Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Sheep Camp

Our next stop was in Sheridan, Wyoming.  The last time we were in northern Wyoming was on our way to Yellowstone several years ago, and I’m glad this time we took some time to explore the area.  The rolling plains just east of the Bighorn Mountains are beautiful, especially this year because the area had good rains in the spring.  

Almost everywhere we looked, deer and pronghorn antelope grazed in the valleys and lounged in the fields.

But what really excited Rue and me was the opportunity to work sheep again!  Our last herding lesson was over a month ago, and both of us were feeling very sheep-deprived.  I contacted the Wyoming Stock Dog Association for help in finding someone in the area to work with, and was delighted to be referred to Wendy Auzqui.  Wendy and her husband ranch east of Sheridan and raise both sheep and cattle.  She works with five dogs of her own, plus one she is training for someone in Idaho.  Wendy was very gracious in allowing us to come out for lessons and to help us work on some areas that have been problematical.  

The day John came out to take photos, it was cool and the wind was gusting to near 50 mph.  To stay out of the wind, we worked in Wendy’s indoor, covered round pen.  The light wasn’t good for photos, but you should be able to tell what is happening. 

Wendy used her dog to show how she uses a small cord to encourage the dog to stay “on your feet” when executing a “stand.”

Then Rue and I worked on the same thing.  

And here I am using a new-to-me tool called a whip-flag.  It is used to help the dog understand what a verbal command means.  Here, I am using it to encourage Rue to change directions quickly when told to do so.  

It felt very good to be back working sheep with my dog.

I hope to find other training opportunities while we are on the road, so Sheryl won't have to start all over with us when we return to Austin in November.  And I especially look forward to coming back this way next year and spending some more time with Wendy at "Sheep Camp" building on Rue’s and my herding skills.

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