Lilly’s Herding Instinct Test, Part 2
We continue our tales of goat herding today, with perhaps the best video footage so far, of our brilliant/sensitive girl showing an inkling of skill and luck with her little herding instinct test flock of goats. She even rounds up a stray or two.
The Tail Tells All (well, maybe not quite all … but a lot)
I forgot to mention yesterday that I’d been warned by an experienced herding friend to expect Lilly to carry her tail high at first. She also told me to watch for Lilly’s tail to lower because it meant she was getting more serious about the work.
A Short Break & Round 2
After all the chasing, barking, and nipping in her first go-around with the goats, we leashed Lilly up and walked her to the far side of the barn (near the ducks) to rest and drink water.
Cathy’s dog Ben hung out with us, and Lilly didn’t mind one bit because Ben didn’t pay any attention to her at all.
I tried to get a photo of Ben, but it didn’t turn out well because my digital camera has SUCH a shutter delay.
The First Sign of Stalking
Lilly was quite keen to return to the round pen to work with her flock of goats for a second time. I unleashed her right away, but I didn’t start filming from the get-go and completely MISSED getting the first few seconds … when she lowered her head and truly stalked the goats for an instant.[If you want to see excellent stalking, check out A Sheepdog Diary New Year’s Day post for some terrific photos.]
This shift in strategy (brief as it was) indicates that Lilly may soon understand that she can use her gaze more and movement less to control the livestock. In other words, we saw just a FLASH of Lilly using what’s called the “Border Collie Eye.”
We simply call it Stink Eye around here, but it basically means that she uses her eyes and her general demeanor … rather than as much movement to control the animals.
Herding Instinct Test, Round 2
In this video, watch for Lilly’s growing sense of “balance” (working off the handler’s position to keep the flock together). She even rounds up a couple strays (mostly by accident). And, she handles many “corrections” without too much fear or trouble.
Once again, I’ve embedded the full-size video file below. If your Internet connection speed is slow, you’ll probably be happier with the condensed video file link instead … especially since this video is about 7 1/2 minutes.
I don’t normally post such long videos because I know you’re all so busy, but there was SO much I wanted you to see.
As always, we’d love to hear what you think. Post a comment, won’t you?