Don’t Believe It!

So I must take a minute and comment on a farm-related topic, but not our farm. The topic is a youtube link being passed around called “Extreme shepherding.”

I’ve been sent the link by many people. The first time I watched it my mouth dropped open. What? That’s impossible! Sheep would never do that. Then I realized the unbelievable parts were generated on the computer, and I found it funny.

But the more I chatted with people, the more I realized that many people actually believe the video depicts reality. That’s almost funnier than the video itself. (Sorry—if you were drawn in and believed it, I’m laughing with you, not at you.)

I suspect people are easily convinced because of the skillful editing job. The video shows some real sheep, some real border collies, and some real men. There’s herding going on, sheep baaing, and whistling for the dogs. You think, Hey, that’s cool.

Then the camera pans way back so you’re looking at a far hill, supposedly the one with the sheep. The dogs suddenly herd the flock into the shape of a huge sheep that begins walking across the hill. Ha! Funny, but impossible.

Then you once again see reality—men attaching coats to the sheep that light up. Dusk falls. You see the far hill again, and it’s dark. The only lights are attached to the sheep, and now the dogs are herding the sheep into a game of Pong. (Google this if you’re too young to remember the now-dinosaur of a video game.) Then they’re herding them into a fireworks display.

Uff-da, people. First, sheep won’t run like that in the dark. They can’t see where they’re going. Second, border collies are brilliant, but they can’t split up flocks into exploding fireworks. Unfortunately the world’s expectations of these brave dogs have now been unfairly raised, and people will expect them to herd sheep into the shape of the Mona Lisa. I see therapy in many of their futures.

The ‘night’ scenes are computer-generated. But because the video showed real men, dogs, and sheep first, your brain wants to believe that’s what you’re seeing.

Here’s the link, but remember, it’s not real!

11 thoughts on “

  1. Real or not, ya gotta admit, it makes for a great video! I’ve watched it several times in the process of sharing it with friends, including our local 4-H dog agility leader. The scenes are carefully orchestrated and, yes, sped up and craftily edited. But it’s still fun to see some fine black-and-white dogs racing around the edges!

    Meanwhile, on OUR farm, we’re just thrilled that the Border Collie has graduated to Life Off-Leash at the age of 11 months. We can now say “no chickens” and she will sit down and reliably resist the temptation to chase the bantam rooster who likes to rile her. She knows the names of all her toys, understands all the basic commands, and usually follows them. Now, if we could just find her “off” switch…

  2. I’ll admit, I thought it was real. But then again, I know next to nothing about sheep and what they can/will do. Either way, it was really neat to watch!


  3. Those Brits are very good. Even in the BBC interview, they’re “having us on,” as they say. Ain’t no way you can move those sheep to form Pong or fireworks.

    MaineCelt, your dog sounds incredibly well-behaved. As for the off-switch, our border collie’s has finally kicked in, but he’s 13 and deaf!

  4. Haha…I’ve seen this several times, and while I guessed the “fancier” bits weren’t real, I was a little more than curious at those close ups, which do seem real, of the sheep wearing the LED “saddles”.

    How did they get ’em to do THAT? 😀

  5. Zan Asha—They’ll put anything on sheep. I’ve seen photos of sheep with advertising on them. I’ve seen fancy sheep at state fairs wearing coats and hoods to keep their wool clean.

    The LED coats are pretty cool, though, and would certainly create a festive air in the evening. Perhaps we could rig up some with red and green lights for next Christmas. If we sprinkled corn on the ground in the correct pattern, the sheep could spell out “Noel”!

  6. Hi Catherine!
    Beegirl told me about you…

    This video is hilarious! The fact that people actually think it’s real is even better…good stuff. I wish americans had half the sense of humor as those darn brits.

    btw…congrats on the MN book award!! I need to get your book, asap…am thinking of getting sheep!

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful stories and links on this blog!

  7. Carly–Ha! Yeah, I’m guessing a little grain was involved in this photo shoot.

    pbird…You want sheep? Hmmm. We should talk.. 🙂 They are frustrating, demanding, and pretty adorable, actually.

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