Workin’ for a livin’

Puppy alarm clock went off an an obnoxiously early time today (as well as at 2am, and 3:30am). Must be the heat as no one had any digestive distress, which is always my first assumption.  I was pretty cranky as watched the sun rise while I potted Raven for the third time since midnight, but now I’m quite grateful! I got all chores done, dogs exercised, youngsters trained on sheep, and livestock turned out to graze all before the mercury hit 30C. By 10am it was 34C.  And it’s still May!  No one is moving for the rest of the day, including me.
I let the puppies follow me around while doing morning chores as all the livestock is locked up over night.  As I let the poultry and sheep out, the pups got to do a little actual “work” (first with ducks, then on sheep), in addition to hunting for their breakfast (a well-seasoned half gutted snake, and the tail end of a duckling some predator caught yesterday and didn’t finish).
Raven’s herding instinct is now fully switched on.  She followed my ducks around – at a surprisingly nice pace and good distance – driving them all over the barnyard.  Watching her reminds me of her mother: stylish, intense, very good stock sense and balance, and a strong propensity to drive rather than gather.  Her mother is an extremely talented dog, but that driving bent comes from eye that has been very difficult for me to work with.  Hopefully Raven has inherited the talent without that eye.  At least I am now much better equipped to work with it, should that be the case.
 At this point I won’t be doing much with her around stock other than practicing a down and a recall.  I want to make sure she keeps me in the picture from day one, and given what I am seeing that day one is today. She is still recalling to me but I can see that will be gone in possibly even one more exposure.  So recall games off stock, then gradually bringing stock into the environment while we play will be my focus with this pup for the next little while!  I’ll also start working on the WOW! game, which involves having the dog stop or down while chasing a toy.  Impulse control, baby, impulse control!
 Griffon is much less keen on stock and therefore happy to follow me around while I do chores.  As such, he will continue to go out and about with me for now.  Griffey has just enough presence and interest in sheep to hold them back from gates etc., and not enough to get him into trouble (in contrast to his sister, who charges at them). No doubt his desire to work will come, given his genetics.  But maybe he will be one of those easy going (an therefore easy to train) dogs like Clayton, which I have so learned to appreciate!
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Raven (left), Ross (in the back), and Griffon, napping after a busy morning
I think the hunting and work the pups did this morning earned them the right to hang with the big dogs! I still don’t have them running with the whole pack at once, but they are definitely fitting right in, even with Darth Ross.  Check out how big Griff is getting, oh my!

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