In June 2020 the world record was broken for the price paid for a working sheepdog at auction – £19,451.00!
Many shepherds would clearly not be in a position to pay this much but it was clear from how Sally the dog behaved with the sheep on videos shared on the auction’s social media channels, that she was fully trained and already an expert in her field. Her value is also in her DNA which will be passed on to her own offspring and future generations.
Sally’s talent will therefore save her new owner many years of initial training. Sally will still need to keep practising what she’s learned with regular routine sheep-herding and will need to get used to working with her 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 nevertheless 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? Something to think about at the next round of salary reviews perhaps!