We made our way to the herding instinct test early, early this morning. The test was sponsored by the local PWC club, so the most amazing part for me was seeing 40 corgis together! Everybody had a great time cheering on everyone else's dogs, and the dogs had a great time meeting each other and hanging out. Everyone was so friendly and supportive, and all of the dogs were really well behaved. And Tegan passed! The judge said she was easily distracted, but thought that might be because she is young & needs more exposure to the sheep. Tegan was able to group the sheep and had some "balance" (i.e., kept the sheep between her and the judge) & really seemed to be having fun. Some of the corgis were incredible -- they'd never seen a sheep before, but went in to the pen and acted like they'd been herding for years. I can't wait to download photos. Now Tegan and I are going to look for a local herding club/coach, because we both enjoyed it so much. I'm so excited to have something new for the two of us to work on together.

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Comment by Elizabeth on November 19, 2010 at 11:59am
Yeah for Franklin! I'm trying tracking with Jon in a couple weeks; we'll see if I can get a proud mom moment out of that. (Maybe they'll use sheep poo as the lure; that'd work like a charm.)
Comment by Melissa and Franklin! on November 17, 2010 at 11:13pm
when I took Franklin for his test I was amazed at his natural instict, and I did get to show up the aussies which was awesome ;-) He went right in the ring and right away keyed into the sheep and knew exactly what to do. He isn't from a line of working dogs so it was interesting to see that my little family pet could have such ingrained instinct. I wish I had made somebody come with me to take some pictures and video of him at work. I was such a proud mom haha.
Comment by Priscilla, CARLY, and Frankie on October 20, 2010 at 10:26pm
this is so cool... i would love love love to do this with Carly
Comment by Elizabeth on October 17, 2010 at 4:49pm
Yep, we're trying to wait until he's a year old (in Jan.) to neuter him. I wouldn't have guessed that neutered dogs do better at herding than intact ones, but I can see that the higher hormone levels might cause unsettledness.
We didn't get a whole lot of time in the ring with the handler because of time constraints (on her). Jon was not timid, though, just way distracted. On the rare occasion he even acknowledged the sheep, he growled at them. I just felt so bad for him not passing the test since every dog before him (mostly Aussies) had passed with flying colors. I wanted him to show those Aussies up (shame on me)!
Our younger Cardi, Dewi, watched Jon with the sheep from outside the fence and (I'm told) went nuts trying to get at the sheep when they passed by him (though I'm not convinced it wasn't Jon he was after).
It is interesting and perplexing that some herding breeds have more instinct (as a rule) than others. I suppose the fact that the Corgi breeds are so old and that they haven't been used as working dogs in Wales (namely with cattle) for so long has a lot to do with why the instinct is waning. Makes it all the more exciting to see that instinct still come out in them! I'd love to see my guys kick it into gear one day. :)
Comment by Tegan, Carol & John on October 16, 2010 at 11:24pm
Thank you!! You should have seen her outside the ring... she had a filth beard :). That's interesting that Jon Farleigh isn't neutered -- the judge today was saying that many times the dogs just aren't settled enough when they're younger or not altered & it's their first time seeing sheep. One corgi was there after not passing last year, and this year he was great. Tegan was more hesitant than some of the older dogs, too (including her older full brother). I'm glad we did it with just corgis -- the judge had a lot of interesting things to say about how much of the herding instinct hasn't been maintained in corgi breeding (unlike Border Collies for instance), and she really worked with the corgis today to try to kick in the instinct if they didn't show it right away. If she hadn't worked with Tegan for a while, I doubt if Tegan would have gotten it today to be honest. Tegan spent several minutes afraid to go near the sheep and hovering at my side. The judge made me herd the sheep and show Tegan how to do it while calling her to follow me, and then the judge started moving Tegan around the sheep until Tegan actually started doing it on her own. It was really fascinating to watch the process. I'm sure Jon Farleigh is going to be a star the next time he heads into the pen!
Comment by Elizabeth on October 16, 2010 at 9:40pm
Yeah, Tegan! So glad she resisted the buffet in the dirt that my Jon Farleigh could not. ;) (Incidentally, Jon's breeder thinks we should try him again after he's been neutered and is more settled.) I think I'll wait until our local Corgi club does it next spring. We tested with an Aussie club and only three Corgis were there. :(

Enjoy your little herder and future herding escapades!

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