Tag Archives: Sheepherding
Post by Kyle St. Romain.
A while back I wrote about one of the Things We Like: Puppies in Bed. At that time, my girlfriend and I had just brought home a 10-week-old Pembroke Welsh Corgi. His name is Saké a.k.a. Mr. Bombs, and we’re pretty much obsessed. Today, our sweet little puppy has grown up into a big mutt. We still love him though, even if he is a bit of a bed hog.
About a week ago we had our first puppyversary, which happens to be a day before my birthday, and marks the day Saké became part of our little family. To celebrate, we figured we needed to do something extra fun: a nice bottle of Saké (the rice wine) for us, and a herding lesson for Saké (the dog).
We had been planning to bring Saké to test his herding instinct for some time. It all fell into place when we won free herding lesson in a raffle at the Southern California Pembroke Welsh Corgi Association’s annual Corgi Fun Day. Did I mention we were a bit obsessed? Anyways, fate had it in Saké’s cards to chase after sheep, and we weren’t about to stand in the way.
We got to the ranch a little before noon last weekend, which was a bit of a drive inland for us, and about 20 degrees warmer. As soon as we parked inside the gates, Saké knew something fun was about to happen. There were a half dozen or so other dogs running around, and the energy was high. Surprisingly, the first half of the day was spent training us how to behave in the ring with the dog and the sheep together. Once we got that out of the way, it was time to see what Saké had. We knew he liked to chase dogs at the beach, but sheep? That was something we didn’t know. The trainer told us it would be a hard road to train Saké properly. Corgis were bred to drive the sheep forward, and herding competitions require the dog to fetch the Sheep around to you. Thankfully, our retirement fund isn’t banking on Saké winning a herding championship.
At first, he didn’t know what to do with the Sheep, but after a little encouragement he chased after them like you wouldn’t believe. After about five minutes of crazed Sheep chasing, Mr. Bombs decided he had enough. A quick rest, however, and he was back for round two – this time with more confidence. He was starting to get the hang of it. Alas, he had no more energy and it was time to call it a day.
On the way home, we agreed that we had never seen Saké so exhausted before. He slept the entire way back. Actually, he was pretty sleepy for at least another 24 hours. The adventure and the heat had taken its toll on us too, and I think we were all ready for some well-deserved rest when we got home. Busy days indeed make for restful nights, and this was certainly an occasion.