This weekend Griffon followed me into the sheep field (which he has been doing since a tiny puppy) while I was doing a little work with one of the adults. This time, the light came on and suddenly he was in there, really working right along side Hannah. Last night I did the same, only I brought my video camera to document.
I am very happy with what I am seeing in this 4.5 month old puppy! He is calm, level headed, showing very good feel for his sheep, balancing nicely to me, keeping count of the stock (and going to gather any that split off), and showing a natural lie down and plenty of confidence. I am very pleased with this start!
Four and a half months is definitely too young to be doing any serious training, but I am experimenting with these puppies by getting them working much younger than I’ve done in the past. My goal at this age is to get them to be focused on me and to listen and recall off the stock, and develop very good lie downs.
I’ll be detailing my approach in my training blog – Shaping Chaos – where I am working to develop a strictly reinforcement-based approach (+R) to herding, but I’ll continue to post puppy progress and updates here. So with no further adieu, here is Mr. Griffon working sheep at 4.5 months of age: