We hope you find our pages interesting, full of information and a ‘good read’. I love the whole scenario of (wo)man and dog working together in the common aim of perpetuating the ancient art and craft of shepherding. Sadly some collies have had the herding instinct all but bred out of them and as mentioned elsewhere it is not always a good idea to introduce non-working collies to sheep. ‘Opening a can of worms’ is one way to describe the outcome.
During these many years almost 2500 people from the south-west of England have been helped in their quest for a well trained working animal. There are many success stories leading to satisfied customers who now have a well trained work force to hand. The involvement with the International Sheepdog Society has been a bonus. I have been a regular contributor to the Society’s magazine since 2002 and continue to contribute articles about shepherds, trainers, hobby farmers and, particularly, overseas shepherds.
You can become a member of the International Sheepdog Society (www.isds.org.uk) even if you do not have a sheepdog. The International Sheepdog News is published six times a year and full members receive one automatically. For example, some years ago the International Sheepdog News published several pieces about the Falkland Islands that included “the puppies that went to the Falklands.This was the story of 40 Border collie pups that were sent to the Falklands about eighteen months after the Conflict had ended – in 1983 – and we managed to find photos of them before they went and a few of their current great-great grandchildren! Other overseas pieces have included shepherding on Tristan da Cunha (an island in mid south Atlantic) and one concerning the only working Border collie in Colombia, South America. Croatia also featured – Alen Markovic with his border collies and Croatian collies. Alen visits Crufts almost annually to compete in Agility competitions.
For many years from 2002, using financial help from various Funding sources, we ran sheepdog and handler training courses in the South West of England for up to fifty people. They met trainers who were also shepherds, in a spread of locations throughout the region from Gloucester to St. Austell in Cornwall. Following an initial assessment to check whether or not the dog is ready for training, five two hour sessions were held on a fortnightly basis with an option for more if required. This would give the absolute basics of shepherding. For lasting effect, practice at home was required to build on the lessons. The official International Sheepdog Society Training Book – edited by CW – was issued as part of the training course.
We hope you will agree that this site is a “one stop shop” for everyone interested in working sheepdogs and Trialing and that it provides a resource and information for the experienced handler and novice owner alike.
Here are some questions you might like to consider when thinking about your new or next dog:
Should I buy a well trained working sheepdog? Or is a puppy easier, but then there is the time involved.
Why not get the dog trained by someone else?
Supposing I want to buy some books and DVD’s about working sheepdogs?
I want to buy another dog, where do I look?
I have always wanted to ‘have a go’ at Sheepdog Trialing, where do I start?
Many of your questions will be answered on the following pages. If not, contact Caroline below.