|Lucky herding goats, off leash, with Roberta|
|Lucky on a long line herding sheep, with Robbie|
Lucky runs agility because I ask her to. It's MY THING. She complies, and competes at Excellent level, albiet without great enthusiasm, and will get her Masters. But she comes alive, I mean totally focused, when fetching, tugging, or killing armadillos, and I saw that same level of excitement yesterday when she was chasing the goats and sheep around. It kinda bothers me not to provide her with opportunities that trigger her highest innate abilities. I feel I must trade her that for her doing agility with me.
How she didn't get trampled to death, nor even suffer the slightest scratch, I have no idea. And I'm not at all sure what her intentions were, running up in between all those legs. Was that herding, or simply chasing??? So much to learn.
For the longest time Lucky was spooked by that stick Roberta carries. We were walking in the field when I first turned Lucky, on leash, over to Roberta. Lucky went up ahead, and Roberta immediately whacked her on the chest. Lucky cowered and tried to slink away and behind, and became so leary of the stick I feared she would never participate. It took her several tries to give chase because all she did at first was try to stay away from the stick, but she got somewhat over it as this final video shows. Lucky has never been whacked and I don't like the idea of poking or prodding her, either. It could make her mean, destroy her gentle trusting nature. She backs away at home whenever I pick up a fly swat or yard stick. Personally, I think I could train her to go behind, around, out and away, and "exert my authority", without the stick. But when the kill instinct takes over, it might take a whack or two with a stout stick to get her off of her "prey". Now I know why the biblical shepherds carried their crooked staff! It wasn't a walking cane as I always assumed!
Roberta's "balance the cookie on her nose without eating it" comment was referring to something she said earlier about well trained herding dogs' "wanting to kill the sheep, but not killing them", and that Lucky did well stopping the chase when told to. She said the most important thing a herding dog needs (besides herding instinct) is a rock solid drop or sit on command, and a 100% reliable recall. We are already training those at home.
When I got home I watched some herding training videos on YouTube, very interesting, all informing me that while the dog needs a strong "desire to chase", herding isn't about chasing at all. Roberta repeated several times that teaching a dog to herd is far more difficult than teaching agility. I can't imagine that.
|Spider Lillies, September 18, Old Hammond Hideaway|
In fact, when I was loading up the car to go a-herding, I saw these native spider lillies had popped up alongside my driveway. I quickly snapped this picture. These intricate flowers, so beautiful, have been blooming in my yard every year for 38 years, and always let me know when fall is on the way. They never fail to thrill me.
Upwards and onward!