Monday I got the ducks out of their pen and Sprite drove them all around the yard. It was great fun. She's such a good girl and she really showed good self control and patience in getting them away from the pen the second time. The first time is always easy- we came out together, the dog and I, and we drove the ducks a short way and then I let her head them off before they went to go hide under the barn. Then we took them to the far side of the yard and did a little work on driving. She made one flank that was too far and turned them back but most of the time she was right on the spot. Her cross drive was really nice. I need to set up my little free standing pen again so we can work on that.
After we take them back to the home pen I always have the dog pull them off the fence at least one more time. This is when it is hard and the ducks really want to go home because they figure they are done. It's such good practice for trials where the ducks frequently have a really strong draw to go home. The dog has to learn patience and have the finesse to control them and convince them to leave the pen area without hurting them.
Dodge also worked ducks but I didn't have him out in the yard, just working them around the little pen. He was not very enthusiastic, but he did it. He really likes the open areas best but I wasn't going to do that for his first time working ducks of the year. Besides, that day the ducks had had already one long walk and I didn't want them tired. A tired duck is a crabby and sour duck. We might go out to the really big pasture with them next time. That is easier than the farm yard- lots of room and few places for them to hide.
Yesterday I didn't do dog training, but I had Kip help me move the sheep to graze them in different places. It was a great day to sit in the sun and read a book while the sheep are munching. The kids had a half day of school and Dane had the day off so we went for lunch at our favorite Japanese restaurant, then went to the park to look at the flooded Little Plover River. It has covered most of the park now. After that we all went on a bike ride, which was really fun. David got a new bike this week as he has outgrown his old one, and he can go much faster on this one! Michael is still learning to ride on his own, so he rides on the trailer bike attached to Dane's bike when we go a long way.
Today I worked Pepper and she was very nice- we started in the small pen and then took the sheep (just wethers, no lambs) out to the big field. I didn't have her do any new stuff, we just worked on the basics again. Then Dodge helped me take the whole group, ewes, lambs and everyone, over to a grazing spot. This one is fenced so I don't have to stay with them. I'll leave them for an hour and then move them back to the home pen as it's not a very big patch of grass. Dodge had no trouble with the ewes and lambs- he is quite a bit more settled and calm with them this year than last.