Tuesday, March 24, 2015

How Did You Get Started with Sheepdogs?

In a few conversations over the weekend with other handlers, this little blog topic floated up to the surface. But to be successful, it will require some participation.

I am wondering how other people got started with sheepdogs.  Are you fascinated with sheepdogs and the amazing ability to move sheep around a field or a course? Is it absolutely enthralling to wonder how they can balance sheep on the tip of their nose and drive them?

Here are some of the comments I have heard over the years, but I would love to list more and hear answers from others:

* I was at the Cow Palace with our daughter showing bulls and we saw the RESDA sheepdog trial there and were fascinated!

*I have driven by the Sonoma Wine Country trial every year and by golly, this year I decided to stop!

*I had been raising sheep for years and always went to Sonoma County Fair to watch the RESDA trial. A RESDA handler gave me a retired dog to help me load my lambs into the trailer and do odd chores.

* I wanted a border collie as my next dog; I had an aussie mix who resembled a border collie and the next time I wanted the real thing.

* I was doing agility (or obedience, or......) and wanted to try "herding" with my border collie, and I got hooked when I went to a sheepdog training clinic.

* We were on vacation in (name a state or country) and stopped by a local sheepdog trial just to watch for a few minutes, and we were interested enough to stay all day. We bought a dog on that trip.

* It was a natural progression from being involved with horses.

* I got a border collie as a companion, and wanted to try doing what it was bred for.

* We had some grass that needed eating down, so I got a few sheep to avoid mowing. Then I wanted my border collie to be able to move them when needed, so I called a trainer for a few lessons.

Let me know your story.........I am interested. :)


Wanderlust Rach said...

I have a border collie!! They are amazing dogs and very loyal and smart!

Amosmum said...

The dream started with Enid Blyton's "Shadow the Sheepdog" which I read over and over again as a child. I used to watch dogs working in the field and at trials and demonstrations, all the time thinking, "You have to be a farmer to do that." Then I had a sequence of three collie crosses. When the time came for our latest dog to join the pack, my husband asked me why I didn't get myself a "proper" Border Collie. That's when we found Amos, but still I thought sheepdog work was just for sheep farmers - - until Derek Scrimgeour (where Amos came from) told us that lots of triallers are hobbyists, and that I should have a go! I'm still not a sheep farmer, but Amos and I get our fix once a week, training with Sue Little in Norfolk. Of course, he's far more than just a sheepdog, but it's obvious that in his head he knows that's what he's wired for :)