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Goomeri Pumpkin Festival

The Sheep Dog Demonstrations

 

No photos can do justice to the fascination of seeing these dogs work. Watching man and dog working together as a precision unit has to be seen to be appreciated.

The commentary of the trainer was equally fascinating. The dogs are not pampered and spoiled. The emphasis is on using body language to exploit the dogs' natural instincts as predators. This works by putting subtle 'pressure' on the dog from a certain direction with a small gesture or posture, forcing him/her to follow the will of the trainer. Stoop down and the predator will come running towards you. At first a dog is an undisciplined predator who simply runs at the sheep. With training, the dog learns to enjoy the discipline of marshalling sheep to move exactly as desired.

The following are a few shots of the demonstration.

A dog in action
A dog sits when told
Giving the son a go. The rake is a not-so-subtle means of reinforcing the message of body language, not by striking the dog but simply by being held in a certain posture.
Forcing the sheep up and over the ramp
An experienced female
Finishing up
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