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Welcome to All About SheepDogs

It is obvious really that  a well-trained working sheepdog is the shepherd's best friend. The properly trained sheepdog achieves this by cutting the shepherd's workload, saving time and money.  Of course these dogs don't see what they do as work!  Their reward is pleasing their master, which means they go about their tasks with a cheerful spirit and an instictive desire to receive approval. This in turn enables the shepherd to carry out his work confidently.

In the world of shepherding a good working sheepdog can think for itself - sizing up a situation and acting upon it .... often before the shepherd has even become aware of a problem.  What's more, the dog has the welfare of the sheep in mind just as much as the shepherd.  He is protecting and managing them for you.

So it follows that the bond between shepherd. dog and sheep is a deeply special one, with the dog central to the relationship with Sheep welfare of the highest importance.  Most sheepdogs have a natural instinct to herd - to a greater or lesser degree - and it is usually the handler that requires the training! It is also essential that the trainer undersands how sheep operate!  Each breed of sheep has its own idiosyncracities and the various ages of sheep is also a contributing factor.  When choosing a small flock upon which you are inficting your new young dog, please be aware that a group of lambs or a bunch of rams is not the way forward. It is also generally accepted that the Rare breeds of sheep are not particularly suitable.  Manx Longthans can leap out of any field!

As we have in the UK the largest national flock in the European Union, the traditional sight of a shepherd and his dog is almost as much a part of the countryside scene as it was 50 years ago. However, the rise of the Quad Bike has - to an extent - taken the place of some dogs but when the Quad can catch a lamb or find a ewe in a thicket then it will have 'arrrived'!

In the words of the 'bard' - "there's no good flock without a good shepherd and there's no good shepherd without a good dog".

This website has been set up to help and inform all those who work with sheepdogs, or would like to. There is always room for improvement and remember - no two dogs are the same.  What may have worked for your first dog may fall apart with your second and subsequent dogs.  So, on this site you will find advice and guidance on every aspect of owning and handling a working collie  From time to time we also post news of interesting events and articles of interest about sheepdog people. There are also links to other organisations.

 If you get this far and are already fed up with reading then give me a ring instead 01934 732661.

Although most of the site is aimed at the Border collie handler, just for good measure we include other well known breeds of working sheepdog - Kelpie, Huntaway and the Bearded Collie. Occasionally we know of litters from these breeds so if you are interested. 01934 732661 - caz@rackley.fsworld.co.uk

We have also identified a group of people who have Border Collies but have no access to sheep and who are not farmers or shepherds.  For these people we had planned to provide the opportunity for them to find out if their dog has the potential to work sheep and then for training to occur regularly. We would like to provide FUN sessions where the handler is also learning a different skill with their dog in a non-competitive situation.  Once the dog's natural herding istinct has been aroused training will need to be sustained as it is - one could say - cruel to stop them.  In the training section look at 'Herding'  There are a few trainers who offer this facility but unfortunately our own venture has not yet come to fruition

We have found many people are contacting us about their badly behaved pet collies, some of which are from Rescue organisations.  We have therefore included a newsection under the sheeepdogs as pets part of the Sheepdog Breeding section - some thoughts about overcoming some of the challenges that non working collies present.  People who have pet collies do not always understand the collie's strong herding instinct and and this alone can cause difficulties. It could be for some of these rebellious collies that the opportunity for them to work sheep in a controlled situation would answer a lot of their problems. A frustrated collie is a very unhappy animal.

A problem of the countryside that is common to any dog is that of sheep worrying.  An out of control Border collie is just a lethal as any other breed. Handlers must keep their dogs under control at all times when visitng the country.  Always be aware of what your dog is doing as it could be killing sheep!!

Please look at the Resources page for frequent new information about Trainers or books. Training a Sheep Dog, a really handy 'does what it says on the tin' approach to Training, is available - free of charge - from either the International Sheepdog Society, phone 01234 352672 or office@isds.org.uk

OR you might prefer to contact All About Sheepdogs E: c/o caz@rackley.fsworld.co.uk   T: 01934 732661    M:07703 197823

From time to time an article from the International Sheepdog News will apear in the News section.  These are written by Caroline Woolley and cover a reange of subjects - some are personal profiles of trainers or triallists, others are about shepherding in other countries.

Last year was the World Sheepdog Trial at Lowther Park near PEnrith in Cumbria.  A very soggy few days were spent slipping and sliding around but watching the world's best was an uplifting experience.  Becca - an aight year old bitch belonging to James McGee of Ireland - proved herself to be the World's best.  It was a very moving experience watching man and dog interacting with sheep in a near perfect performance. Poetry in motion.

We anticipate that some of you might like to attend Trials and so if you switch to the Resources page you will find a list of 32 contact details for the Trials Societies in the UK.  Also in this section are the details of the five big Trials in the UK this year.  There is now a Leaflet available 'Spectators at Trials' to be found at all major Trials.  Compiled and edited by Caroline Woolley it gives a simple overview of what happens on the average Trial field and offers information about the International Sheepdog Society - to which anyone can join.  You do not need to own a dog!  Also available through this website.

You might like to consider a portrait of your Border collie. Can thoroughly recommend SALLY JONES of Bodmin, Cornwall.  You will find examples of her work on her website www.bodminfineart.co.uk 


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