Monday, August 9, 2010

Herding Day AND Happy Birthday, Secret!

First things first -- Today is Secret's birthday!! Well, the day I've chosen to celebrate her birthday, at least. I think I'm the only person who changed the birthday of the puppies after going by my vet said was her age, so it looks like we are celebrating alone. :o)

All of the pictures posted today were taken on the trip home from Secret's very first HERDING day yesterday! As you can plainly see, she was exhausted. Secret has decided that riding shotgun is the *only* way to go, despite the fact that it is decidedly uncomfortable and makes it nearly impossible for her to sleep. She gave up a time or two and retreated to the back, but only for a minute or so at a time before she returned.

I figured the whole herding experience would be pretty hit or miss with Secret. I thought she would either be completely out of control chasing after the sheep or completely terrified of them.

As it happens, it was far closer to the latter of the two scenarios, but thankfully she did improve greatly as the day went on. What is interesting to note is that she went absolutely bonkers watching the other dogs work the sheep. She would watch with rapt attention and strain at the end of her leash when the sheep ran past us. And there was barking... Plenty of barking... I have to say, she was by far the most vocal Border Collie there!

It was a bit different when it was her turn, but it didn't help a lick that her sheep were getting a bit bully at that point and she didn't have the nerve to stand up to them. Once they figured they had her number, they took full advantage of it. That session felt like a giant fail to me, but watching it on video showed that it wasn't as bad as I thought at the time.

Blessedly, Kathy (the trainer) suggested that we try Secret again at the end. We switched out the sheep to a "friendlier" trio that would be easier for her to push. This session went SO MUCH BETTER! I'd been letting Secret watch the dogs before her as well as the working dog who moved the sheep into the pen. When we let her go, she was ready!

Hindsight being what it is, I think we should have stopped sooner than we did. It was wickedly hot with a heat index in the 90's and I think Secret was really starting to melt from the heat. She put forth a good effort, though, and I'm very pleased with her. Kathy thinks a lot of her issues are due to her young age and feels that she will likely improve quite a bit as she gets older.

I thought Secret would be completely shot for the rest of the day, but not quite. We ended up going swimming before dinner and then she even had a short frisbee session in the evening. Where does she find the energy!?

Anyhow, I believe our day's adventure can best be described through video! Enjoy! :o)


  1. Happy Birthday Secret! She is gorgeous! The video was great to watch, looks like she had fun once she got going. I had to laugh at the part where "she was really good at barking and keeping the sheep in the corner" LOL

  2. Thanks! I'm pretty sure that Secret felt her job was done once she got them all together in the corners -- It would be interesting to get her in a round pen to avoid that scenario. The sheep were total corner-suckers!

  3. Happy birthday, Secret!! Herding looks like so much fun and Secret was doing pretty well towards the end!

  4. Looked pretty good for the first time. You are right she really needs a round pen so the corner suckers wont get the upper hand. She is a very pretty girl!

  5. That was fun to watch! The second group was definitely a confidence builder for her. Happy Birthday Secret! :)

    PS: Do you always take video as you are driving??

  6. lol I wondered if there would be any commenting on my videoing while driving... Especially since some people get after me for just snapping pictures! I think that's the first time I ran the camera in the car -- I was trying to come up with a creative intro for the video. :o) No worries, the road was dead quiet at that time on a Sunday morning and I generally just aimed the camera in her direction. There were a few outtakes where I totally didn't even have her in the picture. ha!