New Guardian Dogs - Intro to Sheep

We introduced Lucas and Lady to the group of ewe lambs we are keeping separate for the purpose of training stock dogs and hosting clinics. This is the same group of ewe lambs that Willow and the two pups stay with so there was a lot of introductions.

We brought Lucas and Lady to the paddock on leash and because the dogs were still cautious of us and in new open surroundings (an eight acre paddock) we kept them on the leads. We headed in the direction of sheep but allowed the dogs to walk where they liked. We followed and kept the leashes loose. We wanted to lessen our influence on the happenings as much as possible.

Willow and the pups took notice of us first and came to inspect the newcomers. Willow is a very accepting dog and the pups are young enough that they still accept everybody so this went over without a hitch. Each dog did the introductory sniff of everybody else and all was good.

Lucas and Lady seemed more concerned about where they were. They wanted to move and when we came into sight of the ewe lambs Lady pulled forward. She went straight to the group and wormed her way right amongst them. The ewes moved off from the initial approach of this strange dog but only traveled a few feet and settled.

Then dogs and sheep began to inspect one another which was the most fascinating aspect of this morning meet and greet. A couple of the ewes were very thorough in their inspection of Lady. And she stood for it all.




I must make note that these sheep are very familiar with guard dogs and I am sure this is partly what allows such an introduction to occur. Sheep that are not familiar with guard dogs will not act in this fashion and a very different approach will be needed. 

Although very pleased with this initial intro, we weren't quite ready to leave the dogs unattended.  After some time with the sheep we walked both dogs back to the dog run. Over the next three days we took them to sheep twice daily and set the bottle lambs with them in the run overnight.

Comments

  1. Once, when my guardian dog had been separated from his sheep for 2 months, they greeted him the same way. They sniffed him up and down and when he walked away, they followed him.

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  2. Jenny,

    Their communication is amazing isn't it. In regards to LGD's I find the dog-to-sheep and sheep-to-dog interactions always varied and endlessly fascinating. Thanks for the comment.

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