Monday, May 23, 2011

You can take the dog away from the herd, but yesterday, there was no taking the herd out of the dog.

Yes, friends, it's true. That's why they call it instinct. And despite the sheep's desperate attempt to overpower it with a generous helping of freshly wafting manure odor, yesterday, Jon Farleigh's inborn faculty for driving livestock could no longer be contained. He is, in fact, a herding dog. It was a sight for a doubtful dog-mama to behold. :)

Oh great, a repeat of last time?!
Jon Farleigh says, "No, I don't think so."
photo courtesy of Taryn at A Tail of Two Cardis
(The human is well-known herding instructor Susan Rhoades of KeepStone Farm.)

I've heard other herding dog owners talk of the moment they could tell the metaphorical "light bulb turned on" during their own dogs' herding instinct tests. Now, I know what that looks like. :) There was a precise moment, after Jon Farleigh noticed the sheep moving away from him in the ring, that his expression changed and that poop on the ground was no longer interesting. But being the cautious people-pleaser he is, before he took off to do the thing he mysteriously already knew how to do, he turned to face the instructor and waited for her gesture of approval. Then he was gone. It was a free-spirited side of him that I have never seen before. It was unbridled dog beauty. :)

"Don't let these flowing locks fool you, sheeps; I'm all Corgi."
photo courtesy of Taryn at A Tail of Two Cardis

We (my two human Girl Children, two dogs and I) had a great time hanging out with the people and dogs of the Chesapeake Cardigan Welsh Corgi Club (CCWCC) (who sponsored this herding fun event) in Millersville, MD yesterday. So much fun that instead of reporting on all of it here today, I've decided to post it in chunks.

Up tomorrow? Wild man, Dewi, in the herding ring for the first time in his life.
Any predictions?


  1. Woo hoo! Look at JF go! I bet he had a blast. As far as a prediction for Dewi, I'd say he was just as enthusiastic as JF was. Tune in tomorrow....

  2. Oh how fun! Way to go, Jon Farleigh! I think that as long as those little sheepies have a cup of Rita's delicious doggie ice cream attached to their rear ends, Dewi will chase and herd like a rock star!

  3. That herding stuff sure sounds fun. You look like a pro out there
    Benny & Lily

  4. SWEET! You go JF!!!! Let the true Corgi in you burst out!

  5. Once they turn on, they stay turned on. There is nothing more fun that watching our guys move the livestock. I love every minute of it.

  6. Good job JF! I know your sister, Bea, showed instinct as a pup so it's no surprise you have it too. Looking forward to seeing you in a couple weeks.

  7. Woot Woot, Jon Farleigh-proving that Lucy kids can be beautiful and smart! So proud of you!!

  8. Hi Y'all,

    Instinct is everything! As a retriever I know instinct!

    What a beautiful sight...Jon Farleigh in full flight after the sheep!!!

    Hawk aka BrownDog

  9. Fun! It's amazing to watch that ancient little thing in their brains kick in, isn't it?

  10. Wow! Look at that beautiful coat blow back in the hot pursuit! haha He's handsome even while running after sheep in piles of muck! So exciting to see them in action doing what they were made to do, isn't it? I cannot wait to get Reese tested someday. I think the bug has bitten me to get her more involved in things like that.

  11. Oh boy, I can almost picture that moment when JF suddenly switched into a different gear as his herding instincts went into full drive. I think Dewi will enjoy the experience equally as much, too!

  12. corgis are herding dogs? i'm feeling really duh at the moment.

  13. I love this post! This herding almost feels like some sort of rite of passage—all grown up! GO JON!!!!

  14. Thanks, everyone, I was one proud dog-mom. :)

    @Banjo and Millie - No doggie ice cream lure needed. :)

    @Liz - Thanks! He is definitely a smart one. :)

    @Browndog - I'm always amazed when I see Retrievers following their instinct - especially when it involves water. :)

    @Janet - YES

    @Ashley - The fur is a sight to behold. :) I bet Reese will want to herd, too.

    @Georgia LP's Typist - Yes, they're considered herding dogs by the American Kennel Club. They were bred as cattle drovers (back around 1200 BC). You won't find many of them herding for a living anymore, though.

    @Chewie, I bet Chewie can herd, too. :)

  15. We've been away awhile! We almost missed all this good stuff! Glad we dropped by and caught up! Great blog!


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