Freeway came to me to be a visiting dog. I wanted a dog suitable for going to hospitals, convalescent homes and similar facilities to bring a little happiness to people there. He does quite well in this. I haven't been much bothered, therefore, that he isn't exactly a shining star when it comes to other activities such as agility and herding. He enjoys these activities but his attention is easily diverted. After working only sheep for a very long time Freeway's response to geese was a surprise. He likes geese. He even has actual talent on geese. If a couple geese decide to leave the flock and go their own way I can send him to pick them up and he knows exactly how to return them to the flock.
Recently we were practicing on geese out at Pescadero and I decided to take some pictures. Obviously this is not something you do with a dog who is out of control. Actually when I was taking the pictures the hardest part was getting pictures where he didn't seem bored. Once the geese settled in a corner Freeway saw no particular need to keep his attention on them.
. One of the reasons why Freeway does well on the geese is that he isn't pushy. So I continued taking pictures as I was directing him. He was a little confused that I seemed not to be paying attention but after a few minutes he started working. Here he is on the "go bye" (clockwise, think go by the clock). I've been working with Freeway on "driving" which is pushing the stock away from the handler. This was the most difficult photo because he is still at the point of expecting me to support him by walking along parallel. I stopped, he stopped. Eventually he listened and walked on up on the geese.
Sadly I have not yet taken pictures of Freeway with the goats. Freeway likes goats. The goats like Freeway. The goats are not overly impressed by dogs. They move if they feel like it. A very pushy dog makes them want to resist. A dog who is afraid of them gets the goat equivalent of the middle finger. Freeway had just the balance that made the goats willing to cooperate. I confess to being surprised at how well Freeway got along with the goats. He is untalented on sheep so I would never have guessed. It is too bad I didn't try him on goats earlier. There is a trial coming up this weekend and I missed the opportunity to sign up. Oh well. There will be other opportunities.
Oh and as long as I'm throwing up pictures. I snapped a quick one of Tsuki on sheep.
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Created: February 24, 2009