Camping Out

I’m going to camp out on pasture with the sheep and dogs or at least spend some late night evenings with them.

Lily and Pippa started following the Ranger (us) out to the pasture in the morning. We thought we’d go with it, and have made a few attempts at putting them out with the main flock to stay. Well, they stay as long as I’m there and now they’ll stay for a few hours afterward but then they return to the group of dogging sheep.

When Lily followed me back out again one evening I left her out as it looked like she was going to stay put. The next morning she was back and was sporting small bite wounds on her hind quarters - an injury I’m familiar with - an injury I’m almost certain is the D-man’s doing. I’m very surprised that Diesel has taken offense to one of the pups being out there, and wonder deeply about what went on. 

I would really like for Lily and Pip to be able to guard the pasture flock along with the current three. Yet it seems Diesel is saying no thank you.

Before I give up on the notion that these dogs can work together I’m going to try switching dogs around. So Diesel came home to the dogging sheep and Oakley, Lily and Pippa all went out to the flock. I tried taking Zeus out as well but he promptly left, headed back for his rams. He’s been on the receiving end of Diesel’s wrath and he’s also still intact so I can see why there would be ripples there. I let him go back as he wished.

If Diesel will tolerate it I’ll keep him separate for awhile and let the other five dogs get familiar with working together. The pups know Oakley well so having him there will be good backup and security. I chose to leave Whiskey out to find out if he’s involved in causing any of the trouble, or if it’s only D-man. Lady is pretty neutral and I’m pretty sure she’ll accept whomever.

Last night I had Allen drop me off and I stayed out with Lily and Pippa until after dark, then quietly made my exit and walked home without them. It was quite fascinating to be a part of the evening with them and watch as they traversed the paddock and the flock. While Lily and Pipp remained with the flock when I left, I have a sneaking suspicion they’ll be back here come morning.

I think it might take a couple evenings or nights of camping out on the pasture with them to convince them to stay out. Spending a night with the flock and the dogs is something I’ve always wanted to try. While we know our sheep and our dogs well, I’m suspicious that we are fairly clueless about what really goes on over the night period. That said, I’m also a fair-weather camper, if I’m going to do this I’d really rather not be soaking wet with rain.

Meanwhile we’ll keep Diesel closer to home and keep returning Lily and Pip to the flock as needed. It seems that Lady, Whiskey and Diesel have everything covered but I’d really, really like to establish a solid pack of more than three dogs with this flock and that means getting Diesel to accept another dog working on his turf.