Saturday, November 29, 2008

Theo The Chicken Herder

And I don't mean he herded chickens. We took Theo to get his herding instinct tested today, and it was a very odd experience. First off, it wasn't nearly as official as I've heard other people describe it (at different locations of course). The place I went was very informal. In a nutshell it was go in the pen, see what the dog does, give advice, give money, and leave. I'll go more into it, but you can see how it wasn't exactly a "test", and Theo didn't exactly "pass".

When Theo got in the pen he went straight to the opposite side of the pen from where the sheep were. That's where it all went downhill... The lady said I should run around and herd the sheep myself to show Theo how it is done. Sufficed to say neither Theo nor I were very interested in herding those sheep, nor were we very good at it. It took a couple of minutes looking like a complete idiot before Theo seemed to notice the sheep. He seemed to get into it. I praised and praised and praised...and then he stopped herding. About 30 seconds was all I got out of him.

After 30 seconds Theo stopped dead in his tracks and wouldn't do anything besides eat sheep poop. The lady said to let Theo watch another dog try it to so he could see how it was done. Theo wouldn't get anywhere near the sheep the second time in. He only had eyes for poop. He actually started acting very badly and kept running away from me anytime I got close to him. I was not pleased, to say the least.

At the end the lady said that she thought Theo was afraid of the sheep because they were so big. She suggested we start with ducks, and after he gets comfortable with them ,we could move to sheep. Of course, we couldn't try ducks today because she hadn't caught them (I guess they're more free to wander?). And that's how we left it. She didn't really give much of a second thought to Theo before she wandered off to do something else. We paid her, then left. It wasn't a very pleasant experience for me, and I don't think it was a pleasant experience for Theo. I'm disappointed that it wasn't something fun for us, but at least there are plenty of other fun things we can do together. Maybe other herding places are better? At least Sidney had a good time.

Pictures to come!


Dances with Corgis said...

yes, but you're forgetting he had a chance to try the wonderful delicacies of sheep poop. always expanding his palate, you are :)

i am sorry it was such a frustrating experience for you two. just goes to show that nothing good can come out of romping around with sheep, nothing.

Kelly said...

Aww that does sound frustrating to say the least..Maybe Theo is just not a farm boy. Gibson would probably just sit and eat the poop too!

a corgi said...

I'm so sorry it didn't go well; I was just talking to my husband last night saying I hadn't heard how Theo did with herding and I wondered how Koda would do with it or had he lost his instinct since he is almost 4 (tomorrow is his birthday) and would he still have that instinct?

sheep poop must be a lot like bunny poop; Koda has been known to indulge in that before

I can't wait to see the pictures and I hope perhaps another place would provide better help to see if Theo's herding instincts are strong or not


MoonMystic said...

Have you thought about rally-obedience??? I'm considering it with one of ours. The course is set and at each station, the dog does obedience cues. It looks really fun and it would be a great way to keep up the obedience training and still give the "kids" something to enjoy.

Lynn said...

I'm sorry that it was so frustrating! I'm pretty sure that Lucy would be just lucy the chicken, not even a herder! Theo sounds like he still had fun though! Can't wait to see photos.

Ivy@PaperElixir said...

You know we had one of those more "formal" event experience with Bryson, even though he did the exact same thing Theo did- ate sheep poop and ran away. So maybe it doesn't make that much of a difference at all?

I know you probably aren't trying to get Theo to work as a farm hand some day, but just want an answer and you didn't and feel jipped. I would too! At least he did show some interest (as opposed to Bryson), and you can say that you've tried it and can move onto something else more fun and doesn't involve other animals' poop ;)

Grover and Parker said...

Aww, that stinks!
But, honestly, I think Grover would do the same poop. He sure loves eating cat poop and cow poop (we have or had cows behind our house and he didn't show any interest in herding them anywhere).
I hate that it wasn't a better experience for you guys! But, yeah, maybe Theo is more cut out for other fun stuff, like Rally O.
That looks like a ton of fun!

Jenna Z said...

Aww, nuts! That doesn't sound like a very rewarding experience. If you ever want to try again, I would suggest next year's Lakeshore Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club specialty (in Oct.). They always do herding tests on Sunday after the show up near the WI border. I think you might have a much better time with a bunch of corgi people supporting you and offering help. Though can't say it will go any better. The herding instinct test is a very free-flowing thing, so I would say your experience was not terrible but maybe not what you were expecting. I am considering taking Sully to herding lessons because if we ever want to even dream of getting a Versatile Corgi award, we need to get into another 2 sports! Tracing and herding are the most likely for us, and we'll most do ducks because I can't imagine Sully around sheep! Let alone cattle!

JuLo said...

Wow, so many great responses! Thanks!

Dances, it sounds like you've had an experience or two with sheep! ;)

Kelly, no Theo is not a farm boy, fo sho! Hehe.

Betty, actually Husband heard the lady say that 2-4 years were the optimal herding years. It's not too far from you if you ever want to try it out!

MoonMystic, I'm going to try rally-o after we do our agility classes. It's taught by the woman who runs Theo's doggy daycare. I just want to stick to one class at a time (they're expensive!). And this way I get to draw it out a little. He's not even 1 yet after all.

Lynn, hey, you never know! She could be like Sidney and be a natural! Hehe.

Ivy, you understand me so well! I was just disappointed by the experience, I wasn't disappointed in Theo. Exactly!

Jenna, WI is a little far for me to go with Theo to try herding! Hehe. If I lived closer I would totally check it out. Thanks!

Jenna Z said...

Oooh, yeah! I don't know why I thought we were up near Chicago! Haha! Yes, WI is a little far for you!