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Lilly’s Herding Lesson #1, Part 1

Between bouts of silly cold and small-ish snowstorms every 1-3 days, we finally squeezed in Lilly’s second herding lesson on Friday. The weather was clear, with temps in the 60s, which was great. So, all this week, we’ll be talking about herding.

The Bigger Goat Herding Story

I harbor a million and one thoughts about how Lilly’s first official herding lesson went, but I’m attempting NOT to prejudice you with excessive narration. I promise all will be revealed as the week goes on, including what happened before and after the videos I plan to post:

  • Monday: Goat Herding Challenge #1 – Moving stock from one working area to another (video)
  • Tuesday: Goat Herding Challenge #2 – Herding in tandem with experienced herding dog (video)
  • Wednesday: Goat Herding Challenge #3 – Herding a larger group of goats in a larger pen (video)
  • Thursday: Goat Herding Challenge #4 – Herding with a clueless shepherd (me), narration
  • Friday: Goat Herding Challenge #5 – Working on fetching stock (aka “Away to Me”), narration

Later in the week, I may even work up a little online poll so that you can vote on various insights and scenarios because I’m curious what you see in her compared to what I see.

Lilly’s First Approach

Once again, because I was giving Lilly the attention she deserves when we first approached the small round pen full of goats (many more this time), I did not catch her initial movement and effort on camera.

HOWEVER, Lilly showed strong impulse control and dropped her head when she first rounded the goats in a decent stalking posture. In other words, she did not simply blast at them, bark, and harass individual goats … like she did during her herding instinct test last month.

Goat Herding Challenge #1

We gave Lilly the opportunity to move the goats from the smaller round pen (where we did her entire herding instinct test), through the barn/feeding area, and into the bigger working area.

The video below (just over a minute long) shows how the first part of this challenge went:

If you’ve come to our herding stories already in progress, you can catch up via these posts:

Lilly’s Big Year

Lilly’s Herding Instinct Test, Part 1

Lilly’s Herding Instinct Test, Part 2

Lilly’s Herding Instinct Test, Part 3

Lilly’s Herding Instinct Test, Reflections

Roxanne Hawn

Trained as a traditional journalist and based in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, USA, I'm a full-time freelance writer for magazines, websites, and private clients. My areas of specialty include everything in the lifestyles arena, including health and home, personal finance and other consumer interests, relationships and trends, people and business profiles ... and, of course, all things pet related. I don't just love dogs. I need them in my life. Seriously.

KenzoHW - February 2, 2011

It is so amazing. How did Lilly know to keep them together and drive them to the larger pen? I am just awed.

    Roxanne Hawn - February 3, 2011

    I have no idea, Kenzo. She just does what she does around the goats. It must be instinct.

Kristine - February 1, 2011

She does seem a lot more sure of herself this time, like she is looking at it as a job she has to do, instead of just a fun game. Thanks for sharing all of this. Herding is one of the things I’d love to learn more about.

Pamela - January 31, 2011

I know absolutely nothing about training a dog to herd. But even I can see that Lilly looks like a different dog this time. She comes in more confident and seems to understand she’s supposed to be doing something besides just chasing goats.

This is a fascinating thing to see from the very beginning.

    Roxanne Hawn - February 1, 2011

    Thanks @ Pamela. I hope everyone enjoys this latest series of posts. I have no idea what’ll happen with this, but it’s fun to explore.

    @ Aly … that’s good to know. Lilly didn’t seem to have any issues with the gates or moving the goats from one area to the other. Granted, she doesn’t do it with much finesse, but she does it. The shelter thought there might be cattledog in there somewhere, but we’ve since had her registered as a border collie … and I truly do think that’s 99% of what we’re working with.

Aly - January 31, 2011

its good that she didnt show much fear driving the goats out.. a lot of dogs dont want to do that (going behind the stock to get between them and a wall). I’m not seeing much eye, but thats ok. Clem doesnt have it either…are you SURE she’s not part cattle dog?

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