Sunday, July 12, 2009

Mopple's education

It’s still rainy today so the light outdoors is bad. However, here are a couple of so-so pictures taken of Mopple out in the yard. He obviously enjoyed his outing and spronked and streaked around the yard nonstop. He is one energy-packed boy!

Several years ago, I began collecting goat and sheep ephemera at eBay, primarily vintage photos and postcards. From time to time I’d happen upon an item depicting a sheep hitched to a cart or wagon. A pretty neat concept, I thought!

Later I talked with a man who trained his Hampshire ram to drive. It worked, he said, but the wool was a problem. Sheep have sensitive skin and pulling their wool hurts them, so you can imagine how having harness leather tugging on wool must feel.

So, I started thinking that some day I’d like to have a hair sheep wether to train, but the thought kept getting backburnered. Then last year I decided to put together a program showing what neat things can be done with goat wethers and I thought, “Wouldn’t it be neat to include a sheep wether too?”

About the same time, I discovered YouTube. While searching for videos demonstrating clicker training (I’ve done this with horses for many years), I found these gems. Then I was really enthused!

Spotty’s Tricks

Clarinha (Clicker Sheep)

The Box Game (Lamb Clicker Training)

Smartest Sheep in Granger County

So, I Googled the various hair sheep breeds and settled on Dorpers for their beauty, size and strength. While researching Dorpers in Arkansas and Missouri, I happened upon Vanessa and Abby’s Acres ( Now I have Mopple!

I plan to begin clicker training Mopple in a week or so using the bottle as a reward as done with Squishy in The Box Game” at YouTube. I’ll teach him tricks and agility as he grows up and when he’s a big boy, I’ll train him to pull a wagon as demonstrated at Marna Kazmaier’s great Working Goats ( site. If that goes well, perhaps I can drive him to my goat cart. We’ll see!

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