I wonder if this method won't work for us once we actually get some ungulates of our own, because Indy definitely loves doing the work too (I get comments on how he comes out of the field with a slap-happy fool grin on his face)... but for now we're just using ducks at home, and while he likes working ducks he doesn't lose it over them the way he does sheep, probably because they're so slow. I actually think that his issue might be that getting down makes him worry he'll lose control over quicker stock and that he might respond better if I put a standing stop on him, which I've read can be a thing with some upright-working dogs... but our trainer likes "down" and she's the teacher/her sheep her rules.
So for now I'm stuck shaking a cow paddle at him, because I feel it's better for him to get the time in with sheep while he can as long as he's being pretty manageable (if not perfect). We're there once a week at maximum.
Ideally he'll make a useful dog for helping with the dairy goat herd I plan to build. And I mean, he is making headway despite my complaints and we get compliments from the other people attending occasionally, so he evidently does have some
ability buried in that thick noggin.
I'm really pretty proud of him overall, just trying not to push him too hard because he's still pretty puppy-brained and I don't want him burning out on me.
I don't envy you not being able to find someone close enough to you to teach you though! Herding is complicated stuff, I honestly feel dead lucky to have found an all-breed trainer within two hours of me.