Thanks to someone on this board, I found a wonderful herding trainer. She trains and shows ASL. I am thrilled to have found her.
My friend and I went down yesterday( friend has a BC) for our first lesson. Julie, the trainer, was amazing. She really got Nix and saw his potential and was honest about what to expect.
His first time in, she used 3 ewes. He did ok. But was VERY prey driven and worked hard to separate out one ewe. But he took corrections very well( with the occasional stink eye) and kept working. In his second go, she added more sheep. Her thought was a larger group would help him see them as a unit and not individual animals. And it worked.
He was still a bit stressed, not really understanding yet what was allowed and not allowed, so we saw some avoidance behaviors. But he showed sustained interest, easily took fair corrections, moved both eats around the sheep with a small move from Julie.
I was very impressed by his heart and drive. Julie thinks with a bit of work, he could do tending style. She is the ONLY person within 4 hours that trains for it.
She gave me some things to work in, getting him bending, knowing his back feet, and boundary work, before our next lesson. Usually she won't start a GSD at his age, preferring to wait until they mature a bit, but she does not think that waiting will benefit Nix. He is already confident, takes correction without shutting down, is sociable and easily directed.
I am very excited. I have never done herding before. One more thing to learn about these amazing dogs.
Here are pics.
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