How much is that doggie in the....? - Raising The Baa

How much is that doggie in the….?

Just recently the UK record was broken for the price paid for a working sheepdog at an auction – £8,300.

 Many shepherds would clearly not be prepared to pay this much but it was clear from how Midge the dog behaved with the sheep at the auction, that he was fully trained and already an expert in his field.

This will therefore save his new owner many years of initial training.However, Midge will still need to keep practising what he’s learned with regular routine sheep-herding and will need to get used to working with his new ‘boss’ to build a top team together. Understanding each other  and the prompts, which are two way, is so important.Being a shepherd without a dog is like having a car without being able to drive it, but what do we look for in a dog and why do we value its external appearance so much?

We all make assumptions about what we see and observing the way the dog works is all we have to go on – just like interviewing someone for a job. Once we have ownership of the dog, by that I mean the dog respects you as the “leader”, we simply need to practise working together. Just like us, we get the best out of our colleagues and associates when we understand and recognise their individual strengths and weaknesses.For a shepherd with his dog it is just the same. The dog needs to run faster than the sheep. A three-legged dog is fine, but the dog needs to out- pace and get ahead of the sheep. Just being in the front is not enough, it also needs to have a good presence as well as a keen eye. These are all fine but without the brain-power and being able to connect, you are not a team.Everybody has their own style but never the less it is a team effort which enables the shepherd to get the sheep in the pen.

So what value would you put on your ideal team-mate?