Regular readers of this blog will be familiar with the ongoing saga of my dog Oban learning how to be useful around the farm. Progress has been slow but steady, so I thought I’d share a representative video.
He starts off looking at me for direction, which is good. We haven’t done enough herding specific training for me to tell him what I want. This isn’t so good. When he does start herding he cuts in front of the cow and calf that are lying down. This isn’t good either. But he quickly goes back to get them, which is good. He stops working when I ask him to, which is the most important thing of all.
Oban saved me maybe twenty seconds, since the cows are always happy to move to new grass. But it’s one of the times in the day where it’s easy for Oban to have a positive experience with the livestock, which is the biggest difficulty right now - as I’ve previously mentioned, I’m not comfortable trying to do much training with the cows beyond the usual daily moves, since they are so potentially dangerous to both me and him. But this means that even if he’s out for well over an hour doing chores with me, there’s only a few minutes of engagement with the stock.
However, some sheep may be coming to the farm soon, and if they do I expect exciting things on the training front.