If you came to our displays over the summer months you may have met my new young sheepdog ‘Sweep.’ He’s one of Fly’s pup’s, born a year ago, and for the past six months he’s been undergoing his first stages of training. The first training is always an exciting time for me, all the expectations of a new recruit to the team of sheepdogs, and the hope that the pup will take on the best attributes of its parents. Of course it’s never simple, and for the first few months of training there are great highs and lows, as I swing between believing that he new pup is the best ever, to days when nothing that it does seems to go quite right.
And so it has been with Sweep. He’s a lovely chap, always happy, and so excitable that he suffers from a weak bladder.But most of all he’s absolutely desperate to round up sheep, and there’s an awful lot to like about his work. He’s extremely focussed and very quick. He walks up to move the sheep without a hint of hesitation, which is good as sheep will soon detect a reluctant worker. He’s eager to please too, and listens to his commands and is a quick learner. In fact, Sweep’s training is all going very well, but I still have one nagging doubt. Sweep is very small, (especially for a male sheepdog) and his legs just seem too short!!
His size shouldn’t really matter, he’s much the same size as his mother, Fly, but I just worry that his stride length is short, and when it comes to running the long distances, that my sheepdogs need to do, his short legs are going to have to work at twice the speed of larger sheepdogs.
So I’ll carry on with his training, which is an absolute pleasure at the moment, and hope that as he matures, his legs will mature with him. And perhaps by this time next year I’ll have forgotten about the length of his legs and instead just be amazed at how such a small dog can run so far!