It happened spontaneously, and without direction, as I imagined it would. We came into the pasture, I put Red in his usual lie down to hold the sheep until I had opened the gate to get ready for them. I couldn’t see Fate, I assumed she was running around somewhere.
I walked over the hill and was surprised – and happy – to see Fate marching the sheep right down the hill to the gate where we usually go. She was circling them rather than walking behind them, but she kept moving and kept them moving, she got them to the gate and held them off of it, as Red does, until I got down there.
This marked the first time Fate actually moved the flock by herself. She has been able to turn them and stop them and is giving them daily doses of strong eye. But today was different, I did a silly jig in the pasture, I have sore legs and a lot of bug bites to show for it, she has worked hard and lovingly.
We’ll see what happens tomorrow. Dr. Karen Thompson, the wonderful human and breeder who gave us Fate, says our job as trainers of real herding dogs is to put names on what the dogs naturally know how to do. This is my training credo. Good for Fate.