A Vast Improvement in Kay’s Confidence

Sheepdogs herding a flock of reluctant ewes and lambs

The picture speaks volumes! With new-found confidence, Kay’s standing up to stubborn sheep

We had another early start this morning as there were two lots of sheep to gather at Dean Farm. We’re “enjoying” a heatwave in the UK at the moment, so I was more than happy to get up at 5am today because I wanted to get the sheep in and draft the lambs out before the heat became unbearable.

Even so, by the time the lambs were all in the trailer and ready to go off to market, it was plenty hot enough, and poor Kay and Bronwen were exhausted.

The operation didn’t go as smoothly as usual due to misunderstandings about which sheep were coming from, and going back to, which fields. This meant we did the equivalent of about three bunches of sheep but although I was hot and tired, I was very pleased with the dogs.

Sheepdog Bronwen lies down defiantly in front of some threatening sheep
It takes great courage for a dog to lie on the floor very close to stubborn or aggressive sheep, but Bronwen loves her work in the sheep yard and is happy to oblige

Bronwen continues to improve every time we go to the farm. Her work inside the sorting pens is exceptionally good. Recently, she’s taken it upon herself to “wear” back and forth behind the sheep, making certain none of them escape and they’re keen to go through the sorting race!

The occasional sheep tries to knock her down, but they don’t normally attempt it more than once because Bronwen usually gives them a good nip on the nose before they make contact.

Two sheepdogs looking happy between their handler's legs
Bronwen and Kay enjoying a little safety between Andy’s legs before they begin their rugged work in the sheep handling yard

The most impressive dog today though was Kay. She gets more and more confident each time she works sheep these days. Gill suggested it might be a result of her feeling more responsibility since we parted with Carew – and I’m inclined to agree with her. Kay’s also lost a lot of weight since she had her pups, and of course that will have helped matters, too. This morning, little Kay was like a new dog! She’s usually very reluctant to work in the handling pen, but this morning, she and Bronwen stood no nonsense at all from the usually difficult ewes.

The picture at the top of this page is a joy to us. Previously, to get a picture of Kay walking behind the sheep, I’ve had to tell her to stay where she is, while I moved back to get the picture. I had to do this, because as she got older, Kay was becoming increasingly reluctant to walk ahead of me to drive a flock of stubborn sheep. She insisted on walking by my legs, so we managed that way for some time but now it seems Kay’s work is improving all round. That has to be a good thing, and long may it continue.


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