Celebrate the 4th of July — Let’s Herd

July 4, 2011

Today our Naughty Nola met sheep for the first time.  When we got to Robert’s place at about 8:00, we saw a sea of mud — it rained up there.  I got Holmes and Nola out of the car and we started up toward the pens.  Ellen and the farm Aussie moved sheep from the night pens to the working pens.  Nola saw SHEEP — she froze, her ears quivered, and she never took her eyes off of them.  That’s a good start, but what would she think when she was in a small field with them (the round arena was simply muck and not usable)?

We’d soon find out.

. . . and here is her first encounter in the field:

We went back in about 45 minutes later and she had another wonderful round with some lighter sheep. The bigger field, combined with lighter sheep, and a dog-with-no-legs was not as successful. However, what we learned about Nola is that she has tremendous eye and controls the sheep by staring them down. She does the Border Collie Crouch (must have inherited it from her dad). She’ll have to learn to go out and come around to pick up the sheep and fetch them to the person. She seems to understand driving. As you can see in the beginning of the video, she was wearing (moving back and forth) behind the sheep to keep them moving.

For this second video, I was in the middle of the field — and it did not distract the puppy at all.  She was there for a reason — SHEEP!

This has repercussions for Holmes.  He’s not been all that enthusiastic since his first couple of trips up to Robert’s.  He has the been there, done that attitude.  I think I’m going to let him track and do Rally for now — he loves both — then we’ll check out the livestock again in six months or a year.  In the meantime, Naughty Nola has found her avocation.  I can live with that.


  1. Susan says:

    Yay for the red dog! Go Nola! Herding is great fun. It’s okay, Holmes. You can learn to find things. That is important too.

  2. Ron says:

    Herding is too expensive for a dog who is not interested in it.

    Sounds like a very early priority will be to make Nola care that you are there.

    Have fun!

    • myeye says:

      Since I was the camera person and not the handler, it was important that Nola was more interested in the sheep than in the fact that her “mom” was in the field. She’ll have to learn that herding is a team sport, but for an instinct test — what we were doing — it was helpful that she would key on Ellen and not be at all distracted by me.

      • Ron says:


        The dog in my avatar was not good about minding me until an unfortunate and painful event that straightened him out. The current dog is perhaps too attentive to me.

  3. Julie says:

    Wonderful, Penni! And how lucky are Holmes and Nola that you are willing to try things and figure out what they want to do.

  4. Kathy M. says:

    Playing to the dog’s strengths and interests will make both of you a lot happier! Seeing Nola reminded me of Inca out there in her element! She’s definitely got “it” as far as herding is concerned.

  5. Jenn says:


    Nola’s great-Auntie, Emma, has the eye, too. I’ll wager it runs in the family. I am so pleased to see Nola responding as I remember Emm from our herding test years ago at the Portland national. Yeah, Nola!!

  6. C-Myste says:

    Inca loved it as a youngster, then decided at some point that sheep were big and smelly and it was hot out there and not fun. I hope that granddaughter keeps the enthusiasm. Perhaps Inca would have had we stayed at it.

    Naughty red girl sure looks good out there 🙂

  7. So not fair sigh Anyway today TM and I got to go up to Virginia to get some new sheep. I didnt get to help get the new sheep but I did get to work sheep today.