Herding Sheep – When I arrived at the farm down the long dirt driveway, I was greeted by the sweetest little resident dog named, Birke. Her owner was out back with her horses and didn’t hear me arrive. Birke’s instincts instantly kicked in as she tried with all of her might to literally “move my feet” toward the barn. She circled and ran back and forth between me and the path to the barn as if knowing exactly where her owner would want me to go. Birke is a 3 year old purebred border collie. Having a natural herding instinct and desire to work, Birke and her owner have been learning together as a team to fetch and gather their herd of sheep on the farm. To my pleasant surprise, Chris asked me if I would like to watch Birke run through a training exercise of herding her 8 very friendly and curious Gotland sheep.As she let the sheep out into the pen, she explained to me that she would be yelling out commands to Birke, such has “Away”, “Come-Bye”, and “Lie Down”. Through lots of effort and training, Birke has learned to follow the commands of Chris as her handler and they make a great team! Birke has an amazing laser focus yet calmness to her while working around the sheep. She is an extremely smart dog. This was my first experience watching a herding dog gather her sheep and I would love to see more! I was able to be right inside the pen as they ran all around me, and a few times, right at me! So much fun to photograph this fast action…I had a blast! Thank you, Chris Willrodt for welcoming me onto your farm to meet all of your awesome animals. I can’t wait to come back and visit soon!
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