Monday, October 11, 2010

Jude's Puppy Lesson

On Sunday I took Jude to Fido's Farm for a lesson with Karen Child. Karen is a respected sheepdog handler and instructor from Oregon and she is giving lessons at Fido's on a weekend each month all winter long. This is her website

Jude's lesson was a puppy lesson, meaning for Jude, who is only 5 months old, would get to spend his time having fun in the presence of sheep for about 15 minutes. For me, it was a chance to see my darling, sweet little puppy "turn on" to sheep and validated that yes, indeed, I have myself a budding, working sheepdog.

It also gave Karen and I the chance to see how "mature" Jude was with regard to a training plan for him. As dogs all mature at different rates, it's always nice to get a benchmark for where your individual dog is at. In Jude's case, it was clear he is interested in sheep and was enthusiastic about them. However, he did some typical puppy-stuff, like heading the sheep and not really concerning himself with the handler who was in the pen with him. So, we will give Jude some time to grow up a little more and then try him on the sheep again and see what he's like.

I was able to take some video of Jude's session with Karen. You can see that he does like to go to the sheeps' heads instead of circling them, which the latter is preferred behavior but isn't required at this time. As Karen explained, we could try him in 4 or 6 weeks from now and it's likely he won't go to their heads and be more natural to circling the sheep. Pups apparently change over time.

I'm pretty excited that I'm getting the opportunity to start my own dog and have a hand in his training from the start. Scott has been awesome to learn from but sometimes he leaves me with more questions than answers. What is natural for a dog versus what is all training??? Getting the opportunity to work and train Rainey, Scott's daughter, is pretty cool too as her style, strengths and weaknesses are in many cases the same as Scott's!

Hmmm, makes one wonder. Nature or nurture? Chicken or egg?


  1. The website is actually There is an e after the by.

  2. That look almost exactly like Ben’s first time on sheep.

  3. Training vs. Talent? Well you can train talent OUT, but you can't train it IN I guess I would say. All the tools are in there somewhere, its a matter of helping my dog see how and when to use the tools. Enjoy starting your puppy!

  4. Hi Janet,
    Will like to follow along with your training of Jude. I owned Jude's sire, Jack, and own Jude's grand-sire (Ben) who I just retired.
    Nancy O