Friday, January 23, 2009

The Changeling...

I work all of my dogs in the stalls. It's very good for them for close up work and being in tight spaces. I start off by putting sheep in the stall and filling their feeders so they are eating. Then I grab a chair and sit in it and drink my coffee. I take the dog in with me and have him or her on a leash and after a few sessions, we walk around the side of the stall (on leash) and have the dog move the sheep off the wall and around we go.

After a few more sessions, then I take the dog off the leash and we walk around together and then much later I would stand and drink my coffee and the dog does the perimeter work by themselves.

Soon the dog is calm and can squeeze themselves against the sheep and wall and move them and also hold them so we can hoof trim or do worming or other sheep work.

I took Nan in a few months ago and that is where she got her nickname Howler Monkey"

I brought her in and sat on my chair. Nan looked around for her back up Tess. Tess was asleep in the house and Nan realized she was all alone in the stall with no Tess. I had her on a leash and when the 30 sheep turned and faced her she ran behind me. I moved my chair closer to the sheep and then she ran to the stall door and clawed at it, howling like a "Howler Monkey"

I lived in Central America for a few years and it sure was nice to be reminded of the loud sounds that emitted from the Howler Monkey in the wee hours. It’s loud and obnoxious.

Nan continued to claw the door and screeched and the whites in her eyes were huge.

"Tess, Tess, come save me. OMG, somebody HELP me!!" she screeched.

I tugged on her leash and made her lay next to me. She turned her back to the sheep and stuck her nose in the stall door corner.

Wisely, the sheep observed that Nan was a no threat to her and finished their hay and began to lie down and chew their cuds. A couple lay next to her and when their bodies touched her, she cringed.

I am thinking, "HUM, my Open dog needs a bit of work in tight places"

So over the months we worked on it. Also at the night time feeding, I would use Tess and Nan to hold the sheep off the feeders. Nan looked to Tess a lot to see what she would do and mimic her. A nip her on the nose, a walk up to the head and so forth. Over the months Nan got stronger and stronger and many more hours were spent in the stall.

Tess has been lame the last week so the chore details have fallen on Nan’s shoulders. She can push the sheep off the feeder now and has a nice push to the sheep on the heads. Tonight I wanted to snag a ewe to check her hoof and had her bring the sheep into the stall.

No chair, no coffee and trying to see if the many hours had paid off in real work.

This is what I got.

Nan squeezed herself between the sheep and the wall and brought them to me. She went on both sides and all I could see was the top of her back and then sometimes that disappeared when she went under a ewe. She would grip a hock or nose to move them along and when I told to down, she lay next to the sheep and her eyes were glowing.

The sheep decided to back down. I had her walk up and she backed them up to the wall. I sent her around the crowded sheep and she almost got stuck trying to squeeze herself along the wall. She was fearless.

As we left the stall and Tess greeted us Nan turned to her and said “You can go and sleep in the house now. I got it covered now”

And we walked up to the house, Nan and I, all puffed up with pride. Tess was nowhere to be seen.


sheepkelpie said...

God work Nan! As for Tess, isn't that what all parents want? To raise their kids to be able to take over when they can't.. Good for Tess, knowing that the work can still get done, and good for Dianne!

DeltaBluez Tess said...

Nan is not related to Tess BUT Tess took her under her wing and treats her like her own. They play and sleep together and are best friends.

In fact, Tess just went into heat and now Nan and then Rainey and Belle.....sheesh.......

They all like to mimic Tess!!