Anybody here with sheepdogs?

Discussion in 'Working & Sports Dogs' started by Vicki.Ann, Nov 27, 2016.


  1. Vicki.Ann

    Vicki.Ann PetForums Junior

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    I live on a farm and have 3 sheepdogs of my own (Welsh collie/Welsh sheepdog mixes) and collectively we have 6 sheepdogs on the farm.

    Out of the six, three show interest in our sheep, one is a fully trained working sheepdog, one is part trained but hasn't got it in her to go the full way so she plays at sheep working when I allow her to, and one is our 2 year old part trained youngster.

    The part trained youngster shows all of the promise and potential, understands his directions, understands commands to sit, stand, wait, stay out and has a 95% recall depending on distractions. He has an incredible prey/work drive and the problem I have with him is getting him to take notice of sit/stand commands when the sheep are so incredibly exciting. In a small pen, I can place myself between him and the sheep and get his attention to make him sit/stand/wait but every time we move to a bigger area he's quick as a whippet and he knows it. If I keep him on a long line he either gets tangled or can't get close enough to work the sheep effectively (and I don't want to him avoid getting up to sheep when he needs to) .... frustrating situation but he's only a baby and as a boy I know he's still maturing, so I think with consistency he will be fine.

    He is also a PITA around tractors, quads and some pickups - he got run over by a pickup as a youngster and he would get himself under wheels again if he had half a chance! He just goes completely deaf around quads and tractors and it's a job to get his attention back to me! Distraction training is working slowly, he is now much less reactive to cars etc out on walks, just around the yard.

    Anyone else with the joys of over-enthusiastic sheepdogs?
     
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  2. Twiggy

    Twiggy PetForums VIP

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    Yes I've got very enthusiastic Border Collies/ISDS Working Sheepdogs except they don't work sheep.

    There are a few members of this forum that are sheep farmers - Moobli up in Scotland for one.
     
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  3. Leanne77

    Leanne77 PetForums VIP

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    Yes, I have working sheepdogs (if we are using Kennel Club terms for non registered border collies) but they dont work sheep and have no interest in working sheep. One is petrified and the other has no natural ability, as was proven when we went sheepdog training for a day. It was an effort even getting him looking at and interacting with the sheep, all he wanted to do was go sniff but when we did get him working them he just ran straight into them and then ran past them to go sniff again. Too much effort for a very lazy dog. However, for a pet dog having no interest in livestock is quite desirable.

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  4. Vicki.Ann

    Vicki.Ann PetForums Junior

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    I love to hear about other people's sheepdogs. For me, there is no other dog, I adore them, whether they have working ability or not. It's a huge challenge trying to channel the ability of a very enthusiastic dog and I do love a challenge.

    These are my hermits.
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    Both pics L-R Shiloh (7yo bobtailed welsh sheepdog), Troy (2yo working sheepdog) and Skye (8yo welsh sheepdog).

    Shiloh is, for want of a better description, on a spectrum. He lives in his own little bubble, doesn't know how to 'talk dog' and doesn't understand interactions with most people. But left alone he lives happily in happy clappy land, and I am the only person in the world that exists for him.

    Troy was born here, out of my partner's working bitch and a colleague's working dog, we both had a pup each, another went to a sheep farm on Anglesey and another two went to separate agility homes. These pups are a resounding success - amazing focus and ability. Troy is a little behind as he was run over at 5 months old, and after surgery and recovery he had missed out on a lot of crucial training time. But he is getting there.

    Skye would like to think she is a working sheepdog, she has been trained but she does think for herself a little too much. She will work superbly as long as she is interested and doing what she thinks ought to be done. If she's told 'no' she simply decides sheepwork is no longer fun and goes home. But she does do a little from time to time just for her own amusement! Skye was the biggest challenge to train - I was warned when she was 8 weeks old that I would have a big challenge on my hands and that wasn't wrong. Her recall was not reliable until she was nearly 2 years old, and even now when I call her I know to give her 5 minutes as she will come back, but it is often in her own time :rolleyes:
     
  5. CuddleMonster

    CuddleMonster PetForums VIP

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    They are gorgeous! My first girl was a farm collie, great natural ability. My other dogs have been collie crosses - the current one was unsure what to make of sheep at first, but as I have no plans to work her, I've made sure she finds sheep very, very boring, as I don't want her to decide to try sheep-herding on her own!

    I love the way they are all so different. And the way it's not always the posh breeding that counts. I had friends who spent a fortune on a puppy from a 'top' working dog line...only to find she was terrified of sheep. Then they heard that a local man was going to destroy some unwanted collie x puppies so decided to rescue one - he looked like a collie x irish wolfhound, enormous animal with endless legs, looked totally bizarre when he was working, but became the most amazing sheepdog. So a happy ending as their expensive but useless sheepdog meant they saved another dog's life...two happy endings actually, as the failed sheepdog turned out to be a brilliant cattle dog...a lamb would send her into hiding, but she would tackle a bull without batting an eyelash! Crazy collies!
     
