Monday, October 14, 2013

Nature | Animal Herding

On Saturday we joined in on a 5K run and some Chili Fest fun in downtown Portsmouth (as evidenced on instagram here and here).

Once we had our fill of chili and were headed to the car, we came up on a sheep (and goat! and duck!) herding presentation that had just started on the Strawberry Banke grounds. It was the most hypnotizing show and, seriously, once we started watching we couldn't turn away.

Each herding dog had their own personality and ranged in age. In the picture above, the one sitting up was the oldest; she moved slowly but obeyed every command. The other dog was the youngest of the group; she was super energetic and would listen to commands, but was always curious about what the other dogs were being told to do and she would sometimes sneak away from her post!

The farmer went through different commands and exercises with the dogs - the dogs separated the sheep from the goats, rounded up all the animals into the pin, and even showed off their serious frisbee skills. Each command and movement happened so quickly! But the gist is that the farmer commands the dogs to move to a certain position to put pressure on the other animals to move, and the sheep, goats, and ducks ultimately end up right where the farmer wants them to be.

It sounds like this farmer tours some local fairs to give presentations and a quick look on youtube made it seem like this is a common fair exhibit. If you ever happen upon the chance to see a show like this, definitely stick around and be amazed.

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