So to clarify in this edition of Jeeping with Dogs, it is more lovingly referred to as Sheeping with Dogs. Yes we utilized the Jeep to get them there but this day it was all about the sheep and not the Jeep.
A little background on the pooches. Hoodlum is a seven year old Heeler, Australian cattle dog. He is definitely loyal and he understands the pecking order in the house. For instance, he went for a walk with the daughter child once upon a time and a strange dog approached. He immediately went into protection mode. When walking with Jeff he would wait for cues before throwing his bad self into that mode. He enjoys our company and is definitely a pleaser. We thought it may be fun for him to tap into his instincts and herd something.
Suki is fifteen, losing her hearing and her vision and has a bad hip (surgery previously). She is a corgi and sheltie mix and though very connected to us she also will run off after a rabbit, squirrel, or lizard rather than hang out with us. To sum her up she is a lot like a teenager who runs screaming from the house saying “I can do what I waaannnttt!”
So we arrive at the location and talk with the trainer. She explains about a dog turning “on” and that the sheep sense this on/off from the dogs and will react accordingly. She instructed us that if the dogs come to the fence not to talk to them and in fact turn our backs on them.
Hoodlum goes into the pen. The sheep are in the corner, the trainer is in the middle and he makes a b line tail wagging for the trainer. He is happy enough following her around. The sheep apparently sense that he is definitely capable of turning on. He in fact jogs after them a bit but he continues to look to Jeff for cues. Much back turning happened during his adventure. I believe if Jeff had been in the trainer position that Hoodlum would round those sheep up. But currently the sheep are watching him and are a bit wary of him and his reaction is pretty uninterested in anything sheep related. In fact he jogs over to find a bit of shade on more than one occasion. Hoodlum leaves the pen pretty happy to be at Jeff’s side once again.
For grins and giggles we put Suki in the pen. Honestly I was a little worried about her as her age and her size wouldn’t lend well if a sheep got at all grumpy with her. I admit it, I am a little protective of her and would hate for us to force something that in turn got her injured. Well she went into the pen and the trainer called her over … and then she saw the sheep. Let’s just say at this point it was on and cracking. Little ol’ Suki ran after those sheep, they split apart and she worked them back together and brought them to the center. They fled one way and she rounded out and about and brought them in. I swear I saw it in her eyes as she glanced at Hoodlum she was saying, “That ladies and gentleman is how you do it”.
After the experience was over it all actually made a lot of sense. Suki and her aloofness and Hoodlum with his never wavering loyalty did exactly what their instincts whispered to them. I am glad that Hoodlum likes to be right at our sides and has to “kiss” us awake in the mornings. I love that Suki has no fears and will call out the biggest dog at the dog park even if that big dog looks at her like “are you kidding me?” Each has their own big personalities and I for one wouldn’t change a thing. So if you need anything rounded up give us a call we will send our little grandma over to tend to the job.
Well, he is part Heeler. Mostly lover. Like him just the way he is! (He caught on a bit later, but, yea not his thing.) — at SummerNy Ranch, New River, AZ.
Enjoy the video – yes there is music, just wait……