We did a thing. Or not.

Hey blogaroos. Squirmy here on another super Sunday. I’m here to tell you about some new acquaintances that I made yesterday. Here’s a clue: they were wooly.

So on Thursday night, the Warden was scrolling Wastebook and she happened to see that there was someone offering a Herding Instinct test. Now this was not an “official” test for a title – but rather an intro to woolies to see if a dog would have interest in herding them. When The Boss was little he was introduced to woolies and he showed some interest. Interestingly though, years later when he went to an Instinct Test, he sat in the middle of the ring like a stuffed dog. Same was true with Viktor. Another inanimate mop in the middle of a sheep pen.

The Coyote, though showed definite interest in woolies and he passed an Instinct Test with flying colors. He LOVED it. So the Warden decided it was my turn…

We drove about an hour away to a lovely hobby farm – where they own around a dozen woolies. Five woolies were put in a round pen – and dogs were introduced to them using a parachute cord (instead of a leash) so we could be held by our owners. The Warden said that we might have been more successful had we actually parachuted in. I’m not so sure…

Let me tell you what I learned:

1. Anyplace where sheep and dogs are gathered there are enough pervasive aromas to make a dog’s brain explode.

2. Sheep leave a trail of sumptuous morsels – but dogs are not encouraged to sample them. Try as we might.

3. Paracord is strong and super light – but it can easily be dropped or ripped out of a human’s hands. Especially if you are owned by a clutzy human.

4. Some dogs have super duper natural instinct – like a 10 week old Sheltie I watched. Even a Lab can have interest in sheep – and a Rottie who took the test before we got there, apparently was also amazing. Some of us…well the instinct is not “as apparent.”

So after watching numerous other dogs – many successful, and some not so much – it was my turn. I was attached to the paracord and in we went. I immediately began to scan for morsels. But after the Warden said “leave it” I looked around to see what else there was to do. Sheep. I took a look, and after them I went. So quickly that the Warden could not hold onto me with the paracord. One of the examiners took the cord and shouted “he’s strong!” Yup – and I had a new game. For about 30 seconds, the Warden was thrilled . Finally a PON who was interested in sheep. I was going around the ring and she was shouting “awesome – good boy- easy” – probably so many times that the examiner – who was likely protecting her own hearing – said the Warden could be a bit quieter. Right about then the Warden shouted for someone to get a camera. Unfortunately, my moments of brilliance were never captured because just as I got really close to the sheep – from what seemed like out of nowhere, a flag was dropped in front of my face. In race car driving they drop the flag to make you go. In sheep herding, they drop a flag to make you stop. And stop I did. Permanently. Yup. I’m a sensitive guy who doesn’t bounce back well from being told no. Surprise. So with that dropped flag, I quit. I mean who needs to be told no. OK – OK I guess I DO need to get over it- but I didn’t. And even after a break, when I went back in later, I had no interest in playing the game. I was being a drama king. Just like The Boss.

We noted on the test form that the examiners didn’t actually circle pass or fail. I think it was their very nice way of saying fail. While I did initially show interest – so much so that the Warden couldn’t hold onto me – my rebound skills after being corrected need some adjustment. What can I say – I’m a sensitive guy?

Apparently some dogs need several introductions to sheep to understand the objective. I think I need more introductions to flags. And being told no. Is it any wonder our household is chaos? Anyway, we tried! And it was super to have the opportunity!

Have a good one. Peace and paws up. Stay safe.

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