A forum for anyone interested in shetland sheepdogs (shelties)


Shelties working sheep

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Pandabears
Maiden
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Shelties working sheep

Post by Pandabears on Sun 23 Feb 2014, 11:13

We run a sheep herding training facility in QLD, Australia, where people can bring their working dogs out and use our sheep to train their dogs.

People often ask us how we got started in what we now provide to the average person in suburbia who has a working dog- mostly border collies and kelpies.

Prior to coming to QLD in 2005 we lived in Auckland N.Z. We had access to part of a regional park where we could run our dogs off lead. On occasions the Park Rangers would move sheep down from the main part of the regional park and into a paddock which was beside where we were allowed our dogs off lead.

On one occasion, Skye (who I think was about year old at the time) ducked under a gate and into where the sheep were grazing (she had never seen sheep before), separated half the flock and proceeded to move them up a hill to another paddock (where there was an open gate). I recall it was May and it had been wet. I had on a long dri-azabone coat and knee high rubber riding boots and was floundering through wet paddocks trying to get my sheltie back on a lead before the Park Rangers saw what was happening.

YAY, I had a sheltie who had the natural instinct to work sheep but apart from " the big time" there was nowhere in NZ to train suburban dogs.

In 2006 I found by chance (via a website called dogzonline) a facility approximately a 45 minute drive from where we were living where people could take their working dogs to ascertain if they had the natural instinct and take training from there.

At the time I had four shelties, all of whom had the natural instinct- Skye, her daughter and son- Jazz and Panda- and her grand-daughter, Jemma. Whilst I took the four initially the instructors advised that Panda was the best one for me to learn what to do given his natural ability. So often it is our dogs that know what to do and we have to learn from them.

In 2007 the people who owned the facility where we trained moved to Canada. By chance we had the opportunity to purchase our current property and set up what is now the only facility on the north side of Brisbane.

Unfortunately I have lost Skye, Jazz and Panda in the last 15 months, but Jemma still shows the ability to work sheep.

When people come out to us they seem to think that because they own a working breed that it will naturally work sheep.

NOT so. Katie who is 14 months old is not in the least bit interested, nor is her Mum (Jemma's daughter), and yet her full sister from an earlier litter and a litter brother of hers both have the instinct. Cie La Vie!

We appeared on a TV documentary in June 2013.

As a new member I don't think I can post our website yet but if you would like to find us via either Google or Facebook type in sheepherdingqueensland and you should find the videoclip.

Hopefully I can work out how to post photos soon.

Would LOVE to hear from anyone else who has a sheltie/s who have the natural instinct to work sheep- which is what a Sheltie was bred to do!.





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Ann W
Junior
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Re: Shelties working sheep

Post by Ann W on Sun 23 Feb 2014, 17:57

Hello Shelia,
It was fascinating to read your posts and I will try to find your website to look at the videos of your shelties herding sheep. Here in the South of England, I haven't heard of this facility being available to townies but then I have never thought to look. You may have given me an ideaidea I would be very interested to learn if my little girl has this instinct!!! What should the minimum weight of the dog be to herd sheep? welcome1

Ann
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Ann W
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Re: Shelties working sheep

Post by Ann W on Sun 23 Feb 2014, 19:42

So sorry Sheila for spelling your name incorrectly in my last post! My eyes shockare going and I was using my ipad in the kitchen whilst preparing a Sunday roast for the family! The font size is very small on my ipad and I'm pushing my eyes to the limit!
Ann
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mary wynn
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Re: Shelties working sheep

Post by mary wynn on Sun 23 Feb 2014, 20:31



hi Sheila,

I rely enjoyed reading your post, thinkingI don't think this sort of thing would help

my sheltie Fen, the first time he saw a sheep he wasscared2of them.giggle

and still is,Embarassed

mary.
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a.j.mcknight
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Re: Shelties working sheep

Post by a.j.mcknight on Sun 23 Feb 2014, 22:01

Hi Shelia, how are you? That sounds fascinating.
Ducks, chickens and other dogs are about all our lot get near to herd; the older ones are great at rounding up litters of wayward puppies in the fields. However, two of our pups from many years ago still work on small farms with sheep; how much was natural and how much trained I've no idea... thinking

Hope I'm remembering correctly that Lian Knight has run quite a few Shelties at herding.

Best wishes, AJ
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Pandabears
Maiden
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Sheltie working sheep

Post by Pandabears on Sun 23 Feb 2014, 22:16

Hi AJ.

Been a long time since we have chatted.Very Happy


Ann, No worries.

There is no minimum weight for puppies/dogs to start working sheep, rather their own maturity. Mairi first switched on when she was six months old. At that age we protect puppies from the sheep rather than the other way around.

We are "set up"" for both ANKC competition and for short course trials. ANKC is a gradual process where as both you and your dog become more proficient so the areas you work in become larger and more obstacles are introduced.

HIC (instinct certificate) is a max of 15m x 15m, the next level "HT/PT" a max of 30m x 60m, and then "A" 60m x 90m. B course is in an open paddock.

We have a border collie who trains here who for the first four times she went in she did not show the least bit of interest. She has now taken to it like a duck to water. Next year she will be competing with the "big guns" in 3 sheep trials.

Our sheep are a mixture of both damara and dorper crosses, ideal for what we do here as they are self-shedding.

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Lian
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Re: Shelties working sheep

Post by Lian on Tue 25 Feb 2014, 11:19

Hi Sheila,

Some of my shelties work sheep and duck. My very first sheltie Sing (now 12 year-old) was a keen herder. We lived in London until September 2012. Whenever we out in the country walk, he will sneak in the field to herd those grazing sheep. Once, we were in Dartmoor on holiday, he herd back a flock of 6 wild ponies! He is also a great swimmer. Many times, he jumped into a pond in Wimbledon Common to herd the duck. As you may guess, he was unpopular by the public then. I'd loved to train him properly but I was told then, if I have no intention to work him, best not to train him.

When I have my 3rd sheltie, Saturn. He like Sing, shown a great potential to be a sheepdog. I took him to a sheepdog instinct training in one winter, he was nearly 2 year old. The minute he saw the sheep, he knew exactly what to do. That made me more determined to wanted to train my shelties in herding.

We are lucky to move to a farm 15 month ago and have our own sheep and other animals. Sing and Saturn help in moving the sheep from field to field. My home bred is Sing's son, Sonic. He also shown interest in sheep. Last year, I hatched some Indian Runner just for him to herd.

Here is Saturn herding sheep:


This is Sonic moving a big flock of sheep to the next field:


Sonic and his baby runners:


Indian Runners has now grown up, Sonic moving them to the duck house:


Saturn is not so keen on the little duckling, he thinks that is insult :)
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Shelridge
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Re: Shelties working sheep

Post by Shelridge on Tue 25 Feb 2014, 14:02

SO proud to have bred Saturn!

Chris
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Claire N
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Re: Shelties working sheep

Post by Claire N on Tue 25 Feb 2014, 14:23

We're so proud to have his sister Chris Wink

(Lower right in my avatar)

Claire and Andy
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rdiamond
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Re: Shelties working sheep

Post by rdiamond on Thu 27 Feb 2014, 00:05

Love it cheers
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Pandabears
Maiden
Maiden

Re: Shelties working sheep

Post by Pandabears on Thu 27 Feb 2014, 03:06

Lian, thanks for sharing the photos of your dogs with sheep and how you got into herding with them. I just wish that Bree and Katie would show some interest!. I haven't been into the arenas for yonks as have a problem with my thoracic and am frightened about being bowled by the sheep, but I can help people out from the sidelines.

I need to work out how to post photos!!!

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