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Round pen exercises

Yesterday we decided that it is time to get rid of the long line and start doing some round pen exercises. We have a pen which is about 10 meters across. I moved the sheep to the pen with Petsu, which took a little while since the sheep were not quite sure what the whole thing was about. Then it was Tykki's turn to move the sheep around a bit in the pen, and that went very nicely. He was keen but not overly excited, and started moving around the perimeter with a little guidance.

Today we did the same thing, and this time the sheep knew exactly what to do. When I approached with Petsu, they walked in a single file behing Minna into the pen. The exercise would have been all too short for Petsu, so I decided to go into the pen with him. He willingly obliged, and in we went.

Since he was already pretty wound up, he would start barking at the slightest frustration, meaning all too often. I haven't had much success in reducing his barking by telling him off, so I decided to try another approach. If he wants to bark, fine, let him bark all he wants. But by the way, in the pen barking is done lying on one side.

This caught Petsu completely off guard. He would start barking, and immediately I told him to lie down and get on his side. At first he just lay there barking and barking and barking, but eventually he figured that it is in fact a pretty stupid thing to do when he could move sheep instead. Every time he stopped barking, I said "good boy" and we started moving the sheep. If he lost it and started barking, it was down on his side again. This went on quite some time, even though it probably felt longer than what it actually was. But at the end he was working completely silently, and doing quite nice work.

Tykki did nice work as well, although today he was quite a bit hotter than he was yesterday. Nothing like his 300 horse power daddy though. Tykki seems to have an inkling that he is not supposed to go directly at the sheep, but go round the pen instead. What is nice about his attitude is that he genuinely seems to be trying to work out what we want from him.