Lessons from Herding Dog Trainers

star alisdair sharpter 2010

Ah, lucky me. Last week I had two half hour lessons with Alisdair McRae, who I used to call "the Tiger Woods of Herding," but well . . .  you know. Alisdair won Open on both Saturday and Sunday at the Portage Trial this weekend, which is pretty much par for the course with him. He is also a clear and kind teacher, and he understands herding dogs as well as anyone in the world. I write this because my lessons reminded me of the universal importance of creating a win for our dogs, and the universal difficulty in always knowing how to do that. I wanted to work on my timing; Willie and I are doing nice outruns and fetches, but our drives look like zig zags instead of the lovely straight lines we are all attempting to achieve. I felt like I was always one step behind, and never able to react Read More

Willie Rocks, Lassie Gives Me a Scare

I took Will to a friend's to work him on different sheep in a new environment. I'm getting to the point where he and I don't have too much more we can do at home. My small flock is so tame that Will has to be within a few feet of them to move them, unless I split out a few and force them away from the main flock. Then they are flightier (and more challenging), and I'll do that more and more, but don't like to stress the ewes and lambs too much when the lambs are young. Either way, it's still the same sheep in the same place, and Will needs to learn how to work lots of different types of sheep in different places. (So do I!) We are used to working in first gear, when most sheep work in done in 4th. I wish I could show you a video of how he did. We were at a gorgeous farm where Will has Read More