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  6. Vicki.Ann

    Vicki.Ann PetForums Junior

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    Lovely to find someone else who is a collie person. I'm not bothered about KC reg or even ISDS to be honest. My partner's dog, is neither KC nor ISDS but she is a superb working dog with a wonderful temperament. She gently nudges lambs under their bums to move them, will boss a stroppy ewe and will tackle a 120kg tup with no hesitation - she puts her head on one side and puts her teeth over the bridge of their nose - it always turns them no matter how much attitude they have!

    The OH has had numerous people offer him ridiculous money for his bitch ... but no amount would be enough for him to ever part with her. She had her first and last litter at 6 years old, and we have her gorgeous son here who has inherited all the best bits from his Mum!

    The story about your friend doesn't surprise me at all - you can never predict who they will be ... it seems that it wouldn't have mattered which pup we had chosen from Meg's litter - they all had potential. Kelpies and huntaways are becoming very popular round here on farms and many kelpie and huntaway crosses are popping up. They all seem to be superb crosses and good working dogs, but I'm not convinced enough to switch from our sheepdogs :)
     
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  7. CuddleMonster

    CuddleMonster PetForums VIP

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    Love huntaways. I spent 6 weeks on my friends' farm in NZ and they had a brilliant little huntaway bitch. We were coming back to the farm one day and she suddenly sat down by the river and refused to move, and kept barking. When we investigated, we found a deep crack in the bank, with a lamb wedged at the bottom. It must have been over 7 foot deep, and about 5 feet back from the river, so wasn't she a clever girl to find the lamb?!! To get it out, I had to drop down from the top, carry her out to the bank and then work my way along it until we reached a point where my friend could reach down and grab the lamb. There is no way we would even have known she was there without the dog; she'd have either starved to death or drowned when the river rose.
     
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  8. Twiggy

    Twiggy PetForums VIP

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    My late twin sister got very into sheep dog trialling with one of her collies and she won a couple of nursery stakes. She was also a championship C obedience dog and competed in agility. Collies can certainly multi-task....LOL
     
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  9. Vicki.Ann

    Vicki.Ann PetForums Junior

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    These herding breeds are so intelligent, I am continually amazed by how smart and switched on they are :)

    And they are nothing if not versatile, and great fun too. I thoroughly enjoy teaching mine all sorts of 'pointless' tricks ... paw, spin, beg, roll over, play dead ... only trouble is it only takes about 15 minutes to teach them. Then it's the fun of seeing if they will wait to hear what you ask - Skye just reels off a routine of every trick she knows when the treats come out :rolleyes:
     
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  10. Moobli

    Moobli PetForums VIP

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    Lovely. Any working pics? We have nine working sheepdogs (well two are now retired).
     
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  11. Vicki.Ann

    Vicki.Ann PetForums Junior

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    I have a video if I can find it ....
    But usually concentrating too hard to take photos lol!

     
    #11 Vicki.Ann, Dec 2, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2016
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  12. Moobli

    Moobli PetForums VIP

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    Here are a few of ours (past and present) - sorry to everyone who has seen them before.

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  13. Lilylass

    Lilylass PetForums VIP

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    @Moobli I don't think I knew you have Herdwick! My absolute favourite of all sheep! I absolutely love them :)
     
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  14. Moobli

    Moobli PetForums VIP

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    Sadly we don't have any at the moment. They are my favourite breed too (and we are both native to Cumbria) and so I hope to persuade hubby that we need some more :)
     
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  15. Lilylass

    Lilylass PetForums VIP

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    Definitely!

    Sadly never see any around here :(

    Are you moving sheep down my way this winter? We really must try to meet up if so .....
     
  16. Moobli

    Moobli PetForums VIP

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    No, they are going to Mellerstain Estate in the Borders this winter. We should definitely try to catch up at the beach one day though :)
     
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  17. Lilylass

    Lilylass PetForums VIP

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    Ahhhhh another beautiful spot :) hope you get some nice days visiting - it's not too far from where I grew up so used to go over for events & stuff fairly often :)

    Yup, we must - give me a yell when you're free :)
     
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  18. CuddleMonster

    CuddleMonster PetForums VIP

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    Lovely photos @Moobli ! Especially like the last one - "ok, I've finished work, can someone please drive me home?"
     
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  19. Moobli

    Moobli PetForums VIP

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    And he may not be as well qualified or as skilled as the border collies, but my own personal favourite sheepdog - or should that be shepherd dog :D

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  20. Burrowzig

    Burrowzig PetForums VIP

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    I've done some herding training with my Welsh Sheepdog Kite, but found it too expensive to continue. She certainly worked well in the Welsh style, barking and bumping the sheep! The trainer (who had only trained border collies/WSD's before) took one look at her and said there was no harm in her towards the sheep, so we went straight in with them rather than starting working around a pen. I think her daughter Flossie (half BC) has great natural ability, but I don't have any sheep to practice on and at around £30 for half an hour, and agility as the priority activity, I can't see me taking it further. Kite's other daughter Fly is a dog that goes straight in to grip legs; I wouldn't let her anywhere near a sheep.