Dolly wanna cracker
Darling and Freedom's daughter, Honey
Back when we first got sheep, Darling had a little black lamb by the name of Freedom. We'd put a collar and leash on Freedom, toss her into the back of our SUV (sheep utility vehicle, aka Volvo station wagon) and bring her with us to the feed store and other places, such as the McDonald's drive thru, where people would fall in love with our little curly haired puppy. And we'd be forced to explain that this was not a puppy, but a lamb. They were, however, not convinced until the lamb let out a baaaa and a burp in their faces. At which point they didn't really care any longer if it was a puppy or a lamb because the fumes from the burp had knocked them out cold. Eventually we just began telling people she was a sheep dog, they'd pat her on the head and walk away, thus saving us the embarrassment of having people passed out at our feet.
Most people think sheep are not very smart, one of those being my nephew, Trouble. Trouble is not his real name, but it ought to be. He lives on a cul de sack with his brothers and sisters, his father and Little Hitler. He owns and shows a corgi, doing quite well in 4-H at both the local and state level. He looked at Darling as she led her lamb across their grandparents yard one day and asked what good that lamb was? Darling let Trouble know that she'd get that lambed trained and be competing against him in obedience classes before long. Trouble just laughed, telling her sheep weren't that smart.
Darling and Freedom's daughter, Honey
Training sheep is not an easy task. It takes time, patience, and a lot of peanut butter filled crackers. The first thing we taught our sheep to do was Baaaa. They caught on right quick, noticing the parallel between us carrying a box of crackers and getting a treat. Soon they were baaing each time they saw us with extreme exuberance! In fact, we could not get them to shut up. You could hear them all up and down the valley, and it was soon obvious that our sheep had trained us to carry treats each time we left the house or risk having some very annoyed neighbors.
The sheep also recognized that when a car pulled into the driveway, it often had treats inside of it. Hence, the driveway tax was imposed by my sheep. Should you ever come to visit, I highly advice having a box of peanut butter filled crackers with you. They're also fond of fruit loops. If nothing else, you should at least have a few old french fries. This is not on their list of approved snack foods, however it shuts them up long enough for you to get out of sight.
Our sheep don't allow for second chances. No, you get it right the first time or you find yourself face down in the mud with an entire flock doing Irish step dancing on your back. This is why our pockets are always full of cracker crumbs, which can be a bit embarrassing if you've actually gone out into public, reached into your pocket for your keys and pull them out covered in peanut butter. The best thing to do in this situation is to just lick it off casually as though it's a peanut butter key pop. People will look at you strangely, but it's easier than explaining the driveway tax to them.
Briget and her sheep
Feed us. Feed us NOW!
Our sheep have us well trained. They've taught us to duck as we walk past the window. If they see us through the window, we're required to pay the window tax. They stand and baaa until we go outside and feed them their crackers (or fruit loops), which isn't entirely a bad thing unless it's 6 am. The neighbors aren't terribly fond of the window tax our sheep have imposed on us. Oh, it's not so bad during the week, but they get rather cranky on weekends. Our sheep don't care about our neighborly relationships, however, so we walk around like a house full of hunchbacks.
Needless to say, the thoughts of having a prize obedience sheep has long since flown the coop. Instead, we're thinking perhaps there ought to be a class for well trained humans. How many times can your sheep get you to jump up onto that grooming stand with a cookie and coo like a baby at him? How many humans does it take to tip a sheep onto it's butt so it's feet can be trimmed...and how many of them can be layed flat in the mud in the process? Things like that.
Cuteness today, tax collector tomorrow
Yes, our sheep have done an excellent job with us. I'll bet Trouble isn't nearly so well trained! Dogs aren't nearly as smart as sheep.