When it comes to ears…

Jet has the most superb ears!

This is Jet, one of Kay and Oliver's pups. Jet has the most wonderful ears we've seen on a border collie for a long time. She clearly inherited them from her mother!

Jet hiding under an old tree trunk

Of course, when the need arises, Jet's "radar" ears can be folded away for going under low things like this old tree stump that the dogs love to play beneath.

Jet's mother Kay has pricked ears too
Jet's mother Kay has wonderfully "pricked" ears too. (Click to enlarge images).

At around five months of age, Jet is already showing all the signs of being a very useful sheepdog.

She has a natural instinct to calmly go around the sheep and bring them to the handler. She'll happily flank in both directions and has the confidence to go between the sheep and a fence. Once she's fast enough to "head" the sheep if they're running away, Jet's formal training will begin.


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Herding Sheep and Cattle at Dean Farm

Carew at work with sheep and cattle

Yesterday's routine trip to Dean Farm turned out to be more challenging than I expected when first Carew had to gather thirty ewes with lambs which were mixed up with an equal number of young cattle, and then she had to return some renegade calves to the field they'd escaped from.

the inquisitive cattle investigate the 4x4

Gathering the ewes and lambs was no problem in itself until a group of excited cattle came to see what was going on. Carew drove them away from the sheep but then they paid rather too much attention to the Honda 4x4.

Brave Carew faces the cattle at close quarters

The cattle were persistent and excited, refusing to move away from the Honda but Carew bravely stood up to them.

In true stock dog fashion, Carew launches herself at one of the troublesome cattle

The cattle were eventually driven away from the vehicle when Carew took it upon herself to become more assertive.

Herding dog Carew is challenged by a ewe which is defending its lamb

One of the ewes was very aggressive towards Carew but she stood up to it bravely and the sheep moved down the farm drive and into the yard without much fuss.

One of the ewes has produced a very late lamb

As we brought the small flock into the yard, I noticed that one of them had produced a very late lamb. Here Carew keeps the sheep in place while I secure the gate.

Carew is challenged by an over-enthusiastic calf

Once the sheep were gathered, John asked me whether Carew might be able to return some calves to the field they had escaped from while he was feeding them earlier. In this picture, Carew is bravely facing a calf which is refusing to move.

Carew drives a young bullock back to the rest of the herd

The calves were in a high state of excitement, but Carew managed to re-group them and move them towards the field they came from.

Carew wins and the calves head back to their field

Eventually the small herd of calves headed back to their field and the somewhat exhausted Carew had a large drink and a well deserved rest.

Facing inquisitive cattle can be daunting for a dog

For such a small animal to be undaunted by these large creatures which can kill a dog with just one kick, never ceases to amaze me.


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Herding Dog vs Sheep

Carew demonstrates patience and determination when challenged by a stubborn sheep

Just under a week ago, we exchanged our well-chased sheep for some fresh ones. The new bunch of sheep comprises several breeds, including pure Welsh, speckle-faced, and mules. There are even two black sheep in there!


Some of the newcomers can be surprisingly stubborn when they want to be. This is a short video of the confrontation between Carew and one of the Welsh sheep yesterday morning. The sheep found herself separated from the rest of the flock which had all gone into the pen but instead of trotting in there to join them, she decided to challenge Carew.

Regular readers of our blog won't need telling who won, but the video is amusing. Notice how patient Carew is, but at the same time, she keeps coming on very slowly, showing the sheep that she's no pushover when it comes to herding sheep.

Note also that I'm encouraging and gently commanding Carew all the time - giving her lots of reassurance. This helps to build a dog's confidence.


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Border collie sheepdog training