Herding Happy-making


I’ve signed Clue (and me) up for a herding seminar and instinct testing (taught by Beli’s mom! WOOT!) in September. I anticipate making a giant fool of myself, but am absolutely tickled pink about this because it’s one of the reasons I chose Cardigans. I wanted a breed that I could work, because I was so tired of fighting the attitude that the only function of a show dog is to stand there and look pretty. I looked at sporting breeds for quite a while, and in my wilder moments I still check out websites and litters. But, despite my crazy middle-of-the-night “Of COURSE I can hunt geese! And I need a dog to help me!” fantasies, I know (and knew) that there is no way I could really give a sporting breed the experience it deserves, and my attempt to be a hyper-responsible breeder would backfire. Herding breeds I can come closer to satisfying.

When I first got Clue, I thought I’d be herding at my own house. But then another type of irresponsibility (!) led to the oft-mentioned Last Daughter, so not so much herding was taking place. FINALLY signing up for this, honestly, is getting my adult life back (and the moms out there know what this means!) and it gives me happy champagne bubbles.

The grand question, of course, is whether Clue will make me proud or choose what is behind door number 2: RUN LIKE HAIL AS FAR FROM SHEEP AS SHE POSSIBLY CAN.


15 thoughts on “Herding Happy-making

  1. Oh I doubt she’ll run like hail. πŸ™‚

    And yes, when people ask me why I like dog “stuff”, I often mention the fact that it’s a non-mommy hobby that I can enjoy both with and away from the kids.

  2. Hold on to your boots…I hope it all clicks for her and you have a wild herding ride in store for your future. I love going out herding with my boys, well Murphy now as Porter is ‘retired’ from twisting/turning activities. They have so much joy working–but I get a work out too! Best of luck and remember: Have fun, don’t fall down and know where you are going! (I am guilty of all three πŸ˜‰ )

  3. Don’t get your feelings hurt when the instructor corrects you and tells you your dog knows more about what’s going on out there than you do.

    Enjoy that lightbulb moment when your dog suddenly turns on and that ancient knowledge kicks in. It may happen immediately, or it may happen after a few times in the pasture, but it probably will eventually happen. It is the coolest thing in the world to see that dog do what it was born to do. And if you are big softie like me, it may bring tears to your eyes, so you need to be prepared with a excuse of “oh, I must be allergic to something out here!”

  4. Have fun!!!

    The first time is always the most memorable. I had goosebumps for days after seeing the instinct kick in.

    Cool that it is with Amy! I wonder if she’ll have any of her cardis there?? You’ll have to let me know…oh, and take pictures!!!

    Amy has Pixels full littermate, (among the half sisters, and of course her sire)

    Don’t forget to get someone to photograph or video Clue’s session!

    • Just one. But I am super excited about that one!

      I think the first multi-day dog trip I can take is Nationals in PA next year. Zuzu will be two, and assuming I’ve kept my legs crossed and my oven empty I will be in the clear to start taking overnight trips for the first time in thirteen years. THIRTEEN YEARS.

      • πŸ™‚ didn’t mean to sound rude, but it will be very nice to meet you too!

        WOW -thirteen years is a long time LOL! We’re looking forward to PA next year as well!

    • Yes, and you know how lovely your Beli kid is. I am very excited to meet everyone and get a look at some of the dogs I’ve only read about. I hope a whole bunch of Cardis show up!

  5. I totally get you. I felt like this when I started midwifery school and apprenticing. Like, AHHHHHHHHHHH, I AM A HUMAN BEING, NOT JUST A KID-MAKING, KID-FEEDING, KID-CHANGING MOM-BOT. (And then of course I feel guilty when I’m at a birth and don’t see them for 2 days.)

  6. from now on I will always think of you while watching the movie “Babe”. πŸ˜€

    Very exciting, and I doubt Clue will run away, more than likely she’ll be all over those sheep. And yes, please make sure there are plenty of pictures and perhaps a video to share, so we can all delight in Ms. Clue’s behavior. (I feel so vested in her success now) BTW, I love Clue’s girly collar, where did you get it? I’m barely satisfied with Ellie’s, and can’t seem to find anything I like for her anywhere I’ve looked.

    “Of COURSE I can hunt geese!” LOLOLOLOLOLOL… this would be me in the middle of the night.

    • Clue and Bronte are wearing Lupine collars, their martingale style. Clue is in “Flower Power” and Bronte is in “Ruby Cube.” They have Red Dingo tags that match their predominant collar colors. And, yes, I am hopeless. Right now I’m wearing a five-year-old T-shirt of Doug’s, but my dogs are dressed beautifully :).

      Ginny has on my favorite collar of all time (it really is; I’ve been buying this same collar for at least five years as a gift and it’s been on multiple dogs in the house), which is a gold bumblebee design made by Preston Leather Products. It’s a local company based in Ipswich, MA, and it makes ribbon. They take some of their ribbon and sew it on to collar webbing; the product is very high-quality and stunning. Unfortunately, because the design is on ribbon, it’s not very sturdy, which is why Ginny, who is totally vain and knows how beautiful she looks and won’t let anybody touch her collar, is wearing it and the corgis are NOT. The Cardis do have Preston collars but they’ve done a very good job making them look shabby.

      I do have to say that it is a shock to the system, always, for me to see the dogs wearing collars. They have to have them while we’re away from the house (since they are not behind a fence), but after so many years of never putting a collar around anyone’s neck unless we’re going someplace unusual, it looks completely weird. And I do weep over the coats; Clue has a big naked spot rubbed on her neck because Bronte drags her around by the collar all the time, and Bronte’s got that permanent collar crimp (ick!). I much prefer it when collars are dress-up items and not daily wear.

      • thanks for the info on the collars Joanna! I love those Lupine collars, the ones Clue & Bronte have but most especially the Plum Blossom pattern, that one would be totally perfect for EllieMae’s coloring. I really like the martingale style, I may have to get one of those for walking her, as well as the regular adjustable collar for wearing around the house (heh, I can *totally* justify getting the Plum blossom AND the Flower Power, see?). Because Coonies can such escape artists that fences are not always able to contain them, AND we live in the burbs, for us collars have to be daily, 24/7 wear. It hasn’t been a problem with Ellie, but we prefer to err on the side of caution — she actually gets really submissive and anxious when her collar is removed, her tag had fallen off so I was using a ty-wrap to reattach it, so she followed me all over the house and lay at my feet watching me sheepishly while I handled the collar, didn’t relax until I put the thing back on her. We have no collar-rub baldspots tho, I guess that’s a good thing (Coonie coat is rougher that Corgi coat perhaps?). Obviously, a Preston collar would get trashed by Ms. Ellie too…

        I have this image of Ginny trotting around, shaking her head & flicking her fur back like a snobby high school girl… BTW, I don’t think you’re hopeless: I think your daughters are always dressed beautifully, and *of course* your dogs would be too.

        So, what kind of collar does Woody have?

  7. I am thrilled for you! Watching one’s dog do what they were bred to do is pretty much the best thing ever. Have a wonderful time.

  8. It’s awesome when you see that instinct kick in and take over. Have a terrific time!

    If you need a road-mate for the trip to the Nationals, let me know. I hate driving that far by myself.

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