What can sheep be trained for?

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by bergere, Oct 17, 2005.

  1. bergere

    bergere Just living Life

    Messages:
    8,280
    Joined:
    May 11, 2002
    Location:
    Now in Virginia
    Clicker training works well with most sheep. Please, don't ask me how I know.

    As for taking them for walks on trails and stuff. I would not, as there are too many dogs that people take with them that are not on leashes. Your sheep does not have any defenses.

    But Taming them in the safety of your farm, that would be great. All my sheep were halter trained and trained to be easily lead around once caught.
    They are much easier to deal with when they are tame.
     
  2. hisenthlay

    hisenthlay a.k.a. hyzenthlay

    Messages:
    2,024
    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2005
    Location:
    Southwestern PA
    I don't have any knowledge from personal experience, but clearly, it can be done:

    http://www.amishphoto.com/galleryindex2.htm

    Ok, sorry I can't get the exact link--but click the above link, then click on "children" in the left hand list, then on "Children Gallery 2", then on the photo "Amish Games".

    This is Amish photography from a guy named Bill Coleman--very pretty stuff.
     

  3. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,108
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2004
    Location:
    Washington State
    Those are cool photos!

    Someone had posted here about teaching their large sheep to pull a cart...but then they just disappeared and never told us how it was done. Sure wish I knew, though! How fun would that be to show up at the county fair not only with my dairy sheep, but my driving sheep as well :rolleyes:
     
  4. eieiomom

    eieiomom Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,391
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2005
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Those photographs are INCREDIBLE, thanks for sharing !
     
  5. Celtic Herritag

    Celtic Herritag Celtic Heritage Farms

    Messages:
    346
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2005
    Location:
    CA, Usa
    My friend trained her little south down to pull a cart, on lead tough. And another taught her lamb how to kick a soccer ball. Another built a pack saddle and paniers for hers and the lamb carried them. You can do all kinds of stuff with a sheep. You just have to find thier little sheepie quirks and use them. Anything they like doing will be easier to teach them, and the more comfortable they are with you the more they'll be able to handle new things well. As to taking sheep on trails I suppose you could, to take care of dogs or other critters just get some mace or a cattle prod (I use either when I go trail ridding on bike or with my horses.) You could teach them to pull a cart easily, just teach them to lead and then build your cart, it really doesn't take much. You could teach his group how to drop spin, or teach them about livestock care.

    As for petting zoo's I wouldn't bother the amount of equipment, lisencing, and insurance you have to get is so dauntingly expensive that it soon becomes just a big hole in the ground to pour money into.

    I can offer you tips for cart breaking your sheep if you like, it's really not that hard if you lead them, its harder to teach them gee and haw commands, and most importantly whoa.
     
  6. Xandras_Zoo

    Xandras_Zoo Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    815
    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2004
    Location:
    Richmond, BC, Canada
    I was trying to train my llama to pull a cart. He flipped out, rolled the whole thing over and then ran around in circles, frantic, dragging it. Gave me the worst rope burn I've ever had in my life. He's fine until he realises he's attached to it. I can't imagine SITTING in a cart, man, if I'd did that I can guarentee you my neck would be snapped. How do you get them to accept a cart?
     
  7. hisenthlay

    hisenthlay a.k.a. hyzenthlay

    Messages:
    2,024
    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2005
    Location:
    Southwestern PA
    Glad you like the photos. I looked at his website longingly for four years, and I finally splurged this month and bought one. :baby04: Aren't they great?
     
  8. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,108
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2004
    Location:
    Washington State
    I tell people my sheep are watch sheep, and that they've implemented a driveway tax. Come to my house and use the drive way, you're obligated to feed the sheep. Not my rule, theirs! :)
     
  9. chickengumbo39

    chickengumbo39 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    73
    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2003
    Location:
    Beautiful Arizona!
    Thanks all for the input! I was afraid I might get laughed right off the board but I'm glad I asked the question! Celtic Heritage, I would love to know about how to cart train them...leading them is what I would want to do and be able to ride small children around as they are smaller sheep...supposedly miniature cheviots but some of their siblings are small and some are full-sized...their mom was full-sized. I'd be delighted to be able to lead them and them tolerate a small child in a small light cart, or even as petting animals for our church events, like they did on Saturday. I will be homeschooling my son's best friend and they would like to work on training the sheep (under my supervision, of course!) so please feel free to let me know of any techniques you've had success with.

    They are much calmer since I put them in a private pen away from the other animals -- very quiet and docile. The one is very good with kids; the other is not trusting of people since he was wethered & docked.

    I'll be checking out all the links. Thanks again for all your input! I feel like there is hope for making them a useful learning project, not just 2 more mouths to feed that we are attached to!

    Cordially,
    Jodi
     
  10. Celtic Herritag

    Celtic Herritag Celtic Heritage Farms

    Messages:
    346
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2005
    Location:
    CA, Usa
    Well for ours we really didn't have any problems cart breaking them. They were show lambs so we were working with them everyday We use halters not collars, you get more control and I think they look better. Now to start with the basics I would get them dead halter broke if they're not already. Are they halter broken, or just collar trained?

    Xandras_Zoo, did you give your llama enough time to get used to the cart before you hooked him up, when we taught the sheep we used it to cart thier feed for about a week and let them eat out of it like a feeder. They got used to the wierd noises it made and associated it with food. You might not want to feed your llama out of it but you could pull it behind you whenever you went out to feed, then after they get used to it walk out in thier pen/pasture and give them treats when they come up to you with the cart. When they get used to that have one person lead the llama and one person pull the cart next to him. When he stops you stop and if he turns to face it just let him get bored and then ask him to walk again. He should quiet down after one or two sessions. Then you can try leading the cart behind him, but to the side so he can't see it but you won't get kicked, if he is okay with this then hook him up in a very familiar area and try it again.
     
  11. MaKettle

    MaKettle Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    416
    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2003
    My cousins had a pet sheep that pulled a cart with them in it. Don't recall if it needed to led. There was an article about a young woman who couldn't bear to part with her 4-H sheep, so trained them to pull. She had a mini coach pulled by a team of six or so sheep that she took to fairs and other events. So it can be done.