They move animals to pastures or guard grazing borders. At the largest sheepdog competition in Europe, which took place in Hungary, the 7th place was taken by a dog from Lublin – STRONG EXCALIBUR Red Radimus, or “Exio”.
– Not every dog can be a sheepdog – says the owner in an interview with Ewelina Kwaśniewska, Dr. Małgorzata Goleman of the Department of Animal Ethology and Hunting at the University of Life Sciences in Lublin. – Dog breeds are bred for a purpose. There are hunting dogs, defense dogs and herding dogs, which somehow had to help people, and on these qualities the selection is made. In the case of sheepdogs, training, all work with a dog is based on his instincts. There must be a genetic predisposition here. It’s not that every dog will be a sheepdog. The sheepdog has the quality to maneuver and control the herd of animals. The basis of this is the hunting instinct, where the predator revolves around its prey. On the other hand, in sheepdogs it was reorganized to help people. And this property cannot be learned.
– Apart from the fact that the dog must have an instinct, a sheepdog working with a herd of animals needs a stable and strong character – emphasizes Małgorzata Goleman. – He has to bear the pressure of his guide, because he can’t bite the animals, he can’t run around these animals like crazy, but he has to do it a certain way. Also remember that farm animals are not as cute as we think and have a whole repertoire of scary behaviors they are much bigger than a dog so they can hurt him. The sheep is startled by stamping, rubbing the dog, hitting the head. The dog must be able to withstand the pressure of the animal and not become afraid.
Do we teach him with treats?
– No, no treats. Here is the pay admission to work. The reward itself is for the dog to run. We couldn’t offer anything more appealing to a dog that works on instinct. The moment he is stopped, when he executes the command, let’s keep him working, and don’t stop, this is his reward.
Now we can move on to the match itself. How do they look like?
– We have dogs that work in two styles – explains Małgorzata Goleman. – We have the English style, border collies work in, they work with the eye, they use their eyes to control the herd, they work long distances. The second style is the traditional style. These are all other herding breeds that work close to the sheep. Here is the working principle of this dog that sheep know the dog. They are used to the dog being there, but have to respect it. Accordingly, the competition is also divided into these two styles. In the case of the traditional style, of course, we have difficulty classes and the dog has to overcome the course with various obstacles. The handler with the dog and the sheep must go through this course. There are different types of bridges, gates, narrow passages. The sheep must be locked in a number of barracks, for example one sheep must be marked in some way. An obstacle course that you have to overcome together. The higher the class, the more complicated the obstacles, the more difficult the passages, the more maneuvers the dog has to perform to help these sheep by guiding the obstacles on this course.
How did you get interested in this?
– Shepherding is imposed on me by my dog. I had no intention of going that way at all. I have been training dogs and training with dogs for 20 years. I chose Australian Kelpie. I assumed it would be a dog I would practice obedience and footprints with. On the other hand this puppy dog did not hang on to my toys which is such a very important element when working with a dog on obedience only when the toy came off did he jump a meter and stare at her. As if he wanted to feed her. Unfortunately, she didn’t want to move. I decided that maybe I would show him these sheep because of his instincts. This is how it started. It loved both him and me. We passed the first exam, then we started competing and that’s how we start. And he just celebrated his seventh birthday.
The herding instinct test can be taken on a dog older than 6 months. They accept training centers from the age of 9 months.
EwKa / ed. Adv