By Ceri Rundle
I read a post earlier in which someone said that sheepdog trialling was not a sport. In my opinion it is and should not be perceived as being something negative either. ‘Sport’ in general can bring communities (even the whole country at times) together where people/handlers compete against each other and strive to be the best or to get better. This then inspires others to get involved, enjoy the sport and improve themselves to hopefully one day beat these same handlers/sportsmen.
Over the years this competition has improved the handling skills and level of training put into our dogs that are like athletes nowadays with improved welfare, knowledge of nutritional needs and general health and condition. Even simply worming of pups/dogs years ago was alien to many people. A trial can be a really fun place with lots of banter and handlers mixing in to help make the competition a fair test – well that is what we strive for (and achieve) at Bodfari.
Anyone who isn’t willing to muck in has a choice and it is their loss. People will always make the time-old argument that the dogs of today are not as good as those of yesteryear… In some respects maybe but that is probably attributable to the fact there are fewer shepherds ie the dogs getting less rough work. Those dogs probably wouldn’t even have set paw on a trials course until they were nearly 3 years of age.
Nowadays there is far too much expectation and pressure put on youngsters that are really still only pups in their heads. So many do not get the proper chance. However the standard of handling/training generally IMHO has greatly improved. How many years ago was it where many dogs failed to Turn Back at the International or did it very badly? Nowadays, the handlers train for it. Some might argue that the dogs today are trained purely for running trials courses – yes maybe but many are still working for their living too. The likes of Ricky Hutchinson etc have top quality stock and use their dogs to manage them on a daily basis but they can then go out and win. Who wants to go to a trial and see a plain farm dog, maybe tail in the air, working? It might be an absolute star of a dog working at home on the flock but….horses for courses… Anyway those are my muddled thoughts this morning…!
New series of ‘A Way with Dogs’ coming soon…
Watch ‘A Way with Dogs’ 2017- Sheepdog Trial film series and get ready for the new series of ‘A Way with Dogs’ 2018 – to be filmed in September 2018. More