorded to CD as soon as possible. You never know. Think good thoughts for Greg. The guy could use a break!

1 comment:

Pirate said...

I wonder how Sam would react in a pen full of sheep. He's probably chase one, then chase another, then another, until he had them scattered to the four corners of the pen. It'd be interesting to see, though. He's over two now, and hasn't had any real solid training, though he's well behaved enough for our purposes.