You've read the blog, now see the film!
We’re pleased to see a lot of interest in our blog, particularly on the days when we take Kay and Carew to gather sheep at Dean Farm for our landlord and friend John Richards.
As the dogs have gained experience, we've been able to increase the length of their outruns to gather the sheep but on this occasion, we wanted to see whether Carew could do the full outrun across the two biggest fields.
As well as being a much longer outrun than Carew had done before, this meant she would have to find the gap between the two fields and once through it, go out wide again and collect all the sheep together (something she hadn't done before).
Gill and I decided to record it to give our readers a better idea of what goes on when we gather sheep but it turned out to be a lot more. The further away a young dog works from the handler, the more unsure of themselves they can become - and you'll see that Andy has to give Carew some direction and encouragement when she's working in the distance, but apart from this, she does a first class job of bringing around fifty sheep back in a controlled manner all by herself.
Watch the sheep as they come through the gap. Several of them try to escape by bolting to our right, but Carew immediately brings them back. (We didn't even notice this until we watched the video, so Carew was working instinctively there). Then, as they get closer, the sheep are not keen to go out of the field onto the farm drive. Watch the black ones on the left. Once again, Carew calmly manages the task very well.
This is just a practice gather really. Carew takes the sheep into the sorting pens, where you’ll see her at work pushing them from one area to the other. One of the ewes briefly challenges her, but quickly changes her mind, turns around and follows the others. The sheep have learned to respect Carew and in this video you’ll see why. She excels at this close work - putting just enough pressure on the sheep to get the job done, without being too hard on them.
The outrun across two fields is very nearly five hundred metres. That’s a long way for a dog of Carew’s limited experience but she genuinely did this gather unaided - first time.