Bob the Farm Dog
This is only one of Amy's many "Bob Tails"...
As you can see from the pictures, Bob is a beautiful dog. That alone would have won him a home almost anywhere; but what you cannot see is that he is a gentleman.
This is an inborn trait and no amount of training can instill it in a dog; as with people, it is either there, or it isn't.
When I contacted Jan about getting a dog, she questioned me closely about my needs and the situation of the farm. She was reassurred to find that I had already had one English Shepherd, and ultimately found Suzy a splendid home in Colorado with a lady who had been looking for years for a dog of that type. Suzy was not able to herd sheep anymore due to an injury, and was getting depressed at not being able to help anymore.I told Jan that I needed a new dog ASAP, having contacted different breeders and none were available around here.
I have tried almost all the modern herding dogs over the years; they are either too keen or too hard hearted to work sheep for me. My sheep are mostly pets, and dead tame- I like them that way, but still need to control them and move them about. On my small 38 acre place the English Shepherd is the perfect dog. Suzy was the cow expert, Bob specializes in sheep with a bachelors in goat herding.
English Shepherds have their own style of herding, a mix of indulgence and brawn when needed. One of my favorite sheep, Freckles the Katahdin made such good friends with Suzy that Suzy flatly refused to herd her- I had to put a collar on the sheep and lead her after the rest of the flock. I was determined that I would not have this ridiculous problem with Bob, and would start him off right.
Sure enough, Freckles explained to Bob that she was not a common sheep and Bob said "yes, m'am" and stepped around her. I stood boldy up, and said "you get her on, Bob!" He stopped dead, looking in apparent embarrassement at the rest of the flock watching with rapt attention, and back at me. He reached out and tenderly flea nibbled a fat flank. She didn't move, standing with her head up and arrogant.
I yelled at him from the distance, to get on with it. He nibbled the thin skin near the udder area- she flinched, but stood firm. Then he had an idea. He continued nibbling on along the side of her belly, until he got to her "armpit". She began to look worried, and started seriously wiggling without moving her feet. By this time, he had figured out that was her most ticklish spot, and he really went to work.
Pretty soon, she couldn't stand it any more, shook her head, stamped her foot and galloped off to be with the others. Puppy Bob was very pleased with himself, and now, 2 years later- that's how he still moves that ewe. She's getting older, but just as stubborn as ever, and Bob tickles her under her armpit to move her along. No hard feelings, everyone is still friends, but the job got done. That's how english shepherds do it, if you give them the time they need.