LGD Pups, Small Successes

We are having some small successes with integrating the guardian pups to large flock work on pasture.

This is Pippa on the first day I took her out.

She wants to get to know the ewes, but the ewes initially move away, recognizing she is a strange dog.

So the set up right now is this: we have Diesel at the training yards with the dogging sheep. Zeus is with the rams. Lady, Oakley, Whiskey, Lily and Pippa are with the main flock. We've had three consecutive, successful days with the pups staying on pasture, so it would seem that Diesel was our ticket. I have no idea how long to keep him out before putting him back with the main group, or how long he'll be kept out before finding a way to return on his own.

This was the scene on day two. Pippa is keeping tabs on where I am but also choosing to remain in the vicinity of the sheep. Neither she nor Lily has attempted to follow me out over the last three days, dropping the necessity for me to camp out on pasture.

A little later on.  Can you see her? (Click on the photo to biggify).  She's the white spot just to the right of center. The ewes adjusted to the two new white dogs very quickly. This was helped along by two important factors. Our ewes are very familiar with guardian dogs, and these two pups are showing exemplary behavior around the ewes, acting very polite as they settle themselves in.

On the third day: Pippa is looking very content. I always get a sense with each of the dogs and my sense with Pippa is that she is content, she is confident, she is a dog in her element, right where she belongs, fulfilled with the task of doing a purposeful job. I want to be her.

Lily is also doing well, although she is not quite as confident as Pippa. She is still nursing an injury on her hip, so she's not feeling 100 percent and she's not as active as Pippa with moving around with the sheep. She's very willing to stay put with the sheep though, and no longer shows any interest in following me. I'm quite astonished that this early phase went so smoothly, once we removed Diesel.