Kate Fairweather discovers how far instinct can take a sheepdog with no formal training when it comes to working sheep.
The dog handler, trainer and author, Stuart Barnes performs as the “Dog and Duck Show” at country shows. He draws on decades of experience as a shepherd for his performance, which took place at the South Downs Show in August 2023.
Stuart introduces Jess the sheepdog and Lassie the totally untrained sheepdog, who has spent most of her life in a kennel. They star in the “Dog and Sheep Show 2023”, renamed because of the ban on poultry gatherings in the wake of Avian flu.
Stuart explains how he manages to coax a creditable performance from both dogs in the arena, despite their varying levels of experience. He shares stories and observations on dog behaviour, recalling some of the outstanding dogs he has worked with, and the combination of talent, perseverance and experience gained in the lambing pastures that characterised them.
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© & ℗ Kate Fairweather, 2023