You folks might remember my little Sheltie pup, Windy, who had a neurological incident a few months back. Good news to report, the problem has yet to happen again. So it looks like it was either hormone induced because of being in heat or she got into something I have yet to discover. In any case, she has been happy and healthy since and coming along in her agility training like she was born to do it. However, we all know that Shetland Sheepdogs were really born to herd sheep! Last week agility sessions were canceled, so Windy and I went someplace else and did something totally different: sheepherding! I've always wanted to do this but - check out my location, sheep are just not very common in the city of Los Angeles! The closest place always interfered with agility classes. Anyway, this sheep ranch stuck in the middle of the City boasts many WTCHs and HTCHs considering its location. The pros there were very impressed with Windy. For her first time seeing sheep (and only 9 months old), she showed lots of potential talent. What an amazing thing to see the light bulb go off; "Yes, this is what I was bred to do!" I don't know how many generations of Windy's show-going ancestors had lived their lives without ever seeing a sheep, but let me tell you that 1000 years or more of breeding for a particular job can lie dormant in even the most dedicated show lines. After watching some other first timer dogs chase the sheep and scattering them here and there, I didn't have great expectations even though I know Windy has a lot of drive on the agility course. But when it was our turn, not once did she run right at the sheep and split them up, she always gathered them and kept them together. It was amazing! But the trainer said she was doing something he had only seen a couple times before in a new dog: she was using herself as the focus instead of me. Most beginner dogs with instinct will gather the sheep and bring them towards their handler. But the trainer there said that Windy learned after the first few minutes that if she brought the sheep to us, we'd slow her down and ruin her "fun." So she kept the sheep together but away from us and just kept them moving around the arena where she wanted to go. The trainer said she was so smart, but definitely had a mind of her own! I am going to have to try to figure out how to fit herding into my dog training schedule, because wow... what a challenge. It is like doing agility where all the pieces of equipment are moving around! "I'll go get 'em, Mom!" zooom...... "You can't get away from me!" "I got 'em. Now what do I do?" Having fun just moving the sheep around - with much less control than a more experienced dog, but she is a first-timer puppy! Notice how she is going for the one sheep which is trying to break away.