Monday, April 11, 2011

The working dogs

Of course, while meeting the lambs, my attention was immediately drawn to the dogs. This is an abruzzi, her job is to guard the herd. They actually had three, one male and two females. The females primarily guard the babies, while the male watches over the field.

Every half hour, they demonstrated how the border collies herd the sheep. This guy is just waiting for permission to go to work. He was fascinating to watch.

The dog has the responsibility of making the mamas move and being ever so gentle with the babies.

There were 13 mamas with their babies out in the pasture. Apparently, when the babies aren't there, the dog is able to bring in the sheep without any problems. However, with all of the babies, the dog now has 13 different groups as opposed to one herd to bring in.

On occasion, a mama would square off with dog, unwilling to move. Firmly but gently, the dog would let the sheep know who was boss.

The dog worked by whistle commands. He would lay down behind the sheep so that they couldn't move back. Once he had one group moving, he would move onto the next group.

I am ready to live on a farm after our visit.


BZ Dogs said...

Love the white guardian - a Kuvaz?

houndstooth said...

Was the guardian a Great Pyrenees? It's pretty cool how they raise them with the sheep so that they will protect the flock when they grow up. We had Border Collies growing up and watching them work is a lot of fun!

Greyhounds CAN Sit said...

Watching a sheepdog working is magical to me. I see a lot of it and am still in awe. Lovely photos.

What Remains Now said...

My husband and I saw a demontration with a herding dog at a Scottish festival and it was AMAZING. When you see a dog doing what it was bred and trained to do, it is awe-inspiring. Kind of the way I feel when I see my two "kids" (Freedom & Casper - greyhounds) running full out. A thing of beauty!