Attention! Sheep Dogs at Work!

farming, North Yorkshire

I promised you an account of a Sheep Dog Demonstration after our visit to Masham Sheep Fair. Maybe you’ve amused yourselves wondering which sheep would get hustled and herded into pens as each dog did her work. Big and super-woolly? Lean and super-curly? Well, neither …

The field behind the church was roped in such a way that we spectators gathered round the edges, so we could look at the arena, scattered with wooden gates and obstacles, traffic cones, a play-tunnel, and in the far corner, a sheep pen. We spotted two sheep dogs, panting eagerly beside their trailer.

Their trainer, a farmer from Cumbria, took centre stage and introduced her dogs, each of whom would perform in turn. But where were the sheep? Not here at all it turned out. The dogs would be herding … first geese …

… who went between gates, round obstacles, round again…and into the pen …

… then ducks ..

… round obstacles, over the bridge and wheee! Down the chute and into a paddling pool (I missed the photo opportunity there), in and out the traffic cones and into the pen …

.. and finally, ducklings …

The ducklings await their moment on stage.

Through the gates, round the field. Then … can you see the ducklings scuttling down the play tunnel? The sheepdog’s about to follow them. Then, no pen for them. Just back into that big grey hutch.

I love to watch sheep dogs at work. They are so eager to get the job done, and done well. And on the whole, the creatures they chivvy seem happy enough. They put up with it anyway. A happy half hour.

41 thoughts on “Attention! Sheep Dogs at Work!

  1. Haha – I like to see sheepdogs at work and I’m always impressed by the relationship and communication with their human 😃 But I’ve never seen them herd anything other than sheep!

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  2. Mick was a keen viewer of One man and his dog, but I’ve only ever watched a live performance once, up in Scotland, long ago. I was worried your ducklings were going to be sold for the pot!

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  3. Hope not Jo. Eggs more likely. I never saw One Man and his Dog – no TV in those days. My kinda programme! Come to England next year in time for the Sheep Fair.

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  4. How fun! When preparing homework for a French student, I ran into a species of sheep dog in Southern France. The dog are raised alongside the sheep in the same pen, from their very first days, and a real bond is created between them

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