Pleased to say we Lucy and I had a very nice day today.
Diane had her 20 acre field mowed so it is just great for longer work right now. Lucy drove the full length of the field 4 times and did 4 big outruns. Her outruns were spot-on. No redirects required. I think that was very good for her confidence. I sent her from different/odd locations in the field, and in between setting the sheep took her to the holding area and worked her on a separate flock in between to diminish her memory of where the sheep were set.
We also practiced dog-leg fetches on both sides and she did just great. I was really expecting a tough practice today but Lucy was right on. Her confidence is coming back and it was really nice to have my regular partner again.
Just as we were finishing, the neighbor hollered over the fence...
Neighbor: "Hey... can you help me?"
Me: "Sure, what do you need?"
Neighbor: "Just need some sheep moved up the road."
Me: "Yes, I can do that. Which sheep are they?"
[Neighbor points down into his pasture.]
Neighbor: "The big white ones."
[I look down and frown. There are 40 or so sheep down there... and about 10 "big white ones"]
Me: "Oh, so you need those sheep sorted off of your other sheep, and then moved down the road....?"
Neighbor: "Yes. Thanks."
[I frown... thinking this might not go well.]
Me: "Um. Ok..."
I walk down into the pasture and have Lucy gather the sheep. Fortunately for me, the sheep he needs sorted off are from a separate flock, so they are a bit easier to shed off than they might be if all of the sheep were flockmates. (Is flockmates a word? Spell check says no.) There are no pens or gates to sort with in that pasture, so I maneuvered around a bit and decided to do an international style shed and hope to sort them in the middle of the field.
As I got to moving the sheep around, I had all the ones I wanted plus about 15 extra, so called Lucy in for a first cut. We then proceeded to sort off all the correct sheep on the first try! I am sure my smile was huge, I was beaming with pride for my little red dog.
Once we had the sheep sorted off, I drove off the flock that was staying into a corner, then we took the misfits up out of the pasture, down the road and to a new field. The whole process took perhaps 10 minutes.
Best part of the day:
(astonished) Neighbor: "How did you do that?!"
Me: "I have a really good dog."
Treasure each day you have together, friends.
Thanks for reading.